Sunday, July 31, 2005

Turning the Mirror Back to Me

Getting into the introspection phase now. In a conversation over tea with Lilia and Bev, they reminded me of another perspective about Blogher. There were parts of it that played into the us/them. This was present at moments in Blogher. The Flame, Blame, Shame and the A list conversations had those "us against them" flavors which I was just criticizing. So easy to point. Harder to turn the mirror back to myself/ourselves. Food for thought. What would I do without my friends to help me think better, more deeply and with more perspective? I'd be lost.

Just a note to those pulling one line out of my transcripts to make their point. Please, read and quote bigger segments to give the context. I'm seeing lots of pointers to lines that on their own mean something very different than the fuller context. Call me on my myopia as well. I'm ready. That's also why I'm posting my thinking in quick, but sometimes undigested bits this morning.


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Blogher Thank Yous and Remembering Bits

I realized as I jumped into Blogher blogging this morning (still no breakfast, but got a shower!) that the first thing I intended to do was to thank all the BlogHers. To the organizers, particularly Lisa, Elisa and Jory. To my panelists, Bev, Dina, Noriko and Anna (Dina, we missed you, but you were sure there in spirit. I forgot to take a picture of the sign I put up for you. Darn. I read your stuff. Fantastic.) To all the FABULOUS women I knew online before and whom I got to meet (alas, I did not keep a list) and all the FANTASTIC new women I met and learned from. THANK YOU!

I also want to make a few public jottings about things that I want to think and write about further coming out of Blogher:
  • How we can learn from other groups and communities that may be very far or foreign from us. Even from communities that we might never have thought to learn from. (This goes to both a gender, international and values based differences which can provide very rich learning if we can find better ways of connecting.)
  • About the intrinsic issues embedded in technology that affect our experiences (very close to both the isssues of global women blogging and gender differences in online interaction - particularly the point danah touched on networking and how male patterns may be more hardwired into the technology than we might assume.)
  • The joy of hanging out with cool women and cool people - need to do this more
  • How my extroversion and introversion battle it out at conferences
  • What I learned (content)
  • Gathering links of cool folks (I did a terrible job of collecting contacts, associating names with blogs, etc. Oi vey.)

I don't often come away charged up from conferences. But the last two I have been too, Northern Voice and Blogher, have been exciting and energizing. Both blogger conferences. Now I want to set back and look and see why I have had this experience. I think it is more than the content. No, I KNOW it is more than the content. This is food for thought for the upcoming BlogWalk Seattle on September 2 in Seattle.

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links to this post fosters virtual participation

Wow, what a great service, Antonella. I just clicked into your page aggregating notes, feeds and tips for those Attending Blogher from wherever you are . Thanks! (And no, I still haven't stopped to eat breakfast. There are now three of us sitting in our jammies, reading or blogging, oblivious to hunger.)

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Time to play by my rules, thankyouverymuch!

I'm checking my subs this morning to see comments on yesterday's Blogher conference. (I loved it!)If I read them all, I'll need a new life and will miss tomorrow's plane. I am still steeping in my impressions and learnings and will come back to that. BUT... I have a feed for mentions of my blog and read Robert's post on Blogher. Then I clicked into the comments. Oi vey!

One guy wrote:
I say women need to be bigger smartasses. Raise the middle finger more. Someone calls you bitch, smile and say thank you. (That works SO well too...confuses the hell out of them) Don't get offended so easily, don't let the world walk all over you. Someone's being a dick, call them on it. Just because you're born cloven instead of crested, you're not automagically required to run from straightforward handling of problems. If society tries to push that, fuck society, right in the ear.
My first reaction is to call this guy a dick. It is an easy response, but not the right one for me. I think I hear what John is saying to us as an affirming statement on his part. I appreciate that. It is an option anyone can embrace. But it misses the point. He is asking us to play by his rules.

Some of us don't want to. There are other options. For me, it is a concious choice. Because John feels that this approach works for him, does not mean it is the best form for everyone else. This IS the issue. Namecalling is a game I don't have to play and further, I don't want to be told I have to, and that not playing by his rules is some form of weakness. It isn't. It is a choice. And sometimes it is a damn powerful choice. There is more than one way to be straightforward -- giving the finger is not my only option (And note the very potentially sexist interpretation of the finger. A simulated penis. Hey, I don't want a penis, thankyouverymuch.) We are steeped and stewed in this culture of male dominance that it is invisible to many men. When we choose to step outside of it, we are often accused of weakness, or as whining.

Honey, I'm not whining. I'm roaring with my options. Not some guy's. That's the point. I have my choice to be and behave the way I choose. Women over time have been put down because they can't, don't, or won't choose to play by men's rules. So here is an important rub: why should we have to change? It goes both ways. I'm happy to be part of change in a community. I am not happy to change just for someone else. They have to come part way.

Now, there was one other comment that bears some elaboration. Scoble noted that Mena stated the large number of female live journalers. John O wrote:
Not to pop their bubble, but they might want to check the demographics of livejournal users, before they use it as primary evidence to stand on. Besides EA_spouse, most are teenage girls:

I'm sure someone with your... influence, Scoble, could have them get an age skew for just females. Not saying their case is wrong, just saying they might want to find other evidence to stand on...
First, I'm a bit bemused by the comment as if we have to legitimize our voices simply by a statistic, and then that this statistic is somehow less important if a large portion of the women in represents are under the age of 21.

But let's get to the data. What is missing here is the context of Mena's comment. Yes, the number of females were mentioned. It was also clearly NOTED (but not part of Robert's comments) that many of these were young women. There was no hiding here or trying to puff up with numbers. But key was the follow-on part of the comment from Mena. These young women are taking on blogging as a part of their lives and when they grow up, they are going to want a platform, be it an extension of LJ or something else. SixApart is smart enough to see that market. There is a second wave effect has interesting implications. I believe it is some powerful evidence. So it is fantastic we report out from these events and snippets catch our eyes. I'm glad Robert posted and I appreciated what I "heard" in his post about listening. But as always, the context of this particular data point is important.

Now, one more and then it is time for breakfast. Why is it somehow wrong for women to want to meet and talk about things they care about. Since Blogher was announced, many snickered about a "woman's" blogging conference. Why would we even need one, since there are other blogging conferences. Well, beyond the fact that so few of those conferences have many female voices, think about how human beings express affinity. Engineers have conferences for themselves. SciFi fans have them. So when women choose to convene about blogging, why is it that some people question the legitimacy of that gathering? We want something for ourselves and friends, we are going to get it. Well, let me restate that. We created and yesterday we reaped the fruits of our labors.

Oh heck, yet one more. Thank you to all the men who came yesterday. I really, really would like to know how it felt to you. More than once I saw clusters of you hanging out together. I used to do that at tech conferences with the few women there. I remember my first Comdex where the presence of women was mostly in skimpy outfits selling products . When I found a booth staffed with a woman who could talk about her product, I was thrilled. I loved that I had the restrooms to myself, but I felt so sad that more women were not in the field. I felt like the other. It is comforting to be with your crew. The cool thing is once we all hang out together, we are now a new crew, made up of all of us.

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Saturday, July 30, 2005

Blogher: Final Comments

Well, we gathered for our final session, and here are some of the comments people made. I'll fix the formatting later. Time to drink now!

  • Compare/Contrast with Bloggercon – lots of different issues came up
  • I have never joined a women’s group for anything before today. What I found was the most amazing group of smart women. I’ll never make that mistake again
  • I also am an evangelist for the girls, just middle school, just excellence. A transformative use of computers. The most transformative sesions was blogging in academia, bursting open the bounds of secrecy in the humanities.
  • This conference blew me away. So great to meet so many of you in person. I’m going to start doing video and audio blogging. I got into blogging when Susan Mernitt got me into blogging. I had insecurity with moblie and video blogging. That’s all gone. Forget about it.
  • Right before I came to this conference, traditional media were covering that bloggers opened up the genocide of Darfur. I was skeptical that this mattered. No longer skeptical. In this room is the power to change the world. Admire your mommy blogs and also look around to see what needs fixing. The power to fix it is here.
  • I just liked the whole context and education of blogging as an empowering thing. I also like the blogher brand. Put together a blogging starter kit, get it out to teen girls. Something accessible for younger women, people who have never coded a page.
  • I find really nice, and I’ve been to many blogging conferencers. Identity blogging session I realized that becoming vulnerable out there and that I’m not alone in that. I’m doing that in research. Felt like I was discovering something new. Fun to go to mommy blogging session. Looking for paralell, in corporate blogging. So many paralells in between (corporate and mommy blogging – isssues and choices.)
  • My father, an electrical engineering professor would be really happy. You don’t seem womenin science in technology. This is an applied form. The balance of humanities, arts and science and technology. If we can work with women in Congo, Burundi, places with war. We really could put pressure in certain places. Get some video and audio and stream it.
  • I came here as a completely green person. I’ve read a few. I go away with tools that I can get started. I wanted to have a top ten to do list that would be good. And top ten don’t list. Even thought I don’t have these, the notes, whenI go through them, both of the lists will be filled. Thanks to all of you for your knowledge. I can’t wait to catch up.
  • I want to put the fire under your feet if they aren’t already burnt to a cinder. I don’t have time to do this stuff. I have job, school, blog, a life. It ain’t much of one, I tell you. We know what this is about. How do we get people who don’t know what blogging is involved. How do we teach them to do this. Into video blogging, blogcasting, ipodding. Howe do we make that shift so from a year from now a 1000 people clamoring to get in, and room for them. Please, don’t schedule 2-3 things I want to go to at the same time. It’s not fair.
  • I want to advocate a see one, do one, teach one, following on what you are sayhing. Instead of why don’t we or how do we, we each commit to getting three people we admire into blogging by the end of October.
  • I want to thank Elisa for sending me email in April saing you gotta check it out. Women? Conference? But because I respect Elisa, I checked it out and said, I gotta be there. Heather, I want to thank you for inspiring me a lot. The things I got out of this – I want to stay in touch with the bloggers in academia. A lot of important things for me as I continue my academic career. Intriguted with what the teenage girls had to say. Want to know more about what happens to our kids and blogging. They are coming up in that generation. They don’t know a time with no computers and blogging.
  • Helped us get over stereotypes. When you meet a woman, yuou might start wanting to read their blogs
  • More blogging and discussion for older women
  • Blogging and fashion. Grateful to participate and go back with a lot of infomration on the things they find important like, “how can I make money,” Concepts about how to bring their brand up, bring up their search engine ratings. The last thing is it’s a really incredible feeling tgo be ina group of so many inspiring women in an industry where I’m often considered old and I have no one to talk to. When I talk about technology, they say “we don’t want to hear about that, we don’t want to hear about it.” And the geek guys. So see so many hot chicks who know how to code.
  • I came for the hot chicks who know how to code (Jay Rosen) and I was not disappointed. Two observations. First, why events like this are important. As I thought about that, because I wrote a bit. Some readers said, this conference is a dumb idea. Bloggers are bloggers. Why DO we need these events. Blogging as a pracxtice, as a form, is a form of freedom. I wrote on my blog, a weblog is a First Amendment Machine. After hanging out with you I understand that a lot more. It is an exttension of free speech and press to the people. Not a press on their behalf. They do it themsefs. IF blogging is a practice of freedom, it is completely inadequate unless it is a whole practice and to be that it must have women. My other discovery, and I didn’t expect this part, a big theme of the conference was terror. Lots of people spontaneously brought up the terror of the internet and what do you do about it when you blog. How do I protect my children, my blog, what if I had a stalker. I think tehre si something important about that. We live in an age of terror. Instead of being forced off the internet by terror. Accpeting it. People go out into it and bring it on. Is there any way to live with this terror? Or are we cripled by it. Yes, tehre are ways of conquering and defeat it where you can’t be attacked any more. Going out and meeting this terror. I never realized how important blogging was in facing fear of internet and strangers.
  • This morning I made a request for helping building an open source community based alogoritthm. A second request (Mary Hodder) a list of women speakers. I want a name, a blog, a website and what kinds of topics those women can speak about. I go to so many conferences that are mostly men and almost all male speakers plus 1-2 token females. When I talk to organizers, they say “I just want to get the best people and I can’t think of any quality women.” There are many quality women who want to speak, many are in this room. I think that we should build a list we can point to and say, these are people who are experts in these topics, here is how you contact them. The next time they can’t think of a speaker, we have the list. PopTech, Etech, Always On, Supernova. I don’t know what the right answer is, but we really need something.
  • I’d like to invite us to consider moving beyond panels as a format and look at innovative conference organizing technologies like Open Space. Open Space is the blog in person format. Maybe some people want to explore – you show up and create the agenda with whatever people want to talk about that day.
  • Something really interesting happened a couple of months ago. I was contacted by a major conference organizer. He asked me for names. Yes, I can give you some names, but I'’ like to talk with you about getting beyond tokenism. He really didn’t want to talk about this. We are going to be asked about this stuff. We exist. Keep pushing for something that addresses the issues of women in whatever field that conference addresses.
  • I went to the brown bloggers session, because I have become aware that the list of blogs I read is all people who look like me, except without the red hair. I would challenge everyone in this room to find 5 blogs by people who don’t look like you. People tend to read things they are comfortable with. You might not get the cultural references or vocab. Read it for a few months. Get the hang of it. Learn something about other people.
  • In addition to reading new things, the things that wind up in our aggregator, because those are things we link to. Once a month go outside the stereotypes of our stuff, doing something about something different. Linking to folks. Tying together communities.
  • I wanted to thank Lisa Stone for coming up with the ida. CHEERS from the room.
  • Lisa: I would not have done it unless Elisa said she would do it.
  • Purvi: When I had to design the logo I was terrified to design for such intelligent women. I went looking for ideas from your blogs. Hermaticon. It is from the blogger vocabulary. That is the only thing that can represent diverse women. We did not want pink and purple, did not want Times Romans. Congratulations to all of you.
  • First, thank you so much for making me feel welcome. I think I speak on behalf of the other 12-13 of us. We took a few hits, and they may have been well deserved. People are always worried about the ROI on blogging. This is the ROI. This is why we blog. The personal connections we make. But for blogging we would never have met these wonderful people. If there I someone here or out there. That you want to talk to. Call them. Send them a note. Don’t send them an email or just link to them. Make a personal connection to someone you want to get to know. The dividends will be phenomenal.
  • As marginalized as women bloggers are, one thing I’ve learned that mommy bloggers are even more marginalized. I noticed a lot of comments about “just mommy bloggers.” Mommyblogging can be a radical act that can change people’s lives.
  • I wanted to throw out a twist on Mary’s idea. The concept of smartmobs. I think it would be a phenomenal idea to get women to smart mob around male dominated conferences. If you show up at ETEch with 300 of your best friends. Funding may be an issue. The next bloggercon, if we all showed up, they might change the program.
  • This is a technical request. I know there have been problems with the BlogSheroe’s site. I am posting the to do list there. If you have registered, please fill out your email, names and name of your blog. Also your bio. So we can have this information so when has a whole community site, I can dump in the database. If you are available for conferences, what topics you cover and contact information. Let me know if you have any problems. There are 150 registered so far. Already a resource we can build upon.
  • In January I went to the NewCom forum. I sat next to someone for just one session. We were the only two people taking notes on paper. We exchanged cards. Jory had to leave and could not stay for the second day. When Lisa and I got together, we knew we needed some more help. Oh, that Jory chick. She was cool. We called her and she said sure. IT turned into this massive burden that we laid on her. The Triumvirate. Not only does Jory kick ass. And not only that, we met at a conference and made something happen.

