November 23, 2009

OutLoud: A new way to distribute your content

outbrainAyelet NoffLast week Eytan Galai, brother of Yaron Galai (founder of Quigo, which was sold to AOL) came to our offices to show us all the latest that’s been happening with Outbrain. For those who don’t know, Outbrain has recently launched its revenue program OutLoud.

For $10 a month, you can submit an interesting article to OutLoud. Outbrain will then take the articles you submitted — ranging from journalism and blog entries to press releases for which you want to get more visibility — and recommend them on relevant pages across thousands of sites using their content recommendation engine, ranging from USA Today, Slate, Fox and Tribune to Golf.com and the SportingNews.
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October 19, 2009

Takeaways from Blogworld Expo

Anthony Edwards

Anthony Edwards of “ER” fame did his first tweet — to raise funds for the first children’s pediatric training hospital in Africa.

Bloggers, journalism, celebrities and what the future holds

JD LasicaThere was a little bit of a SXSW vibe at the just-ended Blogworld Expo in Las Vegas — a communal feeling where the goings-on in the sessions (on the whole, consistently engaging) were overshadowed by the face time and first-time encounters between longtime Twitter friends. To be sure, BlogWorld is a smaller affair than SouthBy — one official told me 1,500 people turned out for the Causes/Activism track on Thursday, 5,000 for the next two days — but from my vantage point, it seems that the social media phenomenon has rejuvenated ones of the world’s oldest and largest new media gatherings.

Twitter was front and center throughout the affair, both on screen — where rolling tweets of each session’s hashtags were displayed (though not consistently) — and as a way for conference-goers to figure out evening social plans. And cameras and recorders were everwhere — here’s my Flickr set of BlogWorld.

Below is a recap of the highlights in my field of vision (see after the jump). In addition, I just posted 8 tips for raising funds online — a recap of the Tools for Nonprofits panel that I moderated at Blogworld — over at our sister site, Socialbrite.org.

Journalists vs. bloggers: Can we please move on?

As regular readers know, I’ve been blogging about journalism, blogging, and the need for journalists and bloggers to love each other and use the best elements of both worlds since 2001, when I started this blog (then called New Media Musings). See, for example, Blogs and Journalism Need Each Other in Harvard’s Nieman Reports in Fall 2003.

So it’s now irritating, and not merely tiresome, to attend a new media conference where too many of the sessions veered into hostility toward traditional news organizations. The audience questions to and reaction to CNN weekend anchor Don Lemon (below), was a case in point.

Don Lemon

Why should bloggers want to work with CNN? Lemon should have more artfully worded his reply — “The plain truth is that my platform is bigger than your platform” — but, with the exception of a few outliers like iJustine or cross-over Twitter celebrities, that’s still true. It’s not about CNN, it’s about reach and bringing value to more people.

The notion that crowdsourced amateur journalism can supplant professional journalism, and actually do a better job — which many in the audience truly believe — is not only ludicrous but potentially dangerous to our democratic institutions. Journalism that ferrets out corruption, that takes the pulse of a community, that sheds a light on international events is hard work, something that the crowd tends to avoid. Just ask anyone toiling in overworked, understaffed independent journalism publications like Spot.us, AliveinBaghdad, Pro Publica, or the just-launched Oakland Local.

Similarly, I’ve finally found a fundamental disagreement with my friend, colleague and fellow Traveling Geek Robert Scoble. I tweeted my dismay at the bottom-line premise of his panel, How Social Media Is Changing the Definition of News: that news sites should pass along rumors and second-hand reports without fact-checking them. “The old world was i fact-checked before I published, in this new world i can correct it after the fact,” Scoble said.

Immediately after the panel, he cited TMZ’s early report on the death of Michael Jackson and the fact that no one remembers who reported it second. “It’s over. It’s over,” he told me, referring to journalism’s authentication function. Continue reading

September 11, 2009

Why corporate blogging is like selling uncut cocaine

Or, why your company should tell its own story before letting others cut it up

cokeDavid SparkMy company, Spark Media Solutions, is based on the premise that every business has the capability of being its own media network. Given the endless tools for cheap to free production and distribution of content, there’s absolutely no reason a business must rely on others to tell their story. Yet for some demented reason, it’s still unbelievably difficult trying to convince corporations to do just that. Tell your own story. Businesses ingrained with the culture of “corporate communications” feel far more comfortable going through the traditional channels of PR firms, journalists, and bloggers.

