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Monday, June 30, 2003

30,000+ Unsolicited Emails Found Not To Be A Trespass

Just about to grab lunch and settle in with the 78-page Intel v. Hamidi (PDF) decision issued by the California Supreme Court today. Coverage:

Sunday, June 29, 2003

Two Words, Twice

Cheddar Triscuit. (As an attorney, I always wrote and snacked. As a pregnant attorney, I've gone pro.)

Doorknob Spam. Where's the National Do Not Hang registry, hmm? (As a citizen, this stuff always annoyed me. As a pregnant citizen, I no longer am responsible for the severe bodily harm to be inflicted on any culprit caught in the act.)

Saturday, June 28, 2003


Fall in love with a Bullfighter. And the fact that it comes from Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. (Ahem: OS X, please!) [via The Screen Savers] Great FAQ too, e.g.:

Q: Does Deloitte own the Bullfighter name?
Yes. We registered it, at least. The paperwork was started last year. Don't ask.

Friday, June 27, 2003

The Little Beastie

Just back from the ultrasound appointment. 17 weeks along as of tomorrow and all is well. The baby's right on target as far as size, and already has picked up some of mommy's yoga—(s)he treated us to some surprisingly accomplished plough-like postures. The genetic counseling was thankfully benign. Some family history discussion (during which we did rule out, I hope, the possibility that hubby and I are related), some pictures of chromosomes. No Franken-babies. Thanks to Janell Grenier for sending along this great little script that puts an automatic update about where things are in the pregancy on your site. You have to be able to use PHP to run it and I don't think that's me, but I pass it along because it's a neat doohicky.

We used a different examining room and machine today than we did for my last ultrasound, and unfortunately this time the quality of the picture printouts stank. But just so you get the idea of what things look like at this stage,

Our Bundle of Joy
Our Bundle of Joy

Coming Up Orange, Part I

There have been some interesting Orange County, CA weblog developments recently. Here's one:

Real estate, commercial and otherwise, has been a critical part of the local economy for quite some time. There's a group of local realtors ("The Great Team") who have been maintaining a quirky and informative Web site (Grow-A-Brain), and now they have a blog in the same tradition. It's called The Future of Real Estate, and it deftly interweaves the authors' interest and expertise in real estate topics with their appreciation of cuisine, travel, current events, local color, ETC. This is a nice example of how a business-related blog need not be dry and soulless. Of course, they also link to their main business site and their current listings. (Wow, check out the architechture on 10102 Sunrise Lane, North Tustin. Neoclassical meets postmodern in the California sun, with a little hint of Japan thrown in for good measure; see the arch, left front.)

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Röll 'Em

Martin Röll, on where blogging is heading, in an interview with Eamonn Fitzgerald: "In three years, Six Apart will buy Google and go public. ;-)"

Nike Gets No Break On Commercial Free Speech Grounds

Per the U.S. Supreme Court's per curiam dismissal today, the California Supreme Court's Kasky v. Nike, Inc. opinion will stand. A link to the opinion and some other thoughts are in my April 30 post, and discussions of the U.S. Supreme Court's (non)action are available from John Maltbie, Howard Bashman and the SCOTUSBlog.

Let The Mongering Begin

John Maltbie has a good summary of Batzel v. Smith (PDF), a new 9th Circuit decision limiting the libel liability and protecting the online speech rights of Web site managers. I'm still writing a brief and haven't had the chance to do more than skim the opinion, but Judge Gould's dissenting fears that the ruling "licenses professional rumor-mongers and gossip-hounds to spread false and hurtful information with impunity" are being widely reported. (Shouldn't that be "mongerers," by the way?)

I definitely will want to consider how this decision might bear on some of our panel's responses to Phil Wolff's questions, still in process. For now, more from:


Mindsay, from Adam Ostrow and Brian Klug, lets you blog through AIM or Yahoo Messenger.

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

What Does A Quarter Million Get You These Days?

Enough to raise a child from birth to age 17 is one possible answer. A filter-free library is another. In the wake of yesterday's CIPA decision (PDF), Susan Hildreth (photo), city librarian for the city and county of San Francisco, has a quarter million fewer ways to take care of business: "San Francisco is ready to lose $250,000 to retain unfettered access." (The Sacramento Bee, "Libraries learn: No filters, no funds")

Ms. Hildreth also has been vocal about the Freedom to Read as threatened by the USA PATRIOT Act—the same that recently prompted Geoffrey Nunberg to remind us that "no one is more adept at [the acronym] game than legislators." ("Letter Perfect")


This might just get me to finally pick an aggregator, any aggregator: here's the syndication channel for new law related books available at Amazon, courtesy of Chris Pirillo—who has created 160+ such channels! Surely one or two will suit your interests?

What's up with things that go bump in the RSS night these days? (See Doc, on TLAs.) As Shelley points out, if you blinked you might have missed it. Look for Echo, coming to a blog platform near you. (Some further reading, courtesy of Technorati.)

Hospital Dirt

Here's a neat resource compiling patient survey information about the quality of care in California hospitals:, a project of the California Health Care Foundation. "Whether you are having surgery or delivering a baby, choosing a hospital is one of the most important decisions you can make." (Interesting to learn my local bastian gets only an average rating, despite the rave reviews it seems to receive anecdotally.)

East Trenders

Labour MP for West Bromwich East Tom Watson, in an interview yesterday with Lance Knobel: "There will be dozens of MPs blogging by the next election. I'm getting readers of mine contacting their MPs, asking why they don't start a blog."

Meanwhile, another Tom charts a related news cycle.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Prop 209 Applies In California, Despite Yesterday's Affirmative Action Decisions

From the Berkeley Daily Planet:

While the court ruled Monday that colleges may consider race in admissions, it did not require the practice. So in California, public institutions like the University of California and California State University will remain subject to the voter-approved Proposition 209, which bans affirmative action in public admissions and hiring.
Private institutions like Stanford University, which are not subject to Proposition 209, will be allowed to continue with admissions policies that weigh race as one of many factors.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Asserting that California's 1996 initiative banning affirmative action as it applies to university admissions is now unconstitutional, some Hispanic lawmakers in the state Assembly said Tuesday that they are discussing whether to create a ballot measure that would reintroduce the practice of taking race into account in college admissions.

Give 'Em Shelter

Just was wondering if there was a 401(k) blog. Doesn't look like it. There is the entertaining and informative Tax Observer that launched earlier this year, but ?? —no updates since February. Bonus link: Mad Kane's "owed."

Clackety YACCS And Other Stuff

So, I see the migration to Dano has munged up my comments. Working on it.

[Update]: All unmunged, comment away.

Lunch today with blawger and office building co-dweller Mike O'Sullivan.

Want them. (Got to be a way to link those iChat AV/iSight features to a blog interface, wouldn't you think?)

John Healey and the L.A. Times have more today on Altnet/Streamwaves plans to offer an industry-sanctioned, for-pay service on Kazaa. ("Streamwaves Aims to Get Kazaa Users to Pay;" earlier post.)

Monday, June 23, 2003

Next Stop: Gattaca?

As my pregnancy percolates, I'm amazed to learn how much genetic testing has become part of the normal course of prenatal affairs. (At least for those who have attained my wizened state; could be worse, I s'pose.) Lil' BH (Baby Howell) thus far has been nuchal translucencied and AFP'd. Against its mom's better judgment (and certainly against its dad's, who gets bonus points for joining in these festivities), BH's parents will undergo some ominous sounding genetic counseling later this week. (Cue Michael Nyman.) The only silver lining involved is another ultrasound, and front row (in my case, horizontal) seats for some more amazing feats of tight-quarters aqua ballet.