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Blogher: When Globalization is Good for Women

Panel: Anna John, Dina Mehta (in absentia), Noriko Takiguchi, Beverly Trayner
Moderator: Nancy White

(When I have a second, I will add in the URLs and the remote notes of Dina Mehta. Check back Sunday morning)

Nancy introduced the panel, then each offered some opening thoughts:

Bev: They and we – issues are similar, but flipped as to who is we and who is they. In Portugal should we go by US rules. For Blogher to get out of this loop, bloghers needs to reach out, new practices, new discourses, new languages. I now know that I’m an identity blogger. Em Duas Linguas because I started by trying to find my international voice, or have my international voice heard in my Portuguese community. Do I write in English for international or Portuguese for my Portuguese community. That quite often paralyzes me. What I say, how much I disclose and who I feel accountable to. I feel accountable in different ways to my international community, which often means US based, and my local Portugal community. I have more blog postings that I have never posted than those that I have put up, frozen, not knowing who I am talking to. I’m very self conscious about the whole language issue. Even when I write in English, do I write in English which is right from my heart or soul, which is a different kind of English I use for an international (Portuguese audience) where I would write more simply, with less cultural references and more context. I would like to hear what other people have to say. I can see Marian, you said something very interesting this morning as well. That you speak 5 language. The idea – you said – international means English. I’d like to put a question mark there. Does international mean English.

Noriko: I also have to start a confession, I’ve been blogging for four weeks and only made four posting. I have been resistant for a long time. As a professional writing who makes money writing, blogging looked so easy, such an easy outflow of words. I wanted to believe that any writing should be more time-taking and precious. I didn’t have energy to do it. I use all my energy in my work to make money. No time for this constant blogging, three postings a day. I changed my thinking about blogging a little bit when I wrote my first book about a Dutch Architect, Rem Kolhaus. I was so curious about what people had to say about my book. I found a lot of blogs about it. Blogging more interesting than Amazon reviews. They would say things really nasty. Some people might share the same interest to me and people who link to this blogger say interesting things. I started blogging 4 weeks ago about eating Sushi properly, in English. My first writing in English, casual and relaxing. Something I know a lot about. It makes sense for me. The Globalization, how you become local. I’d also like to raise the language issue. Since the Internet, as English native speakers, you might not notice that there is this English language structure embedded everywhere. For me who is not totally bilingual, I sort of have two worlds. I do search in English and IK do search in Japanese. You have to have two sites. Blogging is also a very American way of discourse. You have to respond quickly, be provocative, sometimes intimidate your readers to get a response. That is so foreign to me. Isn’t there any contemplations, about when you respond to people. This is something I think we need to talk about. Another issue, as any native language speaker, you don’t get to read other language blogs. I can’t read Chinese or Korean. I wish I could. I am so interested in what people are thinking. How to get a hint about what they are talking about. That’s my comment. One more thing to add. Blogging, when you start your own blog site, you sometimes have the risk of getting siloed. You have to brand and market yourself. I am the blogger in such field. You start saying something interesting. After a while you may start repeating yourself. You have more freedom to talk about yourself, what you are saying and thinking in much broader way. I hope to see a lot of that in groups of blogging.

Anna: I’m coming from a little bit different perspective, born and raised in California. I am comfortable addressing a topic of Globalization being good for women. I write for Sepia about second generation people from India, anything brown. IF there were things online before, it was aimed at our parents and not of interest to us born and raised here. It is not to dismiss their topics, but we care about things immediate and relevant to being here, now. We are exactly a year old. I can’t think of a better way of celebrating that milestone than being here. Typical to a blogging story, mainstream media was ignoring us. A brown blogger was banned from the convention. I blogged about it, we did a satire about another situation. One of us said we should put this in a central location to find out what’s new. Blogging was huge in the news. People were talking about passes to the convention, citizen journalism. But no S. Asian blogger was at the conventions. We wanted something up and running before the convention. I’m so proud of this site. We cover everything. We had people up here contentious in the political blogging session, saying you have to be contentious. I’m convinced our approach is how to do it. We have 6 voices, we span the ideological spectrum, I’m the only women but this is about to change. There is this interesting view. Cover Bollywood, Cricket, the Dairy Queen commercial wit h the Indian. Anything that has anything to do with Brown. We prefer that term, rather than S. ASIAN. After the London bombing with Pakistani involvement. It is a relevant site. When you talk about globalization being good for women, there was a woman in Pakistan who was sentenced to gang rape for an alleged crime of her brother. The world was outraged. They took away; her passport so she could not come to speak about it in America. We heard about protests in DC. People wanted something to do. So several groups banned together to protest at the Pakistani Embassy. To hold Pakistan accountable. That is like the ultimate example of how globalization is good for women. We have readers everywhere, particularly where the S. Asian Diaspora settled. We could collectively create change for this women. Growing u India was “Calcutta” Mother Teresa and now Hindi tattoos are cool. Even when you have cases in Pakistan, it is often western journalists with a western gaze. I’m not Pakistani. I’m of S Asian decent, but I still feel I can add something unique to that dialog to that conversation. I come preloaded with a cultural sensitivity when these issues are exposed. I welcome all of you to come. We want everyone there. When racial profiling is more prevalent than ever.. I was stopped on the subway after the London bombings. Random searches in the US. That was crazy to be followed by an armed man with firepower looking at me. The account I wrote about that, while cathartic, opened the discussion to other people..

Nancy then Read Dina’s piece.

Comments from the room:

Lilia: I started to blog in English because this is where there community is. But I have so much to pay back to my country (Russia) but realized I can’t blog in Russian. There are not enough bloggers. The whole language, the terminology and context did not exist. I struggled and gave up. I see this in Europe. In Netherlands, people start in Dutch, then they switch into English because there is not enough audience. The people in their language get alienated. Keeping in two language, how do you do that. For me interested get

Bev: I have two blogs. One is a shared blog in Portuguese about the local countryside. My own identity blog, I do write more in English with Portuguese words. Constantly experimenting about translating certain words, use a certain kind of language and sometimes write in Portuguese. I risk losing both Portuguese and English speaking audience who don’t know the Portuguese references. I’m actually, I still don’t know. In a way, that is the aim of my blog, to try and find out if it does work

Did not capture Q&A since I was working the mic.

Wrap Up:
 Anna: Globalization is good for women. For a woman like me with multiple identities, globalization makes space for all of those identities. Reading Sepiamutiniy can help you see another part of the world. So important to me. Passionate about the fact - I don’t want to be tarred with the same brush my Middle Eastern fiends. I want to be heard. Keep the issues on the forefront. More global than just our issues. Wish for: start a group blog with people who have compelling voices different from yours. Sepia Mutiny – the never ending cocktail party owith smart S. Asians. Break down boundaries, enlighten, the cooler aspects of globalization

 Noriko: You bloggers can give me a lot of advice, to me a beginner. As a writer, I would say that writing is discovery, a process to discover yourself more than exposing yourself. Use this blogging tool for that. I also think that maybe try to escape from labeling yourself could be interesting support to that process
 Bev: use your firsthand experience of the power imbalance between women and others, the imbalance between English and Non English. English is so embedded in technology, SN, everything related to the internet. Thinking of exploring writing in another language. The blogroll of women who blog internationally. Put the Bablefish translator on your blog so people can get some kind of idea from it. An easy easy thing to do.

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Identity Blogging: Bloging While Naked

Part 2 of Identity Blogging (I came in late!)
Panel: Heather Amrstrong, Ronni Bennett, Koan Bremner
Moderator: Jory Des Jardins

After of blogging for18 months I learned more about me than the previous 62 years. An enormous benefit for everybody

Koan Bremner: establish your boundaries first. In terms of the benefits. When does it turn into narcissism. There is not a single post that I intended to … I write the blog for the other people going through the process I am going through. For every person who goes through successfully, there are hundreds more who are brutalized, beaten, ostracized or killed. I understand the unexpected benefit for me, but the intended benefit were for those other people., The biggest unexpected benefit is that I’m now proud to say that I’m a transgendered person. I was not ashamed, but now I’m proud. After getting involved in blogging and podcasting I became proud.

Ronni Bennett: I would always say how old I am. We’re not allowed in our culture to discuss age. Ageism society. I would always say. It is just not a big deal anymore. People who comment in my blog do to. This corner in our blogosphere things have changed.

Jory: Quoting Rosen, the world is not more tolerant, but more accommodating. Could you have written about your personal life 5 years ago?

Ronni Bennett: I tried 4.5 years ago, anonymously. I loved blogs. Wanted to be part of it. I was afraid to put me out there. This time around. (The old one was really bad) I made the decision to put me out there. I’m also a topic blogger. I talk about what it is like to get older. I can’t do that if I’m not honest about what I do.

Heather: 5 years ago there is no way a magazine would hire a stay at home mother to write about her constipation. And I get to do it everyday to a giant observation to fantastic feedback. There is going to be more voices and stories. I think it is thrilling.

Jen: ( – Did you ever hesitate to share about your post partum depression. When I talked about being a recovering addict, I got lots of people criticizing.) Did you ever worry that it would make you worse.

Heather: I was in denial for many many months. I felt I was lying the people who had most supported me, the readers. We are not going to judge you for it. I have to tell them and in that, finally admitting it to myself. Then the email – you will have your children taking away from you. 1%. 99% - we are going to be here when you get back. It is ok to feel what you are feeling. I would never recommend post partum depression, but the experience of sharing it was one of the most rewarding

Ronni Bennett: I use little personal vignettes that speak to a larger issue I am writing about. Do I really want to admit that? People come back and say I feel that too. Share similar stories. Have permission to share as well. The mom series, about the last months of caring for mother. Every day something else that goes wrong and no one could tell you about it. I was in tears over the email I got. People who were never able to talk about this with others. How to anticipate this. Others not as lucky as I to do what I was able to do. People poured out their amazing stories. When we admit something difficult it gives others permission to do the same. It is always good.

