December 16, 2008

Six Apart Announces Motion: Roll Your Own Social Network with Movable Type

Filed as Features with 2 comments

Screenshot of a Motion social network

Screenshot of a Motion social network

A few hours ago, Six Apart announced a new social networking application: Motion. Built on top of Movable Type, Motion is billed as a DIY social network, as well as an aggregator for content from around the web. Motion allows you to create your own microblogging community with a simple posting interface for quickly blogging images, video, links, and more. It uses the Action Streams plugin to aggregate your users’ content from other social networks onto their profile page. And it supports Google Friend Connect, Facebook Connect and OpenID for signing in to comment.

I had an opportunity to try out a private beta of Motion. I have not installed the public beta that was released yesterday, so I can’t say what, if anything, has changed from what I tried. It was definitely a beta, so I wouldn’t advise putting it into production. I would suggest playing with it, though — this product has a lot of potential. read more

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December 15, 2008

Movable Type Monday: Pagination, Template Sets, Plugin Installation, and More

Filed as Features with 1 comment

Happy Monday, folks! Since it is a Monday, let’s start things off with some complaints about Movable Type. Phil Gyford wrote a detailed piece on some of the annoying things he’s dealt with in MT. The great thing about Phil’s post is that he doesn’t just complain about MT, he explains how he worked around its issues. Hopefully this post will help others that have dealt with the same things, and inspire new enhancements to MT.

Now, let’s see what else is new in the MT community.

Plugins

Assetylene — Written by Brad Choate, Assetylene lets you customize the markup used to insert an asset into a post. If that sounds familiar to you, it should: Jay Allen wrote a similar plugin. Great minds think alike. If anybody’s tried both, let us know which you prefer and why. read more

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Exploring Social Media: The Power of the Link Needs Content

Exploring Social Media article series badgeIn The Power of the Link and Don’t Guest Blog Until You Have Content, I talk about two very important subjects that apply to our ongoing discussion and Exploring Social Media Series.

First, a link is a door people open to your world, be it a world within your blog, social media tools and services, or a recommendation to visit another world, one you hope your fans will enjoy so much, they will return to your world with joy, eager for more and telling the world about what you have to offer.

Second, if you link without anything worth linking to, without anything positive to offer people, without anything worth recommending, without anything worth returning to, you have lost the power in social influence within the modern online world.

If you link to yourself, then these two characteristics are magnified. You are offering people a gateway into your world, one they expect is worth linking to, deserving of attention, exciting, and worth telling others about.

The link is the most powerful social media tool of all. read more

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Twitblogs Lets You Publish Longer Tweets, Looks Dubious

TwitblogsI’ve seen some of these services before, but it wasn’t until I read Michael Arringtons harsh treatment of Sam Sethi’s new venture, called Twitblogs. You might remember the Arrington-Sethi debacle back in 2007, the latter having been the editor of TechCrunch UK, and then crashed Blognation without paying its writers and employees. There’s a lot of bad blood there, and I’m not surprised to see the way Arrington handled Sethi’s latest offering.

That being said, I visited the site, and also checked in on its competitors. Or rather, the ones that Sethi ripped off, if TwitWall founder Michael E. Carluen (if it really is he) is to be believed. TwitWall is one of the competitors to Twitblogs, another one mentioned is Twitlonger, and I think I’ve seen even more of these. read more

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Email Contact and Blogs

For most bloggers, email is one of their most important tools. Whether it is a means of receiving feedback beyond the regular comment form, a method of obtaining new clients/advertisers or just a way of getting tips for future posts, most bloggers enjoy being available via email.

The question though is how to do it? Anyone with an email address is acutely aware of the high levels of email spam still being spent out, well after Bill Gates promised the problem would be solved, and don’t seek to invite any more of it or have legitimate mail lost in existing spam filters.

Bloggers that want to invite email communication have a serious challenge trying to open the doors to their readers without inviting a deluge of pharmaceutical and scam emails as well. There are techniques that can reduce the problem, but no perfect solutions. Instead, one has to find the answer that works best for them read more

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Don’t You Dare to ;-) Me!

Oleg Teterin, a Russian entrepreneur, has gotten trademark approval for the ;-) emoticon, and he intends to cash in on it, says BBC. “Tens of thousands of dollars” will be the fine, but you can continue to use it in your personal IMs.

“I want to highlight that this is only directed at corporations, companies that are trying to make a profit without the permission of the trademark holder,” Mr Teterin said in comments on the Russian TV channel, NTV.

