Finding Passion in Your Blog

I had that sense of recognition…here was something which I had known all my life, only I didn’t know it…
Ralph Vaughan Williams

A blogger recently contacted me with the announcement, “I finally found my passion on my blog! Thank you!”

I wasn’t sure why I was specifically being thanked, but I love it when people finally find their blogging path. Have you?

Here are some tips to help you find your blog purpose and passion:

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Can You Run an Online Publication?

Answer honestly. Do you have what it takes to run background research, fact check, spell check, grammar check, objectivity check. Wait a moment, wasn’t blogging supposed to be about opinion and voice? Yes it was, and so was journalism. You are allowed to feel, witness (experience), and document what you see through your human filter.

Christiane Amanpour thinks that “there are some situations that one simply cannot be neutral about. Objectivity does not mean treating all sides equally. It means giving each side a hearing.” Herein lies the first lesson in running a publication for bloggers – it is about being balanced in recognizing differing points of view.

Another journalist I have tremendous respect for, John Timpane of the Editorial Board at The Philadelphia Inquirer – former Shakespearian English teacher and poet – calls it skepticism. This means requiring the official reality to explain itself. Not to be confused with another sentiment, which is often overused: cynicism. A cynic is not open to discovery, he is set in his ways. A skeptic, on the other hand, is open to receiving. In other words, they are listening while exercising critical thinking.

Now that you are listening, you can pass the biggest test.

The Biggest Test

The biggest test you can take after you honor the proper grammar and form is that of the attribution. Being objective means being honest with yourself, and with the other – both sides. Can you do that?

Then you are well on your way. All the other things – finding news, analyzing it, doing background and fact checks, even finding a sponsor or an ad network for your publication is easier.

The hardest part is always that of objectivity. Asking, even requiring reality to explain itself is harder than it seems. Yet the rewards are oh so much greater. With the recent news of Ars Technica being bought by Conde’ Nast we learned a very important piece of information: the community that forms around an online publication can be a powerful story.

Compelling at the tune of millions of dollars. The content is key to forming that, of course, as is the integrity and passion of the reporting – with objectivity. What side of the conversation are you not giving a hearing to?

Six Apart launches TypePad AntiSpam open source comment spam solution

Six Apart has announced that it’s making the technology behind TypePad’s blog comment spam system freely available to bloggers using Movable Type 3/4, WordPress 2.5, or “any other platform which supports spam plugins”. The system is already built in to TypePad.

The beta version of TypePad AntiSpam is now available to both personal and commercial users, regardless of how many comments their blogs receive. It’s a self-learning system, meaning that whenever a user reports a comment as spam, the system should learn from that, and improve its spam filters.

As a potential rival to Akismet, TypePad AntiSpam is also fully compatible with its API.

As for concerns that open sourcing the system will simply aid spammers wishing to circumvent the system, the FAQ explains: “We aren’t sharing all of the rules and logic that we run with our implementation of the TypePad AntiSpam engine. We are open sourcing the core engine, allowing others to build on top of our system allowing them to build and operate their own spam service.”

An enterprise-class service may be offered in the future, along with a customised service for users with specific requirements.

TypePad AntiSpam

British newspaper’s hosting of anti-immigrant blog raises questions over censorship

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” — Evelyn Beatrice Hall

Most people value everyone’s right to free speech, and the Internet is arguably a medium where it’s much easier to exercise that right, but every so often questions are raised over how much should be allowed to stand, particularly when an organisation hosts user-generated content.

Recently, The Telegraph — a British broadsheet newspaper — has been spotlighted for hosting a blog written by Richard Bambrook, a prominent member of the the British National Party (BNP) known for their outspoken views on immigrants.

Recently, he posted a blog entry under the heading “Blame the immigrants” in which he proceeded to blame the majority of knife and gun crime on immigrants. “I have had enough of people being afraid to actually say what they really want to say. Yes … it is the immigrants,” he wrote.

A Telegraph spokeswoman defended the newspaper’s decision to host the blog, suggesting they’d had no complaints, adding, “we believe our readers are intelligent and discerning enough to avoid the content they dislike and report that which offends. That doesn’t mean the Telegraph necessarily endorses their opinions nor promotes them.”

The Telegraph launched its My Telegraph community blogging platform last year, and now boasts a 20,000-strong membership. Moderators check for offensive/illegal content.

The fact is that Bambrook hasn’t written anything illegal, and if The Telegraph refuses to publish his comments, he’ll simply publish them somewhere else.

(Via The Guardian) Buys Celeb Blog on Babies

MediaWeek is reporting that is buying Celebrity Baby Blog from founder Danielle Friedland. The blog is 4 years old and focuses on celebrity baby news. No price was disclosed as far as I can tell, but I’m digging into it. There’s a short post up on Celebrity Baby Blog as well, although it doesn’t really add much to the news, more assures the readership that things will stay the same, with more features to come.

NASA employee serving suspension for political blogging

A NASA employee based at the Johnson Space Center is currently serving a 180-day suspension without pay from their position because they wrote politically partisan blog posts, solicited donations, and sent emails while at work.

In all likelihood, the employee would have been suspended whatever method of communication they’d used to air their political views, and whether or not they’d done so at work or in their own time, thanks to the Hatch Act, but the fact remains that another blogger has found themselves in hot water.

Perhaps said employee would have done well to heed this advice — Big Brother is always watching. If you’re doing something which contravenes your contract of employment, expect to be found out. Blogging is no exception.


Have You Helped Someone Today?

I’m not bragging. It’s a fact. My blogs get a lot of attention. They win awards. I have a lot of incoming links, and a lot of steady traffic. The PageRank of my blog – well, actually, I don’t know. I have no idea and haven’t paid attention for several years. It doesn’t matter.

Most of the stuff that other bloggers worry and fuss over doesn’t matter to me. I don’t look at my blog stats unless I have a good reason. I don’t write to beg for traffic nor attention. Honestly, I just do what I do and people like it. Any search engine page ranking success I’ve had is due to experience and common sense. No games. I hate the games.

I tried to explain this to someone just entering the blog market recently, and they just couldn’t get it. “But you’re THE Lorelle! You’re famous!”

Nope. I’m just me. I’m just you. I’m just like everyone else, I’ve just been doing this longer. So pardon my arrogance for just a moment, but I’ve been there, done that, and now I think I’m paying attention to what’s more important than some numbers and scores.

What matters most to me is helping people.
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Glam to Turn Down $1.3 billion?

VentureBeat reports that Glam have been offered a whopping $1.3 billion in an acquisition bid. Who it is that wants to spend this kind of money isn’t stated in the story, but apparently it seems that the bid will be turned down:

Glam’s investors are unlikely to do so because they see a bigger opportunity for Glam to build a large business for high-end display advertising, the source said. Some critics will say Glam will be foolish for not accepting such an offer.

Duncan Riley doesn’t think that the offer is so high, read his analysis for more.

It’s obvious that there’s still a lot of spending urges going on in the new media sphere. Obviously, the various companies are seeing opportunities in the ever growing online business, so it’s hard to believe that there’s a recession in the US at the moment, at least when looking at it from the outside.