Dumb Things I Have Done Lately

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The People Who Make a Big Deal About Blog Hiatuses Are Precisely the Type of People Who Can't Stop Blogging

Obviously, I haven't been blogging much this year. At least not here -- as I mentioned, I'm blogging over at the Network Solutions Solutions Are Power blog. In fact, that's one of the reasons why I haven't been blogging so much over here. Part of it is blog fatigue, but it's mostly because, in my all-too frequent desperate attempts to get out of deadline holes I've dug myself into, I've been writing about social media and community topics that I would have otherwise have written about here.

The other big reason why I haven't been blogging over here is @joelogon -- Twitter. Microblogged 140-character Twitter status posts are usually more than enough to convey the dumbness that I find myself blundering into; unlike my del.icio.us items, after I post something to Twitter, I don't find myself blogging in greater detail about them later. (Then again, I haven't exactly been doing that with my del.icio.us links lately, either.)

One thing I'm not going to do is announce any sort of blog hiatus or retirement or any of that foolishness. I find that the only people who make a big deal of going on a blog hiatus or doing big farewell posts are exactly the kinds of people who can't stay away from blogging (and invariably come back a few weeks or months later).

People who stop blogging just... stop blogging. No grand gestures or farewell missives. They just sort of trail off, like a fading IM conversation.

Anyway, it's quite the opposite -- I'm going to step up my blogging over here. In fact, I'm in the process of upgrading my blog to Wordpress. And I mean it this time; I even upgraded my hosting package and everything. Not to say I won't end up doing what I'm doing, and just paying three times as much. It could happen. But I have a plan. Or, I had a plan -- it's in a notebook somewhere, and I can't find it. But I'll keep plugging along blindly regardless.

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Breaking the Seal on 2009 Blogging Means Putting to Sleep Some 2008 Entries

Two weeks into the New Year and I'm already falling behind. Before I get into any new business, I decided it'd be best to clean out some entries in my drafts folder, from 2008 and earlier.

Here are the entries that I'm officially pulling the plug on (with the dates they were last touched):

Religion Turned Inside, Outside [7/25/06]: Trying to establish a new religion whose sole tenet was: "That which is inside should remain inside; that which is outside should remain outside." I never really got much farther than that.

Blogging Is Conversation. This Includes the Ones You Don't Want to Have [7/25/06]: In the fullness of time, it became even more trite and pointless.

The Dumbest People Are Usually the Loudest People [8/8/06]: Kind of obvious, yes?

funny looking pop stars [8/27/06]: An outgrowth of the completely non-original observation that there hasn't been an ugly female pop star in a long, long time. The particular tack was looking at the halo effect of fame and pop culture familiarity that turns funny-looking male pop stars into sex symbols. Evidence: Justin Timberlake (goofy looking), Jay-Z (perfectly oval head), Puff Daddy (weak chin).

Deaf Culture Is Pretty Ridiculous [9/5/06]: It started out with the observation that you don't see advocates for the preservation of "Blind Culture" like you do for Deaf Culture. I abandoned this post without going any further because: 1.) As a sighted, hearing dilettante, I felt I didn't really know enough, and 2.) I was chicken about raising the ire of the Deaf community.

SEO [9/5/06]: Remembering how back in the day, I argued that URLs should be readable by, and have meaning for, humans (as opposed to the dynamically-generated URLs we saw back then), and how SEO has brought that back around. No real point except to crow about the obvious.

We Are Our Words [9/24/06]: Just a general grammarian's plea for proper grammar and spelling in online postings.

stroke material [10/28/06]: Commenting on some racy American Apparel and True dating ads.

I Like Girly Conditioner [10/29/06]: That was about it.

Old Movies, New Commercials [11/27/06]: Impotent fist-shaking at the then-newish Direct TV ads that feature actors doing ad pitches cut into famous movie scenes.

The DC Blogs Map Is Not the Territory [1/3/07]: Not sure what this meant, other than the fact that the DC blogging community is more than the blogs that show up in DC Blogs.

The Perils of Command Lines and Visiting the Past [1/11/07]: I think this had to do with a command line screwup I made.

Something about chewing gum for your health [2/22/07]: I chew a lot of gum.

WaPo and VA [5/24/07]: A one-note joke based off an IM conversation, about how the Post coverage of Virginia is disproportionately about Clarendon: "we don't just cover Clarendon... we talk about Rosslyn and Ballston, too."

Flickr Video Whiners [4/11/08]: Remember the hubbub about Flickr adding video? Me neither.

Unintended Lessons From the Virgin Festival [8/27/08]: 1.) My wallet is thinner without all the crap in it. 2.) My trunk has more room without all the crap in it. 3.) If you drink 4 Red Bull and Vodkas, you'll have trouble going to sleep. That was about it.

There were a few others that didn't even have titles, and some that I purged that didn't deserve any recognition at all.

I still have a lot of unformed draft entries, though, and I see some repeats -- themes that keep popping up in different forms, which means I'm still thinking about them. They'll eventually emerge, I think.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

The Joelogon Facepalm Strikes Again

The Industry Standard blogger Jordan Golson has an item today taking bigshot tech bloggers to task (or, more accurately, taking bloggers at bigshot tech blogs to task) for committing attempted journalism without actually doing any of the "journalism" bits -- "A lesson for bloggers: go to the source or look like a fool" [link via Fark].

It's about some "OMG, Congress wants teh iPhones!!!" misinformation that was primary sourced at an article on TheHill.com, then batted around the tech media blogosphere with lots of punditry and very nonexistant fact-checking.

Anyway, that's not the important bit. The important bit is, the article uses my facepalm photo:

D'oh! I mean, woo-hoo!

This is the first media use of it I've seen since I noticed the photo made it into Wikimedia Commons (and it's properly attributed too, at the end of the article).

Additionally, here are the Fark tie-ins: I saw the article where it was greenlighted on the Fark main page; it quotes Drew Curtis (and mentions his book); it links to Fark, and it uses the creative commons-licensed photo from (and of) a Farker. So it's like a quad-damage bonus that's worth... precisely nothing.

Oh, as to the rest of it?

BoingBoing updated with a correction, but of the other linked tech blogs -- all of whom originally reported the story with varying degrees of righteous indignation and/or wish fulfillment -- none of them did a correction or followup that I could see (from the article, Ars Technica, Wired Gadget Lab, Gizmodo, ZDnet, CNET's iPhone Atlas, The Unofficial Apple Weblog, PC Mag (via Gearlog), a quickie mention in the LA Times Technology blog, Cult of Mac, and iPod Observer).