Jory: People wondering about taking that next step. In fact it’s the best thing you ever did.

Koan: I’ve never regretted doing it. I thought I would. Expected to get flamed, stalked, beaten up and it hasn’t happened. It hasn’t happened and I kind of worried about it. Maybe I’m not doing it well enough. About 5 years ago, why I’m glad I decided to blog naked, 5 years ago I was so close to death with my state of depression and not dealing with my issues. It still might have happened through writing before blogging. Although I can count on a hand the number of people who have left feedback on crossover, I have 780 emails who don’t want to go on the record publicly, how much impact I’ve had. Find it hard to believe, but am not going to call those people liars. It has helped others and me in just the same way.

Audience: My biggest fear is having my child taken away from me. This happened. A husband tried to use a woman’s blog to win custody.

Ronni Bennett: I have limits of who or what I say on the blog. Not many family. There is a blogger I won’t name with a wonderful blog, only used initials of family and friends. Someone in family found out and she had unending grief. So she started a private blog for some of us. She still wanted to talk about the things, and general points. But shoved it all to a password protected blog.

Mena: LiveJournal has privacy options and we felt that was important. I suffer from this too. Before the company I had my own blog. It was really fun until I started to get more and more readers. Ones who did not understand my sense of humor and they sent me more and more email. I wrote this stupid post about a banjo. Someone wrote “how much beer does he drink.” They don’t know who I am. I hated that sort of feeling. Really sad that I can’t write anymore. I’m in an odd position because of the company. Everything is read into the company. I took a vacation last week, oh she’s on vacation, spending that MT3 money. Be careful for what you ask for and e happy with the readers you have.

Audience: I don’t really like people I know. The readers are one thing, that’s find. I don’t like people I know to find about my blog.

Ronni Bennett: I wish my friends would read the blog

Koan: When you write a post, think of the worst person in the world to read a post. If you would regret it, don’t post it. I don’t tell everything about my life as it puts others in my life at risk. I will choose what truth to tell. Most of my friends don’t read it. They have heard it all before.

Jory: I had to clean up my relationships once I started blogging. Once I cleared them up, made intentions clear, it was ok

Ronni Bennett: You don’t have to let that get in the way of a good story. I change the name. I make uip a new name and tell the story. No one has ever called me on it.

Susan: I have a question about stalkers. One blogger was writing about her sexual life and her search for a mate. Someone who knew her would stalk her on her blog and really distressed her. I had a troll on my professional blog. How do you handle that?

Heather: I have a six foot 3 husband who is extremely protective. The address on my website is a PO box away from my house. You are going to see a UPS man if you come to see me. Hundreds and hundreds of emails from an individual stalker. Contact them and politely and ask them to stop writing, and then their ISP. When we say “my legal team” they usually stop writing me.

Koan: I give an indication, non specific, to where I live. You can see who is blogging nearby. The longitude and latitude is as near as I can tell a drain. It gives the general idea but does not actually give it away. If someone is going to stalk me, they might do that if I wasn’t blogging. If they are going to threaten to reveal something that could hurt me, I have already done that so no one else could do that for me. The fear of things getting out was killing my friends. “We know you are transgendered” – well so does everyone else.

Ronni Bennett: You should not publish photos of your children, put your address out there. I live in Greenwich Village. You can figure it out. Put who is going to stalk a grandmother.

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Flame, Blame, Shame

Flame, Blame, Shame - lunch time panel - have edited to add links. Let me know if I mislinked or misspelled your name/blog.

Alisa Valdez, La Queen Suica (The Queen Dirty Girl)
Ellen Spurtus, Mills College, works at Google
Debi Jones, mobilejones, moblogging
Liza Sabater moderator

Liza: From wikipedia; flaming is the act of posting messages or deliberately hostile on message board. Blame is assignment of responsibility from one to another, basic to homonoid to behavior. Shame, a social condition and a form of social control. Consisting of an emotional state and a set of behaviors or awareness of having acted inappropriately. When I sent out emails about the panel, I read a lot of research. The question that kept popping up, “why don’t you shut the FU** up?” I sent the email out and the why the question kept popping in my head. A friend said, well that has to be qualified. With women it is “why don’t you shut the F*** up, bitch?” Do women get flamed differently than men?

Alisa: I’m not a man, so I have no idea, but men react differently with me than women. Women seem to be a little bit more polite. I tend to attract stalkers and neo Nazi’s.

Ellen: Indirectly, there are some great work by linguist Susan Herring, who studied about how women speak in group and how women are not heard in groups. When women start posting more than 30% of the discussion, the men started saying the women were talking over. This was the linguists professional mailing list. Using the masters tools and house.

Mobile: This is a sample size of one. I personally find it easier to get angry with men. The reason is the type of debate you are going to get back. They don’t mind going after you on the issues. With women more of an emotional exchange. (Elisa disagrees). Sometimes women will deal with the issues, I don’t mean to slander all women. Men aren’t going to take you personally.

Alisa: I came to blogging in a strange way, from the mainstream media (LA Times, Boston Globe). I wrote a 4000 word resignation about how a man with less education and experience was making $17,000 a year more than I was. I sent an email to three people. After three days 3000 emails. My editors mailed my email to other editors and eventually my email resignation letter was published without my permission in a paper in Florida. There are code words that are using in writing in general to describe women. Histrionics. Sassy. You never see these used with men. I was blacklisted in my industry. Romenesco posted about me. Got emails from people in the industry “In my day we would have spanked you and put you to bed.” I was the crazy journalist who broke down when she made less than men, when women of color were on B10 and white women on A1. The last line of letter was I was going to the mountains to write. Even if I had to wait tables. They said I hope you like waiting tables. Three years later I published my novel . I got a creepy blogger stalking me. Religious, covers porn industry. Got freaked out by me. I started my own blog, but I wanted to respond to these jackasses who were talking about me with their coded language. The more successful I’ve become, the less they are saying about me. Men and women, when they are talking about loud, opinionated women, they don’t directly tell you, they use subtle language to talk about you.

Audience: Mobile, you have an anonymous persona on line. DO people talk about you

Mobile: It depends if they subscribe to my feed, but my name is on my feed. I’m not anonymous at all. I’ve been accused of it in a funny way. Someone in the mobile industry was looking for information, when I provided, he was not happy because he could not tell who I was.

Liza: I signed LM Sabater for a number of years and people thought I was a guy.

Mobile: I had concerns that I would not be taken seriously if I blogged as Debi Jones rather than Mobile Jones. (Edited August 8: see Debi's expansion of this with some great points in the comments below.)

Liza: When I came out as a woman…

Mobile: Were you disowned?

Liza: Yeah, people who thought I was a guy were really upset. The flaming I get now is different. IN those code words, and bitch. And I own it. “Oh, you are being so dramatic. Oh, it’s just an emotional topic.” And this is from some of the top bloggers. “Oh, you are talking just from an interest group. You don’t have the big picture. “

Alisa: It’s also an ethnicity thing. It’s funny the conclusions make about you. It’s all about their own issues. They look at you and see their own reflection. They are talking to their ex girlfriend.

Liza: People don’t go to blogs that are of a different political bent than their owns because they worry about flaming. Engaging in controversial topics is going to hurt you in some way (fear of…)

Person with Red Hair (no name??): Not that having a debate is going to be hurtful, but the extrema personal disrespect that goes along with the political discussions. Some folks really like to yell and mix it up. But for me it has been an alienating factor on some of the top political bloggers. Even when they are using “community forming” software. How do we create a space where, encourage community and a more respectful dialog space.

Mobile: One of the things I’ve noticed, with the advent of the WWF of cable TV news, Fox (they are draining the pond and there is a fire somewhere), the conversation IS about the fight. Pick your subject. They set up pundits to battle it out. That is how political discourse is set up and fighting it out is more entertaining than Cspan.

Alisa: How can we start a different kind of community. Really horrific language.

Ellen: In 1995 I wrote software to automatically recognize offensive email and have also looked at social ways of looking of it. If life gives you lemonade, make lemonade. If life gives you shit, make fertilizer. I did that with my flame research. Instead of feeling bad when someone flamed me I thought of it as more data for my research. Been thinking of ways to deal with that with comments on blogs. Come up with a coding system. Lets say a man posts a flame. The next person comments LLW3 which categorizes it. Or we set up a hall of shame, here are examples of this kind of behavior, or sponsorship. If you are willing to write about what I think is an important subject, I’m willing to pledge $1 for each flame you receive. (applause).

Person: has there been research into the affect of anonymity in flaming. I was kicked out of the Well’s women’s conference and I think I was the only women of color.

Jory: Women also flame. It is a very different natured flame. A slow blow. Low, low, low and I’m boiling, men are more direct and in your face like a flame thrower. The paradigm of Deborah Tannen. Women bond. Women like to playfully one up. Perhaps we are misinterpreting.

Alisa: My MO is to avoid stereotyping. I’m very uncomfortable with statements you just made. As a mother of a son who is a poet at age four. A lot of it is socialization. There are women who are aggressive and one up and men who are gentle. I think we’d be a lot better off if we evaluating one on one.

Amy Gahran: I have attracted a fair amount of flame. There are various types of online vermin. I published a series of articles on online vermin ( Deborah Tannen, the book, The Argument Culture, on how argument has replaced discourse in the US. If this is a concern, check out that book.

Mobile: Hi, my name is Debbie Jones and I am a flamer. I use anger to get people’s attention. I recently posted on my blog about a company that took out an ad on a blog heavily subscribed by mobile phone users with a claim (didn’t catch the claim). Essentially they said, come and we’ll increase your mobile phone bill. This is not good for th industry. A really poor message. I wrote an email to the VP of Marketing. He commented back on a mailing list full of Japanese developers. I posted the conversation on my blog. He basically told me I did not know what I was talking about and that mobile subscribers didn’t read the blog. The owner of the site commented on my blog and is now no longer taking ads from that company. (Mobile Content)

Tish: I was flamed by a guy on site. When you duke it out with guys, you get used to it, but I could not believe the lack of intelligence in the debate. It was reduced and the blog owner didn’t do anything to moderate it.

Liza: Do any of you edit comments.

Alisa: I got rid of the anonymous comments. As an author, my book was a NYTimes best seller, 700,000, I live in Albuquerque, I have coyotes in my back yard. I forget that people think of me famous in a very limited sense. Like 7 of them. The weird part was going from being a regular person, to having this blog to do battle with these jackasses, then having a link with my readers. I don’t want them to forget about me and I want to know what they are thinking. Based my blog on Jennifer Winer, former journalist now novelist. She has no comments as all. Having a blog has taught me about boundaries. I don’t think I was very good at this. Got rid of anonymous comments. People look at you, the people who are reading you, and writing about you, they are really dealing with themselves and their own issues. With my second book, I’m a very liberal progressive. For my second book I’m going to pick the type of person I loathe by instinct and make them lovable. So right wing, Republican, born again Christian from Texas. Who had a dog (I love cats). My goal was to make her lovable. To me. That book has been very popular with that segment. They are coming to my blog. They love me. They think they are my friend. Then they read me bashing Bush and then they cry. ON one hand I want a blog, but also don’t want to lose my readers. They want me to be just like them. The more they learn about me, the more they hate me. Holy sh** I’m losing readers. The marketing aspect of the blog was diminishing. Reading books on productive conversation. Get your point across without eating crap and dying. It’s tricky, like ballet.

Ambra: When you don’t allow commenting somehow it puts your credibility in jeopardy. High profile bloggers get a lot of crap when they close comments. What Trish was saying, with the net you have a whole other aspect of idiocy of people, drive by anonymous zealots who feel they can say whatever they want with no accountability. You just have to have thick things. There are things they would never say to your face. A nerdy 14 year old boy posing as a 34 year old. I think that there needs to be some sort of respect for the author.

Mobile: It’s called a policy. Some bloggers, think of terms of use. When you get a lot of unruly and disrespectful commentors. A lot of bloggers are putting up rules and when comments will be deleted.

Heather Armstrong ( part of the problem is that there aren’t tools to deal with the flaming, 500-600 comments per day and as a stay at home mom there is no way I can moderate, delete, barely read the comments. Interested in technologies that can help. Can keep up with how popular blogs are becoming.

