Jul 31

Listings and blogging

Blogebrity have an anlysis of popularity; looking at the the top 5 on the Technorati lists.

The list phenomenom got some focus in the backchat yesterday. Comments included:

  • The fact the he is popular doesn’t make it more interesting to me
  • I find the super blogs unweilding and terribly boring
  • I personally don’t care who is popular, either I like reading the blog or I don’t
  • I think ultimately, if we give a lot of importance to ratings and top 100 this and that, we’ll lose a lot of energy and time and miss out on what blogs are bringing that is new.

    The general concensus was that the popularity of a blog is ignored when people are looking for things of interest. Search tools allow you to lookfor blogs that are writing about your favourite topics. As Blogebrity says, the most popular blogs are often multi-author, and they write about lots of things. They pull together snippets from all over and they act as a good starting point to find other things. When I started reading blogs, I did start with what are called A-list blogs. they link to a lot of things (and get lots of links back) They are a jumping off point to the rest of the environment, the head of the trail. I got asked the other day how I found a blog; I have no recollection, I followed a trail, read something new that I liked and added it to the list. I’m doing the same from the Blogher listing. Reading the new links, saving the ones that have some resonance. Finding new voices is a joy.

    But lists won’t go away; and they’ll be most easily driven from things that are easily measured – technorati uses incoming links. Other measures get into subjectivity, looking at peoples votes etc. And there’ll always be arguments and dissension whatever the measure.

    Update: 30 seconds after posting this, i read this from Tony, which references Vote-Links, which is looking to add semantic meanings into links.

    Update 2: here’s some more links that discuss listings. Mary Hodder talks about the discussion and about her proposed community algorith to add more context to any popularity stakes (because any listing is some measure of that). She also links to a wiki list that has been created since Blogher, of women of authority who are prepared to talk at conferences.

    Against listings is Halley. She comes down against ‘a’ list – that’s old media but makes this statement which lies closest to my own take onthe matter

    If lists exist to give you a fast way to find other blogs you like, then there should be many many lists — best female blogs, best Spanish language blogs, best food blogs, best blogs on hybrid cars; etc.

    One list won’t do; there’ll always be a matrix of lists. Whilst someone may be top of one person’s list, be a favourite, they could be way down another person’s list, someone who they never, ever wnat to read again. Tastes differ. Trying to find one way of recognising such tastes is futile

  • Jul 31

    Small World

    In the chat yesterday I realised that I’d sent off an email to one of participants, Ethan at The Vision Thing, a few hours beforehand. Then I went and signed up for a dinner in August and realised I had met the rest of the people signed up to date.

    Jul 31

    Blogher Round up

    Yesterday I tuned into the chat for Blogher. It appeared that the majority of people involved were not at the conference, but were keeping track through the live bloggers; we held a sort of parallel discussion, covering such topics as wahy we blog, political blogging and the art (or not) of flaming and how to deal with being flamed. There was only one track for the chat, so in the times where there were multiple sessions, there was a small vote. I only lasted half the day – too much time difference. Two good round ups of the day are from Jay Rosen and from Nancy White. There are many other posts and photos to be found through the normal search engines(the conference blog has the list). Maybe the next time (I’m prety sure there’ll be a next time) I’ll get to go.

    Jul 30


    Many of the posts I’m reading today reference Blogher. There’s a live chat here, plus a list of people who are liveblogging the event here.

    Jul 30

    The Other Side part 2

    On Thursday, I posted about Kryptonite,how there is always another side to the story and how the compnay updated its approach to listening to customers. The chapter of Blogging in a Crisis has since been updaed by Robert and Shel.

    There’s a few more companies that may be able to take some lessons from Kryptonite. The first is Dell. Jeff Jarvis has been having some problems with them, with a complete lack of customer service. But the story is not confined to a few blogs; Rick Segal overheard a lunchtime conversation:

    I happened to be sitting across from a couple of bank tellers from TD Canada Trust, the bank in our building. These two ladies I’d seen before so I knew where they worked.

    Lady one: I was going to buy a new Dell but did you hear about Jeff Jarvis and the absolute hell he is going through with them.

    Lady two: Yeah, I know the IT guy told me that the cobler blog was recommending we stay away from Dell.

    So there we have the story spreading, producing lost sales and bad conversation. Dell is unlikly to get back in their good books without a lot of work. There are lots of comments and opinions agian about Dell not listening, not reacting, not knowing how to relate to customers in these internet-powered days.

