Facebook Bloggers as Blogger of the Year??

I’ve been a fan of Dave Winer’s for years, and I’ve always enjoyed his “Blogger of the Year” post because I would normally learn about a new blogger or be reinforced about a feed in my reader. Not only that, but it was an annual reminder that blogging is a worthy endeavor in itself despite how out-of-style it is to call yourself a “blogger” or your personal site a “blog” in 2014.

This year, I was sad to see the BOTY award go to Facebook bloggers…

So, in 2014, Facebook has picked up the ball for blogging. It’s definitely not what I imagined, and I’m not comfortable with where it might be going. But for now, in 2014, the bloggers this year, that made a difference to me, came to me through Facebook.

via Blogger of the Year (2014).

I’m not disappointed out of some sense of the original blogging holding up expression on Facebook as some sort of selling out or a slap in the face to the “indie web.” Dave certainly isn’t the first to espouse the benefits of blogging on Facebook as an enjoyable experience compared to what blogging has become on a web dominated by clickbait and Squarespace sites. For instance, my good friend Wayne Porter once had a great blog (and he helped hire me to run one that he started back almost 15 years ago). Now, he posts a number of great posts and thoughts and links on Facebook. I still get to see those and frequently respond there with others. But it feels different and I don’t know why. It doesn’t feel like Wayne’s old blog any more than Dave’s posts feel like his work on Scripting.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s neat to see Batman pop up in Metropolis to help out Superman in a random issue of a DC comic. However, it never feels like a Batman comic. Batman has his own space(s). That’s where I really get to see his successes and neuroses. I want that experience in the people that I’ve “subscribed” to in my feed readers and really value as sources of quality content and information. That can happen on Facebook, and it certainly does in the case of Wayne and Dave, but I miss the good ole days of personal blogs (and I still think we’ll go back to them in the near future) as the place to read blogging.

I could argue with myself that reading in a feed reader is somewhat akin to what Facebook provides (without the wider audience). I’m altering the experience of reading Dave’s Scripting.com site by subscribing to it in Fever or Feedly or FeedWrangler. I’m not going to the site and seeing the way he deliberately structures content, images, outlines, and information. I’m possibly missing out on comments from other readers. That’s all true. However, Facebook seems like a different blog reading experience to me because of their algorithm. I’m presented with what Facebook wants me to see based on my previous actions and those of others. That’s great for some, but I don’t want a curated algorithmic blog reading experience.

Heck, I even miss Robert Scoble’s blog (the King of Facebook evangelism in 2014, who I blame for all of this).

Years ago, Dave started talking about the notions of rivers in blog reading. From what I remember, I’ll paraphrase him as saying that RSS Readers like the now defunct and much missed Google Reader weren’t that great for blogging because they treated blog reading like an email inbox with unread counts etc. Blog reading became yet another thing to do (or hire an intern to do) for us back in the day. Rivers of information, however, should have flowed by us. We could dip in when we needed or wanted to, but there wouldn’t be the need to read every post. Twitter helped push this paradigm ahead (I still remember trying to read every tweet that I’d missed while sleeping back in 2006). To me, it feels like blogging and blog reading on Facebook distorts this notion of a river or stream of posts and info even more because posts that you see are derived by some magical algorithm in the sky that curates what you see based on math that we’ll never be privy to know.

I’m probably wrong here, and it really doesn’t matter. The world spins on, continues to go around our star, and our way of sharing thoughts and ideas will continue to change along with our still young species. But the idea of my Batmen and Supermen blogging on Facebook makes me sad. Being able to express that here on my blog makes me happy.

Now I just hope Wayne and Dave don’t unfriend me on Facebook, so that I can continue reading their posts there.

GeekToMe 6: Freemiums and Netbooks

Affiliate Marketing Legend and all-around geek Todd Crawford and I are back with episode six of our weekly podcast, GeekTo.Me.

We had a ton of fun doing the show and it’s (in my opinion) our best show yet. We definitely keep getting better and better (and geekier and geekier) every week.

So, if you’ve got the stomach for some heavy geek lifting, give it a shot.

The show runs about an hour.


