Sorry, journalists – you can’t rely on tech companies for your next big payday

Sorry, journalists — you can’t rely on tech companies for your next big payday (via Pando Daily)

By Hamish McKenzie On October 7, 2013Bad news, journalists. Tech companies likely aren’t going to save you from your low-paying, high-drudgery jobs at newspapers, magazines, TV channels, radio stations, or blogs. If you’re looking for the easy way…


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Are Comments a Measure of a Blog’s Success?

Comments

CommentsIn December 1997, Jorn Barger of Robot Wisdom coined the term “weblog.” It combined the word “web” and “log,” and at the time such “weblogs” were incredibly basic. There were no push button services at the time, and not just anyone could start plugging away. Eventually, “weblog” got shortened to “blog” sometime around the year 2000, and we have seen massive changes ever since. WordPress, Blogger, Typepad and others have made it super easy for anyone to start creating content, helping to make their voice heard.

As blogs started to evolve, so did the level of interaction around them. The rise of search engines made content easy to discover for the first time ever, and commenting systems made it so that posts were no longer one-sided. Now, thanks to the age of social media, search engines are no longer the main source of discovery. Despite getting my start at blogging around 2008 when Facebook and Twitter were really beginning to gain traction, I always valued comments. [Read more…]

Is Google+ the Next Big Blogging Platform?

Google+

Google+

Google+ is no slouch in the social media space, commanding nearly 200 million active users in the stream as of May 2013. While it does offer unique features like Hangouts, group video chats with up to 10 people, it’s not too awful different from other social networks. You can follow or “Circle” people, segment the people you follow into specific circles (lists), share with specific circles or publicly, and so on.

You can create a community, start a page, and with cool features like Auto Awesome, upload the best looking photos possible. With any social network, the biggest defining factor is its community, many of which who span well beyond the tech geek stereotype. As Google+ continues to grow, so has the idea of it becoming a serious avenue for bloggers. [Read more…]

Why We Don’t Need More Domain Extensions

Domain Extension Image

Domain Extension ImageOver the past year, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Named and Numbers (ICANN), the non-profit organization that is responsible for, among other things, assigning domain names on the Internet, has given initial approval for over 1,500 new “top level domains” (abbreviated as TLDs and sometimes referred to as “domain extensions”).

This means, fairly soon, you could start seeing sites like http://www.site.love, http://www.site.beauty and http://www.site.toys, among many others.

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be snapping up your own .baby or .love domain any time soon, many of the extensions may wind up being controlled by private organizations, such as L’oreal’s bid to control .beauty, where there are obvious business interests in the TLD itself, not in selling new domains. As such, many of those applications are for closed registrations, meaning that the operators of the extension will be selective in who they allow to register.

This has already sparked a predictable and understandable fear of corporate control over the Internet. But while the discussion about the balance between corporate control and Internet freedom is important, it’s also important to ask why ICANN is so eager to expand the number of extensions so quickly and what the impact of that expansion could be on the Internet.

Sadly, if previous expansions have taught us anything, it’s probably the latter. [Read more…]

It’s No Longer OK to Not Know How the Internet Works

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Networking ImageLast year, as the debates over SOPA and PIPA raged, Joshua Kopstein at Motherboard wrote a post entitled “Dear Congress, It’s No Longer OK to Not KNow How the Internet Works“. In the post, he blasted Congress for joking about how little they understood about the Internet while, at the same time, attempting to legislate it.

A year later, it’s time to revisit that message, but in a different context.

With the recent NSA scandals, the attack on Tor network (widely suspected to be orchestrated by the U.S. government), and deep concerns about how government and private entities are cooperating to share user data, it’s clear isn’t just the government that needs a primer on how the Internet works.

The everyday user that does as well.

For most people, including many who grew up with the Internet, the Web seems almost magical. They click to visit a site or send an email and they get content or data from half a world away, nearly instantly.

But where most people take the time to understand at least the basics of how their car works, far fewer have taken the time to understand how the Internet works, even as they depend upon it more and more as part of their daily lives.

