Freedom of Speech and Anonymous Blogging

The holidays are around the corner and some of us will be indulging ourselves in festivities. I thought this would be the perfect time to reflect on freedom within the blogosphere. I live in a relatively peaceful country where I can do or say whatever I want within the boundaries of the law. In the Netherlands the law is pretty keen on freedom of speech which sometimes leads to heated debates but at the same time allows me to speak my mind.

Freedom of speech is something I take for granted. Blogging is also something I take for granted.

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What is Yahoo!’s Role in the Blogosphere?

Ever since Yahoo! released its Shortcuts plugin for WordPress I’ve been wondering what Yahoo!’s role in the blogosphere is. The plugin is developed for Yahoo! by Alex King who wrote an impressive amount of popular WordPress plugins. Will this plugin become another success? Responses seem to mixed and vary from “Please God, no more pop-up links” to “Very Cool!

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Updating Your Blog Posts

Imagine you just published a new post and only a few hours later you receive important new information. Do you write a new blog post or do you update your old blog post?

A blog is an evolving object which changes regularly. Not only is the blog itself a dynamic object, a blog post is too. People may leave a comment or send a trackback or a pingback. These interactions add to the blog post and in some cases might change the context of a blog post. Once a blog post is published doesn’t mean it shall never be touched again.

A recent discussion in the 9rules community showed that post-publishing editing is very common. In the discussion nearly everyone made changes in the spelling or grammar but “nothing that alters the context of the post though.” But what if you do want to change the context of your post or correct your statement?

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Archiving Blogs and the Blogosphere

As blogs are becoming a more mature medium, research into the history of blogs becomes even more relevant. Earlier this year an article by the Wall Street Journal celebrated the 10th anniversary of blogs with Jorn Barger’s Robot Wisdom as of December 23, 1997. Not only was the author of the article accused of getting the history wrong and re-writing history it also heated up the debate on what the first blog was. (Note: the site is not up anymore, but here’s a useful resource.)

As Rex Hammock points out there is no single history of blogs and argues that “everyone should write their own version of the history of blogging.” As blogging is a practice that has shaped itself over time it is nearly impossible to point to one single blog as “the first blog” in retrospect. Blogs evolved out of a practice that is still developing and shaping itself. The debate surrounding the article also showed how poorly the blogosphere is archived and how difficult it is to conduct research on the history of blogs.

As much as the blogosphere is focused on time, the web is oblivious to time.

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Does Your Blog Interface Influence How You Blog?

There are many different ways to write a blog posts. Some people prefer a simple text editor, an offline blogging tool or simply the write post area of your blog software. There are so many tools available that it is a matter of trying to find the right one for your personal posting pattern.

I am still trying to find the perfect writing environment. I often use a no-nonsense simple text editor, or a program such as Dark Room (Windows) or WriteRoom (Mac) that provides me with a full-screen, semi-distraction free writing environment. But because these programs are so basic it means that I will have to manually insert all the links. Am I lazy? What about the oldskool bloggers that manually coded their whole blog?

Blog software spoiled me.

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The Value of Meeting Your Fellow Bloggers – Offline!

The great thing about blogging is connecting to other bloggers and building relationships. What about extending these relationships and meeting your fellow bloggers… offline.

There a lot of web services or online communities such as MyBlogLog or Blog Catalog that will help you connect to your fellow bloggers and blog readers. While this is an effective way of connecting to other bloggers we often tend to forget that we can meet people offline as well. Meeting your fellow bloggers can be interesting for various social and professional reasons.

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Commenting Issues in the Blogosphere

Lorelle previously noted that her personal number one flaw in WordPress is the commenting system. Not only is commenting flawed in WordPress it is flawed in the whole blogosphere. The blogosphere is a distributed network that scatters your comments around the different blogs you comment on. How do you know if someone replied to your comment? How do you keep track of the discussion you might be participating in?

There are two kinds of comments that we need to keep track of: Comments left by other people on your blog and comments left by you on other blogs. How do we manage these comments?

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Blogging is About Caring Not Curating

I recently attended a talk by Régine Debatty who runs the “we make money not art” blog. During her talk she compared blogging to curating and called bloggers curators, but are we?

A curator is one who has the care and superintendence of something; especially: one in charge of a museum, zoo, or other place of exhibit (Merriam-Webster Online)

A curator of a cultural heritage institution (e.g., archive, gallery, library, museum or garden) is a content specialist responsible for an institution’s collections and their associated collections catalogs. The object of a curator’s concern necessarily involves tangible objects of some sort, whether it be inter alia artwork, collectibles, historic items or scientific collections. (Wikipedia)

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Where is the Blogosphere?

Blogs constitute a world of their own which we often refer to as the blogosphere:

Blogosphere is a collective term encompassing all blogs and their interconnections. It is the perception that blogs exist together as a connected community (or as a collection of connected communities) or as a social network. (Wikipedia)

Wikipedia treats the blogosphere as a concept of interconnectedness. We are making connections by linking to other blogs and over time a community may be formed around a topic. But where are these communities and where is the blogosphere? We can only “see” the blogosphere by visualizing the links that are made and by visiting blog search engines.

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