What Changes Your Mind About Leaving a Blog Comment?

A few minutes ago I followed a trackback to a lovely blog post about one of my blog posts. It was quite complementary and made some good points. I was in the middle of composing a reply when I glanced over to the sidebar and saw the listing of the most recent blog posts featuring what were clearly pay-per-post or sponsored post titles. Ick!

That was my first response. Ick. Yuk. Oooey gooey, as one of my nephews would say.

We’ve talked about a lot of different design detail clutter and distractions in the ongoing series, “WTF Blog Design Clutter“, but we haven’t addressed the issue of perception when it comes to inspiring blog comments and conversation.

It’s true that a lot of people comment on blogs for link bait and Google juice. While that may be true, what is unsaid about the importance of a blog comment is probably the most important consideration when it comes to commenting on blogs: Association by commenting.

A blog comment says you want to participate in the conversation. It says you are interested in the topic. It says you are supportive of the blogger. It says you are who you say you are. It says that the link in your comment form takes the reader to your blog, which should speak well of you and match the quality of the blog you are commenting on. It says you want to be a valuable contributor to the blogosphere and the world of communication. Right?

No? Well, maybe it should. [Read more…]

Security and Hacking: Reporting Cyber Crime

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security-keyboard-handcuffsOver the past few months, I’ve been writing a lot about cyber crime and security vulnerabilities, especially as it impacts social media and blogs. The April 1, 2009, expansion of the Conficker/Downadup Worm Infection worried many as the 1 in 16 ratio of infected computers increased dramatically around the globe and attacks were aimed at social media services like MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter.

With the increase in cyber crime and security issues, and the growing profit found in cyber crimes, where do you go to report cyber crime if you find it or are a victim of it? [Read more…]

Twitter is a Public Way to Have a Private Conversation

explore social media

Exploring Social Media article series badgeMy husband was doing his best to explain Twitter to non-techy friends of ours. As the experienced web user and teacher, I was fascinated to hear how he would explain something he’s never used.

Twitter is a public way to have a private conversation.

He’s very right. In “Silly Out-of-Context Tweets — Can They Hurt? brings up the “elephant in the room” that describes much of what Twitter is, does, and can do, especially when meets search engine, exposing your tweets to the world. [Read more…]

WordPress News: Widget API, Bye-Bye Kubrick, Query_Posts Plugin, and Template Tag Plugin


New WordPress Widgets API Feedback Wanted: The WordPress developers are seeking testers and feedback on the new Widgets API which will be released with WordPress 2.8.

Time to Say Bye-Bye to Kubrick? asks if it is time for Kubrick to retire. Known as the Default WordPress Theme that comes with every installation of WordPress, many have been calling for a replacement.

Integrating bbPress with BuddyPress: While many are working with to integrate , Trent Adams writes about integrating bbPress with BuddyPress. [Read more…]

The Outing of a Blogger: The Fear of Being Found Out

blog anonymous mask over word bloggerIn “The Outing of a Blogger: Social Transparency or Violation?” and “The Outing of a Blogger: Is it Legal to Reveal a Blogger?” I’ve covered some of the issues around the outing of an Alaskan blogger by a local politician and the legality of such actions.

There have been a variety of blogger outings lately, some with positive outcomes. Fake Steve Jobs Blogger, Daniel Lyons, admitted that he was stunned that it took so long to be uncovered, enjoying the attention. For Lyons, his blatant lampooning of Steve Jobs turned into a career booster. Lyons expected to be found out. Most anonymous bloggers worry they will be.

One of the greatest things about blogging is the freedom and ability to have your say, no matter what it is. One of the greatest fears is being found out.

Many bloggers live in fear of being found out, some at the risk of their lives. Others fear that their right to express themselves without persecution, even of the social kind, will be taken away by exposure. For those who blog anonymously, the law is one issue, but the social stigma is a bigger one. [Read more…]

The Outing of a Blogger: Is it Legal to Reveal a Blogger?

blog anonymous mask over word blogger

blog anonymous mask over word bloggerIn “The Outing of a Blogger: Social Transparency or Violation?” I started this short series on the outing of a popular Alaska personal blogger, Mudflats (aka AKMuckraker or AKM), unveiled by a state politician.

The question I want to tackle in this article is the issue of the legality of blogger anonymity and what protects bloggers and not. This is a huge topic, so I’m only going to scratch the surface.