This is just using a citation as an appeal to authority, and it's nothing new, of course: It's how things like the Super Bowl domestic violence myth perpetuated itself, and it's gone on in academia forever (who traces a citation all the way back to a primary source? If you see something cited enough, it becomes its own source, very much how a lie told enough times becomes the truth.)

Of course, me: I didn't do any fact-checking either, but I'm not a journalist, and I'm not much by the way of media -- I'm just a cat-blogger (sans cat) who just wanted to brag about one of my photos.

However, looking at some of the blogs in that list, that are either associated with "real" tech journalism or trying to make a case for legitimacy in that space -- how many of them can make that claim? Folks, if you want to play journalist, you have to act like one. Just saying "I'm just a blogger" isn't going to work unless you want blogging to forever stay the junior varsity dumping ground of media, somewhere above tabloids and below the main stream (or was that the other way around?)

I know, it sucks -- having to do all the new media stuff like transparency, authenticity, and responsiveness, then having to do more traditional media stuff like "sources," "requests for comment," "factchecking," and "ethics" (such as they are) -- that's a pain in the ass, as opposed to just snark and punditry.

But, if you're going to make it a profession, you're going to have to be more... professional.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Two Weeks of Blog Paralysis and I Come Back With This?

It took a mild case of impotent self-righteous blogger outrage and a wonderfully ridiculous gym excuse to get me out of my unintentional two-week blog hiatus.

It's not like there wasn't anything worth writing about (there was), or that I was somewhere exotically inaccessible (I wasn't) -- I was just somewhere in the mushy middle, buried under an ever-growing slushpile of things to talk about, as well as an ever-growing list of things to keep procrastinating upon.

I'm still underemployed (by choice, mostly), and I wonder how I ever got anything done when I wasn't. And mind you, I was pretty good (which is to say, bad) about subsuming my personal life into my work life.

Anyway, the time just keeps getting away from me.

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Sunday Geek Comics Preview

A sneak peek at two geek-oriented comics in tomorrow's Sunday funnies, which gets delivered early. (See, there are some advantages to subscribing to a print newspaper.)

First, Bill Amend's Foxtrot takes on four staples of the current geek canon, hitting Penny Arcade, Player vs. Player, XKCD, and Joy of Tech:

I'm three for four, in that I don't read PvP

Next, Stephan Pastis deflates the self-importance of bloggers (again) in Pearls Before Swine:

The wide-eyed Rat is the best part.

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Microblogging Is a Mistake (By About Five Orders of Magnitude)

Microblogging, as exemplified by an individual Twitter entry, is 140 characters.

"Micro-" is the SI prefix for "millionth," so it logically follows that a regular blog entry would be a million times bigger, or 140,000,000 characters. (If nothing else, blogging is a completely logical behavior that is characterized by its rigorous adherence to strict scientific standards, is it not?)

At 5 characters per word, that's 28,000,000 words. Or about 280 novels.

Of course, no blogs begin to even approach this word count (some merely feel as if they do). So a renaming is in order.

If Microblogging Is Wrong, I Don't Want to Be Right

By one study, the bulk of blog entries are under 249 words.

Eyeballing my last few entries and using the quick-and-dirty Google Docs word count, my own entries are a little wordier than average (go figure) -- tending towards 500 words per entry, so call it 2,500 characters. Heck, I'm lazy -- call it 2,800 characters (it makes the math easier).

If a standard blog entry is 2,800 characters, 140 character-blogging (so-called "microblogging") is only 5% of that. Which would put the proper name for this kind of blogging in the realm of "deciblogging."

Meaning that the term microblogging is a misnomer by a factor of, oh, 100,000.

Now, since I just push words around, I know that I probably committed math abuse in there somewhere. And I'm okay with that. Since it would still be far less facepalm-worthy than this honey of a math error that I found in a Yahoo! UK & Ireland Answers response to the question, "How many words in a basic adults book?" that I came across as I was writing this:


Vici says, "i wondered this the other day so i counted a page full of words and times it by the number of pages

the answer came to twenty thousand

that means with every 5 books i read i read a million words i think that is amazing myself."
Yes, vici, I'm sure you do.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

It's an RSS Feed, Not a Calendar, Dammit

I'm in the process of cleaning up my feedreader (currently NetNewsWire), which is wildly disorganized and bloated with redundancy right now.

Now, others have noted why it's a good idea for you to subscribe to your own blog's feed, primarily so you can spot technical problems. For example, in the Small Wars Journal feed some of the longer entries lose line breaks in NetNewsWire -- see "The Problems With Afghan Army Doctrine" -- it's one big mass of text.

(Actually, "full-content feeds with line breaks removed" could be a middle ground between offering full-content feeds and summary-only feeds: It lets you see all the content, but it's basically unreadable unless you click through to the main article.)

For another example, I'm going to call out my friend Susie Felber, whose RSS feed looks like this:
Feb-head, I think you need to tweak your Blogger template a little bit -- you're not populating the TITLE field of your entries. (I, of course, know to read all of your entries since you're such an interesting person. But others might not.)

The other reason to check your RSS feeds is editorial: It tells you when your entry titles are not useful.

For example, here are the recent feed item titles for My Damn Channel (home of You Suck at Photoshop):
I realize that they're announcing new video clips, but that's not an RSS feed -- that's a calendar.

Now of course, sometimes you don't need a super-descriptive title -- you just want to announce that new content is up -- for example, for the Dilbert Daily Strip, "Comic for June 18, 2008" is fine. (Especially for a comic with serial storylines. Though I think that a descriptive name never hurts - look at XKCD's feed.)

Other times, you're announcing a new content update, but one that features a lot of different components, like the DC Blogs Noted and Postsecret feeds, where you might not be able to list out everything in the title.

Where practical, I like to do at least a taste of the content -- you start out with the name of the regular feature, followed by a sample of what's included (a la Things That Are Upcoming: Blog Potomac, Puppini Sisters and More).

The Morning News's feed does a mixed model, where the generically-named feed items ("17 June 2008: Morning") are just a mass of links, but where their original stories do have descriptive titles. (I don't find the "mass of links" model particularly useful -- I might break those kinds of things out into a separate links feed, a la Waxy.org Links, so you don't drown out the original stuff.)