Liza: I’m going to move my site to Drupal (Scoop and Drupal are tools for community sites). You can add rating systems that can delete comments. Blogging software doesn’t come with that. You have to figure out all the plugins. It is hard to manage comments. I can’t imagine yours. You only open them like once in a while.

Heather: What happened was it was killing the website.

Mobile: We’re talking a lot about how we react when anger comes at us. Sometimes anger is a tool. It occurs to me that there was some discussion on the web. People got fed up. They decided to answer this recurring, nagging question by getting together and having a conference. That was their angry response. It is what we are doing here now. When do you not hold back your anger and share it.

Mir: Johanna Russ, How to Suppress Women’s Writing

Person next: I have had exactly one troll and almost never have comment spam. For the famous people, yeah it is a problem, but for us small community panel it is not a problem

Mir: Russ describes the strategies that people have used to put down women. Suzzett.. (Didn’t get names. Need to get this blogged)

Alisa: Fake battle between high literature and chick lit. If it is fun, then somehow that was easier to write, or something that is difficult is better. Be careful about demeaning titles.

Lilia: I blog about knowledge management, social software and weblog communities. I never have the issues you talk about. Harassing or exclusion. Is it characteristic of men and women, some subcultures, why it happens in some corners and not others.

Liza: When I write about ethnicity, sex or politics, I get flamed.

Alisa: I get called a self hating Chicano all the time and I am not a Chicano.

Person 3 (Tell me who you were!): as a mommy blogger, you try writing anything about how you raise your kid, you are going to get flamarama, even if you only have 10 readers. I’m sorry about generalization, mothers, mommy bloggers, have children and blog seem to be prolific at tearing down other women who have children and write blogs.

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Blogher: Into the Center of the Chocolate

(Note: This post has been edited to include links and fix some of the typos.)

OK, nuff on logistics. Time to open the box of chocolates and start biting into the bon bons. (I could not go through this day without a chocolate reference.)OK, here is the first rule of Blogher. Everything can be blogged (photo, audio, text, video). Lisa has said "everyone is press." Hmm, I never considered myself press, nor do I think I want to go there. But fair play on disclosure that everyone's words may (will) go out to the world.

The first session is on the debate, Play By The Rules or Change the Game - the debate about women's visibility in the blogosphere, A-listers and all that good stuff with Charlene Li and Hally Suitt, moderated by Lisa Stone.

Charlene says the game is out there and being played. There are rules. Per Shirky 80% of the traffic comes from 20% of the blogs. People go to established sites. If you do care about visibility for business or influence reasons, you have to learn the rules and play by them.

Marian Douglas, Mariansblog, Blogs about coming out color, international and questions this thing about politics. Politics is very US, DC centered, party centered. I write about Africa, Asia, the Americas. I work in several language. I speak 5, but can only blog in one. Interested in multilingual blogging, connecting communities of color, all this wonderful technology a lot of us don't know anything about. Bridging with those who are not online.

Miriam: Making new metrics matter. Choosing who you network with matters. I make a choice of not networking with people who are idiots. Who we network matters.

Charlene: you want to be an A list. You want to make money, have influence. Others are blogging for themselves and don't need this. Some of us know we won't make a big living out of our blogging, but it can impact our careers. It is never black and white. Playing by the rules and not checking yourself at the door. For women and people of color, how much do you check at the door when you choose to play by the rules.

Hally Suitt: Go back a bit. Blogging. What is that? A movement about not playing by the rules of conventional journalism. A brand new medium defined in a new and innovative way, kicking conventional play by the rules rules in the ass. Isn't it time to do something different. 9-11 - who is reporting out of the buildings crashing, in the street, talking about what happened, in a way that no one has spoken about it. Blogs come of age on that day. New rules. The NYTimes sets a series of personal essays about the people who died. The tone is blogging. Talking in a personal way, recounting who those people were. Lets change the game event - changing the NYTimes in a few weeks.

But easy for me to say, being on the A list, to say being on the A list isn't a big deal.

Lisa Stone: But isn't the NYTimes a meritocracy? Isn't the Technorati top 100 list about meritocracy> Wouldn't more women be on the top 100 if they were good? (Crowd boos).

Hally: I think we should not give a hoot about the list, we should create beyond that list. I think the list does a disservice to those on it, even to the men.

Ponzi: How do we do that, and what ARE the rules of the game.

Charlene: I would love to change the rules of the game. This conference changes the world. I got tears in my eyes. I'm thrilled to be here (Hally: oh, you are just a women). My rules are:

1. We have to network - we do not effectively network. Tell people what you need and what you can give. Don't ask "what do you do." Tell people what you can give and what you need. I need to talk to women blogging in business. I see so few examples. I've been at Forrester for years. Seen only 6 women CEOs in tech. I see hundreds of technology companies. Network and be good at networking.

2. Be very relevant. When the argument is that the blogs aren't good... it's not the A listers linking to each other, but others linking to them. That's why it matters.

Hally: Charlene is an awesome blogger and if you aren't reading her you are an idiot. What she's saying about networking is spot on. If I have any link love on the web, it came about in the following ways. In the beginning of my blogs I new people who became A list bloggers, mostly men and asked them to link to my writing. Some days they said yes, sometimes go away. I ask again. I have this big pitch for this book "Women Don't Ask." I'm surprised how many people don't ask me to link

Tish: I asked and you didn't link to me.

Lisa: Some people don't care about links and are offended when you ask for links.

Tish: The A list does matter. I'm in the tail. The dog wags the tail. TishG is her blog presence.

Liza: A lot of the people in the 100 list are not only friends, but a lot of them also created a technology for the feeds. So if you go to bloglines, it's the same guys who are friends at Feedster and the recommended list. They are all the same people.

Halley: If you ask them, they will link to you.

Liza: I'm the moderator for flame, blame and shame. No, I won't ask them. I won't have shame. I have asked them. Should I name names? It is a kind of boys society. I'm trying to look for the link to Shelly Powers, a fantastic post, (huge applause for Shelly), a really great post called "Guys Don't Link" - she talks about the link circle jerk and that's what it is.

Lisa: Do we care about playing the technorati game. Where is Koan? They are consortium blogs. Daily Kos is not one guy.

Staci Kramer: Online Journalism Review - there's a couple of things here. I know we are all press here today, and I'm press all the time. There are some fallacies are here. When I want to find something, I don't go to the top 100. I search on the terms I'm interested in. Not the recommendations. Trust But Verify might be a blog for someone interested in journalism. Don't get fixated in the 100. Too tuned in. Better to get 20 links from people in this room than one A-lister.

Charlene: A list is not Technorati 100, very big different. My A list is different from your A list. Important to know what your A list. Third rule is be unique. Find those who are relevant to what you are writing about.

Liz Deetz: I speak of Dreams (blog) I don't cover politics, I don't care about Technorati 100. The issues I care about - I'm listed in the top 10 in Google. I get emails from people who care about the things I write about. The presupposition is blogging about politics. Or teens. I write about things I care about and I kick butt. People who are interested in my niche, they find me. And the men don't write about the issues I care about (education).

Halley: If we want to go whole hog about the list, then you need to write about politics, have a man. I just don't want to write about. If you pledge allegiance to the list, then you say what matters to them, matters to us. Don't circumscribe that very small vision about what blogging can be. If all it is is Daily Kos, then we are all sunk. It needs to be specific. Sometimes far afield.

Lisa: This conversation is about pushing past "where are the women bloggers." Maybe we want to leave the top 100 in the past.

Name (Dang, couldn't hear her name): I want to get back to the issue of validation. Do we need to be validated by Technorati, the main stream press. We can and have done more than the media in the past 100 years of how the media has represented us.

Charlene: How much further can you go if you were noticed more We have so many valid voices in this room. I see what the power of linking and search engines do. I am on a lot of speakers lists because of my blogging.

Name: But men are finding you by their criteria.

Halley: If Charlene is picked to speak in a room of men, if she can give a female or Asian perspective, that is a valuable thing. There was a time there were no African Americans on baseball teams. Was it that they could not play? No. The list has some value, but too narrow.

danah: I want to go back to the statement that women don't social network. Women network differently. They build dense networks: know few deeply. Men tend to network larger and more loosely. The kind of networks that a lot of us assume are not getting implemented into the technology (designed by men.) Make certain the technology changes to meet your needs. You need to know the rules that design these tools and how they are validated.

Lisa: You are talking about new codes, new validating mechanism.

Amy Gahran: For those concerned about traffic and links, the thing I see, people tend not to think of their goals. Traffic is not the goal. Think about what you want to achieve and who you need to reach to attract those people.

Lisa: Adina suggested a group for women who are looking for jobs or who are offering jobs.

Adina: Blog in Texas we fought off legislation allowing the phone companies to block local broadband. We created blogs across all the communities. We followed the issue daily. Posted success stories, how and when to call your legislators. Focused. We became the source, we broke the story every day ahead of the mainstream media. We became the source for the media. Having a focus. Something we were trying to do in the world. It's also true that wasn't about Technorati 100, but saying something relevant and becoming the source. We became the media. Not being the most popular, but having something important to say. That's what makes you the source on what you care about.

Melinda: Lisa is making me do a blog. It's called hidden truth. (NEED URL!) I'm doing a birds of a feather about traditional media, can we save it, do you want to save it. From my heart it deserved to be saved, maybe saved too. Engage. I hear from publishers saying they are dying for a diversity of voices. You say I called them and they threw me out on the street. Keep calling. Take an issue, take a stand. You will be acknowledged. The press began as a market place of ideas. It aspires to truth. Adheres to standards of truth and discourse. Trying to conduct that conversation in that marketplace of ideas, but dying for a lack of diversity.

Lisa: When the LA times launched a blog about the Supreme Court nominations there were no women writing.l

Mabel Yee: CEO of high tech I pitch to all white males. See few female CEOs. It has been about the white man's rules. All of you have worked for incompetent white males, (but also women, people of color). We talk about the standards. The blog is a whole new world and will change everything upside down. Lets talk about the # 43-60% are women bloggers. A way to get our voices out there. Tech 100 is just ONE of the measurables. Think of a new way, metric to get our thinking out of the bag of the old traditional.

Liz Rizzo, - I was keying in on collaborative blogs. My problem with Technorati 100 - I wish there were more versions. When I click on it, I find three blogs on that list. I'm looking for individual voices. I see Will and Dooce, but all the rest look like companies, not individual blogs. I wouldn't mind a list of 100 individual voices that I could find more people like Will and dooce. More specific types of lists. Then we can find blogs other ways like google.

Charlene: Technorati 100 is becoming mainstream media. People are monitizing this sort of thing.

Lisa: Jan Kabeele,, write photoshop blog. Idea. We've all run into the issue of power. I've looked at what the guys are doing and use those ideas. I looked around, hey, I'm not getting the links. Joining the network gets me links. I wrote to Jason Calcanis and now get more hits in one day than selling my book over 3 months. Join up in networks. Not complicated. Need networks for women bloggers.

Karen Luke: I work for Microsoft, MSN Spaces, I heard a lot of good things in this room. I have access to be linked because I work in tech. But I don't care. DO you really care. It comes down to the A list in your industry. The people you want visibility from. Does it matter to be one of the most popular. If that's what you want. Will that make you successful. I'm really happy to be here. There are a lot of women in technology. MSN Spaces team 50% women. Change from the inside. Women inside helping shape the rules.

Koan: Multidimensional me - create a tag, dailyblogher tag, we could use that tag and see what was being written by people about the conference. After the first post I wrote with that tag, the next 7 only showed up a week later. Who else wrote a post with that tag that I wanted to read. Technorati doesn't seem to do what it says it does. Before I put the technoratisucks tag, I'd like to get some confidence that it works. (Mic going to Niall Kennedy of Technorati)

Niall: First no tags get pulled down accept (DCA Missed?? ). Not censorship, but there may be a ping problem, to make sure it gets updated. Come and find me and I can look at that. To answer concern on censorship, that does not happen. (Technorati_sucks tags to exist. )

Amy: What about reliability? How often do you update? How do we ping. Data on that.

Niall: There are general ways to harvest blogs. Blogger has a changes file. If you submit a direct ping it tends to be within 5 minutes that we grab you. 10:30 am is a spike. That can increase to 15-20 minutes. If you ping and submit, and everything is fine in your blog, not configured correctly which might be affecting all your readers, not just technorati. Find me and I can look at individual blogs.

Lisa: What specific ideas.