    But there’s another side to the easy access to information, to postings being indexed and searchable. Sometimes you find a company is listening to its customers, does not like what it hears and reacts in a way that is not what the blogger wants. Jay Goldman posted a comment a his friend Joey deVilla’s blog regarding a local moving company in Toronto. The comment was a warning about some moving compnaies to avoid, one of which was Quick Boys Moving Storage. It appears that the company involved tracked Joey down and requested with menaces that the comment be removed. After originally removing the comments in order to get some time to reflect, the comments and the whole episode including transcripts of the calls are back online. With some rather interesting comments in the new post. So here we have a company that does listen – but carries on with the same attitude regardless.

    Jul 28

    Blogher shared

    On the subject of gender-focused activities, Blogher takes place this weekend in Santa Clara, CA. For the many who could not make it but may wish to join in, a chat room is being set up to join in the conversation.

    Jul 28

    Digital Rights

    At OpenTech last week, one of the panels I missed was abuot a UK Digital rights Organisation. Out of it came a pledge to set up a UK group, similar to the US based EFF. Suw Charman and Danny O’Brien both write about it today, and the Pledgebank pledge, to donate £5 a month to such an organisation if there are 1000 fellow pledgees. A donation of this size should cover 2 people and an office to ensure that both sides of the story are heard. Only 545 people to go.

    Jul 28


    In Waterstone’s at lunch there’s a display advertising self-published books, with a £50 off voucher plus the opportunity to have your book displayed in Waterstone’s on Oxford Street. Looking at the publishing company’s site, authorhouse, there’s no mention of it at all, despite the voucher pointing you at the site for details . What’s even more frustrating is a complete lack of costing info; there’s no way to work out if the deal is good or not. Is it £50 off a few hundred or a few thousand?

    Jul 28


    Whilst the Big Adcontinues to go global, from a seed of around 20 people to over half a million views in a week, Burger King tries to emulate the success of Subservient Chicken with a new campaign from Crispin Porter + Bogusky about Coq Roq, (www.coqroq.com) a band ‘inspired’ by the Chicken. I love the animation on the gallery, with a hand shuffling all the Poloroid shots, but that is it. (I’d link the page, but being all in flash you can’t – one of the many reasons I hate all in one flash sites). the rest of the site, not nearly as much fun as the Chicken.

    Jul 28

    The Other Side

    Last year, Kryptonite were accused of not listening to their customers or responding in an appropriate way after a story broke about how easy it was to pick one of their locks with a biro. The company have now expanded on what happened from theri side over on Naked Conversations. It drives home again how subjective reporting is, whether on a personal blog, a ‘news’ blog or in main stream media. Very few people can report nothing but the facts without fitering through their own world view.

    In this case, Kryptonite were seen as unresponsive, not with it, ignoring the customer. As Donna Tocci explains, what they were doing was making sure they had something worth telling, a full response to resolve the issue, not a piecemeal reaction which may have ended up with themselves in a worse position. In response to some of the comments here’s Donna’s answer

    “As you mentioned in your chapter, yes, there were lots of meetings and lots of planning before we announced our full plan. Countless. However, please give this a thought – if we didn’t have all of our ducks in a row, announced the plan and then couldn’t follow through with that plan for whatever reason (manufacturing, shipping, software) what would have been good about that? Don’t you think that would have made the issue even worse? We absolutely did.

    So they made sure they had a good, solid plan in place before announcing it – and they have follwed through with it – but this isn’t ‘news’ so the coverage they have got is less.

    A point where I’d agree with you in your chapter is that there wasn’t as much detailed coverage about the lock exchange program in the media or on blogs as there was of the ‘crisis’. Why? Again, with your collective experience, you understand that controversy ‘sells’.

    As a consequence of the situation they found themselves in, Kyrptonite has changed the way they keep an eye on the world and also their plans for dealing with such things again.

    What one person, or a small company, can do it research, before a crisis hits, which is always a time challenge, isn’t it? But now more important than ever! In that research, identify a list of folks to keep informed should a crisis hit – traditional media as well as recognized, credible bloggers. At least that is what we’ve done. Might still not be ‘right’, but we are getting there.

    The process of putting the book together has been very open, allowing companies and individuals to comment and correct where needed, shaping the flow of the story and ensuring that, where possible, alternative views nad perceptions are put forward.

