Minneapolis Scobleized

Tim, Cody, Chuck and I grabbed a drink with Robert Scoble tonight. And I also met local open source CMS developer Tim Broeke from ElectricJet.

If you’re finger isn’t on the pulse of weblogs, Scoble is Microsoft’s überblogger. He was in town to start a conversation with Target. I applaud Target for this.

There are only a handful of companies people feel really passionate about. So passionate you don’t want them to get started (yeah, like me with weblogs and podcasts). These are companies that would have to do something really, really stupid for their impassioned customers to blink.

Target is one of those companies.

Jen is one of those customers. She knows Target’s different layouts. We get the Sunday Star Tribune for the Target flyer. There was a moment of silence in our house when T-1 was demo’d. I’ve talked to a number of others around the US, just as passionate.

To me, companies with a customer base this passionate are obligated to cultivate an intimate conversation. Whether this is weblogging, in its many forms, or some other community-building technique, I think that’s up for discussion and experimentation.

As always, I look forward to seeing the fruit of whatever seeds Scoble planted.

How long does it take to build a website?

A year or so ago, I had this ‘Website-in-a-Weekend’ idea. Walk a group of people from nothing to a nice looking, easy-to-update, custom website in a weekend using WordPress.

Something like this;

  • Day 1: Install WordPress ( ), define categories, pages, generally get everything in place. Add some images and text.
  • Day 2: Edit the layout and CSS. Launch.

WordPress’ Themes are so much more mature in v1.5, so Website-in-a-Weekend is even more do-able.

Digging around the triple-dub this evening, I found some folks that, in the spirit of Scott McCloud‘s 24 hour comic, have raised the bar: Write an entire webapp in 24 hours, including Photoshop comps, CSS, & Javascript.

Considering the months- and years-long projects I’ve been involved in, this makes me wonder: How long does it take to build a useful website?

Introducing Tag Maker for MarsEdit

I’m a big fan of MarsEdit, I use it for all my weblog posting. The other day, I was wondering about making any arbitrary text a Technorati Tag.

The result was the Tag Maker Applescript for MarsEdit.

It takes any selected text and appends a ‘(t)’ to it linking to the corresponding tag at Technorati, or a ‘(d)’ for del.icio.us tags. For example: MarsEdit (), Applescript ( ).

Download the Tag Maker AppleScript

For suggestions, comments, and all other ongoing concerns with this plugin, head over to the Tag Maker dedicated page

Blogger Forces Company Blogging Policy Issue

Update: 9 Mar 2005 9:04 am

…we do not censor people’s blogs, and we take the censorship allegation extremely seriously. I actively encourage our employees to blog, and to express their opinions. However, many readers do not make as clear a distinction between personal and work lives as many experienced bloggers do, and will view a provocative image on a blog in the worst possible light…

Everyone, send good vibes Dave Sifry’s (Technorati CEO) way.

Niall, perhaps this would be helpful to remember in your position as Technorati Community Manager:

“Provocation and controversy are good for building hype, bad for building community”
“Being provocative or negative is one way to generate traffic, but it doesn’t generate culture.”

I’m googling for the author of this quote, if you know please drop it in the comments. I think it was said in the context of podcasting. Thanks.
Found it, 15 Mar 2005 11:30 pm, credit for this quote goes to Mark Vandewettering via Dan Lyke of Flutterby (see the comments. Thanks Dan!)

Update: 8 Mar 2005, 11:30 am

Jason Kottke is a smart person. He changed the title of his original post because as more information came out, Technorati was not at fault. I agree and have followed suit.

Frankly, I find the entire situation artificial and awkward. As it turns out, Kennedy set himself up. I saw nothing wrong with his original post. Poor taste or otherwise. He then went around and basically asked his employer to find fault with it. Quid pro quo, he proved his own point – when given the chance, employers are happy to say no. Blah and now I’m out of coffee.

Original Post

The last couple days, I was thinking about exploring integrating Technorati’s Tags into WordPress. Then I read Technorati censoring employee blogs? over at Kottke.org.

I concur with Jason, if I ran a company that aggregated weblogs, the last thing I would do is piss off webloggers.

The post in question was on Niall Kennedy’s personal site. Niall was comparing employer’s desire to restrict employees blogging to wartime propaganda.

Last night I modified a few propaganda posters from the 1940s to express how corporations would like to control what their employees say on a weblog, at a bar, or even to their families.