Hey, You, Get Offa My Lap

With so much national legal news today, I thought you might also be in the mood for a bit of local color. Here in Los Angeles, the city council is refusing to take lap dancing sitting down: "An ordinance that would prohibit lap dances at strip clubs was agreed to in concept Wednesday by the City Council but will be reviewed for further study by city staffers.[*]" ("L.A. Council approves lap dance ban in concept," AP; Reuters also reports that "the council embraced the measure in principle...")

*Bet they didn't have too much trouble scaring up a couple of volunteers.

Affirmative Action Upheld At The University Of Michigan Law School

So says NBC News, with the Supreme Court opinion on undergraduate admissions policies expected soon to follow. Howard Bashman's and the SCOTUSBlog will be good places to go for more as this continues to unfold.

Friday, June 20, 2003

Read Her

I am a little late to the party on this one, but will chime in anyway.

Halley ("Read Me"): "Weblogs work the way women work, they invite conversation and interaction in order to solve problems. They are not designed with women in mind, but they are all about cooperation, conversation and transparency. They are perfectly suited to a woman's view of business."

This is a compelling essay (and I'm a huge fan of all things Halley), but I can't go along with its generalizations on gender lines. My days are too filled with encounters that blow such stereotypes to out of the water. Like:

  • men who were built for collaboration, women who can't stand it;
  • moms who can and do run big businesses, happily married to dads who can and do run the home front; and
  • couples who arrive at dynamic and mutually respectful divisions of domestic labor without judicial intervention of any kind

—to name just a few. Of course there remain enormous distances for women to cross in business and beyond. Of course the world is full of societies with values radically different from those I see every day. It is, however, a mistake to ignore how much Western corporate culture has changed and is changing still, and an even bigger mistake to make assumptions about a person's abilities, tendencies, likes, wants, needs or desires based on his or her gender. Reading a good cross section of weblogs is excellent proof of this concept.

Yeah, I know: "Just you wait 'til that baby is something more than a mere wardrobe inconvenience, and this might all begin to look a little different." But my take on this partly explains why I'm reluctant to find out if our kid-to-be is a boy or a girl. That, and I always liked Christmas gifts to be a surprise. =0

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Blogging Softly

Microsoft Watch: "[I]t seems as if Microsoft corporate is beginning to take more of an active interest in how its employees are expressing their opinions in their Web logs. On Tuesday, as part of its ongoing series of discussions about Microsoft and community, the company is holding an internal panel to discuss employee Weblogging."

Robert Scoble has more: "From when I compared notes with Beth Goza afterward, it was similar to a panel session that happened a week ago at the Weblogger conference. No more or less sinister than that."

Speaking of more or less sinister panels from last week's conference, I'm assembling the feedback from my panel to Phil Wolff's questions and hope to post it this weekend. Sorry for the delay, but I still need to be writing and editing other things at the moment.

Livin' It Up

The firm's summer program is in full swing, and as we were going over one of her writing projects one of our summer associates just reminded me of this oldie but goodie. (Here's a techie twist on the classic.)

Not To Be Confused With E3

I see from the signage on the Convention Center that Erotica L.A. starts tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Digital Frights Managment

Senator Orrin Hatch: "If there is no effective, non-intrusive way to stop pirates, I'm all for destroying their machines." (As quoted in John Healey's piece in today's Los Angeles Times Business Section, "Deep-Six Computers to Sink Net Pirates?")

Marty Schwimmer on Hatch's comments. [via Dave Winer, who's part of the reading list for Digital Democracy Day at Internet Law 2003]

Dave Winer's question to Senator Hatch, two years ago today. [ditto]

Today Is Digital Democracy Day

At Internet Law 2003 (at Harvard's Program of Instruction for Lawyers), that is. Reading lists and pointers to the real-time blogging thus far, thoughtfully provided by Donna Wentworth and John Palfrey, are at that link.

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Word Bites

From Hiawatha Bray's Boston Globe column on the Weblog Business Strategies Conference ("Companies get into weblog act"):

An idea this useful can't be left to mere hobbyists.

The best blogs don't just deliver authoritative information; they resonate with the personalities of their creators.


Tim Ireland has news of a newly launched blogger in the UK Parliament: Richard Allan. (Oh where, oh where, are our Congresscritters?)

I am in the midst of a nasty-busy week, fyi. Things could get a little quiet here for the next few days.

Monday, June 16, 2003


As reported by the Dallas Business Journal, FareChase and American Airlines have settled their dispute over whether FareChase's software improperly accessed fare information from the American Airlines site. [via ILN] More on the case, including a copy of FareChase's opening brief on appeal, is at CIS.

John Healey of the Los Angeles Times reports in today's Business section on, an application that seeks to deliver anytime, anywhere access to your digital media collection ("Standards for Personal Jukeboxes").

Janet Eastman of the Los Angeles Times reports in today's Calendar section on what may be the world's, uh, neatest vacuum cleaner ("Sweeping Changes").

Sunday, June 15, 2003

Big Bad Blawgroll Bonanza

Blawgs, blawgs, everywhere! Please welcome these new additions to the B&B blawgroll:


Political (New Category)

Careful what you wish for. (I asked for blogging politicians; I got 'em!)


Learning The Craft

Giving It A Rest

  • David Giacalone is a retired attorney and mediator, and a prolific writer on client-centered legal ethics. There's a wealth of good stuff on his site. [via Ernie Svenson]

Blawgers At Large


Managing The Chaos

  • Al-Muhajabah writes The Niqabi Paralegal, on legal issues facing Muslims in the U.S. and other things. [via]


Saturday, June 14, 2003

You Can't Trust A Marketer

But you can trust Rick Bruner. (Or can you??)

Situation Normal, All Fixed Up

Howard's blog is both looking mahvelous with a new template, and, per usual, full of great information. This post on a special issue of Indian Country Today, all about "American Indian nations and American law," will be of particular interest to anyone doing work in that area. (Why "American Indian," not "Native American?" Here's an oft-cited answer, and an interview with Russell Means.)

Friday, June 13, 2003

All Gummed Up

The best of the Viagra gum story headlines: "Wrigley To Double Pleasure With Viagra-Like Gum." And here's one to file under Tragically Missed Opportunities that the big news outlets seem to have overlooked: until quite recently, Pfizer (yes, that Pfizer) owned the rights to that old mandibular favorite, Freshen-Up.

Pure As The Hard Driven Profits

Boing Boing has this fascinating discussion on the legal ramifications of using an iPod or other hard drive player as a vehicle for DJs to distribute their music (originating from a story in the Philadelphia City Paper, "In iPod He Trusts;" love all the follow ups about the bloodlessness of absentee DJing). Sellers and purchasers of hard drive-based stereo components with pre-loaded music collections (scroll down a bit) must face similar concerns, although presumably these things couldn't be marketed without some form of front end licensing. More interesting reading: "Music Licensing Paying The Piper;" "Guide to Licensing Your Mix CD."

Feng Sing Sing

At Worth Martha's New Digs ("A little paint here, a little fabric there for drama, and before you know it, Martha and her cellmates will be living in style!").

Thursday, June 12, 2003

"Hyperbolic extremities of bliss and pain..."

