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July 10, 2008

Playboy Asks: Who’s the Hottest Female Blogger?

Oh wonderful, just wonderful. Guess what Playboy got out of the BoingBoing-Viloet Blue controversy? The gist of it, obviously, since it ends up in a poll on who is the hottest female blogger, with 9 talented women being pushed forward.

There are some familiar faces, such as the Loaded host Natali Del Conte, interviewed today on BloggerTalks, Xeni Jardin of BoingBoing, and Violet Blue of course.

Typical Playboy, right? Probably, but they’re not alone, as Michael Arrington points out, Wired did the same, and Ariel Waldman reminds us of another one of these things.

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June 27, 2008

Are you a Marathon Blogger or a Sprinter?

Blogging has probably matured a great deal since you started. Part of it is that it has reached critical mass, or tipping point, as it may be. The more people have blogs, the more blogs out there contending for everyone’s time and attention. Part of it is that thanks to all the great advice out there, many have learned about the ins and outs of:

- attracting readers
- getting comments
- writing better content
- having cleaner designs
- increasing subscribers
- finding post ideas
- staying the course

Social media and marketing have become so ubiquitous, that one of the things we rarely think about is the way in which we approach publishing and how that feeds back into our self esteem and brand. If you feel well conditioned and ready for a rush of activity, good for you. If instead, you feel that you are in a race that never ends, you may need to take inventory of why that is. It could be that:

You’re overextended – too much distance in too many terrains

When your creativity is being scattered over too many sites, even if you consider yourself remarkably creative, your concentration suffers. So does your writing. In addition, your brand will become diluted.

It works just like it works with products and services. You need to pick a focus, a home base site, and develop that well. If you have multiple sites, you may want to pull back some of that work and put it on your main site.

Being overextended also means being tired and tired people’s nerves fray more easily. That is when you are likely to make a bad judgment call, or react to a comment instead of responding. That’s when things rip apart.

You are getting tired of the language of social media – too crowded

The words “conversation” “anything 2.0 or social media” even “blog” are being rendered less valuable by their mass appropriation. There’s just a lot of it out there, and some folks are busy pounding the terminology flat. The general solution here is to start looking past those words as your central point of reference.

Chances are your brand and business are much more than those terms. You need to get past them and focus on where you are going next, vs. where you are now. Words are very powerful and they can change how you think about what you do – and help others do the same.

Do you need to broaden your horizons, change your pace? Maybe you need to get out of the race altogether.

You may just not enjoy what you are doing anymore – you need rest

If you’re having a hard time coming up with fresh ideas regularly and just do not look forward to writing, you may suffer from burn out. It colors everything you do. Even when you’re writing well, you’re not appreciating your own success.

It’s a sign that it’s time for a change.

Blogging is also changing – bursts of activity scattered in more places

Discussion is migrating elsewhere. A lot of the smart people are migrating to things like Friendfeed — which is an important service — Facebook, and all the other stuff like Twitter and Plurk.

You might be able to restrict your availability on these outside discussions, driving conversation back to your site. Or maybe participating in off-site stuff increases your influence and drives the site. No one knows how that will play, yet.

It may be that you have to shift your expectations of a good post or a good week at your blog. It’s a time of flux in this area — it’s tough to say now. Maybe you’ll know in a year you’ll see what evolves in this area. The technology is still changing, too.

In the future, discussion may become very portable — very decentralized. But there will be software hooks back into websites. So you’ll comment where you wish, but the comments will get hooked wherever the publisher wants them.

Friendfeed, for instance, could be hooked to your site. When people comment on FF, the discussion is a sort of trackback. Friendfeed-like services may become social networks that get anchored where you want them. All hooked together. It will be easy when it’s ready. You’ll add a widget: done.

Content will propagate through these tools, eventually. Nets on top of nets. Communities will become more like flash mobs as these tools get adopted. More like butterflies, actually. People will see a bright flower, visit, and move on. They’ll be back.