Cue Technorati being, um, ironic (Employer commands employee to pull down blog post commenting on employers restricting employees weblog posting). It’s funny, cause it’s true:

No, this post was not a joke and it was a post meant to generate buzz about a topic. Technorati executives are concerned about how employee weblogs expressing opinions may be interpreted as an official Technorati position. All Technorati employees have been asked to review weblog posts with staff members before posting. I reinstated my original post this morning and I am ready to willing to hear the community’s response to my individual voice.

Will opinions expressed on employee weblogs be considered official company positions?
Unless the weblog is http://Technorati.com/OfficialTechnoratiWeblog and has a big Technorati logo on it, NO!

Just 2 days earlier, Steve Gillmor commented on the Google’s new Autolink “feature” and offered this advice:

Who cares if you can do it because. Forget the stuff about do no evil. Do no stupid.

Technorati Bloggers and companies should follow the same advice. or I say we stop pinging them. I’m holding off digging into their tagging until they do.

Fact Checking My Own Ass

Google alerted me to MarketWatch’s Bloggers won’t keep a secret article where my mis-quote of Dan Gillmor got a mention.

Some bloggers are almost proud of making a mistake. It gives them a chance to make a correction and appear oh, so humble and honest. Garrick Van Buren, who blogged about a showing of “Blogumentary” at the University of Minnesota last week, made a typo in his report of the event. He wrote that Dan Gillmor, author of “We the Media,” said blogs are “an early and still cruel tool,” but that things would change. What the author really said, Gillmor wrote in an e-mail to Van Buren and me, was “crude.” Certainly more in keeping with Gillmor’s view of the future of blogging.

This paragraph brings out the core difference between internet publishing (or weblogs) and traditional newspaper, book, or magazine publishing, or any kind of big media publishing.

Traditional publishing is hard, expensive, and time-consuming. It costs piles of money for press time and distribution. Because of that, publishers need to make sure everything is juuuust right – so, there’s layers of proof-readers, editors, typesetters, and other QA people between the author and the reader. Each layer adding more money to the pile, compounding the problem.

When mistakes are made, typographical or otherwise, it might be found in the ‘Corrections’ section of some future issue. Here in the dub-dub-dub, each story is a living breathing, growing entity with links, comments, corrections, additions, all inline and all published immediately and transparently. Operating under Joy’s Laws states (“No matter who you are, most of the smartest people work for someone else”). Bloggers and readers alike aren’t just fact checking the ass of traditional media, they’re fact checking their own ass.

Pick any post at slashdot or 37 Signals’ Signal vs Noise to see this on a huge scale. This is also why Wikipedia has the most comprehensive coverage of anything in a single site.

In the Dan Gillmore quote, I could have quietly swapped “crude” out for “cruel”. Doing so felt a little too 1984 Memory Hole-esque. Instead, showing both the correction and Dan’s message inline seemed more transparent, and yes, honest to you.

Plus, if I made the change quietly, the section in the MarketWatch article wouldn’t have existed.

Get Paid to Do What You Love

I'm a kottke.org micropatron.

Jason Kottke is making the biggest decision of his life. He’s testing a hypothesis I’ve had since I started podcasting. I believe the business model of the future is the one public television and public radio have been using for years:

If your customers like what you do, they’ll pay you to continue.

Dean Allen did the same back in 2004 with TextDrive, he raised $40,000 in 4 days. Offering people hosting for the lifetime of TextDrive for a mere $200.

Brilliant.

I predict we’ll see more and more people pursuing this model. As they do, the traditional concepts of media, employer, and job will look archaic and clumsy.

And yes, I’m supporting both Kottke and Textdrive.

UPDATE: I sitting here listening to Dave Slusher’s latest podcast and realized I need to add Evil Genius Chronicles and Chuck Olsen to this Asking for Support to Do What You Love list.

Hello, welcome to the hub of Garrick.

Hi all.

A couple weeks back, Jen Bohmbach and I talked about weblogs for an episode of the First Crack Podcast. In that conversation, you’ll hear us talk about the strengths (“you have a very comprehensive view of that person”) and weaknesses (“you have a very comprehensive view of that person”) of having a single weblog.

Personally, I think in topics and I like a little stronger separation between my topics than a single weblog will support. Previously, if you wanted to know what’s on my mind, you could check out MNteractive.com, The Work Better Weblog, and more recently, the First Crack Podcast. All of them are fairly topic specific. I like that. There were times when I had something to say that didn’t neatly fit into one of those 3 topics. Like WishRSS, or the WP-iCal plugin, some other early stage project, or just a thought I’d like to share.

That’s the purpose of this site. Think of it as the hub of Garrick, or the misc. category of my personality, or the most comprehensive view of me.

As always. it has an RSS feed.