More than one speaker at the Weblog Business Strategies Conference remarked on the practice and significance of not linking as a flag to readers that the item in question might not be worth their time. It reminded me that Kevin Marks suggested a more direct approach, and his suggestions tend to be intriguing ones.

Downwardly Doggy

Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times wonders "Why would anyone want a prairie dog at home?" Darn fine question. (I mean, the flea spray costs alone...) He also expands the inquiry into other exotic pets:

As for snakes: to me, a snake isn't a pet, it's a creature you wrap around your neck while complaining that your parole officer is a real pain.

Gotta go, there's the Baby crying.

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

The Baggage Has Landed

Through what wound up being a happy travel mishap on my part (airlines are so picky about timeliness these days!), Doc and I scooted back to California together, along the way mapping most of the WiFi hotspots between Cambridge and Logan, most of the AC outlets at Logan, and most of the notable features geographic and geologic between Provincetown and the San Gabriels. The oooohnly way to fly! Here's Doc's summing-up of the conference, and I couldn't agree more:

It wasn't a Big Time conference, but it was a culture-changer. Blog is Rock, in many ways. And the show had a lot of Rock & Roll to it. It was also very well done for the first of its kind.

It brought a lot of terrific people together, which is a huge plus. It ran well, without many hitches. And they provided free wi-fi Net access (and kept it going), which is much appreciated. So: kudos to the Jupiter folks for pulling it off.

Back home, I see JCA has marked a milestone:

Welcome the Blawg Ring's 200th member, KC Lawyer!

Don't think that means there are only 200 blawgers; my guess is it's at least double that. I'm so glad JCA set up the Blawg Ring; it was a small step that provides a big service and has a broad impact. For my part, I'm looking forward to getting around to a sizeable blawgroll update this weekend.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

A Suit-able P.S. (LazyBlawg)

Apropos of Groove Networks (mentioned on our Law Of The Blogs panel) and its illustrious leader, there's this from the anonymous A-List parody-sketches Scoble blogged last night:

Social software. Social software. Incredibly powerful collaborative project management software. Social software. Groove me baby. Incredibly powerful collaborative project management, project management, chaotic collaborative project management. Thoughts about Blogging in companies. Blogging Guidelines. Blogging as collaborative project management. Ubiquitous computing, Networking, Web and RAD technologies. COM and C++, .NET and Scripting. Social software, yeah man. Force chaos into the system. Groove on. Collaborative Project Management. Lotus. Far out. Eastern Psychobabble Mysticisms. Ubiquitous computing. My thoughts on remaking the whole internet in my image. Thoughts about Blogging in companies. Blogging Guidelines. Grooooovvvvve. Repeat 100x.

Also, I just sent this email to my co-panelists:

Hi folks,
It was a pleasure meeting you and paneling with you today. Phil Wolff in the audience had some good questions for us that only got asked on his blog.
I have some thoughts on these points and assume you do too. If you'd care to chime in, I'd be pleased to post a panel P.S.

[Update] For that matter, it occurs to me from time to time a lawyer happens on this this blawg. Please feel free to comment on Phil's questions here or by email, and I'll include you (or just your insights, if you'd prefer) in the follow up as a Virtual Panelist.

Harvard's Secret Weapon: Smartblondes

Hey, looks like Donna's in the house.

Weblog Busines Strategies Conference, Day 2

Here are some links pertinent to our discussion coming up this morning on the Law Of The Blogs panel:

I'm taking a break from live blogging today, but may chime in from time to time. Heath Row might be able to stay the course, or surf around; this is nothing if not a blog rich environment!

Don't forget dinner tonight in Cambridge if you're here or hereabouts.

Monday, June 09, 2003

Blogging Technologies And Platforms: Today And Tomorrow

Panel information.

Doc: What I want to know most from these gentlemen are where their tools are going.

Jason Shellen: a little bit of what Blogger is doing is playing catchup. We had a very small team for a number of years. We felt we were building a tool for Web designers in '99, now we're up to 1.5 million registered users, and oddly enough they're not all Web designers. Our users are more akin to Geocities users. We've been undergoing a code revision which we kind of see as a platform for the future. That's all very boring. What is excited is when we see new ways to tie in with the community, and build it in a week. Now we're at Google, and can bounce ideas off really interesting folks who may be working on something very different. Blogger I would venture to say used to be the core for finding new blogs. Suffice it to say, that didn't scale well. We can Google-Scale (my IP lawyer would be very upset with me for that). I think it's dead on not that the tools will fade into the background, but that the blogging specific function will.

Bob Frankston: talks about using various tools, writing his own tools. The advantage of using Blogger is the built in features, the community, the RSS feed. We need to encourage both trends but be aware of the conflicts. Recognize that we're at the very early phases. Need to have users, but also encourage developers.

Dan Bricklin: With our tools (Trellix), that's the schtick, you've got to integrate the look and the functionality. The important thing about the new stuff being written is the automation of the tedius housekeeping, just what Bob said. Analogy to using Basic, then using VisiCalc. This is what the tools do, automate the tedius tasks, enable ease of publishing. Better automation=better output, stronger stuff. The guys at Lotus didn't imagine what Excel would be. One important thing is media forms. I'm really into pictures, history too. The multimedia aspects in many ways are important. Not everyone can write well, not everyone can take photographs well.

Anil Dash: with SixApart, we make Movable Type. Our immediate future will include a design for basic users to start and create weblogs. We think the anatomy, the pieces, have been decided. None of our tools have kept up with managing blogs the way they are. The goal is working backward from what people are doing to making that easy.

Michael Gartenberg: it's interesting that no one has mentioned the changing nature of the devices we work with. We're dealing now with a divergence of devices. One of the things we talk about a lot at Jupiter is digital ubiquity. A handful of people here are blogging on something other than a PC. What we're going to be looking for are ways to not just access but create that content on multiple devices. Need to be able to do it "without being the kind of person who installs an operating system as a form of social entertainment."

John Robb: we're about to come out with Frontier 9.1. Will include mail-to-weblog, will accomplish many other things more smoothly. With Radio, we're looking to add two-way synchronization, added a backup feature recently. We recently worked with a company on a very slick Windows interface, working on a Mac equivalent. Gives you the smooth operation you'd get in a slicker desktop app. Also looking at a P2P system for Radio blogs that would augment your ability to publish large files. Mentions Glenn Fleishmann, put up a PDF of his book, wound up holding an appeal on his blog to get people to help pay for the cost of the download demand. There wouldn't be any copyright infringement involved in the P2P system we have in mind, but helps not break the back of individuals or individual servers. I'd like to have a blog in one location that I can send out to multiple locations.

Jason Shellen: jumps in to say that the concept of blogging being embedded in different things doesn't mean your blog lives different places.

Anil Dash: talks about integrating all the aspects of your life that touch technology. We can broaden out the methods of publishing. The control part then becomes determining who can read what that you've published.

Jason Shellen: points out an audience member doing Q-Logger, says check it out, very interesting personal information manager.

Bob Frankston: discusses the move from diaries to controlled publishing. What I expect is people are becoming good at creating synthetic personalities. Political questions, how do you read information?

Doc: but if you actually want to use a persona in the real world, that's a problem. Brings up digital identity. Discussion tries to distinguish between the blog as a tool for publishing various ways, and the blog as a tool for connecting personally, exposing yourself to the world. Controlling access is involved, also depends on what you have to say.

Anil Dash: in attempting to sell to businesses, access control is a big deal. What is a permalink? A permalink is a promise.

Michael Gartenberg: emphasizes continually updated content.

