Entries Tagged 'Blogging' ↓
January 6th, 2010 | Blogging • Montreal • Personal
Whoa. This month this is mikel.org turns ten (though the archives only go back to Feb 2000). I haven’t been very active on this blog in about a year, but it’s still alive and I am definitely coming back to it in the near future. Now that my company is entering a new, more mature/less startup phase, I’ll have more time for blogging.
Ten years is a long time for anything on the web to have existed, and in the blog world, it’s almost an eternity. There were already lots of blogs in existence when I started here – and those pioneers really inspired me (as well as proto-bloggers like Justin Hall) to start a blog in the first place. But it was nevertheless the very early days of the blogosphere when I got this going, and I remember those early days of blogging very fondly.
Back then, blogging was a lot closer to what Twitter is today, which is probably the most striking difference in the form between now and the early days. Remember there were no (or very few) inline commenting systems in the early blogosphere – so to comment on another blog, you had to write your own post on your own site and link back to the original post hoping that its author would notice. So – essentially the @username and RT functions in Twitter were then the state of the art in blogs as well.
Almost coincident with the tenth anniversary of mikel.org was the news (via Metafilter, where I’ve been a member for almost a decade as well) that another early blogger, Brad Graham, has died. I remember The Bradlands very very well, and although Brad and I never met (& I never have gone to SXSW, where many of the early bloggers first met), his passing brings a profound sense of loss. It’s the loss of a friend to many – but even to those of us who didn’t know him but were active in that era, he was a key member of the early community of bloggers, when it was possible to still discuss a “community of bloggers”.
January 7th, 2009 | Blogging • Montreal • YULBlog
If you’re a blogger from Montreal, it would be a great idea to come to YULBlog tonight. Patrick and Eric Demay have done a great job developing a new (beautiful) YULBlog website that will give members much more direct control over both their personal profile and their blogs. The site is being launched tonight at First Wednesday at La Quincaillerie and you’ll (likely) be able to sign up for a profile and add your blog or blogs while having a beer or two with the YULBlog crew.
November 22nd, 2008 | Blogging • Internet • Media • Newspapers
Mitch Joel wrote an interesting post today to which I want to respond, but my response was longer than a blog comment so I’ve written it here.
Mitch notes six interesting questions that media companies should ponder, and then follows up with this: “why don’t traditional media companies create a new physical area (how about an office space away from everyone else) and set-up those interested in the above challenges and questions. Let them spend a few months tinkering and experimenting.”
I suspect that it’s going to take a lot more than sitting people in a room to work out the new model. That’s not because it’s so difficult, but rather because a) a lot of that work has already been done – by the NY Times, notably; and b) some of those dollars are just gone.
The problem for most media companies – particularly paper-based media companies – is that they no longer have a platform to build upon. Readers (and advertising dollars) are leaving, and have been leaving for years – and companies are hamstrung. They think it’s “the internet” that’s done it to them, but they’re wrong – it’s their reaction to new media over the course of 10 or more years that has put them where they are today.
Sure, some of the dollars are simply gone. Consider newspapers. A Big Guy at a major Canadian broadsheet mentioned to me several years ago that the classified ad business – which accounted for over a third of overall revenue at such papers – was dead, due to Craigslist. Newspaper people have known that a major revenue source was drying (or had dried) up for years now, and they did almost nothing about it.
That’s the past now. Those dollars have fled, and there’s likely nothing to do about that. It’s still significant, though, because right off the bat the pot is that much smaller.
As far as the rest of it goes, I actually don’t think it’s that difficult. The traditional media outlets have to understand their unique value proposition, the same as any company selling a product or service. For any content business on paper, that value is in the editorial quality, and when those properties are good, they do things that no one else – and particularly not blogs – can do as well as they can.
For me, that’s in-depth, factual reporting. NOT opinion, op-ed, or columnists – in a blog world, no one gives a damn about some former reporter’s opinions on anything (except maybe politics, where a reporter’s history of access to political players gives a clear value add).
The nice thing about news and investigative reporting is that it serves as a platform – by opening up the archives making sure everything is searchable and directly linkable (with human-readable links), a company starts creating value that it can leverage. Gravitas has value. Being the organ of record has a real value.