Anyway, this isn't an SEO-entry or anything -- just to say that good titles are good titles, whether they show up in a browser window or as a line in an RSS reader. So check out your own stuff, so you can see it as others see it.

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Blogging My Way to Shamrockfest

I'd slept on getting tickets to this year's Shamrockfest, which is this Saturday. I had a line on some passes, though that fell through (procrastination on my part). So I was preparing to buy them online, either by going to the site and eating the Ticketbastard fees, or by trolling through DC Craigslist (neither of which I was looking forward to).

Then I got an e-mail. It was from the local PR agency that's doing publicity for the 'fest, offering media credentials to various DC bloggers and media types to cover the event.

At first, I was annoyed --when you do PR outreach e-mails, you're not supposed to blast out uncustomized boilerplate (especially if you're trying to reach bloggers, who are a notoriously touchy bunch), and you're especially not supposed to forget to use BCC (though it was somewhat gratifying to see my name on a list that included the City Desk, DCist, MetBlogs, and a bunch of individual blogs with a far greater readership than my own).

Presumably, someone had done a Technorati or other blog search and saw my Shamrockfest blog entry from last year (though I note that I know of several other DC bloggers who also blogged it last year but didn't make the cut, at least in this e-mail).

Anyway, I admit it -- I'm a cheap date. It's not a SXSW junket or anything, but I was going to go and most likely do a recap entry, anyway, so what the heck. You got me -- call this a full disclosure. Media creds, here I come.

Now, I'm probably not going to try to finagle backstage access to interview talent -- it's not my beat (kids today with their crazy music). I haven't yet seen anyone blogging about going on a media pass (or maybe I'm the only person gauche enough to mention it), but if you're a blogger interested in getting media creds of your own, you'll probably want to check out this entry: Shamrockfest -- Calling All Bloggers.

Maybe there is something to this blogging thing, after all.

Unfortunately, the weather for Saturday is looking a little dodgy -- cold, dreary, and at the very least, moist.

What's more, most of the authentic Irish-from-Ireland crowd are probably going to be occupied with the rugby triple-header (including the England vs. Ireland match -- always a crowd-pleaser).

But then, what do the real Irish know about St. Patrick's Day in America, anyway?

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Friday, February 29, 2008

An Unexpected Blog Makeover

For a while now, I've been using a modified Snapshot Sable template; in addition to the usual sidebar tweaking, I'd also widened the main content column so it could take 500px wide photos (the Flickr medium size) and customized the header images.

Sometime overnight, one of the external CSS files changed. Or something. It ended up disappearing my text. So this afternoon, I did an emergency template switch -- I'm now using TicTac Blue with similar modifications, just as a stopgap measure. Though there are still a few problems with the layout that I need to adjust.

The reason why it's a stopgap measure is that I need to move to a new platform. I've pretty much hit the wall with Blogger. Plus, it doesn't help that my category pages are a mess -- the "dumb things" and "photos" pages are frickin' huge, since they're just one big page.

Plus, I want to add in a few new features, like private posts on a per-post basis. I also need to create a separate blog for the social media and community stuff -- it's getting too messy keeping everything together. So that means Wordpress.

Anyway, that's the plan. I've mentioned it before, but I really need to get it done. I just need to make sure I can migrate all my content and retain the URLs (I've bookmarked the appropriate articles), since I don't want to lose my superior search rankings for, say, the people looking for Reston strip clubs, who think "virginia" is a portion of the female anatomy, Asians trying to fight the flush, and the rest.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

BoingBoing Without Cory Doctorow: Sucks More, or Sucks Less?

Cory Doctorow is a polarizing figure. He's obviously popular and well-known, but lots of people really, really dislike him. (Though he seems to have outlasted many of his detractors.)

Part of the reason why is that he's so prolific. (He's also Canadian and a science fiction writer, though you can't really hold that, or any social maladjustment stemming from that, against him.)

What's more, he stands upon a very big soapbox and he knows it. Though he doesn't appear to play to his audience: Even if he didn't have any readers, he would probably still write about the same idiosyncratic, self-indulgent crap he does now. So I would call him uncompromising in that respect.

Similarly, he's a foaming, humorless zealot on many issues, and he's an inveterate self-promoter. So he's definitely in that "love him, hate him, or love to hate him" category.

In fact, he's kind of like Howard Stern.

I also think most of the Cory Doctorow hatred comes from unalloyed jealousy -- given the chance, who wouldn't love to have a loyal following of millions of eyeballs on which to inflict whatever inane blog musings they could come up with?

(Attention is kind of like the One Ring: "Sure, those other guys were corrupted by all that power... but if I had it, I could do some really cool things.")

Personally, I find his schtick annoying -- in his BoingBoing role, you could gin up a Random Cory Doctorow Post Generator, and I'm pretty sure it would pass the Turing Test (in that it would be indistinguishable from the human).

Notable in His Absence

Anyway, Cory Doctorow is on paternity leave right now, which means BoingBoing is free of his usual flood of posts about knee-jerk anti-DRM/copyright absolutism, steampunk, Canadia, his latest book translation or XKCD mention of him, Disney-fanboyism, etc.

Oddly, to those of us who thought BoingBoing might suck less in his absence, the exact opposite has occurred: BoingBoing seems to suck more now.

Partly, it's due to the sheer decline in output. I haven't bothered to crunch the numbers, but the daily post count looks to be about 5-8 posts lower than before he went on his paternity hiatus.

However, volume alone doesn't explain it. My theory: In his absence, it's clear that the role of Cory Doctorow and his inane posts at BoingBoing is to make everyone else's posts look better by comparison.

I'm not sure what conclusion to draw from this.

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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Social Media Minute: Schneier MIA from TSA and More

Two items from today's topic slushpile:
  • GovBlogging at the TSA: Saw in Wired's Threat Level this morning that the Transportation Security Agency now has a blog: Evolution of Security. (The story has since been picked up at BoingBoing.)

    Taking a quick look:

    - Platform: I was surprised to see that they're using Blogger (presumably, too many foreign ownership issues with LiveJournal). Since the blog is hosted on TSA servers, they won't have the full set of Blogger widgets and features (this is the problem I'm facing), though if it meets their needs, that's fine.

    - Comments: They're moderating comments (see their comment policy), though allowing anonymous comments. I don't see anonymous comments lasting too long (unless they're hoping to encourage participation from TSA whistleblowers -- shyeah), in which case the installed Blogger user base and Google account and OpenID support for commenters is nice.