Doc: Let me bring this down to a very mundane level, and very specifically problems that I have with some of your tools. Doc and Dave Winer may be the only two people in the room who use the Manila outliner. Doc wants a keyboard command to insert a link. Dave promises to do it for him. Going to Blogger for a sec, I've helped start several. Permalinks never work out of the box. Jason Shellen: It's a feature! Because most first blogs aren't necessarily very good. Kidding aside, in our new version that should be fixed. Soon.

Anil Dash: Typepad will be out this summer...

Audience question to the developers about access. Robb: with UserLand, everything but the kernel is public. Dash: Movable Type is non-redistributable open source, in the sense of editable code, anybody can make any modifications they want for their implementation. We're also facilitating ways for people to exchange these customizations. Shellen: for Blogger, what's driving innovation most is our own use. If it's broken or not working well, we use it every day and we know what critically needs fixing. Dash: The future direction for all of these tools hopefully will be a migration to Web services that plug in at a programmatic API level.

Doc: I have an ideal. Would love to serve pictures from my home machine. The cable guys and others have made the assumption there's an asymmetrical Web, if you want to serve something up go find a co-lo somewhere, which is what I'm doing now. Frankston: the companies will have no choice once more people start to use the Web symmetrically. Talks about a Web publishing app he wrote for personal use. Bricklin: I just don't think blogging is going to drive it, I think digital cameras, etc. will drive it first. There are P2P type apps like what John's talking about that will do this, the images are served out of your house. Gartenberg: You're talking about an infrastructure that is hugely aligned against this from an intellectual property standpoint. Audience member: you're missing though that the Web is paid for by people who buy uplink bandwidth. Frankston disagrees. Doc: do blogs have the power to alter this intransigence that Michael mentions? Dash: yes for text, no for rich media. If it's an image, cloud storage makes perfect sense, I'm mostly taking pictures away from home anyway. Shellen: we're making sweeping assumptions about broadband use too. Most people still are on dial-up. Audience-member: my ideal tool is something like Dreamweaver Light for bloggers. WYSIWYG features in Dreamweaver are unparalleled, ability to undo. It's a much more powerful tool for creating the code. Dash: two part answer. All of us support the same APIs for publishing. I can't imagine someone's not doing this. Robb: we are, we already integrate with Dreamweaver. Frankston: an important point here is the immaturity of the "it just works" side. Dash: fifteen months ago, with Ev's help I did a Blogger API Word template. All is totally possible, just hasn't been packaged yet.

Audience member asks about extended find and replace for archives, alert for dead links. Dash: we have find and replace. There are dead links plug-ins available.

Audience member asks about having to use myriad tools, the need to tweak the stylesheet, etc. People's eyes glaze over. Dash: the tools don't work the way that blogs are used right now. Re coding, I'm lousy at it and I hate it. The tool we're trying to build will address what you're saying. They have to, or they won't get the audience that weblogs deserve.

Audience member comments about using blogging to fight political battles, the need to show up. Doc: markets tend to work both ways. These people mother the inventions that obviate the policy questions. Bricklin: The power of TiVo being dubbed "God's Machine." 802.11 is finally at that point I believe. Frankston: Yahoo is rolling out a lot of broadband capacity. The number of bits to share movies, other rich media, is overwhelming. Companies eventually will find that defending dead bits is not in their business interest. There will be a lot of these skirmishing. As surprising as it is, Verizon is emerging as the good guy. The promise of asymmetricity. Doc: recalls being the only person in the audience at a Hollywood conference last year who was there with a laptop, and the only one who didn't have a TiVo.

Blogs and/as Content Management

Panel information.


Tim Appnel: has been an IT consultant for 12 years. Has done a lot of advising on content management. Can attest to some of the ways a corporate weblog can fail that have been talked about today.

Mike Amundsen: EraServer, EraBlog.

Bill French: a self-described conference pot-stirrer. I have a degree in marketing, also involved in technology. We try to look at the information space in a little different light, and chip away at the knowledge management problem using XML standards. Put together a set of Web services and help people understand how information could be put together in a loosely coupled manner. People wanted to use this to blog with.

John Robb: CEO of UserLand. Got into this because I appreciated the potential of blogging as a knowledge management tool. We have about 2,500 organizations using our tools. Dupont, others. Lots of small businesses and onprofits. Government organizations, Los Alamos. I have a pretty good perspective of what has and has not been successful. With bigger organizations today, most people are using Web based solutions. Saves you money, and you have a complete system that can serve a relatively large sized organization.

Bill Stow: blogging is the foundation for new kinds of communication channels within large organizations. In order to do that, we'll see blogging transform itself into multiple forms. The importance of blogging is to provide voice to an organization. Large systems like content management tend to repress voice. People need to be able to offer their competency to the rest of the organization.

Adam Weinroth: Put together Easyournal out of my apartment, now playing catchup to figure out the business andits strategy. Got into blogging when travelling in Europe. Nothing suited his needs as far as communicating with friends and family back home. Put together an extremely rudimentary content management system, discovered people who knew about it liked it and wanted it for their own use.

Matthew Berk, moderator: what exactly is content management?

John Robb: weblog software takes advantage of the functionality provided by a content management system. "Web publishing for the rest of us." Weblogging is pretty well-defined in its feature set. Difficult when a couple of developers try to put something together on the fly, without really understanding all the features involved. Weblogs are a truly horizontal application. In education, student sites, team sites. In corporations, annotating, archiving for a single point of reference for a team. If someone builds something modeled on Word, for example, there's not a straight one-to-one correlation to the actual product.

Bill French: we were trying to help workers make better decisions at a higher capacity. Attempting to create the capacity to act. In thinking about the big picture, we tend to focus on what the real requirements are. We also understood there was this third element: the ability to derive an insight. Re CMS, there's the capture aspect, there's the publishing aspect. Blogs bring the ability to get an increased awareness. When I think of CMS, or the term blog, I get particularly aggravated when people try to pigeonhole this stuff. Puts a straightjacket on your thinking, takes your brain and puts it in a vice. Most of the blogging tools on the market today have the capacity for re-use. At the end of the day, it's information, and what we really should be thinking about are better ways to abstract the information.

Bill Stow: I agree about abstracting the notion of a blog. We started our product as one that was easy to use and non-intrusive. But the fact is many large organizations require and want control and process from the software they're purchasing. If we were to take the current beauty of blogging, put it in front of people, and at the same time turn it into what content management is today, we'd be turning them into something we might not like. A middle ground is possible, but it means you have to see this new thing in many different forms. Mail systems don't provide the persistence you need to capture all this internal knowledge present in large organizations. Not every boss wants to see free-flowing information across the organization, either.

Mike Amundson: the blog conversations now are like what we've seen before—what was this thing called SMTP, HTML? What we're going to see now is the same kind of behavior that surrounded the introduction of HTML, but this time about content markup. We've now got people annotating by category, subject, author. Aggregators, newsreaders short-circuit talking to browsers. Panic around employees generating content, what are we going to do? It may be about content capture: use, re-use, repackaging, searching, sorting, selecting, customizing. Nobody talks about content management for email, and I think that's the way it will go with blogs. Instead of empowering users with HTML, we're empowering authors with XML and RSS.

Adam Weinroth, about users: I've seen a lot of praise for Easyjournal really focusing on the content rather than the display layer. Others would like more of an ability to design a professional looking site. Comes down to a matter of preference.