But like not knowing how a car works, ignorance can be dangerous and, also like a car, a little bit of understanding can go a long, long way. [Read more…]

How the PRISM Scandal Changed the Copyright Debate

Empty Room

Empty RoomWhen The Guardian broke the NSA Prism scandal back in early June, the uproar on the Internet was both immediate and widespread. The Internet, as we talked about two weeks ago, has not let the scandal die down and it remains a hot-button issue today.

However, whenever a major scandal like this emerges, it inevitably has unintended consequences on other debates and discussions. The Web community, in the most broad sense of the word, tends to be laser-focused on whatever issue is most prevalent on any given day.

Issues that aren’t so prevalent, however, take a back seat.

One such example of this is the copyright debates. Though copyright became a hot button issue in early 2012 with the SOPA/PIPA protests, it had been a focal point of the tech community for a long time before.

Today though, much of that attention is gone and many of the tech sites and authors that focused heavily, or even almost exclusively, on copyright issues have shifted their aim to government-related issues. This move has quieted an online debate that is still very much active in courtrooms and legislatures all over the world and one that could easily play an important role in the PRISM/NSA discussion.

Unfortunately though, the reasons for this are straightforward and there isn’t much that can be done about it, at least not without breaking the laws of physics. [Read more…]

PRISM , Big Data and the Future of Privacy

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It’s been just over a month since The Guardian broke the story about the National Security Agency’s (NSA) massive data collection program known as PRISM. The fervor has not died down and additional revelations about how the program works and similar systems existing in other countries have only stoked the flames

That anger has culminated in both “Restore the Fourth” rallies across the U.S., outrange online and a great deal of mockery as people turn to humor to best express their feelings. The nation, and indeed the world, has also turned its attention to the flight of Edward Snowden, the NSA contractor who originally leaked information about the program to the media.

But in the midst of the anger, lawsuits and questions, a larger conversation is taking place, one that revolves around privacy online, how much information we put out about ourselves on the Web and who has access to it.

That is because, while the Internet has certainly made our lives more convenient, it has also made them more trackable. In our bid to communicate better and easier, we put out so much information about ourselves, both intentionally and unintentionally, that the discovery of the NSA’s program may be as much a moment of reevaluation of our own practices as well as our government.

After all, for the government to collect the information it does, someone else has to have it first and the government is not the only entity with a vested interest in tracking you and monitoring your activities. [Read more…]

Is the Death of Google Reader Bad for Blogs?

Google Reader

Google Reader

Throughout history, things come and go. What was once at the very top, ends up being replaced. When was the last time you made a call from a corded phone? How about listened to the radio? When did you read a newspaper last? The world is constantly evolving, and what’s the norm now may not be so five or 10 years from now.

On July 1, Google Reader saw its demise. Easily one of the most popular RSS readers on the planet, Google claimed declining usage was a factor in their decision to shut it down. Back in March when an announcement was made, bloggers and readers were extremely vocal. Most were very upset, and thought it was an incredibly stupid move on Google’s part.

However, the tech giant has a lot of products and services under its belt. For any business, you need to stay focused, and keep the money rolling in. Unfortunately, Reader simply wasn’t part of a focus anymore. With the shut down, many bloggers started to question what it meant for the industry. Was this the start of a major shift? Are blogs going by the wayside? [Read more…]

Reasons a Blogger Should Stick With WordPress

reasons a blogger should stick with wordpress

reasons a blogger should stick with wordpress
Ever since blogging became rather mainstream, there has been no lack of platforms for newbies and seasoned bloggers alike. Yet as we can see from the past 10 years, WordPress has more than held its own in this realm. With WordPress celebrating its 10th anniversary, there is a lot to be said about how good the platform is. But is it really the best? Should bloggers stick with WordPress or look elsewhere? [Read more…]

What Is The Future Of SEO?

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future

In a society where the internet is an integral part of many of our lives, internet related industries are flourishing, including Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Without good SEO, website owners will have sites that are barely even noticed by people making searches online, which could make even the best sites all but useless.

With this in mind it is easy to see just why good SEO is in high demand. What’s more is that SEO looks like it will be around for some time yet as it is hard to see how it could become obsolete any time soon. As long as we have the internet there will be a demand for SEO and the internet looks as though it is here to stay, at least that is until something better comes along. [Read more…]