$54K Of Prizes Wraps Up — Courtesy Of ProBlogger

You may or may not have heard that Darren Rowse of Problogger.net is celebrating his blog’s birthday this week. If you haven’t, then it may interest you to know that Darren is has russeled up over 100 sponsors to give away over $54, 000 in prizes in rotating contests this past week ending 8pm October 8th.

If you’ve missed out, you still have time as Problogger is having a bunch of rotating contests every 8 hours. He’s given away a whole bunch of art / photography swag, followed by some great parenting-related prizes, to some fantastic holiday packages (3 night stay in Walt Disney World?). And that’s not to mention a great prize that allows you to give away $1000 to your charity of choice (and its still going on).

At the time of this writing, there’s a computer and gaming related prize give-away, and there are three more 8 hour prize related give aways planned (including a 24h one).

If you’re looking to score some free swag this weekend, all it takes is for you to leave a comment (although you should read the instructions, because sometimes they need to you to comment on something specifically). Since there are around 100 comments per post (I suspect the computer and gaming one is going to be a lot more though) and there are usually 4-6 prizes per give-away, you can predict your chances.

Good luck!

Mark Cuban’s Blog Powering “Dancing With Stars” Success?

Fans of the American version of Dancing With The Stars, might be puzzled as to why one of the contestants, Mark Cuban, continually avoids the jaws of defeat week after week.  Well, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks also happens to be a prolific blogger, staying true to his geeky roots (he sold broadcast.com to Yahoo as the source of his McScrooge-like billions).

And it so happens that in addition to his notoriety as an “involved” owner of a professional basketball team, Mark Cuban is *also* using his very public blog to rally votes towards his continued survival.

As I told every entertainment and news show that interviewed us after the show and this morning, the support of people who read this blog, the support of the many bloggers who got behind Kym and I and the Facebook and Myspace nations and networks that rallied behind us are what kept us alive on the show.

The Nerd Herd was in full effect. This was truly an internet showing and I cant thank everyone enough and I truly hope we earn the same level of support next week.

While every contestant on your favourite public-can-vote reality show probably does round up their own niche of fans, I think this is probably the first time a blogging “personality” has used the power of blogging and social media to boost his efforts.

We may never know how much of a contribution his blogging / Facebook / MySpace fans have made to his continued success on the show, but if his ongoing dancing skills are any indication, it will need to be momentous.

The World’s Oldest Blogger Is Actually …

While I thought that Donald Crowdis, a blogger living out of Toronto, aged 92, was the oldest blogger in the world, this isn’t actually so.  Rather, perhaps it should be addended that Mr. Crowdis is probably the world’s oldest blogger who continues to type for himself [although he hasn’t written a post in quite a few months due to family issues].

No, I recently discovered that there is an even *more* senior blogger living in Australia by the name of Olive Riley, who probably should be crowned as the world’s oldest blogger.  Mrs Riley, who is 108 years old, doesn’t quite write herself, but blogs with the help of a friend, Mike Rubbo.  And has been doing so for several months now.

In fact, its an awesome example of “elderblogging”, where she reminisces about things she did in her younger days, coupled with pictures *and* video.  One example is of her going to a bar that is actually older than her with Mike, talking about how they enjoyed a plate of oysters, how some local Australian mainstream media types don’t consider her a real blogger because she doesn’t actually type, and fielding a call from Jay Leno to appear on the tonight show.

Blogging doesn’t get any better more honest and fresh than this.  I got a kick out of it and I think you might too, so check out Mrs. Riley and ask yourself — does she *look* like she’s 108?

[via: Time Goes By]

Breaking Down The StumbleUpon Algorithm

StumbleUpon is a tool that allows its users to discover web sites, videos, and pictures that have been previously found and labeled by other users. Its a lot of fun, and perhaps just as important, a great source of traffic for your blog.

But other than doing the obvious, such as becoming a member of StumbleUpon, finding “friends”, and otherwise rating sites and being a good Stumbler, what else can be done — and understood — about StumbleUpon to maximize your efforts?

[Read more…]

As A Blogger, What’s Your Price?

Over at the Silicon Alley Insider, Dan Fromer is sending out a general question: “Who wants a free hotel room in San Francisco during a wireless conference in exchange for listening to a business brief by a NYC-based mobile company?”

Which, of course, prompted me to start wondering what *your* price was as a blogger.

Marketing and advertising professionals recognize the power of blogging to communicate in all kinds of areas — and furthermore, recognize the power of some bloggers to promote real and honest dialogue about a given product or service. Some select bloggers, in particular, are media powerhouses in their own right, able to trigger massive amount of buzz.

