Has Blog Reading Gone Mainstream?

Fred Wilson, venture capitalist and well known blogger, today wonders if blog reading has gone mainstream.

I think it is clear from a quick review of these numbers that blog reading is a mainstream and a mass medium. And the companies that serve this market, both bloggers and blog readers, are in a very interesting position.

… The thesis that blogs were a new form of publishing and self expression is playing out nicely and we are pleased with the progress of our companies and the market as a whole. And I think we are not anywhere near the end game.

Fred Wilson’s Union Square Ventures is backer of several blogging (related) companies such as Tumblr, Twitter, Disqus and Zemanta.

Living the tech related bubble many bloggers belong to, we often tend to forget that not everyone does blog or has the need to share their opinions on everything online. I recently had the opportunity to once more guest-lecture about blogging at UCLan. Out of almost 200 Computer Science first year students only one said to read blogs (to follow music bands). When I mentioned other popular blogs like Techcrunch, Gizmodo, Engadget and Kotaku lights went up and a majority admitted reading blogs.

As far as I am concerned the time to ditch the term ‘blogs’ has come, especially when it comes to most popular multi-authored ‘blogs’. Most of these publications are online magazines. Everyone ‘blogs’, whether it are tech publications like Techcrunch and Gizmodo or the news stream of popular sites like Neowin or Facebook notes and status updates. Many online versions of main stream media long have (additionally) endorsed the ‘blogging platform’ for their editors, authors. Last but not least, many people read blogs, often without knowing that they are reading ‘blogs’.
Like Eric Marcoullier (co-founder of MyBlogLog) says in the comments on Fred Wilson’s post:

It’s about content, not the wrapper.

Footballer Rushes To Twitter To Apologize For Showing Up Late To Game

19 Year-old U.S. international Josy Altidore rushed to Twitter today to apologise for showing late for the Premier League game Hull City – Portsmouth. The now deleted tweet was quickly picked up by the BBC Live Sports team.

From JozyAltidore17 on Twitter: “Apologize to all of you. I showed up late. Made a big mistake I’m very very sorry.”

Altidore, who made more furore with the announcement that he was being loaned out to Hull for the season on his Twitter account some months ago than with his game in England so far, is said to be in trouble because of his public apology. Hull City manager Phil Brown said later in an interview with 5-Live that he doesn’t understand that people share their whole life on social networks and that Altidore’s actions will cost him lots of money.

If You’re Arrington The Rules Do Not Apply to You

Michael Arrington Bastard of the BlogsMichael Arrington, founder of Techcrunch, is a known preacher of ethics and disclosure and has hit out regularly at the MSM. Techcrunch has often been criticized to only promote startups who pay to be featured but so far none of these claims checked out according to former Valleywag contributor Paul Boutin.

Last night Arrington reported the upcoming sale of MCHammer’s DanceJam. So far, nothing special, just another acquisition of an online website which was reported by Techcrunch. Another day and people are still dying of starvation and crime. Life goes on.

But there’s one small detail about this news: Arrington is investor in DanceJam. The investment was disclosed in the post, with a small pinch of *whine* as he announced that the company had not announced the sale to him nor did respond to his email request.

Arrington cashes in as early, angel, investor, but things become really interesting when looking at a long post about ethics and disclosure, written by Arrington more than half a year ago: The Rules Apply To Everyone. In the post the former lawyer went as far as saying that Dave Winer’s credibility was shot because he didn’t disclose a sponsored placement in a feed reader: [Read more…]

Gawker Media Opens Publishing Rights to… Anyone

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Gawker MediaIn what is probably his boldest move so far, Nick Denton, Gawker Media Guru, has opened the rights to publish on the Gawker media properties to everyone. Just like on any other blog, readers could send Gawker editors tips via a submission form or via email, but now tips send via the new submission form will be published immediately on the tag pages.

A small redesign across the board introduced the new submission form on all 9 Gawker blogs.

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User submissions will have to include a tag, using the Hashtag format, popularised on Twitter. Submissions with tags will then be published on the blogs’ appropriate tag pages. The new move is reminiscent of the once so popular community portals with forums and Denton appropriately called the new asset ‘Gawker Open Forums’.
From the internal memo sent to editors: [Read more…]

Twitter Pulls Another Facebook And Crowdsources Translations

twitter-logo.jpgAmidst rumours that the microblogging service could venture in to adding video upload for its users and immediate denial, the announcement that Twitter will finally expand and offer translations almost got lost. Similarily to Facebook the Californian startup will crowdsource the translations to its user base. Users interested to help Twitter with the most needed feature right now to continue its world wide growth will have to volunteer. It isn’t clear how volunteers will be selected or where to volunteer.