Now, this is most likely just a PR stunt, but even if Teterin is serious, it is highly unlikely that this will hold up. Personally, I find it hilarious, so I’ll use it one more time. I needn’t worry, the Blog Herald’s owner – Splashpress Media – will pick up the tab!

So ;-) to all the readers!

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December 12, 2008

200 Themes Removed From WordPress.org – Matt Explains Why

There’s been some ruckus about the sudden departure of some 200 themes from the WordPress.org theme directory. Justin Tadlock and Spectacu.la both had a lot of things to say about this.

I emailed Matt Mullenweg, and he explained that the reason for the massive theme purge was that there was a lot of spammy SEO links as well as various violations of the GPL that is required to be hosted in the directory. He also said this, to address the people who are worried about what is really going on with the theme directory:

There were also a few that violated WP community guidelines, like the domain policy. So since Monday we’ve been clearing stuff out en mass. If you’re kosher with the GPL and don’t claim or promote otherwise on your site and your theme was removed, it was probably a mistake. Give us a week to catch up with the bad stuff and then drop a note.

So there you have it. Mystery solved, hopefully. The whole thing is, however, a reminder that a theme marketplace is needed, although I would say that it might be a better idea to offer links to the ones that have already established themselves, given how late to the game a WordPress hosted one would be.

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Personal Blogging and the Difference Between On and Offline

The death of a blogger in the Swedish blogosphere is getting a lot of attention right now. It figures of course, a lot of people enjoyed the blog, and there was a personal touch to it as well. Condolences and prayers are piling up, it is beautiful in a way.

It’s also a reminder that the blogosphere can be a really personal place. That works both ways, because on the one hand you might get well-wishes when you’re ill or in trouble, whereas you can also be totally slammed in the comments for being an asshole, basically. The (faulty) feeling that we’re anonymous online makes it easier to be nasty, but also to give praise, although that by all means are a lot less common, unfortunately. It’s much more fun to bitch and whine. read more

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December 11, 2008

Jen 2.0: A Video Blogoraphy of Sorts

Filed as Editorial with 3 comments

I have been following a new blog of late. Called Making Jen 2.0.

Here is the story:

Jenn is a web savvy 20-something living in San Diego, California. She is a unique combination of social butterfly and computer nerd who has recently found a way to put that knowledge to use as a Social Media Consultant. Even though she’s dating someone, Jenn has had found it difficult to define the right partner because she can’t yet define herself. Therefore, she pours herself into the network of friends that she maintains across the ether-world of Web2.0 social media applications.

This could easily be the story of any of us in the social media and blogging industry:

And, time is a limited currency that Jenn must spend each day to stay just within the limits of information overload; profiles to maintain, statuses to update, blog entries to post, beta sites, web links, comments to answer, new connections, old friends, opportunities, software upgrades, chat conversations, emails, and even phone calls. Real-life friends want to meet while online connections crave attention. Among these conflicts, Jenn will find humor, stress and a little bit of herself as she struggles to determine what is a liability, and what is living.

Check out the trailer, def. a great production.

Jennifer Van Grove is who Jenn 2.0 is based on and is a blogger at Mashable as well as an independent consultant. This looks to be a great up and coming show. One atleast I will be interested in following.

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Tumblr raises Second VC Round

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PaidContent is reporting that Tumblr has received another 4.5 Million Second Round of Financing from Spark Capital and Union Square Ventures.

Tumblr is a great microblogging slash scrapbooking like service for the creatively minded. It will be interesting to see what premium services they begin to role out over the months to come.

If blogs are over, tumblelogs never even got going. But that isn’t stopping Tumblr, short-form scrapbook blogging’s biggest exponent, from raising a $4.5 million second VC round. Beefing up, the outfit is adding former Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) technology SVP John Borthwick to its board and former CNET director John Maloney as president. The investment is led by Spark Capital and involves Union Square Ventures, who together led Tumblr’s $775,000 first round.

Part way between a blog and a Twitter microblog, a tumblelog is a space on which people publish short mixed-media posts. David Karp, who worked with Maloney at UrbanBaby, started Tumblr last year and has had just three staff; now it claims 15 million monthly uniques. In the release, he said the investment “presents some fascinating opportunities to grow the business and prove a sustainable model”. That will involve a premium model slated for Q1, though Karp also alluded to “a revenue strategy that leverages both Tumblr’s publishing platform and community” Advertising? Not yet, Karp tells AllThingsD, which values Tumblr at $15 million.

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