Like any activity, business can be approached with a view to the long haul or in a very focused, and temporary manner. Are you in it for the long run, or is this just a sprint to your next destination? Are you a marathon blogger or a sprinter? There is no right or wrong, just make sure it is what you want.

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June 17, 2008

Vanity Fair’s Blogopticon: Excellent Linkbait

Hats off to Vanity Fair and the VF Daily blog. Their “blogopticon” interactive map of the blogosphere isn’t just a fun thing to look at, and hover your mouse pointer over, but also excellent linkbait, and good fun content at that. A Google search for “vanity fair blogopticon” gives no less than 18 100 hits, with the blog post on top and the actual blogopticon (full screen warning) second. Not bad.

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June 3, 2008

World’s Oldest Blogger?

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I love blogging. A lot. But I’d be surprised to carry the passion with me for the next six-plus decades.

Meet Randall Butisingh, quite possible the world’s oldest blogger at the ripe age of 96. Covering topics ranging from economics to poetry, religion to history, Butisingh writes from the heart.

Butisingh believes that learning is a process, which never ends. A man learns till the end of his/her life.

Heck, the guy learned Arabic at the age of 80 and is now learning to speak Spanish.
What’s your excuse, you lazy bastard?!

With seven children, 19 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren, it’s amazing that the blogger has time for anything.

“I am a learner. I believe that when one stops learning he ceases to live and that it is never too late to learn,” Butisingh says.

Born in 1912, with memories spanning back to 1914, it’s time you showed your elders some respect and paid Mr. Butisingh a visit on the Web.

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May 30, 2008

Can You Run an Online Publication?

Answer honestly. Do you have what it takes to run background research, fact check, spell check, grammar check, objectivity check. Wait a moment, wasn’t blogging supposed to be about opinion and voice? Yes it was, and so was journalism. You are allowed to feel, witness (experience), and document what you see through your human filter.

Christiane Amanpour thinks that “there are some situations that one simply cannot be neutral about. Objectivity does not mean treating all sides equally. It means giving each side a hearing.” Herein lies the first lesson in running a publication for bloggers – it is about being balanced in recognizing differing points of view.

Another journalist I have tremendous respect for, John Timpane of the Editorial Board at The Philadelphia Inquirer – former Shakespearian English teacher and poet – calls it skepticism. This means requiring the official reality to explain itself. Not to be confused with another sentiment, which is often overused: cynicism. A cynic is not open to discovery, he is set in his ways. A skeptic, on the other hand, is open to receiving. In other words, they are listening while exercising critical thinking.

Now that you are listening, you can pass the biggest test.

The Biggest Test

The biggest test you can take after you honor the proper grammar and form is that of the attribution. Being objective means being honest with yourself, and with the other – both sides. Can you do that?

Then you are well on your way. All the other things – finding news, analyzing it, doing background and fact checks, even finding a sponsor or an ad network for your publication is easier.

The hardest part is always that of objectivity. Asking, even requiring reality to explain itself is harder than it seems. Yet the rewards are oh so much greater. With the recent news of Ars Technica being bought by Conde’ Nast we learned a very important piece of information: the community that forms around an online publication can be a powerful story.

Compelling at the tune of millions of dollars. The content is key to forming that, of course, as is the integrity and passion of the reporting – with objectivity. What side of the conversation are you not giving a hearing to?

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May 26, 2008

Duncan Riley 2.0

Steve Hodson draws a profile of Duncan Riley calling him “Duncan Riley 2.0″ with Duncan’s recent move away from TechCrunch and to his own internet site at Inquisitr read more

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May 16, 2008

3 Marketing Lessons from Benjamin Zander

“Waiter,” Boston Philharmonic Orchestra conductor Ben Zander exclaimed, “I have a perfect life, but I don’t have a knife.” He was having breakfast in a restaurant with a friend at the time. As he uttered those words, he heard a girl nearby giggling. They made eye contact, smiled together, and he went back to his conversation.

The next day, he happened to cross paths with the young lady again, this time they exchanged words.

“Good morning, how are you today?”