We are inviting a small group of people to become volunteer translators at first. As more folks volunteer, the translation suggestions should accumulate faster and we’ll have enough material to respond by making Twitter available not only in English and Japanese but also French, Italian, German, and Spanish. We will distribute the translations to Twitter platform developers making it easier for them to offer multiple language support as well.

There is no ETA for the project nor is it clear if there are plans to translate in Mandarin or Portuguese. Twitter should have made this move a long time ago already, let’s just hooe we won’t have to cope with Pirate English.

Dooce Starts MFA Subpage

Heather Armstrong, better known as Dooce, has announced the launch of her MFA subpages Monetizing the Hate.

And I’m sitting there feeding Marlo, my abdomen wrapped in a bandage SO THAT I DON’T GIVE HER CHICKEN POX, and I’m reading an anonymous comment calling me an asshead, and suddenly I remember that conversation I had with Heather. And I’m like, you know what? I’m going to let that anonymous comment help pay for the therapy that Leta is so desperately going to need once she finds out what awful things I’ve said about her on my website.

Internet, let me introduce you to Monetizing The Hate.

Here I will be posting all the hate mail I get in my inbox and all the hateful anonymous and not-so-anonymous comments left on this website. And let me tell you, it is a hoot! And the money? OH THE MONEY! I am going to roll around naked in all that money! Because that’s what assheads do!

And as the title, Monetizing the Hate promises, the page is full of ads. Although I can see the irony or fun in the concept, Dooce might be pushing things just a little too far here.

UK Media Still Fails To Attribute Sources

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skysportsFor bloggers it can be a long and difficult road to reach success and occasionally come close to your subjects and conduct an interview with them. It was great to see that UK Manchester United blog Red Rants had the opportunity to run an exclusive interview with world star Nemanja Vidic. This would be the ultimate dream for many a sports blogger but things aren’t always as nice as they seem. Content theft often is an issue, especially when exclusive entries, interviews are scored.

Red Rants was no exception to this rule. Only some later, today, two main stream UK media outlets used the interview without attribution. Both published quotes of the interview without referring to the source. The Skysports article consist of more than 50% quotes. Surprisingly Skysports Terms and Conditions do NOT allow reproduction and even don’t mention Fair Use. [Read more…]

Boxer Amir Khan Plans To Sue Facebook Because Not Everyone Likes Him

UK boxer and WBA World light-welterweight champion Amir Khan and his promoter, Frank Warren, plan to sue Facebook for allowing negative groups about the pair.
The boxer, who did not always have a positive lifestyle now plans to launch legal action against the social network for allowing groups such as this I hate Amir Khan group, one of many. UK-Pakistani boxing champion Khan has many opponents and has been the victim of racist and defamatory comments on the social network, comments which were subsequently removed by Facebook. The US company refuses to remove the groups as they are part of free speech.

In the case of Frank Warren, we have removed a number of comments that violate our polices and have taken additional action against some of the users who posted them, including permanently disabling their account. However, the general groups remain as they are discussing people who are already in the public spotlight. We believe our users should be allowed to voice opinions on public individuals but we will continue to remove comments that express hate

The duo, Khan and Warren, want to enforce Facebook to react faster on flagged comments and went as far as to say that the network has become a breeding ground for far-right extremists and racists. They hope to force Facebook to change its policy and take responsibility for the content added to Facebook.

Nintendo Goes After Bloggers Who Posted Satirical Video

Duncan Riley, founder of the Blog Herald, received a letter requesting to remove the funny, satirical College Humor Mario and Princess Sex Video [NSFW].

Nintendo of America is threatening sites that wrote about College Humor’s Mario and Princess sex tape spoof on the grounds of trademark infringement.

In a letter sent to The Inquisitr from Nintendo representatives Cyveillance, the firm states that they were writing to ask us to “stop using the Nintendo properties in the hidden text/visible text/meta tags and/or title and/or links of the above-referenced sexually explicit Web site.” The firm goes on to state that “Nintendo’s customers include many children and their parents. Unauthorized use of Nintendo trademark(s)/work(s) is harmful to those customers and will tarnish Nintendo’s reputation.”

The video is still up on College Humor, so we can assume that this is an isolated case from agency Cyveillance. If other bloggers have received a similar C&D letter, we would love to hear about it. If Nintendo really insists that everyone removes the funny video, maybe bloggers should boycot serious coverage of Nintendo news.