    - Naming Names: I'm not thrilled by the lack of full names on their Meet Our Bloggers page (and they seem to be missing some folks) -- at the very least, there should be the editor's full name (presumable this Neil guy -- he seems most active).

    After the fake FEMA press conference debacle, this type of government transparency is kind of important.

    - Hey, Where'd Bruce Schneier Go? Well, this is new. I'm positive they had a link to security guru Bruce Schneier's blog in the sidebar (among others), but it's not there anymore. I was about to give them a brownie point for that -- I wonder when and why they removed it.

    As to the impact of the blog as a whole? Openness and dialog are great, but the true test of the matter is the ability to redress problems and affect change. Just as with a corporate blog, you can only apologize so many times without actually fixing things before it hollows out your message.

  • Social Media in Ethnic Conflicts: Christian Science Monitor talks about the impact of cellphones and the Internet on the coverage of the ethnic conflict in Kenya.

    A lot of the unalloyed social media utopians only look at the positive benefits of social communication, and I think many still think that the Internet has a self-correcting bias towards objective truths.

    I think that's crap -- when all we had was word-of-mouth, there was plenty of room for rumor, hysteria, panic, and mob madness. Social media doesn't change that, and we shouldn't forget the ability of media, both citizen and old-school, to inflame passions, spread misinformation, disinformation and propaganda, and be manipulated by interested groups.

    Plus, any given online community normally faces issues with drama, trolls, and flamewars -- throw in factors like ethnic discord and a possibility (or even propensity) for violence, and you can see how online behaviors can influence offline behaviors (and vice versa).

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Monday, January 28, 2008

You, With the Blog: You Are Irrelevant. Also, Mahalo Multiprofiles and More

Surefire way to get buckets of virtual ink -- tell bloggers that they aren't worth the bother, just like Target did, following that silly little dust-up about the ad photo with the broad's crotch in the bulls-eye. (Oh, noes! The center of a splayed human figure is the naval/crotchal area! Why didn't someone tell us this before?! )

Of course, this is not to say that Target isn't being stupid and shortsighted here in its broad-brushed dismissal (almost typed "dismal," heh) of blogs. They are, and I sense a upcoming press release with a new social engagement strategy. But I always get amused at the self-interested, self-important, navel-gazing, breast-beating of the PR-o-sphere when someone does not chug the entire tub of social media kool aid. (Note: Other than a quick peek at TechMeme, I am just making assumptions based on past behaviors. Actual breast-beating content may vary.)

Can we fast-forward to social media as a mature technology already, so people can focus on doing stuff, instead of hearing people talk about it?

Actually, most people are already focusing on doing stuff, even if it's just adding annoying blinky sparkly things to their MySpace pages, so I wonder just who it is that the influencers are influencing.

Mahalo Social Multiprofiles: Possibly Un-useless?

Spiritually related to my previous post seeking a social profile status aggregator (at Greggie's suggestion, I'm trying TwitterSync, which addresses two of the bigger parts of the problem -- Facebook and Twitter), Jason Calacanis posts today about multiprofiles in Mahalo Social, which tries to aggregate the viewing and management of your many and evermultiplying social profiles and pages using proven Web 2.0 HTML 3.x technology: Frames.

Now, there are already profile mashup services out there -- I have a profile on Profilactic that pulls from my blog RSS, Flickr, and a few other sources. But this is a technology I can really understand. None of this mashed-up, APIed, Open this or that. Just... Frames. It's simple enough that it may actually work (barring any frame-breakout stuff, but what I've seen seems to work) -- I will have to give it a try.

(Also, I see that the blog's comments, which require an e-mail validation, appear to publish a placeholder comment ["An e-mail has been sent to confirm your e-mail address. Click on the link within the e-mail to activate your comment!"] to the comment thread, instead of just relying on a confirmation message. That's actually pretty clever, as a very visible way to get people to realize that they need to do one more thing -- it was a problem I saw in the AIM Social Media Blog, which was also powered by Blogsmith, but didn't have that feature at that time. Edit: Hrm, it may be an artifact created by wiseacre or idiot commenters -- I can't tell. It would still be a useful prompt if you require e-mail validation.)

Another Bloggy Bit

Brief blog bit in passing -- I cruise by the About.com DC page as part of my local links, mostly out of habit. I can't remember the last time I heard anyone talk about them, but their continued existence speaks to... continued existence.

Anyway, the DC page seems to be bloggier than it was before. I'm not sure if it's a recently updated design or something that's been around for a while that I never noticed. I didn't see any notes of it in the sparse comments or forum posts, so I will ping the maintainer, just to see if I am losing what remains of my mind.

Enough of all that Cal

Anyway, now, I should go deposit my final severance check (which is probably the most fruitful thing I will do all day), buy a vernier caliper, and get a cup of coffee. Then, bowling, which means I will miss Social Matchbox, though bowling in this league is another form of networking (no shit).

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Restating the Obvious: Link Your Relevant Blog Entries From Your Photos

Man, that last entry was just terrible. Didn't say anything and still managed to be horribly long.

Here's a much more pithy observation: Lots of times, I drop any pretense towards the photo community features and just use Flickr as a glorified photo hosting service. No shame in that -- it's good as a straight up photo host.

Since the embedded photo links to its Flickr page (as per Flickr community guidelines), it's easy for people to click through from the blog to see my other crappy photos.

For the people on the Flickr side, I usually include a hyperlink in the photo's description ("for a blog entry") that links back to the relevant blog entry.

Doing a Flickr-wide search on the phrase "blog entry" shows lots of folks doing the same thing. However, a distressing number of people just say the photo is for a blog entry, and don't link to the actual entry, which is the worst kind of tease.

(If I'm using a bunch of photos from one set in a particular entry, I may just link to the entry from the set's description page, which is admittedly lazy. Or I might forget entirely. "Do as I say..." and all that.)

Granted, the traffic you drive to your blog from your photos may only be marginal and incremental. Still, you should do it because:
  1. It's symmetrical.
  2. It's useful.
  3. It shows that you care about what you've done and the theoretical people who are seeing it.
I should probably go back and check my photos now to make sure I've done this. Though it'll probably take a back seat to some major re-engineering I have to do to this blog.

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

Talking Myself Out of a Job: The Beg, Borrow, and Steal Model for Corporate Blogging

TVNewser reports that CBS has flatlined its Public Eye blog (via Silicon Alley Insider).