Why would you allow the fate and success of your company to be based only on hoping that someone publishes your story correctly? Why not tell your story yourself? All of the people that companies traditionally rely on to tell their story (e.g., PR pros, journalists, bloggers) are not on the payroll. They have no choice but to hear your company’s story through a chain of communications. The net result is your story is published and distributed second-, third-, or fourth-hand.

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August 6, 2009

7 questions for the author of ‘Say Everything’

Scott Rosenberg sketches his vision of blogosphere’s impact on our culture

sayeverythingJD LasicaScott Rosenberg, co-founder and longtime managing editor of Salon — and a longtime friend — has a new book out, following Dreaming in Code, called Say Everything: How Blogging Began, What It’s Becoming, and Why It Matters (Crown Publishing Group). It’s a well-written, well-researched, worthwhile read about blogging, its origins, import and where it’s going. He took part this week in a Q&A about blogging’s impact on publishing, journalism and our culture at large.

1Blogging is no longer the shiny new toy, and the cool kids are moving on to social networks and micro-blogging services like Twitter. Tell us why you think blogs have a vibrant future.

SR: Blogs have a great future because the Web has a great future, and blogs are the Web’s single most important native form. The “cool kids” did their part for blogging by embracing it in the early days and helping it evolve into the mature phenomenon that it is today. That’s their role; they’re doing the same thing with Twitter et al. now. But their waning enthusiasm means very little to a form that we can now see is the single most useful vehicle for self-expression online. Once millions take up some activity, you really don’t need the cool kids anymore.

2You’ve been researching and writing your book for some time. What was the single biggest surprise you came across?

SR: I was surprised by how much of everything that would come later was prefigured by the experiences of the earliest bloggers whose tales are contained in Say Everything‘s first section. Any sort of issue that might come up and hit you in the head as a blogger — with the exception of advertising- and money-related matters — turns out to be something these people faced.

3Name a few bloggers who aren’t household names but whose blogs
enrich the public discourse.

SR: I’m not trying to be difficult, but I have to ask, which bloggers are household names? Whose house, exactly, are we living in? Is Anil Dash a household name? He’s been writing some amazing stuff lately. Is Merlin Mann a household name? Nate Silver? Certainly these are all “well known bloggers,” in certain spheres, but none of them really rises to the level of name-recognition of any second-string actor.

I think I have to continue being difficult and challenge the second part of the question, too. “Enriching the public discourse” makes it sound like “the public discourse” is monolithic. There are a million “public discourses” out there, and most bloggers of any level of ambition are contributing to at least one of them. I may not be personally interested in the obsessions of a quilting blogger or a baseball geek, but they are now participating in the public discourse that matters to them.

[JD: This is worth discussing more deeply over a beer some time. While I value all the knitting bloggers, sports bloggers and mommy bloggers out there, we do need vibrant discussions in the blogosphere around public policy issues, especially with the increasing irrelevance of many newspapers and other traditional media voices. We find some of this with Josh Marshall’s Talking Points Memo, Pro Publica, the Politico, Huffington Post, Daily Kos, Power Line and elsewhere, but we need many more blogs, and bloggers, participating in the public discourse about their communities and their nation.]

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July 24, 2009

Survival Guide Chapter 3: RSS feeds & blogs

survival-guide-toDeltina Hay Here is part 3 of the series I will post over the next few months based on chapters from my new book, A Survival Guide to Social Media and Web 2.0 Optimization.

This book is meant to be a guide to building an optimized foundation in the Social Web for beginners and advanced users alike.

Chapter 3, the longest chapter in the book, is about RSS feeds and blogs. This chapter is packed with information and useful tips about content preparation, feed readers, optimization, and much more to ensure maximum exposure in the Social Web.

The following excerpts are from A Survival Guide to Social Media and Web 2.0 Optimization:

Chapter 3: RSS Feeds and Blogs

Optimizing Your Blog And RSS Feed

Your RSS feed or blog will do you little good if nobody knows about it or cannot subscribe to it. This section highlights ways for you to optimize and promote your feed. Most of these tips are for both blogs and RSS
feeds, but some of them only apply to blogs. It is made clear if something only applies to blogs….

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