Top 9 Things I Want In a Blog Engine

  • self-hosted
  • easily template-able
  • easily customizable
  • supports email-to-post
  • supports XML-RPC
  • supports RSS output
  • internal search engine
  • an writing UI encouraging writing 200+ words at a time
  • an reading UI encouraging reading 2+ essays at a time

Update 11 Oct 2010
Add these to the list;

  • memorable, human-readable URL constructs
  • doesn’t bias how or what I publish

RealTimeAds.com Launches at MinnPost.com

MinnPost RealTimeAds

I’m pleased to announce the launch of RealTimeAds.com – a advertising product now in beta testing at MinnPost.com

Karl and I have been building and testing the system for a couple of months now and I’m quite happy with it on three of fronts;

  • It feels like it makes advertising approachable to people and organizations that haven’t considered it within reach before. Especially, extremely small and locallly-focused people.
  • It re-frames publications that already exist (Twitter feeds, blog feeds, etc) as text advertisements, cuz, you know, that’s what they are anyway.
  • It extends the real-time nature of Twitter outside of the Twitter silo, helping those people and organizations to get more mileage out of their tweets.

“Real-Time Ads runs on RSS. So, you use what you are already using-Twitter, Blogger, Tumblr, proprietary CMS, whatevs!” – Karl Pearson-Cater

Interested in trying it out? Give MinnPost a call: 612 455 6953.

Yes, the RealTimeAds.com system uses a version of Cullect’s engine tuned for ad serving (verses feed reading).

For those of you following along, RealTimeAds.com is Secret Project 09Q02A.

UPDATE:
Here’s the official RealTimeAds announcement from MinnPost’s Joel Kramer

“Imagine a restaurant that can post its daily lunch special in the morning and then its dinner special in the afternoon. Or a sports team that can keep you up-to-date on its games and other team news. Or a store that could offer a coupon good only for today. Or a performance venue that can let you know whether tickets are available for tonight. Or a publisher or blogger who gives you his or her latest headline. ” – Joel Kramer, MinnPost

UPDATE 2: More from Joel Kramer, this time talking to the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard.

“We do believe Real-Time Ads will prove more valuable for advertising at a lower entry point.”

Publishers Shorten Yourself

The Wege pointed me to an excellent article by Joshua Schachter on the issues w/ URL shortening services.

It’s consistent my concerns and my Insecurity of Short URLs post.

As I alluded to that post, I see 3 opportunities for URL shorteners, all of them revolve around increasing trust (branding, security, backup).

Let’s take that first one – branding. Another name for branding is accountability. Who really knows where a tinyurl a similar service will point you, but you can be confident a minnpo.st URL will point you to an article on minnpost.com and a grv.me URL will point you to something I authored.

From my perspective there are 3 parties that should have a good short URL corresponding to their identity:

  • the author (i.e. grv.me)
  • the publisher (i.e. minnpo.st)
  • the share-er (imagine a link blog of short urls)

Sometimes all 3 are the same.

Conveniently, as greater accountability is introduced to short URLs, the issues of security and backups address themselves.

Now.

Take one step back.

Web publishing engines – like WordPress, MovableType, and all publications engines really – should automatically generate nice long human-readable URLs as well as a short, easy-to-share URLs (at least the URL keys, you can supply your own short domain if you want). (Dave Winer said this last month in “Solving the TinyUrl centralization problemsomething along these lines a few weeks back, but I can find the link right now)

One more step back, and you can see this is only an issue now because of the growing popularity of 1 specific website and an expectation that these short URLs are permalinks. If you don’t have that expectation, shorten with RE07.US

Collapsing Space

“But I can’t imagine that blogging and Twitter won’t fully merge, and I expect that to happen soon.” – Dave Winer

I’ve been posted to Twitter from Cullect since Cullect launched. Cullect.com/Garricks-Friends probably has as many blog feeds as Twitter feeds (yes its more about the people than their choice of publication).

This is a long way of saying I don’t see a difference between these two printing presses (I’ve said this before).

One of the projects on my Not Until 2009 List is to eliminate the space between things like Twitter and a weblog. Agnostic indeed. Feels like some things in WordPress 2.7 will make this even easier.

Hmmmmmmm.

Un-Blog

When I talk about Cullect to people publishing feeds, I very consciously don’t use the word ‘blog*’. Primarily because bloggers blogging blogs aren’t the only people publishing online. Almost everyone publishing online publishes a feed.

No matter if that publication contains text, audio, video, software, or something completely different. Cullect works the same if you’re CNN, Dave Winer, or Eric Larson.

“Being called a ‘writer’ has a far more important vibe to it, perhaps the opposite of ‘blogger’, which seems to have a more amaterurish flavor about it.” – Eric Rice

I’m much more comfortable with the word ‘blog’ at blog.cullect.com – where it represents the voice of a non-human entity – and much less so everywhere else. Now that I think about it, that may be the only WordPress install I maintain identifying itself as a ‘blog’.

Also note, the button in WordPress to make this public is labeled ‘Publish’.