Mary Hodder - Technorati scrapes the front of your blog (I did work at technorati for 10 months). That includes blogrolls. Four years ago people with have la lot of links and chance for a higher link rate. Been working on how to frame this stuff in very general terms, not too technical. To figure out how to make a community algorithm that we can give to all of the companies to show what it means within a topic community, a set of linked blogroll blogs. To express our conversation in better ways than inbound links. Inbound links are a throwback to old media. Counting eyeballs to sell ads. We have this technological possibility to create algorithms that don't include just one metric, but how often link out, comments, I would like some help figuring out what those things are. What matters to you socially about your online activities so we can translate that into an algorithm and go to the companies. Ask them to give us a list that is reflective of conversation in topic areas. Come up and talk to me about this. Will blog at

Mina Trott (applause), president of SixApart. The first thing I want to say about statistics and the tools. LiveJournal, worth mentioning, is about 72% female. 72% under 21. These women are growing up. And will have a need to write and be visible. Typepad about 50/50. MT a bit less. We see women using our tools in interesting ways, not just politics. I was never writing about politics, just writing about myself. I knew that topic best. Got popular. I'm sure people will disagree. I'm visible. Female doing this. I am often dismissed as, yeah, there is Mina Trott. There is Meg(Blogger), Caterina (Flickr) but we are always thrown out. Example of Shelly Powers. One of the people most critical of me as a women is Shelly. She said we don't employ women engineers. All of our tech support is female. They know Typepad. Can do anything with MT. Technically advanced. No female engineers. We'll change that if we have a qualified female engineer. Our sysadmin at Livejournal is female. We have women in the company, but I don't write about the things. Too involved in growing the business. You don't hear the positive. Then I see the ones that Shelly does. She said I hit the ceiling and am not CEO anymore. I didn't want to be CEO anymore.

Marc Cantor: There are open APIs in many of these technologies. If you don't like it, start your own company and do it yourself. There could be a blogher 100. Create your own list and tell all the men to fu## off. Please go empower yourselves.

Anastasia at Ypulse: Offline marketing and how to market yourself. If you are writing for niche audience. Send them postcards. I went through every teen magazine and sent them postcards. Some traditional offline marketing stuff that you can still do. Find them. Give them your card.

Amber Nykol: the number of links you have is not a direct correlation to your traffic. Not really true. I was not going to email anyone and ask them to link me. Been blogging for 2 years. Never once have asked. IN the meantime, I decided to do what I knew how to do best, do me. Talk about what I wanted to talk about from my perspective. I've been linked by top bloggers. Don't know what brought them to my blog. People ask me. I don't know. I did my thing and I notice. Not to linkwhore. I got here because who I was. Don't want my success attributed to another person. You never know who is reading your blog. Get a readership, not hits. Hits come and go. When you have readers, the come everyday. I stopped blogging for a day and my readership does not go down. I've gotten interviews from publishers. Be who you are and people will take notice.

Lisa: Asked for show of hands if putting blogher blogroll on your site, did it improve your hits? Some.

Lisa Williams: On my badge I wrote "ASK ME" - if you want traffic, I want you to help that. If you want to do that too, write on your badge, ask me. Anyone who writes in my book I'll link to them today.

Halley: I have to talk about blogwhoring. Is that a female derogatory term? Lets not use it.(Jeers in room from a few.)

Charlene: Ask for relevant links. That is legit. Otherwise illigitimate.

Halley: I"m counting on all of you to push this medium, to not be seduced by number 98. Do something so radical there is no list, you create the list. Create your own companies. We need to, as women, start our own companies. Get beyond way beyond lists.

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Blogher Is Rolling

Finally got a chance to upload a few pictures from ths morning here --> Flickr: Photos from Choconancy1. Arriving at 7:05am the buzz was already present as the organizers and volunteers hustled to get things ready for registration. Toby Bloomberg and I are womaning the "birds of a feather" sign ups. No one can decide. Such richness. We have renamed it "humingbirds of a feather" so people can flit between more than one. Some of the sessions are: Obscenities in Blogging, Non Profit Blogging, Citizen Journalism, What's Wrong With Traditional Media, Storytelling... and about 15 more. Are we interested in many things or what?

Now, I need to pay attention to the opening session!

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Friday, July 29, 2005

Coming to Friday Blogher Dinner? It's at 6pm

We are sitting in the speaker/helper/liveblogger orientation and some folks are getting pinged about the time for tonights (SOLD OUT) dinner in Alviso. It is 6pm!

Walking in the room there was many hugs, hellos and lots of "oh, you are so-and-so blog." Lovely. Gotta run. Can't waste time blogging when I can be talking with all these cool women.

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Day Before Blogher

I have been chatting with some of my blog-women-friends and we keeping saying, "we're so excited about Blogher." We are actually worried that we are setting our expectations high and don't want to be disappointed. Nice problem to have.

So why the anticipation? For me, going to a conference related to my work that is not mostly men is exciting and new (quite different from when I worked in maternal and child health where it was the opposite problem). I like to hear the perspectives of men and women, and often only get to hear from the guys. This feels like bringing some balance into my knowledge and practice of blogging. New views and perspectives stimulate my practice and have great value.

The second bit of anticipation is the women themselves who are coming. Women I read, respect, am intrigued by, some of whom intimidate me a bit, others who have supported me, although we have never met. The online interaction we've had via blogrolls, discussions, comments has enhanced my sense of the group in some way. As I think of it, I realize that it is not that common that I have some familiarity with so many of the participants at a conf I am going to. This is cool!

All sorts of existing and potential relationships with cool people. That's exciting.

On the social side, Bev and I tooled around in my parent's miata to the coast yesterday. Brilliant day, great fun driving, conversation and food (goodies at Gayles in Capitola and lunch at Aldos on the wharf in Santa Cruz).

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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Jay Rosen Previews BlogHer

I landed in CA and checked email (dontcha LOVE it when your PARENTS have wifi) and saw a link from the Blogher Organizers to Jay's preview of this weekend's confab. First, I'm really excited to meet Jay F2F as his voice was very influential when I first joined an online community (Electric Minds). I've followed his work ever since. He does a bang up job preparing to cover the event. Check out PressThink: PressThink, Live from the BlogHer Conference.

Plus I keep getting email from friends, old and new, looking forward to talking ourselves silly this weekend. Mmmmm...

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Jeaneane Sessum: Corporate Blogging Whitepaper

Jeneane Sessum offers a nice piece on Corporate_Blogging_WP.pdf (application/pdf Object). (I have to add, I'm so sad Jeneane is unable to come to Blogher as originally planned. :-(

[via Workerbees]

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When Bloggers add Wikis: Community Indicator?

Tara at (ain't that a great name?) pointed me to Hugh Macleod's Blogger Wiki an open-source "craigslist" for bloggers.
This wiki is designed to give bloggers a place where they can centrally collate their links for whatever reason: Work, jobs, love, sex, networking, friendship, apartments, furniture, cars, arranging geek dinners etc etc. Go ahead and build, design, improve and contribute to it as you see fit, in whatever manner works best for you. I'll pay for the bandwidth. -Hugh MacLeod"
When we start needing more than comments to work/play together, we add other tools. Community iindicator? Could be!

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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Baby Name Wizard: Visualizing Information

This site is a great example of a tool that helps us visualize information. Take a peek at The Baby Name Wizard. Now I know I have an outdated name!

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"Share" Gets a Makeover: Community Help as Indicator

Lee has taken a break from our work today, helping the March of Dimes Share Your Story site get a makeover, to post our "in work" sign. Check it out. More on this story from both of us later. The New "Share" is Coming.
The site is now back up, and we are bug squashing with the incredible help of the community. Now THAT is a community indicator - when folks pitch in to help.

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Getting Blogher Crazy - Tshirts as Community Indicators

I don't normally post pictures of my chest on the net, but I had to share my new Blogging T-Shirt, just in time for BlogHer. This was Alexandra Samuels idea and a product of CafePress. Does having a shirt say "I belong?" Are shirts a community indicator?Beth has one too!


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Rural Cambodians Blogging

Beth Kantor has a reallly neat interview with Lux Mean: Teaching Cambodians in Rural Areas To Blog. When asked about what he needs to continue his work, Lux replied:
I need creative ideas to promote blogging in Cambodia. I hope they can email me about new idea. I am setting up a blog team for a few blogs of Clogger (, which is an umbrella site. If I am less busy, those will come out next month which include corruption issue (, legal update (, update about demonstration/protest which mainly on land issue (, border issue (, and for picture or Khmer hand writing ( which maybe workable for non-English Cambodians and children. Till all these blog are operated that I know what kind of support I need.

For, rural area, internet extension is critical to blogging promoting. This is what I really need.
So, let's pitch in! (Note: Beth also pointed to the great Global Voices Cambodia page.)

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Explicit Blog Networks

From the Blog Herald comes an updated List of Blog Networks. Is this another way to try and notice blog communities? How are networks or aggregations of blogs community-like? Are they? As I looked at some of these networks, it seemed to me that the community may in fact be the readers of these networks along with the networks themselves. Is the explicit aggregation of blogs an accelerator of blog communities?

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Chocolate Strikes Again

Slowly starting to read blogs, post vacation (Flickr pictures to come) and of course my chocolate subscription was among the first to be read which led me to Passionate customers make for passionate engineers
Apparently, an eager Microsoft customer FedEx'd two pounds of inscribed chocolate to one of our test managers, Paul Donnelly:
So chocolate is not only good for facilitation, but it is pursuasive as well. Natch! Hm, maybe chocolate is again a community indicator - "if I share my chocolate, will you let me be part of the community?"


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Tuesday, July 19, 2005


Phew. Now to learn how to back up. Good lesson. Sheesh.

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If you lost your blogroll, how would you start again?

I'll leave you with this question. Hopefully when I return, my Bloglines subs will be back, but what would you do if all of a sudden you lost your subscriptions? All those magical little discoveries you had made over a year or two?

And second, what would be your back up procedure so it didn't happen again?

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My Bloglines Subscriptions are Missing this Morning

One last check of my blog subs, I thought, before I hit the road. After all, I'd be offline for at least 4 days (SHOCKING - I wasn't even going to ask my sons who are staying home to check my voicemail.)

I clicked into my handy Bloglines via the tool bar.





I apparently have no more subscriptions. I sent email to Bloglines. I hope this is a temporary glitch. BUT MY GAWD, is this a lesson or what about trusting your subs to a service?

HOLY %&*(

What would you do if you lost all your subs (over 200)?

Blogroll - via Bloglines -- pft, gone.

I guess I shall just go hiking and not worry about it until next week.

Sigh. Not the way I intended to take a break from online.

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Orcmid's Lair on Setting it Free

Just a link before I go...

Orcmid's Lair
"O'Reilly Radar > Buying the Cow, Though the Milk is Free. Tim O’Reilly links to an interesting article on The Book Standard about the success of authors and publishers that publish on-line versions. Some authors even use Creative Commons licenses to allow non-commercial derivatives, a move that some see as increasing the engagement of author and audience in ways that deepen the relationship. The experience of the cases discussed is that print sales are not impacted and may increase as the result of the wider publicity that the works enjoy, despite the degree of piracy that all forms of publishing experience.
Dennis goes on to write:
Tim’s article is inspiring, bringing to mind at one instant a number of observations:

* First, it reminds me of the contrast between people/organizations that cling to 100% of nothing rather than enjoy 10% of something really big.
* More than that, I see how much that trust is required to chance speculative lost sales in exchange for building of an audience. Sometimes I think the fearfulness of the entertainment and publishing media is a reflection of how fearful of exploitation (and danger) we have all become. (That’s without looking at the Zen of the entertainment media seeing thieves everywhere.)
* Bruce Schneier illustrates our state of fear in a recent note about the 11-year old Scout who was lost in the woods for 4 days and saw people but avoided contact with them because they were strangers. We are training ourselves to be afraid and distrustful.

Along with Tim’s observations, I also find the Robert Solomon and Fernando Flores Building Trust in Business, Politics, Relationships, and Life a welcome find for its attention to the notion of Authentic Trust (reviewed here and here). It’s time I stopped my random page-turnings and read this compact little book straight through.

And at the end of his post... the piece I loved best.
Last night I attended an Ottmar Liebert concert at a wonderful parkland venue. I purchased the autographed (415/2000) boxed-set of his latest album, La Semana, and also the solo album, Transit, by the Luna Negra bassist, Jon Gagan. I noticed this great announcement on the back cover of Transit:

Do the right thing!
If for any reason you need to make a copy of this CD,
we ask that you contribute $5 to the artist at


In fact, you can donate for any of the publisher’s music and they’ll send you a link to the PDF for the cover that you can print for yourself.
Set it free. It comes back.