    Whilst Donna takes time to answer such comments, Kyptonite continues its programme of delighting customers:

    We stopped selling all tubular cylinder products immediately, including ones that were not effected. We have replaced hundreds of thousands of locks worldwide, much to the delight of the majority of our customers. Imagine having a 15-20
    year old lock, that you have used regularly, being replaced with a brand new one at no cost to you.

    Jul 28


    Tuesday, I had comfortably set a new record for policemen seen in any one place for me. I counted 22 in my walk across the concourse of Waterloo station and down into the Tube system. Today, that number pales into insignificance. I started off the day with a first – 5 police at the Train Station; it appeared to be 2 pairs and their boss. The boss had the posher hat. Most stops along the way had their own police guarding the platforms. Then at the end of the journey, there were 38 police wondering round in groups, loitering in corners, making their presence felt. Two more were found down on the Tube platform – these were obviously the special ones; not only had they been allowed past the ticket barriers but they were dressed in black (no unfashionable yellow day-glo jackets) and carrying very, very big guns.

    All these man-made troubles at home, but nature continues to out do us all. In India, the current toll is 430 dead from monsoons that managed to dump over 37 inches of water onto an area yesterday. That’s more rain in a day than the UK normally gets in a year.

    Jul 27

    Tag Clouds

    I added a Tag Cloud to this blog on Sunday; for some reason I’m only seeing it today. After trying to get it to work for me, I just left the code inthe template, in the vague hope that it would just start working – and it did. Some weird caching effect somewhere I guess. However, I inputted over 300 feeds – what I think I need to do is break it down into a couple of categories, which will probably get it to make more sense.

    Jul 27

    Search Tool comparison

    Mary Hodder is currently in the middle of a series of pieces exploring the differences in Blog Search Tools. Here’s Part 1 and Part 2. It looks like it’s going to be a 6 part series. A great collection of information about how the various options work (focusing on ,a href=”http://bloglines.com”>Bloglines, Blogpulse, Feedster, Pubsub and Technorati. On keyword search, here’s a summary:

    But the point is, blog search results are similar to web search results, with some additional information presented. The order of the results is different, though, in an attempt to meet most users’ expectations and goals with the information, and more closely match the results with what is interesting about blog information. Google serves what they believe is the most relevant information, based on page rank. Blog search companies give what they see as most relevant, which are results are in reverse chronological order, based upon the idea that the results that will satisfy the most people’s expectations are based on recency.

    It drives home to me the need to understand the tool that are available and then use the right one for the job.

    Jul 26

    Blogging Lists

    Hugh McLeod has gone and created a collaborative space for bloggers to put up, well, just about anything. As he says “This is either a totally great idea or a totally insane idea. Maybe a bit of both etc.”. A brilliant experiment – I’m going to be watching closely to see where it ends up. So go see The HughPage Wiki,

    Jul 26

    New Google Home page

    Google released a new verison of their personalised home page. It was expected (they had feeds before, but not many) but now you can add your own, as well as choosing from their recommeded ones. Nice to see they provide Yahoo and Microsoft feeds as options. For me, still not as flexible page as it may be (you can only add the content to certain positions, but a great add to the service.

    Jul 25

    Blogging and Jobs

    I missed Tom Reynold’s talk on Saturday about Blogging and Keeping your Job; today I see that someone else has lost their job after their online activities got noticed. Nadine Haobsh had an anonymous blog ‘Jolie in NYC’, that gossiped about her job as associate beauty editor at Ladies’ Home Journal. Her first post appears to be July 1, shew was unmasked and fired by July 22. That’s pretty good going by anyone’s standards. Reading her entries, there’s nothing that jumps out as being a trigger for a sacking, but as she says:

    To all you would-be bloggers out there: even if you truly are “just being funny” or “don’t really mean it”, think before you write. And definitely don’t write about your industry: things will absolutely be taken out of context or interpreted incorrectly, and that’s just not fun for anybody.

    In my case, I don’t hide who I am, nor do I hide the blog from colleagues at work. But I read the guidelines very carefully before I started (in a couple of cases made sure that blogs were mentioned for future policies) and tend to avoid work if possible.

    Jul 25

    London Commuting options

    In today’s paper version of the Metro, there are 2 letters from readers that suggest alternative tactics to avoid raising suspicion. The first is a fairly easy one – a girl wearing a huge backpack had put a sign on the reverse – ‘I am going camping’ But that won’t be foolproof, so there is a more radical suggestion – naked commuting; suggested as clothing and bags have beenused to hide things.

    I’m really not sure that will catch on.