“Perfect,” she said.

As she left the room accompanied by her parents, he called out to her “Have a perfect day!”

“I will,” she replied, as if it were the easiest, most obvious choice she could make.

I paraphrased the opening of Roz and Ben Zander, The Art of Possibility. The book, is about turning life’s obstacles into possibilities. It is also about marketing – what is becoming the future of marketing.

Lesson # 1 – It’s All Invented

A person looking to start a blog on social media today may feel overwhelmed. There are so many blogs on social media, one for every flavor, literally. She may think: it’s hopeless, I could never break through. No one will read yet another blog on social media.

Another person may take stock of the situation and think: this is fantastic, there are so many people writing about social media that I will find an instant community. Then I can specialize in social media for engineers, or for lawyers, or for plumbers. Take your pick. In other words, she sees opportunity galore.

Whenever you are faced with an issue that seems to be a problem, use this simple advice. Remember that it’s all invented. Then you will have the opportunity to dismantle your own assumptions that prevent you from seeing possibilities. Instead, think how else can I look at things? What other choices does that give me?

Lesson #2 – Stop Measuring Everything

When you go down the route of constantly checking how many readers, comments, and page views you have, you find yourself stuck with thoughts and actions that reflect survival and scarcity, comparison and competition, attachment and anxiety. You stop the creative flow in favor of the judgement and evaluation. There is a place for goal setting and tracking towards your objectives.

Yet, when you constantly box yourself inside what others have established as success metrics, you forego your potential, where you could grow. Ask yourself: how are my thoughts and actions, in this moment, a reflection of the measurement world?

Over the long haul, you are more likely to create abundance in your business and life by having the attitude that there are always new readers, there are many more customers out there to engage with. When you express your skill with passion and joy, people will be attracted to you – and when your life does not depend on hitting the jackpot all the time, you will be more open to connections, which in turn create success.

Lesson #3 – Be a Contribution

When you stop obsessing constantly about progress, you lift the veil on contribution. What is it that you bring to the table that nobody else does? What project, form and shape can your ideas take? Any that you decide. The issue with best practices and following standard advice, is that everyone ends up looking and sounding the same.

Nothing could be further from your truth – you are capable of contributing and you can let anyone contribute to your success. If you let your ambition drive you, then anyone who does not think like you, who is not on your side or is on the same list with you, is a competitor.

With the thought of contribution, everything changes. All of a sudden, you can learn from anyone and be a teacher to anyone – even the most experienced blogger. How much you can make and where you stand in the business ecosystem do not disappear. Yet, it’s your attitude that changes, from how can I win, to how can I serve. Watch all sorts of good things happening to you because of that.
__________

Bottom line, no matter where you stand in the conventional totem pole, remember that it’s all invented, when you stop measuring all the time, you start thinking about projects as potential you can fulfill. You can make a difference, even if sometimes you may not fully appreciate how and why.

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May 14, 2008

55 Bloggers Get Political Credentials for DNC

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As we told you last month, the Democrats are giving select bloggers access to be on the floor of the national convention in Denver this summer. Fifty-five lucky bloggers have been chosen. Here’s the full list of “State Blogger Corps”:

ALASKA: Celtic Diva’s Blue Oasis: divasblueoasis.blogspot.com

ALABAMA: Doc’s Political Parlor: www.politicalparlor.net

ARKANSAS: Under The Dome.com: www.underthedome.com

ARIZONA: Ted Prezelski – Rum, Romanism and Rebellion: www.rumromanismrebellion.net