I was not a regular (or even sporadic) reader of the blog -- it had launched in the summer of 2005, and I first saw it at the October 2005 BlogOn conference.

At the time, I opined in my then-work blog that I didn't think that Gil Schwartz, CBS EVP for Communication, really "got" bloggers and blogging (though I note that he started blogging in 2007 for his Stanley Bing persona, so maybe he came around).

Trapped in the Cost Center Ghetto?
Now, the Public Eye blog was originally created to bring transparency to their editorial operations (largely in response to the 2004's "Rathergate").

However, the report quotes a spokesperson who says it was shuttered because they weren't able to find a "sustainable business model" for it.

This is the problem for corporate blogging -- how do you justify the costs (however low -- and they ain't necessarily low)? How do you measure blog success, where, unless you're building a mass audience (and you're not), you're just another cost center?

One conceit of bloggers is that our influence is profound, yet can't always be adequately captured by quantitative metrics like pageviews, comments, linkbacks, citations, pagerank, uniques, time spent, repeat visits, and ad impressions.

(This is especially true when those metrics aren't very good.)

I've faced that particular problem, myself, and I don't have a good answer for it. For example, if you publicly answer someone's technical problem, will it be reflected in a tangible way -- reduction in call volume on that issue, resulting in X dollar savings? It's hard to say.

It's even worse when you're talking about anything that's not tied to a fixed point (everything that's not like those defining moments in the PR-blogging talking point-o-sphere -- the Kryptonite lock-opening and iPod nonreplaceable battery examples).

That's when you start dipping in to the weasel glossary for terms like goodwill, branding/positioning, mindshare, and engagement. (Back at AOL before they ditched the paid-subscription model, the equivalent phrase was "helps retention." I used it many, many times.)

Accepting the "Beg, Borrow, and Steal" Model for Corporate Blogging

Lets stick with the assumption that corporate blogging is still valuable (and not just to the corporate blogger). How do you justify this to the bean counters?

I don't think you can, and unless you can co-opt the PR or communications budget, I suspect that the answer lies in explicitly laying out what people are already doing -- for corporate blogs that are not primarily created as revenue-generating destinations (adjunct blogs, or product support blogs that add personality or "behind the scenes" flavor):
If the blog goals are "softer", the costs have to be minimal -- relying on the efforts of non-dedicated staff who are essentially moonlighting, and leveraging the existing infrastructure for things like design, hosting, moderation, etc.
Does this means more work for no pay? Pretty much, unfortunately: Take solace in the fact that, if you're any good at it, you do get to exploit the corporate brand to build your personal brand, which is not for nothing.

(I also note without irony that I would have essentially talked myself out of a job, which I figure is close to what happened. Though I would have tried to justify being in the "infrastructure" bit of things.)

Now, for destination blogs, where you're trying to build a mass audience (even a "mass niche audience") around an interest or whatever, you can and should devote dedicated resources to support them, so long as the return warrants. Though there has to be a rigorous and ruthless eye when it comes to costs and benefits (see the recent Gawker Media pay adjustments).

Of course, given the questionable, ponzi-like nature of the online advertising game, we'll see how long that model lasts.

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Insidious Spread of Summary View

Is it just me, or are more blogs suddenly switching to the "summary view" (a.k.a. "more after the jump") main page display?

DCist, with the rest of the -ist network, switched over this week to a multiple-choice main page template, which defaults to Summary view (a la Metroblogging DC), which shows you the full entry (that is, barring any manually-inserted "continued" links) for the first couple of entries, then a short summary that forces you to a continued link, no matter how short the entry is.

At least they offer you a preference for "Full" view, which gives you complete entries (well, at least the portion before any manually created "continue" links), though the preference doesn't stick for me:


Like I said in my work blog back in July, I don't like the "More after the jump" construction, except for very limited cases (really long entries, spoilers, NSFW content, or pic or Flash-heavy entries). In most cases, it looks like people (and when I say people, I mean blog networks) who are trying to squeeze out an extra pageview by forcing you to click through.

There is the problem, of course, of long pages and big, empty sidebar gutters, but I think this is a problem that troubles designers more than real people. I, for one, would rather scroll a bit more than have to keep clicking. And clicking. And clicking.

Additionally, if you're going to force a truncated view of the main page entries, you could at least show more of them than you would in a flat view. Otherwise, what's the point?

It looks like Silicon Alley Insider is taking a similar tack, except they seem to be taking a giant step backwards -- they've taken the blog and made it look like an old-fashioned Web page:


The center column content, which is the main content, is all blog entries from the same blog, but they're only showing 3-line summaries, again forcing you to click through to the article. Though I think the impetus here isn't necessarily trying to squeeze out another pageview -- it's more so they can make room to cram more crap onto the page. But in doing so, they've managed to remove any of the, you know, useful bits from the page.

Anyway, boo.

(Now has anyone seen my Technorati multiple tag entry box for Greasemonkey? I've lost it and I can't seem to replace it. That's annoying.)


Saturday, December 01, 2007

NaBloPoMo Is No Mo'

This year's official edition of National Blog Posting Month is done with -- I successfully completed the quota, and while I didn't resort to any filler posts (well, maybe just one), I didn't tackle most of the more substantive entries I've been percolating on.

I do appreciate the imposed deadline, even if it was just as simple as "one a day." I usually work better with deadlines, even arbitrary ones. But it'll be good to not worry about it for a while.

I do want to do keep to at least 5 substantive entries a week. And by substantive, I mean that right now, I have probably two dozen draft Blogger entries, ranging from hot drafts that just need a litle further refinement, to rapidly cooling ones that will age out and go to the bottom of the pile until a new current event hook comes by to make them relevant again.

I also still have to process my NYC pics from last week, answer a meme I was tagged for, and recategorize my blog and pick a new template for it. (As well as deal with, you know, real life.)

The re-doing of the blog categories is a lot more complicated than I thought it would be, which is why I keep putting it off. It's a challenge that's partly taxonomic, partly aspirational. I'll will try talking it out a little bit more in the blog.


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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bloggers Need Free Photos Cuz They Ain't Making Any Money

Two bloggy items -- first, somehow, I don't think this is gonna work: Corbis offers bloggers free photos, with ads:
"The photos will either include an ad overlay on part of the image, or embedded advertising that pops up when a Web user runs a cursor over the picture."
An example, based on what's at the PicApp blog.