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Sunday, July 17, 2005

BlogHer Cafe : Women and Their Blogginess

BlogHer Cafe @, brainchild of Alexandra Samuels, has me cracking up. How many of these do I have to buy for my family?? I think I must have one for Blogher. Will they arrive in time?

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Saturday, July 16, 2005

Announcing BlogWalk Seattle - September 2nd

Ton and Lilia have made the announcement: We're going to have a BlogWalk in Seattle on September 2nd, 2005! I'm excited to help Lilia host the event. Here is the news:

The theme is (un)conference? blogging?

We are going to focus on parallels, differences and synergies between blogging and face-to-face gatherings. The topics we are likely to touch:

* what happens when bloggers who met online, meet F2F?
* blogging and OpenSpace - how is blogging like/unlike OpenSpace
* blogging (and social software in general) before, during and after face-to-face events
* backchanneling during events

As usual: you need an invitation to participate, but if you think you (or someone else) should be invited, let us know (and those people we don't know yet are especially welcome :)

More at BlogWalkSeattle.

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Friday, July 15, 2005

Etienne Wenger on Communities of Practice

Some nice video clips of an Interview with Etienne Wenger on Communities of Practice from Knowledge Lab. The downloads are hefty, so be patient!

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Thursday, July 14, 2005

Blogher is SOLD OUT!

Yes, believe it. Two weeks before the registration deadline, Blogher is sold out. Gotta love it. Does this say something about women's interest in blogging that has been heretofore unmet? Or do we just like to party together?

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More Blog Buzz on Conferences

Once you start looking for thinking on events, conferences and gatherings, POOF, there are tons of them. I realized I had about 10 draft posts, all with event links, so I'm gathering them all here.

Call for KM Europe "Fringe Event" proposals.

Rick Segal, whose name and blog keep showing up in conversations and posts about events lays it out in TEDGLOBAL vs. well, everything else. I won't quote. You gotaa read the whole thing! He includes kudos to Chris Pirillo for Gnomedex 5.0 which I missed, even though it was in my home town. (How to say no to Italy? No way!) Wait, I came back and edited. This is a great quote:
As a speaker? Refuse to do talks where you don’t have 50% of your time being able to engage 75% of the people. Tall order, I know, but start there. You are driving the bus when it comes to content and you can make changes that matter.

Ed Mitchell's review of Gurteen conference 17-18 June 2005 - 01 Jun 2005. Take a look at his session by session review of how who was invited, format and facilitation impacted the event. I loved particularly the unexpected exercise on space and knowledge which challenged the participants expectations and actions.

Jim Cumming's story of how he put together a gathering of doctoral students and business folks with a thought leader - all organized through email. Note his emphasis on trust.
"1. EFFICIENCY—the entire exercise was negotiated and planned electronically and executed in just over two months—a very short period of time to engage an international expert with 80 local practitioners.

2. TRUST—Etienne, Shawn, Mark and myself would not meet in person until Monday 11 July—so a high level of trust was established on the part of all stakeholders during the planning stage (Shawn and Mark were the only group members who had met face-to-face and had worked together previously).

3. CONVERGENCE—the theory of CoP was enacted in practice in several ways during this exercise—especially in relation to the convergence of experience, competence and technology.

4. IMPACT—it was interesting to observe the pre-existing level of awareness about CoP in Canberra across education, management (e.g. knowledge, information, business), health and environment sectors—to mention just a few—along with a desire for ongoing dialogue. It was also possible to detect a ‘ripple effect’ emerging over a coffee or a glass of wine in a number of conversations that followed each seminar. "
Scoble: Scobleizer: Microsoft Geek Blogger
I far prefer the "unconference" style of things -- at least partially. But, on the other hand, at some conferences you just simply MUST make the trains run on time. Why? Imagine the chaos if we allowed the PDC to run the way the single-room 300-attendee Reboot conference ran?

Doc: Pro and Conferences
Two new pieces suggest new ways of looking at, and conducting, industry conferences: Toward the DIY Conference and Hacking the Conference Machine. The former sources Rick Segal's excellent dispatch from TEDGLOBAL. The latter sources the next Digital Hollywood agenda. (Dig the topics: "brand" appears thirteen times, "consumer" eleven times and "experience" five times.)

Drawing folks from Different Genders via Rachel Clarke (yes, human behavior is an issue!)
Comparing last night's get together with one that took place earlier, where Robert Scoble was the speaking guest, there were definitely differences. Last night had a far higher proportion of women, I'm guessing attracted to the Marketing label instead of the Geek one. I saw far fewer cameras and far more notebooks - a lot of people took notes throughout Seth's speach. I'd even go as far as saying the dress sense was more 'business' like than previously. Rick Segal and I were discussing doing a straw poll about why people attended and how they heard about it - but we did not really get much further than just discussing and never took the poll.

One thing that was completely the same was the behaviour a the start of the evening, where everyone stayed on one half of the room and did not move past an invisible barrier provided by a couple of columns. So, everyone huddled, a little cramped at times and did not break the line until food was served.

And yes, Bill, I still owe a response on your comment. I'm making my delay public as I bet others run into this. My procrastination for thinking more deeply is in full gear. Links are easier. That doesn't make it right!

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Action Research and Evaluation On Line (AREOL)

Via Bill Harris, For those with an improvement or development goal
If you've got a goal to improve something you do professionally, or if you have a goal to learn more about how to foster change effectively and you'd like to do it in the context of doing real work, check out a free course colleague Bob Dick at Southern Cross University is about to run for the 22nd time: Action Research and Evaluation On Line (AREOL). As Bob says in his email invitation,As with earlier programs, the theme of areol 22 is the integration of effective change with rigorous research. In some respects, it is a combination of the principles of community and organisational change with those for change-oriented qualitative research, sometimes with use of quantitative research too.

There's no charge from SCU (you do have to have access to the Internet), it's not easy (learning often isn't), and you may learn more about how to conduct online training. I took the first session some years back and profited greatly. For more information or to sign up, email Bob at bdick AT within the week and ask for a copy of the invitation email."

This is a fabulous course and resource. If you are interested, JUMP ON IT TODAY!


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Community Indicators: Clouds

Blog communities are often hard to visualize. Who is connected to whom? Who is talking about what? Tag or key word clouds may be a possible indicator.

The visual on this page, � In bucket - a cloud of Well blogs, offers one peek of a loosely affiliated network of blogs. The element in common is we all are members of The Well. Are we a community? Not by my definition. But within the cloud there are indicators of our communities...some of which we share in common with each other. Thanks, nom!

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The Return of Jumping Off a Cliff

Elana Centor had a post the other day about corporate team building programs. One line just snagged me.
"'I learned a great deal about the people I worked with, but it didn't make our team stronger. We were dysfunctional before the trip, and we continued to be dysfunctional.'"

Ah, yes. This is what I tell people when the come to me, asking for help with distributed teams and groups. Why do we feel that simply going online will erase our pre-existing dysfunction? Just like 3 day motivational courses don't correct deeply seated organizational problems, using distributed collaboration tools doesn't fix our inability to cooperate.

So what do we do? There is no magic bullet, but here are a few things we might consider when we decide to drag, um, I mean BRING our groups online.

  • Take account of our strengths and build on those as a starting point. Social networks, relationships and people who are people and information collectors are often the most visible starting asset. Get them involved.
  • Acknowledge our weaknesses and challenges and make sure we don't trip up on those first, ruining any chance of a successful online experience.
  • Build on existing patterns, tools and activities. Don't pile on all new work. Come on, get real!
  • Speak the truth about control. Distributed work, when successful, tends to support the distribution of control, particularly informational control. Ideas and information tend to creep, crawl, leak and gush out of formerly controlled channels.
  • Speak the truth about power. If a group is highly hierarchical and there is no challenging or speaking truth to power, don't even go towards distributed work. Distributed work can enable self organizing, potentially moving the action to the level where it can be most effective IF the organization allows it. Getting slapped down in this process will end this and probably end the online interaction.
  • Figure out feedback loops. It is easy to feel alone in the process - designed for a group, experienced by an idividual. Don't leave folks to sink into their own puddle. Have fun stomping in the puddles together.

I'm sure there is much more. What do you think?

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Community Indicators: Tags

Continuing my stream-of-conciousness on community indicators, I was caught by a post on Napsterization about "Honor Tags." Of course, tags can be community indicators. More often than not I think they are more like indicators of a looser affiliation like a network, but I think of the nptech tag and how it has emerged as an effort of the community of folks interested in technology in the non profit sector.

So what are honor tags? And why might they be community indicators? Here are a few extracts from a great post by Mary Hodder that make the point beautifully. I have pulled out the "community" bits! Bolding is mine.
Dan Gillmor and Bayosphere have worked up an interesting tagging system, to differentiate the types of blog posts people are making, if they choose to self-tag their posts. They plan to pull those tagged items into their site to reflect back activities in certain categories. This has some advantages but also presents some problems, though I think there are community solutions that can moderate the problems.

Benefits of Honor Tags include:...
- community affiliation, closeness and participation due to special tag understanding and use...

Problems that might creep up with this tag system:
- people are often either not honest about themselves, or simply don't classify themselves well because they are not very self-aware, or understand the definitions of the classifications differently, so they may state something different that what the community perceives them to be
- some outside the Bayosphere community may feel it's elitist...

I think the community should moderate the use of these tags, to solve some of the problems that may arise from Honor Tag use. Some things that might help the community do this include:...
- Users of the tags should make it clear that this Honor Tag system is for a particular community, and specifically for certain acts, not defining people, but that anyone can use the tags and is welcome to participate in this community through their blogs and use of these tags
- Users and the community as a whole could help make it clear that people can use any and all tags on a post by post basis.. meaning.. one post is journalism, and another is advocacy, depending on what's in the post
- Users and Bayosphere together could create some community moderation for the tag use so that if the community sees a bad actor, they can report it, and if there is a dispute, allow the community to decide what to do about it, and even how to handle it.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Event Example: Podcast Hotel

I have appreciated watching people invent new ways to blend online and F2F for "events," "conferences" and other gatherings. I'm still chewing on Bill Anderson's thoughtful comments on my recent online event post. (Bill, yes, I will respond!) Here is another one that looks interesting to follow: Corante Events: Podcast Hotel. Here are a few snippets.
What is MusicFest NW? It's a music festival that will feature more than 250 bands over the span of three days.

Why team with MusicFest NW? What are we trying to do? The idea is to take the Podcast Hotel an 'unconference,' as Doc is exploring. This is not 'panelfest.' No boring panels! This is about the conversation. It's a music festival. It's a giant experiment in podcasting, videoblogging and extending our world.

The first two days will feature discussion and 'how to,' workshops on podcasting and videoblogging. We'll open the rooms. During MusicFest NW, we'll do more workshops and set up stations where musicians can check out the gear, do interviews and jam a bit for listeners. We'll do lots of recordings and make them available for people to listen online. On Saturday, we'll be teaching kids how to podcast and videoblog.
I wonder if they will do anything online prior or post? I'll be watching/listening!

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Gmaps Pedometer - wow!

Gmaps Pedometer allows you to check the mileage for your neighborhood walk. I found out I walked 1.74 miles yesterday morning. Tomorrow - 2? Amazing what people create.

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What does video do to your online identity?

It is weird to see video of myself online. Robin Good's WeblogProject captures me in a way that is both familiar and strange to me. Is this part of my identity on the web? Yup, I guess so, squinting and all, with, as my pal Rosana says, duck-bill lips. Mamma mia.

Tonight I was dealing with an issue about privacy and identity in an online community I support. We happily "talk" away to each other in ways and places that we forget are open to the spiders of search engines, the traces we are increasingly leaving across cyberspace.

What advice would you give to people? How much should we show? Why? When?

Nancy White: What is a blog?

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The Louisiana Manifesto via Dina Mehta

Louisiana Manifesto - Architecture Transcends Life - Good reading and ideas that transcend architecture.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Blogher Panel: When Globalization is Good for Women

On July 30th I'll be moderating a panel with a quartet of amazing women. I wanted to share a bit in advance about the group. Here are some of our working thoughts, with more to come. Chime in!
Shrink your world; amplify your voice. Nancy White leads a discussion with Anna John, Dina Mehta, Noriko Takiguchi, and Beverly Trayner on blogs and womens voices from around the world.

What will we talk about? We're thinking about how blogging expresses our culture(es), how it represents our place in the world. What are our voices? Our languages? And who is listening to us? Dina, Bev, Anna and Noriko will give us a glimpse into their lives and the lives of women they know and the impact blogging has had on them.