In many countries, there are no laws protecting freedom of speech nor journalists or bloggers. There may be protections for journalists, but none for bloggers. In countries where you would expect there to be such laws…it’s amazing how few there are and how flexible those laws can be.

Does a blogger have the right to privacy and anonymity? What rights do others have to expose them and why? [Read more…]

The Outing of a Blogger: Social Transparency or Violation?

Mike Doogan outs Alaska Blogger

We live in an age of transparency. I’d say that “transparency” should have been the word of the year last year, and it’s popularity as a buzz word this year continues. It pops up in most news reports, demanding transparency from banks and financial institutions, politicians, governments, corporations, and individuals.

It also litters our social media interaction. We want our online social interchanges to be with real people who want to know us as real people. We want people leaving comments on our blogs to have names. We want folks on Twitter to have real names, not CD Handles and cute nicknames or keywords. So is it okay to be anonymous any more?

Over the years, there as been an ongoing debate about anonymous bloggers as more and more people take to the Information Highway to have their say. For some, anonymity is a matter of life or death. For others, it’s just wiser. But it isn’t for everyone.

Some use a pseudonym, similar to what writers and artists have been doing for many years, either for protection and security, or because their real name, Hildibob Slibbervitzenson, just isn’t “writerly” or “artistic.” Would women have swooned over Archie Leach? Sang the memorable songs of Barry Alan Pinkus, or sang along to Bohemian Rhapsody with Farrokh Bulsara? Or believed in the sung words of Robert Allen Zimmerman with such fervor? Would Moses have been so memorable if played by John Charles Carter? Would the sexy pottery scene in “Ghost” have been so memorable if performed by Demetria Gene Guynes? Replaces those real names with their pseudonyms of Cary Grant, Barry Manilow, Freddy Mercury, Bob Dylan, Charlton Heston, and Demi Moore and everything changes.

There are many people who blog under a pseudonym without condemnation, but there are still those who choose to publicly blog anonymously. They use CD Handle style names, making a visible statement about their need to be private and choosing to hide behind a masked name while not hiding their opinion.

And there continues to be a witch hunt on to out them when their opinion doesn’t agree with the government or politicians. [Read more…]

Social Media Sites Risk Growing Threats and Attacks

Exploring Social Media article series badgeAccording to Investor’s Business Daily, evil is sweeping social networks, moving beyond email and blogs to where you like to virtually hang out and congregate:

Security experts last week warned that a new strain of the Koobface virus is hitting Facebook, MySpace and other social networking sites. It looks for links and passwords to other social networking sites.

Social networking site owners work actively to put a lid on nefarious activity. On Tuesday, a federal judge in northern California issued a temporary restraining order against three people accused of widespread spamming and phishing attacks on Facebook. It comes three months after Facebook won a suit that prevents another group of spammers from using or accessing Facebook data and applications.

Virus creators are increasingly targeting social networking sites and other Web 2.0 technologies such as the micro-blogging site Twitter and instant messaging services from Google, AOL and others. Virus writers are also creating fake profiles of celebrities, real friends or business associates hoping people will link with them. Users can be tricked into linking to the fake profile, which can be loaded with various forms of malicious software.

The article by Brian Deagon showcased Facebook users who responded to an email from a “friend on Facebook” to visit a link that initiated a program that “rifled through his hard drive, installed malicious software and sent the same e-mail to all of Daradics’ friends on his Facebook profile.” [Read more…]

Preparing for the Voice Web

Blog talks with bubble

Blog talks with bubbleAudio Version: Preparing for the Voice Web by Lorelle VanFossen

Abhijit Nadgouda of iface thoughts recently talked about the new Hyperspeech Transfer Protocol (HSTP) for the future of the web. Pushing HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol), HSTP is designed to incorporate voice applications.

Here is his reaction:

My immediate reaction was that it would really ease the mobile usage, where you need to navigate through the cumbersome keypad to use the Web. The voice Web will be a heaven-sent alternative. Some more thought and the skeptic start thinking about various other issues. What about identification and authentication? What about security? The HTTP Web is still struggling with these things.

He goes on to bring up some very good points, playing devil’s advocate on the issue, but he got me thinking about how voice would change the face, and sound, of the web from a blogger’s perspective. [Read more…]