Okay, say I really, really, really need a piece of stock art that I can't get anywhere else, and I'll put up with an embedded ad. What powers Corbis' embedded advertising? Flash. Yes, why embed a mere photo in your page, when you can have a Flash widget that looks like a photo, but also serves up a text ad?

Look, unlike some steal anything/share everything folks, I do believe in some theoretical way for content creators to maintain some level of control over their content or even get paid for the use of it (even if I Creative Commons license most of my own photos). But this is just crap.

Good luck with that, Corbis.

Oh, and they also mention potential revenue share, based on clicks to the photo. That leads to item #2...

...from Read/WriteWeb, There's No Money In The Long Tail of the Blogosphere, which smacks down some of the Web 2.0 long-tail sloganeering and says that, while long-tail content aggregation companies may be able to make money, don't expect long-tail content providers (regular folk) to do so. In other words:

"You can make money on the long tail but not in the long tail."

Sounds about right. Hey, apparently (well, according to a throwaway line in Heinlein's The Rolling Stones) the fortunes to be made during the California Gold Rush didn't come from the gold-rushing prospectors, but rather to the merchants who provided products and services to them.

And for all those get-rich-quick bloggers -- unless you find a niche (and you're a first-mover, at that), don't expect to make any money. (I used to cover my hosting nut with Google Adsense ads -- mostly from clicks on my platonic friends pages -- though that hasn't happened for a while.)

But wait -- aren't we in this for ourselves? At the very minimum, aren't we participating in the broader sphere o' blogs, staking out a spot in the global communication? Sure we are. But blogging is time and time is money. I barely pulled a C in econ, but that sounds like an opportunity cost to me -- if I spend 10, 20, or whatever hours a week blogging, when I could be using that time to earn money, at what point does it stop making economic sense to blog (or at least to cut back)? How much is ego-stroking or a creative outlet worth?


I'm Laughing, But I'm Really Crying Inside

Another blog-focused Pearls Before Swine today:

Rat tells Goat why he likes blogs.

Bonus, via lots of places: Entire Blogosphere Stunned By Blogger's Special Weekend Post.

In other news, I'm doing laundry and listening to the oldies station (to be fair, "oldies" ain't what it used to be -- it's just classic rock).

If I get ambitious, I may reorganize my linen closet, which is demonstrating severe entropic decay.

I did have a meeting over coffee this morning, though, so all is not lost.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Cool Toys and No Bloodshed at the Washington Blogger and OLPC News Meetup

Despite images of violence, Wednesday's mashup of the Washington Blogger Meetup and DC OLPC News contingent went off well. The OLPC guys had the advantage, since they obviously had cooler toys:

Ross Karchner plays with the OLPC X0-1
Ross Karchner plays with the OLPC XO1. Leon is behind him.

Ross also posted an entry using an ASUS Eee PC, which is a basically a palmtop -- it's slightly bigger than, say, a graphing calculator.

Two OLPC X01s laptops, no child.

DC Metblogs' Wayan and DCist's much-reviled (so he says) Aaron Morrissey.

Wayan also gave me tips on how to be unemployed.

I think the meetup benefited from the cross-pollination. Since the purely social/drunken aspects of the DC blogging events are pretty well-covered by the various happy hours, I'm trying to think of ways to differentiate the midweek meetups, make them more attractive to bloggers and potential bloggers by focusing more on mechanics and making them a bit more utilitarian.

I'm talking about things like making them a more hands-on, how-to, workshoppy, best-practices, bring your laptop, potentially-boring-except-there's-beer kind of thing. Not sure yet.

Maybe I'm taking that "Marketing Department" label too seriously.


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Sunday, November 11, 2007

I Need to Post More While Drunk

The original title of this entry was "Pho: It's what was for dinner," but it wasn't notable in any way (other than the pho was good, and certainly did hit the spot on a November evening), and I probably hate writing filler posts more than most people hate reading them.

I'm under self-imposed time pressure -- got to get my NaBloPoMo entry for today in while it's still "Sunday" (in GMT, that is).

Looking through my entries, I notice that I'm still basically on a one-post-per-day schedule, even though I should have time to do a whole lot more blogging.

I'm not lacking for things to write about -- my slushpile of content topics (that I imported from my work del.icio.us account) is still fit to burst, and I have a whole bunch of draft entries fermenting elsewhere. So what is it?

Partly laziness; part poor time management; part a lingering self-consciousness of the live feed. But mostly, I think it's a carryover from my corporate blogging, which in turn was driven a lot by my own natural introvert-tendencies. There are plenty of things that I don't talk about (dating), and I do a lot of filtering, a lot of editing.

Filtering and editing is good for corporate bloggers, and is generally good. In general. But when it gets beyond wordsmithing and craft and turns into procrastination and pre-emption -- that's when the perfect is the enemy of the good.

Anyway, that's where the drunken posting comes in. Not sloppy drunken, regret-the-next day posting -- just enough to lubricate the synapses and loosen the typing fingers. I find that it's a good way to get past myself sometimes.

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Wasn't I Was Supposed to Be Doing This, Anyway?

Saw on The Felb's blog that November is NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month). All you have to do is post a blog entry a day -- I think I should be able to handle that.

I have a bunch of entries pending on matters both small and small, so quantity shouldn't be a problem, anyway.

The only potential snags involve uploading photos and also reworking the blog template.

Yesterday afternoon, I did end up going to Great Falls -- it was a nice day. I was stalked by deer. There were kayakers. It'll take me a while to work through the photos (125 of them). Then, thanks to a heads up from Jamy, I went to see Shaun of the Dead at Arlington Cinema Drafthouse, then hung out at Galaxy Hut for a while.

Off to Sweetwater now for a post-layoff reunion.


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Thursday, September 06, 2007

On the Plus Side, It'll Keep the Office Gossips Wondering

Can you imagine? You're in Investor Relations or whatever and you go check out your company's profile on Google Finance:


...and in the related Blog Posts, up comes some random idiot blogger's entry about one of your approximately 3,829 employees (or at least, someone using the office network) who got a piece of a condom stuck in her cooch a very private area (and who can't even spell "vagina" correctly, at that):

gw.insightns.com (Insight Communications Company L.p)
Kentucky, Louisville, United States, 0 returning visits
Date Time WebPage
5th September 200712:51:23finance.google.com/finance?cid=8460311

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Friday, July 06, 2007

This Makes Me Nervous, Curious and Furious

According to Statcounter, I normally don't get more than 200 pageviews a day here (and truthfully, it's usually closer to the 100 side of things).