And on the other hand, I think that its one thing to blog as part of a larger business, which is able to send you out to “cover” events, conferences, and the like; to have the benefit of a (small) per diem, and the ability to submit receipts to get reimbursed.

But what about the independent blogger? Because I think that most of us are not part of large media organizations with budgets to spend on, nor massively successful whose profits can easily cover the cost of

a) flying across the country / ocean

b) the price of a hotel

c) the cost of the conference

… not including other miscellaneous costs — like you know, eating.

I guess the main ethical dilemma is that by abstaining from any swag / goodies / free stuff, you’ll be able to maintain impartiality 100% of the time. Apparently that’s good reporters do, after all.

Furthermore, blogging is often regarded as a conduit for real emotions and real opinion unfettered by the usual marketing doublespeak.

So what’s a blogger to do?

[Read more…]

“Self-Discipline Pact” The End for Anonymous Blogging in China?

The concept of ending anonymity by requiring bloggers to using their real names is going ahead in China, albeit with the deceptively soft practice of requiring companies to “self-discipline” themselves.

Yahoo and MSN, amongst other Internet companies, have agreed to new government guidelines that are “encouraging” such companies to register real names, addresses, and other personal details for authors of blogs. While it seems like such actions are voluntary, international media watchdogs claim that such “encouragement” will be acted upon as though it were no different than official policy.

Vincent Brossel of Reporters Without Borders cautions that this kind of wording, for example, will ultimately have a chilling effect on the kind of dialogue going on amongst the 30 million bloggers in China. On the other hand, experienced China watchers might say that this kind of activity has already been going on; that is to say, international companies who have wanted to do business in China may have already been censoring blogs as acts of good faith with the Chinese government.

Government guidelines of “encouragement” and “self-discipline” merely codify this practice.

Should Bloggers Unionize? Better Question: Why Do You Blog?

Interesting meme floated out by Duncan Riley and Dave Krug (both of whom are BlogHerald alumni, occupying ownership positions at some point, with the former being the original editor and the latter being a frequent contributor) today, on the basis of some news from the United States: Should bloggers unionize?

I think there are quite a few dimensions to this issue, but to me the most interesting one predicates itself on a fundamental question: why do you blog in the first place?

[Read more…]

Is This The Twilight of Blogging?

There’s a new (or old) meme that’s brewing about the nature of popularity, A-lists, and blogging that’s a brewing over in the technology side of the blogosphere. I had some strong words about it, but it bears analyzing from a bit of a different point of view as well, because it raises a fundamental question that should interest bloggers everywhere:

Does the rise of social networking sites mean that this is the twilight of blogging?

My feeling is an unbridled “No” — because it may in fact represent the best opportunity to *start* blogging.

This is what I mean.

[Read more…]

Is Blogging A First-World Activity?

Jennifer Jacquet over at Science Blogs recently spent some time in the Galapagos, and as a relatively new blogger began to wonder: Is blogging an activity that can only be found in first-world countries?

Is it lack of access?  Not so, she mentions, as net cafe’s exist (although the access is s-l-o-w).

But it does raise some interesting issues, as to whether or not cultural mores have prevented the proliferation of blogging, or whether it lacks a champion for this kind of medium in developing areas, or whether the part of youth culture that may have adopted it has moved past it and glommed onto — or are ‘blogging’ — within social networks.

While citizens of first world countries, as a whole, have the benefit of better educations, one would think that in areas of the world with conflict, poverty, or oppression, having a powerful tool to find and express that voice might be attractive.

Or it might not.

What do you think?

Blogging: A Core Competency For New Media Professionals?

It might be. And it can certainly be a factor in you getting hired. Case in point: Joel Postman, whose experience was recently catalogued in the San Francisco Examiner.

On the other hand, its a story that’s worth reading closely. The story is not, for example, of an anonymous blogger with no work or prior experience who started a blog which led to him getting hired into a great position at a communications company.

No, Mr. Postman’s story is that of a blogger who had a degree in journalism, who was already at HP and pioneered a blogging initiative at that company. There’s no surprise then, that he was hired into a communications firm with the purposely ambiguous title of “Director of Emerging Media”, with a mandate to help evangelize blogging amongst the firm’s clients.

While I don’t know if having a blog, or having a familiarity with blogs is a required competency for new media professionals, one would think that it would help.  On the other hand, while blogging is a tool which is clearly recognized by public relations and marketing professionals as important there’s still a disconnect between what is regarded as important, and what actions are actually taken to embrace it as a tool.

Mr. Postman took advantage of this disconnect by embracing it at his old company, which I think is fantastic.  On the other hand, one does wonder blogging as a medium is no longer “new”, and *does* become something that is required, rather than regarded as something new and ground breaking.