Matthew Berk: sees a shift away from the obsession with layout and markup. Weinroth says users are interested in little bells and whistles, like a funny cursor or effect. Some of that drive to have things just so gets channelled there.

Tim Appnel: there's a bit of overlap. I use a blogging tool as a low cost content management system. Comes down to what your requirements are. It's like talking about a handsaw versus a jigsaw versus a chainsaw. Biggest difference now is blogging tools tend to be Web native. CMS systems tend to be geared toward enterprise systems, legacy systems no one wants to touch anymore. ... I actually think blogging tools are going to fade into the background, Web services will get pulled into everything. (Later, clarifying.) What this means is you're not going to know where the blogging tool ends and something else begins. Geocities didn't work because it lacked structure and infrastructure. Didn't account for the need to repurpose, move things around. Weblog tools have nailed this.

John Robb: disagrees, due to unique feature sets, communitites. This is an application with staying power. It's hard to develop an application accepted both by the reader and publisher. What I deal with every day are the hazards of continual growth of the feature set. The deep layer features are there if you need them. Standards and integration enable speed and ease of implementation, point and click administration. Extensibility: what you can do is add customizations within the weblog functionality, side by side.

Adam Weinroth: also doesn't see blogs fading into the background, rather they're filling in a glaring gap at the end of the content management spectrum. Blogging is an amazing answer for nonprofits and other small businesses. Blogs by nature are very grass roots oriented, a natural fit for nonprofits, and small and local businesses. Other page building systems are, by comparison, "lame." Design versus publishing tension.

Bill French: group blogs will be important, but the platforms have to support. What's over the hill is a federationi of services, not an application. The federation will be built on XML standards, agility. What you want is something so agile it looks like a chameleon in a bowl of skittles (line possibly swiped from Dennis Miller).

John Robb: it's the interface.

Bill Stow: blogging really raises the awareness of the available information, then you want to be able to reuse it in many different ways.

Adam Weinroth: re the interface, it is huge. The ease of use is incredible. Consider what it takes to train staff on something like Vignette or Interwoven. Now think about using Blogger. Huge reduction in business switching costs. If you're on something that's completely Web based, with all these open based services running on it, the switching costs go down. Matthew Berk mentions Blog Litmus report. There are organizations who will see and adopt a lower end alternative, but that still leaves the fate of the big boys hanging.

Matthew Berk: Fascinating dichotomy here—content is everything, and the interface is everything.

Doc mentions he just hates the word content, gets applause. Information still sounds like something you can ship. It's something you load into a channel to deliver to an end-user...maybe call it stuff. What people do when they blog is not produce content. That's not what we live for. To be con-tent', is a different thing.

Strategies And Tips For Business Blogging Success

Panel information.

John Lawlor: about 23% of the people I talk to these days actually know what a blog is. I look at blogging as an opportunity, an intersection between a technological development and an amazing consumer acceptance of online communications. The expectation of what the Internet can do is coming in line with what we need it to do, it's very much a part of our days. Most organizations still don't know what a blog is, and more importantly, don't care. They care what it might be able to do for them. Blogging=Opportunity. Answering certain questions will give a busineess interested in this a strategy. Who should blog? Who is the target reader? What are you blogging about? What are the benefits we expect? What is important to my business? What needs to be restricted? Where will the blog appear? (Internal or external; makes a good personal filing cabinet, need not be public.) When are you going to have the time? It is a commitment. When will you see results? Why are we doing this, why do we need it?

Major Chris Chambers: discusses the America's Army site, a gaming blog done by the Army. (I missed most of this, sounds fascinating.)

Greg Lloyd: A weblog can be a conversation with a particular group, or with one individual and the rest of the world. The audience can be internal, or there are conversations with a company that are explicitly public. A weblog could be the shared space for everyone in public support, and individual customers can view that unified set. Middle ground is a company blogging about developmental projects.

Halley Suitt: blames David Weinberger for starting her down this path. David told her she had to stop emailing him her stuff, it was good so she had to put it on a blog. Someone here described her blog as sexy and spicy, which is ironic given at the time she started she was dealing with deep, heavy dark issues about her Dad's illness and death. I wrote a piece about that. Other things started to play out in my blog. The Alpha Male series. I also started working at Harvard Business School publishing, had a working life different from what was going on on my weblog. For work, I was asked to write a fictional piece that will come out in September about an employee-blogger who may have disclosed too much information. Four experts commented on the range of appropriate responses to the scenario (firing to promotion). Now with, working on electronic content management strategies.

Don White: Independent marketing consultant. Talks about brand managers, how they think. Fixed price better than low price, tend to look at risk from this point of view. One thing we're doingn is attempting to answer the needs of a real estate brokerage business with a blog tool. They needed to stand out in a business and a region with tons of competition in their area. Blogging tools enabled them to create a useful real estate site. The small real estate firm became The firm with expertise in fourteen different communities, and it was all done for less money than most people would have spent for one Web site. And, it can be operated by one to two people.

John Lawlor brings up the balance between the minimal management and control necessary for effective blogging, and the need to have certain information not go out into the public. Major Chambers: one way to manage the content is to make sure your bloggers are trusted agents (in our case, of the military), and let them self-edit. The army is a pretty risk-averse organization. The general principle is that if an agent has bought into the principles of an organization, it probably will be ok. We went in with a strategy that this was another tool for communication with our players. I was cognizant of this strategy and kept it in mind.

Halley: jumps in that the America's Army blog, against all odds, does just what a weblog should do in the way of voice. It was really interesting to see that given the constraints.

John Lawlor: the Afghanistan blog had a natural end, why didn't you blog the next war? Chambers: we wanted to continue it but had some problems. In an early stage operation, everyone is pretty busy. We couldn't really find someone with the time. In Afghanistan, we came in a little later, there was infrastructure in place. What we have done is continue on the developer side of our game product (kids love to talk to developers).

Greg Lloyd: the primary thing you're relying on is the integrity and trust of the people you've hired. Set guidelines, and give people more than one place to express themselves. Engineers might be more candid and forthright talking to other engineers than a wider audience, for example. People can know and recognize that comments posted to different spaces have different connotations. You can make people more comfortable, as well as avoid mishaps.

John Lawlor: one of the reasons business is interested in this is that blogs do well in search engines. Mentions the dispelled rumor that Google might remove blogs. There is room, I'm sure, for undermining the system. Panel?

Halley: I don't have favorites anymore, I simply use Google to find things. The search engines are used in a different way now. Of bloggers, search results and the other Halley: "He's not blogging enough" Audience comment: anywhere from 75-85% of search engine results come from Google, and weblogs have a significant impact on those results.

Audience question: do purist bloggers have an issue linking to a commercial blog? Jeff Jarvis: you heard it earlier, it depends on what you have to say. John Lawlor: if it has a human slant, that's all that's needed to interest people with a similar slant. Another question, referencing Major Chambers, about security. John Lawlor mentions that new tools or tool improvements are coming online to better address these concerns. ... "Anyone who's in marketing who's in this room is five years ahead of their colleagues. ... The people in this room are so far ahead regarding where this is going, it's phenomenal." (I'm sitting next to my firm's head of Web marketing, she gets a big pat on the back.) Question about the effectiveness of shipping the game related to the America's Army blog. Major Chambers: since this was a PR initiative, we saw qualitative indicators that it was being received positively in our forums and elsewhere. We saw we were resonating with our target audience: tends to be young males who like military things and guns. Our download peaks mostly were related to new realeases of the game. We did notice increases in referrals from our site to the Go Army recruiting site. The site had this scratch, unprofessional feel, mainly because it was me doing it over there, it had that kind of personal touch. Sort of by design, sort of because that's all I could do with the digital camera, etc. I had. ... Greg Lloyd: gives an example of blogs being used by law enforcement as a 24-hour operations log, and to keep people informed.