I don't mind at all -- the only metric I really care about is my Returning Visitors number (since it presumably represents people I know in some way). As long as my Unique Visitors count is close to my pageviews count, I'm happy.

(I realize I'm not going to get a lot of repeat visits or extra pageviews from people who actually think certain words are spelled "felatio" or "vaginia" -- nor do I want them. And I feel better about my various one-off entries when people find the useful info they searched for, like how to beat the Asian flush. They come in, they find what they need, they leave.)

However, occasionally, I'll see my pageviews jump far out ahead of my uniques. Then I'll drill down and see stuff like the following last month, which makes me nervous, curious and furious:

magnify this user ip[redacted].dc.dc.cox.net (Cox Communications) [Label IP Address]

Virginia, Fairfax, United States, 0 returning visits

Date Time WebPage
5th June 200715:59:41www.joelogon.com/blog/2006_09_01_foo.html
5th June 200716:20:44www.joelogon.com/blog/2006_09_01_foo.html
5th June 200716:21:53www.joelogon.com/blog/2006_11_01_foo.html
5th June 200716:23:10www.joelogon.com/blog/2006_10_01_foo.html
5th June 200716:44:20www.joelogon.com/blog/2006_11_01_foo.html
5th June 200716:56:07www.joelogon.com/blog/2006_11_01_foo.html
5th June 200716:59:33www.joelogon.com/blog/2006_12_01_foo.html
5th June 200717:03:35www.joelogon.com/blog/2006_12_01_foo.html
5th June 200717:11:30www.joelogon.com/blog/2006_12_01_foo.html
5th June 200717:12:37www.joelogon.com/blog/2007_01_01_foo.html
5th June 200717:15:19www.joelogon.com/blog/2007_01_01_foo.html
5th June 200717:20:43www.joelogon.com/blog/2007_02_01_foo.html
5th June 200717:21:45www.joelogon.com/blog/2007_01_01_foo.html
5th June 200717:24:31www.joelogon.com/blog/2007_02_01_foo.html
5th June 200717:33:45www.joelogon.com/blog/2007_03_01_foo.html
5th June 200717:35:17www.joelogon.com/blog/2007_03_01_foo.html
5th June 200717:37:08www.joelogon.com/blog/2007_03_01_foo.html
5th June 200717:48:45www.joelogon.com/blog/2007_02_01_foo.html
5th June 200717:49:49www.joelogon.com/blog/2007_03_01_foo.html
5th June 200717:51:40www.joelogon.com/blog/2007_03_01_foo.html
5th June 200717:55:11www.joelogon.com/blog/2007_03_01_foo.html
5th June 200717:56:11www.joelogon.com/blog/2007_04_01_foo.html

I get nervous because I wonder -- Is someone hoovering up my content to republish somewhere else? Or am I getting stalked -- is there a dossier getting filled up periodically?

Then I get curious -- is it a person, or some kind of bot? What kind of person would just click from monthly archive page to monthly archive page from 4pm, to just before 6pm?

And for the longer gaps -- was this person really reading from 15:59 to 16:20, or were they getting up to go to the kitchen, or taking a bathroom break in the middle?

Finally, I get furious -- What the fuck was wrong with March 2007? That month had a lot of really good entries in it! Here I am, turning phrases, crafting words and putting in pictures and taking a lot of time and pride in my work, and you, you piece of shit, you bitch/son-of-a-bitch -- you spent 64 fucking seconds on it!

Okay, I'm calm. I'm calm. I take another look and see that
you're doing something that makes you look like you're jumping back and forth between certain months, like March and April 2007 (which really were both pretty good blog months), so you probably did spend more time in those months. So I have no idea who you are or what you're doing, but at least you didn't just skim past.

I'm calm.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Followup on Wonkette and Burning Blog Bridges

So, following up on my entry this week about how Wonkette was sponging off the DC Blogs Noted feature (without attribution), I see that the most recent Wonkette Metro Section entries are no longer cribbing exclusively from DC Blogs; I see they're also hoovering from DCist and Washington DC Craigslist.

I also note that Big Head DC took pains to mention my AOL affiliation (and that if anyone mistakes me for an "Internet guru", it's an indicator that they're paying attention to what Wayan has to say).

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Wonkette Editors Are Shameless and Lazy. But We Knew That

I guess I'm the last person to notice, but there's a been high correlation lately between the blog picks that show up in DC Blogs Noted and Wonkette's Metro Section.

In fact, they've been just about identical. (Ah, but pity the poor souls who are featured on DC Blogs, but don't make the Wonk-cut. I just made that up. I'm so clever.)

I'd first noticed this on the 15th -- Wonkette and DC Blogs are just a few tabs apart in my Local folder, and 4 of the 5 featured blogs were the same. I had a moment of deja vu before I figured it out.

On the off chance that it was some sort of baroque, creditless content swapping deal, I'd asked the DC Blogs folks about this -- Pat wrote back that they'd noticed Wonkette was using the same picks, but that they didn't care and that it just drove more eyeballs to the featured blogs. Win-win-win.

It's pretty obvious that Wonkette and others watch the live feed (which is what it's there for), but cribbing from the editorially-chosen selections of DC Blogs Noted, without giving credit, is a cheeseball move.

I know I shouldn't look gift pageviews in the mouth (DC Blogs listed my 9/11 Raisin Bran entry, which was then mentioned in Wonkette, tripling my usual pageviews and validating my heretofore worthless existence), but I hate to see Pat and the rest of the DC Blogs crew not get the credit they deserve for the work that they've done.

Of course, I would hate it more if the Wonkette folks bagged the live feed and picks out of spite.

So, I'll just take my Junior G-Man badge:

Vincent Hanna says: "Well, I am over-fuckin'-whelmed. What do you want for that, a Junior G-Man badge?"

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Undoing the Damage Done: Blogger's Labels vs. Technorati Tags

I've been untangling 6 months worth of stupidness with my blog categories (Blogger insists on calling categories "labels," which in my mind is only outstupided by Salon's insistence on calling comments "letters").

Ever since I switched over to the Blogger beta, I've been trying to figure out the best way to combine the functions of externally-oriented tagging (tagging content so others can find it, primarily through Technorati searches), with internally-oriented tagging (tagging or "labeling" to have discrete categories to organize my posts).

For a while, I tried to do both (the categorization via labels and the tagging through the Greasemonkey Technorati Tagging Script), but having two sets of tags/labels was ugly and inelegant. So I decided to stick strictly to the labels.