CALIFORNIA: Calitics: Calitics.com

COLORADO: SquareState.net: squarestate.net

CONNECTICUT: My Left Nutmeg: myleftnutmeg.com

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: DCist.com: dcist.com

DELAWARE: TommyWonk: tommywonk.blogspot.com/

DEMOCRATS Abroad: Democrats Abroad Argentina: www.yanquimike.com.ar

FLORIDA: Florida Progressive Coalition: flaprogressives.org

GEORGIA: Tondee’s Tavern: www.tondeestavern.com

GUAM: No Rest for the Awake – Minagahet Chamorro: minagahet.blogspot.com

HAWAII: iLind.net: Ian Lind Online: www.ilind.net

IOWA: The Iowa Independent: iowaindependent.com

IDAHO: 43rdStateBlues.com: www.43rdstateblues.com

ILLINOIS: Prairie State Blue: www.PrairieStateBlue.com

KANSAS: EverydayCitizen.com: everydaycitizen.com

KENTUCKY: BlueGrassRoots: www.bluegrassroots.org

LOUISIANA: Daily Kingfish: www.dailykingfish.com

MASSACHUSETTS: Blue Mass. Group: www.bluemassgroup.com

MARYLAND: The Center for Emerging Media: www.centerforemergingmedia.com

MAINE: Turn Maine Blue: www.turnmaineblue.com

MICHIGAN: Blogging For Michigan: bloggingformichigan.com

MINNESOTA: Minnesota Monitor: minnesotamonitor.com

MISSISSIPPI: The Natchez Blog: natchezms.blogspot.com

MISSOURI: Fired Up! LLC: www.firedupmissouri.com

MONTANA: Left in the West: www.leftinthewest.com

NORTH CAROLINA: BlueNC.com: bluenc.com

NORTH DAKOTA: NorthDecoder.com: www.northdecoder.com

NEBRASKA: New Nebraska Network: www.NewNebraska.net

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Blue Hampshire: www.bluehampshire.com

NEW JERSEY: PolitickerNJ.com: www.politickernj.com

NEW MEXICO: Democracy for New Mexico: www.DemocracyForNewMexico.com

NEVADA: Las Vegas Gleaner: www.lasvegasgleaner.com

NEW YORK: Room 8: www.r8ny.com

OHIO: Ohio Daily Blog: www.ohiodailyblog.com

OKLAHOMA: DemoOkie: www.DemoOkie.com

OREGON: BlueOregon (blog): www.blueoregon.com

PENNSYLVANIA: Keystone Politics: www.keystonepolitics.com

PUERTO RICO: Jusiper: jusiper.blogspot.com

RHODE ISLAND: Rhode Island’s Future: www.rifuture.org

SOUTH CAROLINA: CracktheBell.com: www.crackthebell.com

SOUTH DAKOTA: Badlands Blue: www.badlandsblue.com

TENNESSEE: KnoxViews/TennViews: www.knoxviews.com

TEXAS: Burnt Orange Report: www.BurntOrangeReport.com

UTAH: The Utah Amicus: utahamicus.com

VIRGINIA: Raising Kaine: www.raisingkaine.com

VIRGIN ISLANDS: Democratic Party of the US Virgin Islands: groups.yahoo.com/group/democratvi

VERMONT: Green Mountain Daily: greenmountaindaily.com

WASHINGTON: HorsesAss.org: www.horsesass.org

WISCONSIN: Uppity Wisconsin: www.uppitywis.org

WEST VIRGINIA: West Virginia Blue: www.wvablue.com

WYOMING: Hummingbirdminds blog: hummingbirdminds.blogspot.com

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May 9, 2008

Colleen Coplick Talks PR over at BloggerTalks

I recently interviewed Colleen Coplick about taking over Buzz Networker, and there I said that an interview with her focusing on PR was due on BloggerTalks. Well, it is up now, and Colleen shares her views on paid reviews, PR agencies sending out samples, getting famous in the social sphere, how to write a great press release, and more.

Check it out, over at BloggerTalks!

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May 8, 2008

SOBCon08: A Conference Experienced in the Moments

We do not remember days; we remember moments.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Successful and Outstanding Bloggers Conference (SOBCon) in Chicago last weekend was a collection of moments I will remember for a long time.

Throughout the weekend, people kept asking what was different about this conference from all the other conferences they go to. It was clear it was different, and different from the first moment. Why?

Was it because it was a group of bloggers? I’ve been to blog events and while that was part of the reason, it wasn’t the whole reason.
read more

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