Don White, on where blogging will be in a few years' time: technologies usually first are used by the technologies, then the information professionals (lawyers, librarians, journalists). It's starting in the broader business community but there aren't many examples right now. Until we can address the risk aversion of those brand managers, we're going to have a tough road. We're a long way from having most businesses endorse a truly personal voice: "The manufacturers of Cheerios have no interest in having someone on the production line blogging the quality of oats coming in."

David Weinberger: Why Weblogs Matter

Blames Doc Searls for his always being referred to as "Doctor" David Weinberger. Why blogging matters? It really, really does matter. You can see it in the excitement level. Causes excitement at a level not seen since the beginning of the Internet. I'm not sure exactly why it's really important, but that's not going to stop me from talking about it.

The Bubble was never what the Internet was about. The Web is not primarily a commercial space, not even primarily an information space. The interest is not there because 800 million people woke up and suddenly decided they wanted to be research librarians. The bubble went away, but the Web absolutely didn't. The Web remains interesting and important. Nobody would have said a few years ago we'd have 20 billion pages on the Web. It's not just markets that are conversations, it's businesses themselves.

I am going to address the question, what is a weblog. They tend to be daily, tend to be a few paragraphs, often (almost always) reverse chronological, almost always very linked. Message is I want you to go away. Here's something I'm interested in, go take a look. These little acts of selflessness are what make many weblogs very interesting. They also have a voice. The paradigmatic blogs are full of voice. If it turned out that Dave and Doc hand coded their pages and uploaded them with FTP, they'd still be blogs. The technology enables the other stuff. The technical stuff does not help explain why blogs are interesting. If it's not the technology, what is it? Partially rhetoric, and as rhetoric it's important that it be written—badly. The reader knows then this is closer to the writer's actual self. Weblog readers also tend to be forgiving and helpful for this reason: prone to forgive bad spelling and gramar, write in about broken links or inaccuracies. Beyond rhetoric, their social. I hate this conversation: it's just like Usenet, only a little different. It's not like Usenet. It's a permanent, persistent place where indirectly and inadvertently, you are creating a proxy of yourself.

Are bloggers authentic? The normal view of self is an m-&-m view: an outer shell and an inner, private self. This doesn't work very well on the Web, because all you have on the Web is this persistent place in which you talk. There is non inner self, so what does this mean about authenticity. It's written, we're writing ourselves into existence on the Web, and with that comes all the virtues and flaws that go along with being an author. What does this mean? It favors good writers. It seems to push for self-exposure (mentions his nephew's blog). The recession also was timed perfectly for weblogging, because it favors the unemployed.

So, I want to talk about journalism in terms of this. Or really, blogging and truth, which is underneath the journalism question. Objectivity and subjectivity. Journalism strives for objectivity, and this has some strengths: multiple stories, expert sifting, providing a community baseline. The problem with this is journalism can't be fully objective. Objectivity admits of degrees, can be more or less. Same goes for subjectivity, and it's claim to be able to show us our world as it really is. The strengths are it acknowledges the observer and the situation, and captures more of the experience. On the other hand, it tends to be more scattershot, raw and individualistic. So why bore you with this? Blogs allow multi-subjectivity. What Dave said this morning. He wants multiple perspectives, likes reading the different reports. We have this now. For the first time, there aren't just little subjective islands scattered around. Now we can read myriad perspectives, from myriad locations, cultures, disciplines. Tis is part of why so many of us are so thrilled about weblogs. It's amazing that we can do this, we've never been able to do it before. So, what's not to like about this>

This is actually quite upsetting to many people. "This is an assault on knowledge, young man and young woman!" Particuarly true of businesses that mistake themselves as forts. They see knowledge as a weapon. Weblogs, as we heard in two panels today, are a way of providing insight, punching holes in the wall, letting in light. You can allow it to happen, but even if you don't, it's going to happen anyway. Another group of people not thrilled about this assault on knowledge are those traditionally who have been the gatekeepers of knowledge. There are notable exceptions: Dan Gillmor, there is not a person who more deeply understands, and is synthetic sympathetic! (sorry! the man himself pointed out this rather funny miscue) to what has happened. Over the course of thousands of years, the quest to discover what was worth listening to turned into a quest for certainty, and maybe I'm gerneralizing just a little bit, but we wound up with Descartes. Knowledge became so anorexic as to be uninteresting. Knowledge grew out of the body, and turned into an anorexic, purely rational thing that has no connection with the human body any more.

So let's talk about what constitutes knowledge on the Web. Time to market: increase the unit, then double it. Brings up Sears Web site. By the way, throw out the Cluetrain thesis about advertising not working. It's very effective for tricking people. We still know who the Shell Answerman is. Back to Sears. Nothing here tells you immediately whether the washing machine you want to buy will fit into the hole you just cut in your counter. If you search Google for Kenmore+Maytag+Discussion (or sub in Complaint for the last), you get a discussion forum that tells you exactly what you need, and more. "Jim," whether or not he works for Kenmore, is believable (and if he is a plant, he won't be able to hide it, will be found out in a matter of days). The Sears store or the Kenmore site will not tell you if there are issues with the annoying buzzer. They're trying to pitch and sell you. But Jim will, and a whole conversation thread may emerge from how best to deal with the buzzer issues. And someone named Rinso—a physicist of lint!—has even more to add. Another example: over the weekend, my blog went down, and then TiVo broke. (Audience groans). I know, you don't want to be next to me on an airplane right now. This was a really bad weekend. The Movable Type community (and any other weblog community) is amazingly supportive and solved the blog problem. Could the information have been wrong? Sure. In this case, the forum happened to be moderated by God (as Anil pointed out), but I didn't know that. This is what knowledge looks like on the Web.

So, why is the world turning upside down for this? Why are people so dedicated and excited. It makes sense in the context of a deeply alienated world. The Matrix, the AI Singularity: the fact we can even believe in this for an instant shows we live in an insane, alienated world. It's an insane, alienated reality to think we can go into work each day and talk like someone other than ourselves. Brings up AKMA's blogthread on forgiveness. You could maybe at this point read more about forgiveness by reading that thread than you could from any "objective" source. Weblogs exist in a new place, the Web. They allow us to have persistence in this space. With WiFi, the correspondence between this personal and public space will be mindblowing. (With that, someone IMs David's computer with a "Hi Dave!" Classic.) Any other questions?? We've never had anything like this before. And now we do.

Questions ("Or do you want to just take IMs?"): audience member asks about the fortress and knocking holes in the wall. How do you actually do it? David: Every time you link to someone you knock a hole in the wall. "Sticky eyeballs" concept, the most degrading possible way to think about a customer. Every time you put in a link, "you are Stickin' it To The Man." Question about Usenet, there's a computer group that has been runing for years on Usenet. It constitutes a kind of community blog among folks with a high level of knowledge about computers. You look at blogs, and you could go nuts trying to filter the computer information. Why are blogs an improvement on the Usenet group? David: they're not. Groups, mailing lists are really, really valuable. It's not a question of who's better. Weblogs are different. Question about another cultural phenomenon that has taken off—Yeah, American Idol, I know where you're going—no really, reality TV. Voyeurism, are blogs also connected to that. Not unlike watching someone suffer through a reality TV program. Phil Windley says his is like that, it's a lie. Dave Winer says this is ridiculous, blogs are not like that. It's like a telephone, the conversation is whatever you want it to be. If you want a blog like American Idol, you can write one that way. One can have a view of the world of blogs that substantiates either view. Brings up example of the Trent Lott story. The blogging world is so big, that Dave Winer, an "expert" on the blog world, didn't hear about Trent Lott on a blog, but on TV. Depends what's on your radar. Halley chimes in that sometimes what's for breakfast conveys a sense of the person: Doc, blogging about watching the stars with his son. The important part of most blogs is you get a sense of the person, that's what keeps people coming back.