Here is a little warm up from some of the magnificent women on the panel:Dina gets us started:
One of the things i constantly yearn for - living in a country like India, yet also living in a global world through my Blog community - is to balance the polarities - I don't want to become masculine or male just to be able to stand up to or "talk with the boys" - I’d rather retain my femininity, because i think it is beautiful, it makes us better COMMUNICATORS as we listen better, tell better stories and scratch the surface more - and still hope to adopt some 'masculine' behaviour patterns and traits that make the 'boys' stand up and take notice. I was recently at Reboot 7 - where most of the presenters and much of the audience was first-world, white, male and geek - and I am non-white, non-first world, non-male, non-geek - I made a presentation on how I use social tools for research & collaboration (without really understanding how these tools work or what code drives them to work) - and it was rewarding to get feedback that suggested they loved the stories of how I put these tools to work - many used the term ''inspired''. I used the term - technology with heart - that may have sounded 'feminine' - but hey - it worked.

So what is it women do best in the context of blogging (as one means to having a global voice) - how can we leverage that in a - hmmm i wouldn't quite say man's world - but a world that is perhaps gender unequal - how we might build greater influence for our voices - it may be an interesting discussion to have.

What is happening with women today in the US, UK, Japan, India and other countries we represent - to bring in context for the role of blogging ----- in a country like mine, there are such huge disparities and imbalances in gender equality --- some of the brightest and bloggers are women - still, most blog stats show just a handful of women at the forefront of this field - how do we reconcile this? I personally have felt under attack many times by 'male' Indian bloggers - yet I never once got that feeling from my GLOBAL blog community - how do we deal with this ?

Finally, I’d love to take away some issues we agree upon that each of us could build into the tone, philosophy, idiom of our blogs - to suggest we stand together - we understand each other - we can live and work together - never mind that we come from physically different 'planets.' I thought this might stimulate more thought on what we might cover.
Bev chimes in:
“Something that really resonated with me was the first part of your message Dina,
living in a country like India, yet also living in a global world through my Blog community - is to balance the polarities...
I could easily have written "living in a country like Portugal, yet also living in a global world through different media, which includes my Blog - is to dance with polarities - sometimes balancing them, sometimes pushing them, sometimes struggling with them - but rarely at ease with them ..."

This idea of having different worlds in which I engage or create my identity is a significant one for me. The duality of male/female is less significant than, but integrated with, the duality of international/local.

I wonder if that makes sense or resonates with anyone else.
Noriko adds her voice:
My contribution would be more about how women (and mothers) are using blogs and other mobile and internet technologies to be doing things they were not able to do before and doing more efficiently and interestingly what they need to do. I have to admit that I am not a long blogger myself and I will do more observation of what I see in Japan and try to give example cases.
The Panelists:
Anna John, 30, is a quondam bartender, campaign manager and non-profit slave,
a current mutineer, technical writer and insomniac and a Her original blog, HERstory, won "Best India blog" in the 2004 Asia blog awards; her group project, Sepia Mutiny, which she was a founding member of, is one bad weblog-- shut your mouth!

Born and raised in California by emigrants from the awesomely anomalous southwestern Indian state of Kerala, she currently blogs from Washington, D.C., where the Wi-Fi in Dupont Circle is free. Speaking of cool places to post from, you can usually find her at Tryst on 18th Street, begging for more animal crackers to go with her cappuccinos. She adores her iBook, the Pixies and the cheese section at Whole Foods, in that order. One glorious day, she will pay off the obscenely high set of student loans which constantly remind her that she graduated from both UC Davis and The George Washington University. She hopes.

Noriko Takiguchi is a journalist and author in the business, technology, architecture and design fields. Contributes to various newspapers and magazines in Japan, including Asahi Shimbun Newspaper, Nikkei Newspaper, President, Diamond Weekly, Nikkei Information Strategy, among others.

Bev Trayner lives in Setbal, 60 kilometers south of Lisbon in Portugal. Most of her life she lived in Mombasa, Kenya and in between times she lived in UK. In between being a lecturer at a Business School in Setbal and trying to write up her doctorate thesis on learning in international online communities she does cross-country cycling and makes conversation with her kids. She has two blogs "em duas linguas" exploring living in two languages.

Dina Mehta is a qualitative researcher, with 15 years experience, based in Mumbai, India. A Master's Degree holder in Sociology, she spent the first 10 years of her career with IMRB, India's largest market research agency. She set up her own consultancy firm,Explore Research & Consultancy, in 1998, offering clients a comprehensive qualitative research consultancy on brands, products and services. Her expertise and interests lie in youth markets, contextual inquiry, longitudinal ethnographic research and user-design studies.

Recently, she's been fascinated by the area of social software in the context of creating and adapting collaborative tools for research. And in getting groups and organisations to adopt some of these tools, with the hope that new cultures of communication would be initiated and nurtured through the intelligent and effective use of community and collaboration technologies.

She is also deeply interested in the area of how ICT can bring about social change in rural areas, and was invited to attend theThird Annual Baramati Initiative on ICT and Development- a meeting ground to explore ways in which information and communication technology is being used as a tool to empower the poor.

Some beliefs that drive her - "abundance", a philosophy that suggests, 'share-learn-grow', optimism about the future, and stretch that is implicit in a philosophy that says Yes And!

Nancy White (moderator) is the founder and chocoqueen of Full Circle Associates where she helps non-profits and businesses connect through online and offline strategies. She has a particular interest in the application of online interaction tools and techniques to virtual teams and international community development. Nancy is recognized for her leadership and expertise in the emerging field of online group facilitation and interaction. She practices what she preaches as a skilled online facilitator and coach for distributed communities of practice, online training and education, distributed teams and online communities. Nancy constantly seeks to understand "what works and why" in this evolving world of online interaction. She is an active presenter, chronicler and was one of the early documentors and writers of online facilitation resources. She has taught the original online workshop, Facilitating Online Interaction, since 1999 and hosts the "Online Facilitation" email list. In 2004 she started blogging again at
Nancy graduated from Duke University and is a confirmed chocoholic. She is proud to learn daily from her two sons and husband in Seattle, Washington.

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Community Indicators: Organized F2F Meetings

This short powerpoint-in-a-pdf, moodlemoot_presentation4b.pdf , talks about some of the processes around F2F meetings of an essentially distributed communitY (or is it a collection of communities? I think it may be.)

The Moodle (an open source elearning platform) community is quite vibrant. Their main "gathering" on an ongoing basis is in Moodle as a communication platform. But these "Moodle Moots" are becoming a key hallmark of the community.

As a community indicator, the Moots seem to be both the manifestation of a physical gathering, and a ritual. I sense there are certain "things" that happen at Moots that make them unique to the community. So the gathering and HOW the gathering happens might both be seen as community indicators.

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Work Avoidance? Loop, a Shockwave game - Loop
If you haven't experienced the mystical realm found in Loop, you're in for a real treat. While you may never truly discover what is a dream and what's just plain magic, you should know that our heroine, Ada, has an affinity for Nabakov and butterflies. Do you think you can help her herd them together, loop them with your mouse, then catch them? While most people may dismiss this as child's play, this incredibly intriguing game is more than a simple creature capture game! Part puzzle, part fantasy, it's pure addiction! The butterflies are everywhere!"
And people wonder why I don't get around to answering all my email!

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Global Voices Online- Site Relaunch

Global Voices Online has a fresh new look and, as always, a lot of great content to bring the world to us through a diverse set of eyes. Check it out.

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Monday, July 11, 2005

Community Indicators: Chocolate

Originally uploaded by Choconancy1.
So for me, a key indicator is anything chocolate. Jim brought this sublime chocolate raspberry cake that had me swooning. It was the best thing at the blog-luck. But chocolate showed up in other ways. Trish brought a chocolate bar (for choconancy - THANKS!) and Liz brought S'more makings -- which once it started raining, we made in the microwave, led by Liz's talented son.

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Community Indicators: F2F Gatherings and Meals

Originally uploaded by Choconancy1.
Keeping the theme of community indicators going, yesterday we hosted a Blog-luck, or potluck for Lilia and Liz to welcome them to Seattle. It was an interesting intersection of folks from the Seattle Blog Meetup group (thanks, Anita!), local friends I know from online places like the Well, and people who know Liz or Lilia from their blogs.

Lion noted that it felt right, somehow. Timing. The shared meal (more on that in the next post). The mix of people, their amazing and charming kids, and the wide ranging conversations.

Feeling the urge to gather IS a community indicator. And the presence of food is always a good sign as well.

(Edited to fix a link)
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Saturday, July 09, 2005

Johnnie, Chris and Rob on Unconferencing

Ah, a kismet moment. Just when I finish a post on conferences, the linking leads me to a fresh post. This time a podcast between Johnnie Moore, Chris Corrigan and Rob Paterson. Unconferencing:
"On Friday, I had a Skype conversation with Chris Corrigan and Rob Paterson. We discussed Unconferencing: how can we get away from unsatisfying conferences where the audience is often bored, towards much more engaging learning events?"

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Online Tools and F2F Conferences

First, a disclaimer. I'm on the advisory board of Blogher (happening in San Jose, CA, July 30) and I am insanely excited to meet the women who are going. I am heartfelt-ly (is that a word?) greatful to go to a tech-related event where I am not one among the token woman. (Hm, and starting to be one of the "older" women. Oh. My. Gawd.)Phew. Got that off my chest. I am used to being "the other" in many parts of my life, but sometimes it is great to hang out with sisters too. I used to work in maternal child health and in that job, I used to miss hanging out with guys. So if anyone wants to take this on as a bashing thing, fuggedabout it. It is a balance thing. And know I live in a household with three other males. So gimmee a break.

OK, disclaimer done. Over the past year I've posted a variety of things about improving F2F conferences. One of my key interests is how we use online tools pre and post to make the most of precious F2F time. My model used to be discussion board/F2F/discussion board. This is a rather inward facing, private model which assumes the group wants that privacy.

Now we have more options. For example, I'm excited about how Blogher has used blogs, online community and blogfeeds to both build the event and build our cohesion as a group of participants as the event nears. Just cruising through the blogs of registratants at Bloglines | BlogHer's Blogs is mind boggling.

Blogs and tags are opening up a whole new world. I was a believer before Northern Voice, but an evangelist afterwards. The pre-event blog aggregation gave me insights into participants that would have taken teeth pulling to achieve in a discussion board. The collaborative note taking via blogs and flickr picture was astounding. (Note here: look at Gnomedex and you will see that this is starting to induce an "overwhelm" factor, but I suspect the systems will balance themselves over time).

So what is going on here?

  • Identity building pre-event. Read participant or presenter's blogs to gain insight and make decisions about who you want to hang out/learn with.
  • Logistical preparation - a no brainer. Ride sharing, local info, child care, pre-meetings, etc.
  • Get some of the basics done ahead of time - we can share info easily online. We can save the F2F for negotiating meaning and having fun! (wikis, discussion tools, VOIP, blogs, email - yeah, even email!)
  • Capture notes/learning/questions/resources via wikis and blogs (text, audio, video) and picture sharing.
  • Follow up post with ongoing discussions mediated through blogs, discussion tools, VOIP - whatever.
  • Create a trail for "the next time" - ideas, practices etc that would otherwise evaporate into our feeble short term memories.

Related links:

Chris Corrigan - March 2005
Ton Zylstra - March 2005
Jonnie Moore - March 2005
David Wilcox - April 2005
Me - April 2005

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Friday, July 08, 2005

AfricaVox - African Journalists at G8

AfricaVox is an effort by Panos, a UK NGO. They brought African journalists/bloggers to cover the G8. This is the kind of use of online tools that gets me excited. I wish I had seen it earlier. Lots of good reading here.

[via Ethan]

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CEFRIO Communities of Practice Guide

The CEFRIO has posted the English translation of a guide produced in French earlier this year, the Guide to the Implementation and Leadership of Intentional Communities of Practice: Work, Learning and Networked (pdf, 170 pages - large download!)

Etienne Wenger, John Smith, Kim Rowe and I contributed Chapter 5 on Technologies and Communities, so it is fun to see it in context. I have not read the whole thing, but I can say that our chater has evolved far beyond what you see in this paper. That chapter was a springboard for the work we are doing (and have not yet completed!)

I love Etienne's introduction to the piece, riffing off the idea of a CoP as a romantic relationship.