Boy, was that a disaster.

What I failed to fully realize is that Blogger creates an aggregator page for each one of your categories/labels. So when I started using labels for single-use, one-off tags ("stupid html jokes" or "hot and ugly"), I was also creating useless aggregator pages with lone entries.

This created a whole bunch of unnecessary pages, which greatly increased the number of pages that need to be updated whenever I posted or edited an entry.

In addition, it basically made the categories useless as categories.

So after an initial cleanup this weekend, I was left with 261 categories... and 218 of them had only one entry. (And of course, editing old entries pushes them back up into the DC Blogs feed, in case any feed watchers wonder why 6-month old entries keep popping up.)

Now, I'm down to about 80 categories -- the number will drop a little more as I do some final cuts, then rise again as I start categorizing old posts and making new ones, but keeping it under 100 should be manageable -- as long as I can apply a little self-discipline.

Yeah, that's another trainwreck in the making.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Dumbness Comes in Threes

Here are three bits of current dumbness:

1. I went to a milblog conference last week. I wrote about it in my work blog. I referred to one of the panelists, Sean Dustman of Doc in the Box, as Sean Preston (the Britney-Spawn) not once, but four times (1 full name reference, 3 last name references).

At least I was consistent.

2. Thanks to Sprint, my still-new cell phone, the superslim Samsung 610 does not let you play mp3s as ringtones (the better to force you to pay for downloads). However, someone on the SprintUsers Web forum found a way to do use MP3s as ringtones, simply by renaming the MP3 file with the .3g2 extension, and playing it as a video ringtone.

However, when I tried it, and during my testing, I found that it worked, but played at an unusably low volume. (So, useless as a ringtone.)

It was only by accident that I discovered that the speaker volume is automatically lowered when the phone is open. It's plenty loud when the phone is open closed.

So, now I've got the 24 CTU ringtone, with the option to use the "Ho! Ho! Ho!" bits of the Sugarhill Gang's Apache or the yodel-y bit of Baltimora's Tarzan Boy (thanks to free audio editing program Audacity)

3. I was looking at some clips from a blog entry about the best long takes in film -- it includes the hospital shootout of John Woo's Hong Kong gangster shoot-em-up flick Hard Boiled, which I own on VHS -- it took me a few minutes to realize that the video clip was from the French-dubbed version.

(With the widespread use of CGI, it's hard to keep a clean list of the best long takes and tracking shots -- there is room for debate, once you start digitally assembling bits of film to look like continuous takes. It's kind of like cheating.)

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

My Blog Month -- What My January Entries Say About Me

I don't have a "who am I/what's this all about" entry, and my profile is pretty bare, so I highlight entries I like in my sidebar.

I was going through my January entries for new links, when I started wondering: What kind of story am I'm telling about myself to someone who only saw my January postings?

Except for stupid sci-fi/HTML jokes, I have a sense of humor (or I think I do).

I chew a lot of gum, and I like flashlights and other types of gadgets, since I have a lot of them on on my keychain.

One of the TV shows I watch is '24', and I've been watching it for a while. I don't go to movies too often (though I have a lot of DVDs), but fancy myself somewhat knowledgeable about film.

I think and write a lot about blogging. I even talk about it, though I need some practice, even if I don't have a Philly accent.

I go out in Arlington pretty regularly, and I talk about my local goings-on (including the state of area strip clubs) and participate in the DC blog scene.

I'm most likely a Duke fan.

I carry my camera around a lot, and I take a lot of photos. Some of them don't even suck.

So that was my January.

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

Are You an Older/Newer or a Newer/Older? (Or, Proof That the Washington Post Leans Left)

While reading the Washington Post's Express blog, I noticed something annoying:

Their Previous/Next navigation is backwards from what I expect:

Express forward/next nav
Previous 10 Posts [older] | Next 10 Posts [newer]

It bugged me until I figured it out.

Now, since timelines usually start with older dates at the left, moving towards newer dates at right, I guess this makes sense.

However, since we read from left to right, having the newest stuff at the "left" side of the timeline is a more natural and more expected behavior for me.

But if you're going to use metaphors, what about paper diaries? The first entry is the earliest entry...

I think because blogs are reverse chronological anyway (their defining characteristic -- the new stuff goes on top), flipping the timeline so the newest stuff is anchored at left has a certain symmetry to it.

Looking at other blogs, say, Engadget, a Weblogs, Inc. blog that uses Blogsmith:

Engadget forward/next nav
Previous Page [newer] | Next Page [older]

Over at GawkerMedia blog Wonkette (are they still on Movable Type?) they do the same thing:

Wonkette forward/next nav
Previous [newer] | Next [older]

And you know, those guys don't agree on anything.

Lastly, looking over at Valleywag, even though they're also GawkerMedia, they're so forward-looking, they can't go back:

Wonkette forward/next nav
Next [older]

Taking the opposite point of view, it looks like Wordpress blogs default to
« Previous Page [older] — Next Page [newer] »

I don't think we Blogspot/Blogger users even get a vote in the standard templates.

Anyway, the « [Older] | [Newer] » folks could bring up browser forward/back navigation, and the « [Newer] | [Older] » side could counter with Top 10 lists (editorial top 10 lists should always start at 10 -- to start at 1 is anticlimactic).

Muddying the waters further, I realized that the Gawker & Weblogs blog networks don't really have calendar-based archives -- Gawker's archive pages go « [Newer] | [Older] » within each month, and Weblogs blogs don't do monthly archives. Obviously, calendaring goes from « [Older] | [Newer] », so that's another one for the ONs (making the other side the NOs?).

So basically, it's a big mess, and someone's always going to be annoyed (even though all we right-thinking folk know it should be « [Newer] | [Older]» )

At the very least, I would say the "Previous" and "Next" labels should be replaced with "Older" and "Newer," to take away any ambiguity and remove the misleading linguistic baggage that the Previous | Next labels carry with them.

In the classic new media "make it a user preference" cop-out-to-avoid-tough-but-ultimately-meaningless UI decisions, just label the links clearly and let the blogger choose. That way, people could use whatever scheme they wanted, readers are happy, and I wouldn't have such a headache.

(Oh, and something else irritating about the Gawker blogs? The "Next" link at the top of the page doesn't do the same thing as the "Next" link at the bottom of the page -- the top page link goes to the next entry, while the bottom page link goes to the next page [with multiple entries])