Managing A Business Blog

Panel information.

Jimmy Guterman: mentions the personal connection you feel with someone when you follow their blog, but may not have seen them for awhile or perhaps even met them. ... (later) "Before I go on, I just got an IM that said, 'Introduce yourself, Moron.'" And he does.

Jason Butler: BostonWorks is the jobs classified section of the Boston Globe. They're running a collaborative HR blog with three people, finding information useful to their clients.

Adina Levin: differences between blogs and wikis. Wikis are a bit more conducive to communicating a group consensus. We don't see them in conflict.

Biz Stone, on developing a blog voice: starting out with one thing generally morphs into talking about whatever you're really interested in. Finding your voice is a little like jogging, something you do every day. Jimmy Guterman wonders if you have that same flexibility as a business. Adina Levin thinks perhaps yes; like diverging from a meeting agenda if that seems appropriate. We already have social constructs for this. If people are having conversations with co-workers or customers, it's bound to have business relevance.

Jason Butler has discovered an interesting side channel: some of their salespeople use stuff on the blog as an entree to go out and talk to the customers. Knowing the customers, they can point out items of interest.

Jeff Jarvis asks Jason Butler about the HR blog, raises fascinating management issues. How do you manage people who are paying you money? Jason: think about putting together a conference. You lay down ground rules about the speaker's role of providing information rather than shilling for a company or product. Follow up: do you have employees that spend too much time on the blog? Jason: "Only me."

Audience question about what happens to competition when you're linking, and/or seeing (through referrals) that your competitors are checking you out (perhaps on their intranet)? Adina Levin: good questions, haven't dealt with them as a problem yet, but sometimes on her personal site the referrers admittedly can make her nervous. Biz mentions referral blocking services. (Firewalls work too.) Audience member comments that it's valuable to know what your competition is thinking.

Biz Stone tells story about a co-worker where they started a blog "in her name." Not long before she was hooked and wanted to start posting herself. It's contagious. Adina Levin comments that peer pressure works well. And, identifying the projects and conversations that already exist and adding the blogging process.

About the tools, Jason Butler mentioned they went with BloggerPro because it was cheap, easy, and accomplished everything they needed. Adina Levin mentions that the personal blogger tools are really good if you only have a few people blogger. They (Socialtext) are trying to focus on serving the needs of teams, where there are concerns about administration and security. Biz Stone mentions that the information that some of the measurement tools provide (Technorati, etc.) is some of the coolest information involved in the process. Adina Levin: "Ev In A Box" is something that you probably never will see. The cumulative human intelligence is what's compelling.

Are Weblogs A Threat Or Opportunity For Enterprises?

This panel of fine folks is up. I'm a bit late to the party because coffee called. (My fingers are a bit tired, but since the whole room is blogging this, you should be ok!)

Beth Goza: "The only blogging strategy a marketing department should have is no blogging strategy." Absolutely blogging should be encouraged. Blogs are great at removing layers between the company and its customers. But people who work, for example, for Microsoft, are passionate about what they do, have positive things to say. If that's indirect marketing, that's great. ... Doesn't like the term guerrilla marketing, does like Gonzo Marketing. ... Mentions Microsoft VP Eric Rudder's blog as an example of transparency working on a corporate blog. Talks about bringing Gizmodo folks to Redmond. Interestingly, ZDNet wrote a really nasty article about them inappropriately trying to sway Palm users. Full disclosure is important.

Michael O'Connor Clarke: "If you don't have a personality, you don't, by definition, have a blog."

Jason Shellen (on the negative connotations of the term "pitch"): "I don't want someone to educate me, I want to learn." Jeff Jarvis: points out though that you want the same exposure, if you're Gizmodo, as those who traditionally have "pitched" big media to get it.

Rick Bruner: "There's just a need in a lot of organizations to more efficiently publish information."

Dave Winer: What Are Weblogs?

Remembering back to the start of the PC market, progression of adoption that eventually included business. While the Web was growing, this Weblog thing was happening slowly and quietly. Dave first started blogging in connection with a project he was working on at Wired called 24 Hours of Democracy. Wanted to show that the Web could be used for something very positive. Invited anyone who wanted to to write an article explaining why having the Web be an open, free, first amendment protected environment was a good thing. Put up a Web site for this, kind of internal but not password protected. Started linking to the new things that were coming online in reverse chronological order. "How many people are blogging this by the way?" 70% of the room. "Wow!"

Think of it this way: is there someone in your work group who is constantly sending around links and articles? That's your blogger. (Says hi to some of the many bloggers around the room. Hi Dave!) Talks about blogging versus journalism. Talks about posting your cheesecake recipe: it may reveal some truth about you that may wind up revolutionizing your life. If I were starting a business today, I would make it a weblog. This is why I wanted Doc and David to be bloggers when I read Cluetrain. The idea is to be yourself. Go ahead and put your cheesecake recipe out there, because your customers can see through your b.s. They want your real voice. Integrity: they want to know what your biases are up front, want to know where you're coming from. Comes back to Cluetrain again. Blogs are what a personal Web site is in 2003, will be even more sophisticated in 2007. Users are getting more sophisticated, while technologists are better learning how to make these things easy to use. I went from being a CEO to a university fellow because I felt that now we understand sort of how the software should work, have a backlog of features that haven't yet made it out to the users, and the question is how are they going to be used in various situations?

We had an experience at Harvard, I think it was in April this year. The RIAA had a new tactic of going after individual college students, five on five different campuses. Wrote to the Dean of Harvard College: do something about these downloads under the DMCA. Dean took some actions including denying the student Internet access, and we covered this on the Harvard weblog. Then, one of the fellows at Berkman, Wendy Seltzer, wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Times, but thought it probably wouldn't get published. Had a revelation: why not post this (very respectful) letter taking issue with the Dean's actions on a weblog? Dave found this very interesting: we have expertise on this, let's run the story. They ran it, and the Dean's office said absolutely nothing.