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43 Places - Wanderlusters Unite

43 Places, a new offering from the Robot Coop guys who brought us 43 Things, is crack cocaine for wanderlust addicts. I should never have gone to this site. The familiar of sound of time down the rathold. It is a new take on the travelers bulletin board, with a blog like interface, tags and incorporation of pictures as well as reviews, pointers, questions and odd stuff that I always find interesting. Check it out!

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Thursday, July 07, 2005

Jon and Mitch talk about Extreme Democracy

Live right now on the public Well Vue conference, Jon Lebkowsky and Mitch Ratcliff are being interviewed about the book they recently edited, Extreme Democracy. You can check it out at inkwell.vue, Topic 248. Jon is a great online and F2F friend and I admire his work and tenacity. I finally met Mitch just this year, even though we live in the same neck of the woods! I'm glad their book is now out and available at Lulu.

Here is a snippet from the conversation, which YOU can join! Jon noted these three issues:
Freedom to connect: net-based democratic technologies depend on open and accessible networks. Corporations and/or governments that operate networks might restrict access and use, constraining speech and stifling innovation.

Digital divide: when civic engagement and participation in the political process require access to technology, those without access are potentially excluded. We're talking about people who don't want to
fiddle with a dang computer, can't buy one, can't get an Internet connection, etc.

Echo chamber: if we're just forming cliques where we talk to folks we agree with and ignore other ways of thinking, we're missing the debate that's an important element of democracy (IMO). Some are trying to address this problem, e.g. Let's Talk America
The first one, freedom to connect, is particularly on my mind these days with media ownership. I think the third, echo chamber, is a bit more complex that it might look like at first blush. The internet has opened many possible connections, but I believe it has destroyed some as well, particularly from a cultural perspective. So while I do NOT advocate groupthink, I think there is a place for "a space of our own."

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Online Learning Resources

Definitely worth repeating/passing on via Stephen Downes: Learning Resources from Faculty Development Associates. A clean list of key learning concepts, many related to online, but not exclusively, each with a link to good resource.

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My heart goes out to London

7 July 2005 London bombings - Wikipedia. I awoke to another symptom of our little world's illness. My first thought was to my friends (all safe and well) in London. My second thought was to us, as a human race, to try and figure out how to get back on a track where we don't have to resort to treating each other in ways that provokes such acts of violence. How do we learn other ways?

Watching the reactions on the net:

Mitch Ratcliff
Flickr Bomb Group
Technorati LondonBomb Tag
Juan Cole

And yet, I think of all the countless who died quietly today, of hunger, disease or other quotidian causes. Do we mourn for them?

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Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Blog-Luck? Pot-Blog? Welcoming Lilia and Liz to Seattle

We have two folks from "out of town" who are in Seattle for work for a period of time and I thought it might be fun to have a potluck to welcome them and introduce them to the Seattle blogger and online community crowds. Lilia is here for 10 weeks, Liz for a year!

So lets have a potluck. SEATTLE! Sunday, July 10th, 3pm at my house. Bring some food and drink. We'll have the BBQ fired up, all the cups/plates/utensils handy plus a huge green salad.

Email to RSVP (I'd really appreciate that) and to get directions (nancyw AT fullcirc DOT com). Kids are welcome as Liz has kids in the 8-11 range. If things get crowded, we can walk down to the neighborhood park. If we don't have enough food, we can go to the story or pizza place. Heck, maybe someone can beercast/foodcast the event!

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"Yes, AND," Complexity and a New Blog

The folks at ODI (Overseas Development Institute), an international development consultancy in the UK, have a new blog with quite a few interesting posts. I have appreciated working as a volunteer with one of their researchers, Ben Ramalingam in the KM-for Development community so I was happy to hear of the blog from Sarah Cummings. (I'm really looking forward to a paper ODI is working on on Networks!)

It took slow-me a while to figure out that the main blog page was not the full blog posts, but just summaries until I clicked into this one by Simon Maxwell: ODI 2005 WebLog : 'Yes, but... or Yes, and...': How to pitch the 2005 debate. Ah, some of my favorite topics. "Yes...and" and how to communicate complex issues. Or perhaps more accurately, how we can talk about complex issues together to a point where the conversation becomes productive.

Here is a snippet:
"A double challenge, then. The complexity is unwelcome, equally so any questioning of the political drive. What should be our response? I think we need a two-pronged response. First, on complexity, the answer has to be ‘horses for courses’ and gradual deepening of the conversation. Sometimes the message has to be simple. At the World Economic Forum in Davos this year, I watched Jeff Sachs and a small group of show business people like Sharon Stone, Richard Gere and Angelina Jolie working the crowd. Jeff’s MDG report was just out - a rich and complex piece of analysis – but he chose to focus on one key message, the value of ‘quick wins’. Bednets was the example: a simple message, which is that many, many lives lost to malaria can be saved by spending a few dollars on bednets impregnated with insecticide. At the time, I thought this was an irritatingly simplistic way to approach the issue of African development, and on various panels I tried to have the technical discussion on absorptive capacity, investment policy, trade issues and all the rest, as above. It didn’t work. I was wrong. Jeff and the gang really drove the issue, and created the space in which Blair, Brown, Clinton, Obansanjo, Mkapa and others could talk policy (By the way, you can read my review of Sachs in the new issue of International Development Magazine, due out next week). I have had other experiences which reinforce this basic lesson about simplicity. On radio phone-ins, for example, the immediate feed-back is often that there is no point helping Africa because ‘they’re all corrupt’ (unlike Thailand, and Sri Lanka, say, at the time of the tsunami, because they’re better managed). Our response needs to be simple: Africa is not homogeneous, aid does work, there are ways of reaching the poorest.

The second prong of our response is always to try to end on a positive note – to be constructive, not destructive. This can be difficult. For example, there is a respectable view that Africa’s problem is not too little aid but too much: a view that aid decapitates political systems and entrenches accountability to donors not citizens; also that absorptive capacity is limited because of shortages of skilled personnel. That is a flat contradiction to the political message. However, there are ways to be positive. Thus, one of the messages we have fed into this debate is that capacity constraints can be tackled, country by country and sector by sector. Look at the way Saudi Arabia has used imported architects,
construction workers and other skilled workers to build a modern economy. Or look at the way relief agencies have provided the capacity to protect refugees fleeing the crisis in Darfur. On the politics, too, the messages can be positive. Africa needs developmental states like those found in East Asia. Measures are needed which build state competence and accountability, with long term compacts by which outsiders can provide support. I often quote Margaret Thatcher, who is alleged to have said: 'Don’t give me problems, give me solutions'. That’s not a bad motto for a think-tank which want to be both serious and constructive."
Take a peek. I'm happy to see more blogging in the international development sector. Now, what would REALLY be cool is communities blogging about their own development from THEIR perspective. I know the Global Voices project is uncovering some of these. But I wonder about how people might imagine the value for themselves. Worth consideration.

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Community Indicators - Flickr badges

Originally uploaded by Choconancy1.
Yesterday, as part of the community and blogging videoconference I was part of, we (Lilia and I) talked about community indicators: how do you know when there is a community? When we thought of online community as manifest by the threads of discussion in a web based discussion board, there was something tangible to point to that fell within distinctly viewable boundaries.

Today, we are aggregating loosely between a variety of tools and sites - our blogs, social networking sites, audio and image sites (a la Flikr.) We are like a fairy ring of mushrooms. On the surface, all individual and distinct, yet connected under the earth into a single, large organism.

So, how do we "see" our communities? I've decided to start collecting artifacts that serve as indicators of community. Here is the first one: "Make your own (unofficial) flickr badge."

And of course, here is my badge!

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Tuesday, July 05, 2005

I have great colleagues!

Red Party 136
Originally uploaded by Lee LeFever.
Lee at his "Red Party" says it all!

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Stumbling over words: What is a blog?

When in Rome, do as the Romans do? Well, something fun - spend time with Robin Good. He caught me on digital vid for his WeblogProject. His question to me was "What is a blog?" Well, if you click on the clip, you will see me fall all over my lips and make no sense at all.

I realized while watching the clip that I probably don't have a good clear definition. Blogs still defy my full understanding. Sure, they are an easy to do, chronological set of post on a webapage. Sure they are "post centric" rather than "page centric" (Meg Hourihan via Steve Gilmore) and can be connective through links and responded to via comments. But those are all technical perspectives. I'm interested in the human, social perspectives.

What is it about this thing we call a blog that defies description in what it DOES, not what it IS? Ah, that's it. I don't really pay attention to what they are, but what possibilities they offer. I was answering the wrong question!!!

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Monday, July 04, 2005

Blogs and Communities

Tuesday and Wednesday night I'll be closing myself into a little room with a camera and high speed line to take part in two video conferences with colleagues scattered across Australia.

Having been on the road, I'm a bit behind on my preparation to deliver this:
More and more distributed online learning groups and communities are adopting blogs as their community platform - intentionally and sometimes by chance. Some efforts are structured and others are ad hoc formations that emerge "between" a number of blogs.

* What are these communities discovering?
* How does the blog interface differ from email lists and web forums and with what implications?
* What are the pros and cons of using blog technology for learning communities?
* What is the community perspective of blogs?
But what kismet. As you might have read from an earlier post, Lilia is at my house. And she has written some brilliant stuff on blogs and community.

Right there. That's the story. Lilia would not be in my house if blogs did not facilitate connections between people with some little shard of shared interest. And Lilia would not be in my house if I did not feel she was a part of my community, not just a casual connection made online. Some kind of wonderful.

What are your key experiences or thoughts about blog communities and blogging and community? I'm particularly interested in points around learning communities.

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Racoon Blogging or "Imaginary friends and raccoons"

Lilia arrived yesterday. During a dinner on the porch, my son spotted a juvenile raccoon on a neighbor's tree. We watched and followed it around for the next half hour, till it perched in the horse chestnut tree for a nap. It was fun. Then Lilia blogged it with the complementary photo of her stuffed raccoon puppet.

So here we have an in-the-flesh visit from an online (imaginary) friend, seeing live raccoons and referencing them with stuffed (imaginary?) ones.

I love life!

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Sunday, July 03, 2005

Politics, music but what IS the action we should take?

John Abbe points me to Ethan's comment on Live 8 - which is right on the spot from what little I know about Africa.
...My heart's in Accra : Ethan's Weblog - My blog is in Cambridge, but my heart's in Accra: "While it's admirable that thousands of bloggers have added Technorati badges to their pages to promote Live 8, to support African debt relief or to try to revive Bob Geldof's career. But it would be a damn sight more useful and transformative if bloggers would go a step further and start reading some African bloggers... perhaps starting with some of the folks who are justifiably skeptical about the value of yet another rock concert. Allow me to recommend Thinker's Room's 'Live Aid? Please!', Sokari Ekine's 'Live 8419' or Gerald Caplan's brilliant piece in Pambazuka."
While I was in Rome working on a project, I got to spend some time with a man who is a leader in the new government of Southern Sudan. Michael is trying to rebuild agriculture in a land torn and ravaged in every sense by civil war for over 50 years.

As we sat one night on a piazza in Rome, eating an abundance of food, I asked him, how does a country get over the grief and loss of lifetimes of civil war? His first answer was the politically correct one for a person in Rome seeking aid... we get help from blah, blah, and blah. The answer in his eyes, his actions and his optimism however, said to me, "we keep living." In his formal presentation on Friday, he mentioned that those of us around the world should encourage his Sudanese brothers and sisters living in diaspora to come home. Sudan needs them.

So what is aid? It is surely money. It is political leverage. But at the heart it has to affect the lives of people, not just their leaders and the rich of their country. It has to make home safe again for the diaspora to want to come home. For the forests to regrow and the soil to become rich again.

The more I learn, the more I know I don't know. It is time for us to ask Africans what they want, not what we think we should do. That I know.

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Home Sweet Home from Roma

Plane travel is certainly the part about international work that I can live without. That said, it is great to be home. I have to catch up on blog comments, restart blog reading (NO way I'm going to catch up on that) and share some photos. Below is a compilation of some pictures from 7:30 - 8am at the Circus Maximus, site of Live 8 Rome. I was surprised how small the die-hard group was. The music is over. But the time for action is still strong. More on that when I'm a little more rested. The rest of the pictures are on Flickr. (I'll organize a set later, plus some more Roma pictures will go up on the Travel Blog. Yes, there are a few food pictures!!)

I also had the chance to spend a bit of time with Robin Good, who interviewed me for his blog movie. Poor Robin. He got the incoherent leavings after 9 days of intense work, little sleep, and too much Italian vino! (Robin, feel free to leave me on the cutting room floor!) That said, it was great to meet Robin in person and see his great smile which comes across in his writing as well.

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