That value can be packaged online by editors who take that work and develop collections, but also by leveraging the blogs discussing those stories. Make it simple for bloggers to refer to stories – and have their opinions linked FROM the source of the reporting (automatically via trackback or through other means). The Montreal Gazette and La Presse should be THE definitive source for information on any subject in Montreal over the past 50 years. Until they take steps to become that source, that reference, I don’t think there’s much that they can do to stem the tide.
For me, print media have over-invested in opinion, columnists, and light non-reporting journalism, and that they did so as a direct reaction to the expanding media market that the Internet represents. What they didn’t understand is that the value of opinion journalism goes down, not up, when opinion writing proliferates (as it has with the rise of blogging). They made a bet starting over a decade ago – and it was exactly the opposite of the bet they should have made.
(Note that this assumes that Canadian newspapers are having the same problems as they are in the US – the last I read, Canadian dailies are holding their own, and the Canadian magazine market seems as healthy as ever).
April 25th, 2008 | Blogging • Exvisu • Montreal • Paris • Personal • Strategy • Web
I just realized I haven’t talked much about what I’m up to lately. When we moved back to Montreal, I had what I thought was going to be a great job developing a new, should-have-been revolutionary web product… but that didn’t really work out very well (they didn’t share my vision of what the site could have and should have been and I didn’t think it was worth the investment to think small). Since then, I’ve been working really hard to get a new company off the ground. My great friend Claude moved back from Paris a few months before I came back to Montreal and he has been working like a maniac to establish Exvisu in Montreal. Almost immediately we talked about merging our forces, and after one aborted attempt last spring, in the fall I started devoting some time to it and based on my good experiences in the early going, this past winter I dove in head first.
At the moment, Exvisu is all about doing a very unique and advanced kind of research to help leaders with marketing, communications, and political opportunities (or problems). We have the ability to go out into existing but unstructured data sets and learn a great deal more about an issue than traditional approaches can provide. From there, we work very closely with our clients to develop appropriate web-based strategies to address the opportunity or problem. And, to round out the offering, if our clients lack the capacity to execute on the strategy themselves, we’ll work with them to do the job.
It’s a pretty broad offering, but we’re exceeding the goals we set for ourselves in January. We have several clients and partners we’re working with such as AGY Consulting, K3 Media, Gartner Lee Limited and several others I can’t really mention. As well, we’re working hard on a couple of different technology projects that will be the key to moving from a pure consultancy to a much more ambitious play down the road.
March 30th, 2008 | Blogging • Mashup • Social Networks • Software
Loïc Le Meur has written a nice succinct post about social networks and software and decentralization: My social map is totally decentralized but I want it back on my blog. It’s pretty clear to me that this is where all of this stuff is going to have to go – partly for convenience, but also because that’s where the really interesting data/service mashups will most easily originate, I think. One thing I’ve been thinking about, though, is what this looks like on someone’s blog. I thing part of the barrier to this kind of thing is that the current state-of-the-art – widgets in someone’s sidebar or rich footer – is pretty marginally usable and definitely not scalable.
February 22nd, 2008 | Blogging • Business • Lebkowsky • Web 2.0
Alexander Wilms wrote an interesting post called The Trouble With Web 2.0 at Boxes and Arrows, to which Jon Lebkowsky wrote a lengthy response on the Social Web Strategies blog. Wilms is generally optimistic about the adoption of new online strategies in the enterprise, and where he sees barriers, Lebkowsky challenges those very effectively in his response.
Lebkowsky is right on when he writes,
The question is, how do you promote a different set of values within the corporate environment, so that cooperation is favored over competition, in at least some contexts? A company may lose valuable potential for innovation if leaders within the organization don’t work to support collaboration. Again, this is something we should at least be willing to consider.
It may not be comfortable, but I think it’s important that companies embarking on “Web 2” projects understand that it’s just as much about their corporate culture as it is about technology or what have you.
There’s another fundamental problem underlying Wilms’ article, though, which is the assumption in a lot of discussions on Web 2.0 and the enterprise that embarking on such projects is an OR not an AND proposition. There is nothing better for a company embarking on an an internal blogging project than an existing (underused, over-priced) KM system – and the reverse is true as well (x 10).