Question: how do the words blogger and journalist relate? Blogging isn't journalism, but it's not not journalism. Journalism=disclose your interests and never say something you know is not true. Can you do that on a blog? Yes. Follow-up: is editing a necessary quality of journalism? Dave doesn't think so. Sometimes, copyediting winds up breaking rule 2. You can end up saying things that aren't true with your name on it. Doc: editing is necessary, it's just a question of where you get it. Professionally I get it from an editor, on my blog I get it from my readers. Dave observes there always are parallels like this between the business and blogging worlds. Question about journalism always having to be the sophisticated big stuff? Dave says no, importance of triangulation, getting news on an event from many sources. Halley: comments about objectivity/subjectivity. Jeff Jarvis: only difference with bloggers is that they're commentators, often. Journalism is more about gathering facts, but bloggers can do this well too. Dave: what's going on over time is the costs of running a professional news organization are outstripping demand, so they're getting smaller. Let's say you're going to Chicago tomorrow. In 1991, you wouldn't have gotten real time information. Today, you'd expect to get real time information on anything, and the professional news organizations will be able to provide some but not all of it. Audience member comments about journalism/blogging convergence from BBC regarding peace demonstrated. Another audience member comments that on the ground reports from individuals can be more objective than a professional journalist's account. Dave: so many of the press reports about blogs cast it as us v. them, and by the end of the article conclude journalists won't be replaced by bloggers. But bloggers don't wake up in the morning wondering how they're going to replace a professional reporter. They wake up thinking they love this new medium. New York Times as cautionary tale: if Times had been blogging, Jayson Blair would not have been able to go as far as it did. Dave met with Martin Nisenholtz a week ago today, mentioned they need an internal blogging process. Another audience member cites the Blair incident as an example of a breakdown of the professional editing function. (Dave's playing referree with the audience, exchanges going back and forth: This is a Keynote, folks...) Dave: I've never read an article in the New York Times in an area where I have expertise where I felt like they had really gotten the story right. I love the New York Times, but sometimes they just can't have all the information.

So, employees with weblogs. (Great segue!) Dave says he has sort of a balls-out reputation on these things, but actually not. However, at UserLand everybody was required to have a weblog, it's a weblogs tools company. Philosophy was if you don't like them, don't work here. Not the most natural thing for programmers. One person kept posting things that were not, generously speaking, team-spirited. Weblogs are prosaic things. Don't think of weblogging as a calling. It's a utility, another way of communicating. But the same basic issues of trust apply, you have to be able to trust that a particular person is not going to disclose a company secret in public. Halley: getting at the big T Truth, how much truth does any business want to tell. Dave: I think you have to be really transparent, at least in certain areas. A company's PR function should have a weblog. I'd also like to see customers being able to tolerate the truth, i.e., I know things are screwed up at any company, at least this one's honest. Jeff Jarvis: companies need credibility, but we know their goal is to put their message out. It's understood. Question about whether UserLand worked out its rogue blogger issue. Yes, we came up with ground rules. If someone's aware of the rules, but not trying to work with you, what are you going to do? Have to fire them. It's not any different than what you might not want people to do with the photocopy machine. Audience comment: you're going to find the people who are team players more quickly, you're going to see their cheesecake recipe. Dave agrees. Back to the Natural Born Blogger (NBB, birth of an acronym?), this becomes even more powerful when you put it together with an aggregator. There's a communication revolution waiting. Sure there are risks (and that's also where the fun comes from). Audience member (Update: Ah, that's Beth Goza, I met her earlier) asks about working at a company (Microsoft) where employees constantly are asked to get a clue, then penalized for getting one. Her site is, she was in the Register. Issue was she made no secret about working for Microsoft, talked about various Microsoft things (using the XBox, her Tablet). She admitted to cheating on the XBox, and got in trouble. Dave: I think people like you who don't make a secret of their corporate associations are to be applauded. (And she gets a round of applause.) But flames happen. Another question about pre-screening posts: do you think that works? No. If an employer is reviewing every blog post, you miss Michael's permission-no-forgiveness point. There's a humiliation factor, you're a professional. Absolutely though, an employer has the right to tell you a particular post is inappropriate and should be taken down. "I didn't like the way I was being edited, and I quit." Can they, will they, should they: all distinct questions. Audience member comments on ranges of behavior that become known or are made explicit within organizations. Dave: what I have been willing to tolerate has been a moving target over time. If you look at things from the 1996 perspective, the world has gone nuts, particularly in areas like copyright. Dave got reamed for posting a picture of Elian Gonzalez. It's illegal, but its happening a hundred thousand times a day. Things become more or less controversial over time. (Back to blogging:) Nobody's gone to jail yet over this stuff. Idealism: don't knock it if you haven't tried it.

Weblog Business Strategies Conference: Kickoff

Had to come all the way to Boston to meet Sam Whitmore, who sat next to me at D. The gang's all here, this should be good fun. Things are about to get going momentarily. I'll update this post for the intro from Kathleen Goodwin and Michael Gartenberg's opening session.

Kathleen Goodwin, Welcoming Remarks

We've brought together the best and brightest individuals in the world of weblogs, a watershed event. Businesses quickly discovered the transformational aspects of the 'Net. Business weblogs are in their early stages of greatness. Think back to early days of the Internet: many difficulties and concerns have been overcome. Today, where would we be without it? As a marketer, I can tell you it's the greatest tool I have for managing customer relationships. (Overview of conference topics.) (Kathleen asks for questions for final panel. If you email, I'll be pleased to ask.)

Michael Gartenberg, Jupiter Research Insight: Enterprise Weblogs—Blogging For Fun And Profit

I'm always hesitant to talk about firsts, especially in a roomful of live Internet connections. (Good laugh.) But to the best of my knowledge, Jupiter was the first to incorporate research and weblogs. The Internet and the Web don't get mentioned in Wired until issue 1.4. Home pages were about the sum total of the Web Wired was covering in the early '90's.

Talks about the debate when they first started blogging about research at Jupiter (some got it, some said, huh?). Getting about 4,000 hits a day on the various sites. Palpable results, clients have renewed on the basis of weblogs. Now, Alan Meckler has his own blog, and they've started the Microsoft Monitor, first time they've tied a specific service to a companion weblog.

There are some nasty perceptions about weblogs: Lack of ethos, little value, creates Web noise, ego driven publishing. The reality is they're actually firsthand expertise. The credibility associated with a blog is directly tied to the contributing individuals. And, traditional publishing is ego driven too, but good luck if you actually want to be heard. Odds are the New York Times is not going to publish your op-ed. Blogging also provides a unique opportunity for direct audience contact. Blogs also enable customer centric communication not available elsewhere, and are the ultimate no-spin zone.

If Michael were advising Dustin Hoffman today in The Graduate, he might say "Weblogs." But careful: you might get fired. Keys are to keep it modest at first. Go internal before you go external; sounds basic, but isn't, and it's important. Ask permission, not forgiveness. This applies if you're a a personal blogger too. A disclaimer saying, "My thoughts are not those of my employer," is not going to save your job. Use common sense.

So who should be blogging at your company? Easy: anyone who has got something to say. People in your company are undiscovered great writers analysts and thinkers. Use them. Also, blog early and blog often. Third, recognize the difference between business and personal blogs. If you're blogging in a business setting, in general keep the cheesecake recipes offline.

Suggested project timeline: beta internally, commit a core group of bloggers, get a week's worth of material ready to go, open up to internal review for some beta feedback, repeat all this three times, and you're good to go. Blogs are an extremely powerful form of communication, both internally and externally. If you're looking at this from an enterprise perspective, now is the time to seize control because if you don't, people internally will do it on an ad hoc basis. Better to be involved.

Introduces Dave Winer.

It's On My Tab

Todd Dominey writes of my favorite Safari feature of all time:

[Y]ou can also do this handy shortcut – put a bunch of related bookmarks into a folder, and place the folder in your toolbar. Make sure Tabbed Browsing is turned on in the Preferences. Then, hold down the command key, and click on the folder in the toolbar. Presto! Every bookmark inside the folder is loaded into its own tab. I use this shortcut for general news, Mac sites, and any web project I'm currently developing. You can obviously click a folder, open it, and select "Open in Tabs" from the bottom, but the command-click option is much faster.

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