MP3 File

Show Notes:
Freemium vs Premium
Google with OpenID
Google Notebook, Evernote or BackPack?
Netbooks vs iPhones
Mac Adoption with the Kids
iPhone App Restrictions
Windows 7: Will It Save Microsoft?
Linux Desktops and New Ubuntu
Google Maps on iPhone
Mint.com and Stupid web2.0 names
eCommerce is Big in Japan
Todd’s Picks: Fring, Panolab, Classic eBook Reader
Sam’s Picks: Everest, VoteReport

GeekTo.Me 6: Freemiums

BearHug Camp Today

For all those interested in the wild-west world of micro-blogging (Twitter, Identi.ca, TWiT Army, etc), BearHug Camp starts at 9am PST today.

Strange name, but this really looks like it will be a very important day for the future of the web…

TechCrunchIT » Blog Archive » BearHug Camp is here: “Friday, September 12 at 9 am, BearHug Camp begins. The brainchild of Dave Winer, BearHug is based on a tactic Winer used to great effect in bootstrapping coincident work by Netscape and Winer into what we now know as RSS. Recently, we’ve seen the emergence of similar strategies in the so-called micro-blogging segment that has grown around Twitter.”

You can follow along live from Leo Laporte’s stream at TWiTLive.TV

XMPP as the Marketer’s Golden Egg; Latency as Magic Beans

XMPP has had a meteoric rise in term of its profile and application over the last two years. Part of that is due to the rise of microblogging services such as Twitter or Identi.ca that leverage the XMPP platform to deliver real time updates to users.

However, there has been a hiccup in Twitter’s usage of XMPP over the last few months and that hiccup has helped to give more exposure to XMPP instead of putting it on the shelf. The increasingly popular Track feature of Twitter (which allowed users to follow certain keywords they were interested in… in real time… without having to rely upon the latency of RSS and/or an increasingly hampered Twitter API) was pulled a few months ago. Twitter’s Biz Stone comments about the disabling of Track for everyone here:

Our goal is to support as many applications, projects, mash-ups, and devices as possible so we’ll continue to think about how best to do this. While the XMPP feed of the full Twitter Public Timeline is an amazing resource, drinking from the fire hose is not the best way to quench a thirst. With continued updates and refinement, our API will support most scenarios in a way that preserves overall system performance.

Track WAS the ultimate web tool and began to function as the neural spine for many of us. The latency of a hampered API does not fill the void. Early adopters like myself got a taste of its power and now thinkers and users such as Steve Gillmor are looking for an angry fix:

But Twitter is living on borrowed time with its XMPP blockade. The flowering of micro-objects opens the door to applications that leverage swarming around events and the growing availability of iPhone-class mobile devices. The success of App Store stars such as Evernote suggests that adding micro-object support will accelerate usage of the XMPP backbone. Latency in that environment will be an instant deal-breaker, opening the door for better-financed competitors to subsidize real time services to capture audience.

Before we go too much deeper, it’s important to explain exactly what XMPP is and why marketers should be researching and developing its application.

Wikipedia explains:

Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) is an open, XML-inspired protocol for near-real-time, extensible instant messaging (IM) and presence information (a.k.a. buddy lists). It is the core protocol of the Jabber Instant Messaging and Presence technology. The protocol is built to be extensible and other features such as Voice over IP and file transfer signaling have been added.

Unlike most instant messaging protocols, XMPP is an open standard. Like e-mail, it is an open system where anyone who has a domain name and a suitable Internet connection can run their own Jabber server and talk to users on other servers. The standard server implementations and many clients are also free and open source software.

That sounds incredibly geeky and innocuous to most direct marketers, but put on your thinking cap for a moment and re-read Gillmor’s quote above with that information in mind.

It doesn’t take too much imagination to come to the realization that in the coming years, the real world web stars will be applications that deliver on demand, in real time and with micro-object support. XMPP stands as the protocol, above all other protocols, to deliver those messages to the masses.

The future of marketing is not based on latency or delayed access to timely information. RSS is wonderful and has changed my world, but its asynchronous delivery only makes me want to plant the latency bean in some fertile garden so that I can climb the vine to the ultimate marketing prize… real time tracking and delivery of information that I opt-in to.

Keep an eye on XMPP. And especially keep an eye on the first company to tap into its marketing power (Identi.ca?).

Attractive Microblogging for Marketers 301

During my presentation called “Leveraging Social Media” at Affiliate Summit East, I took up most of the allotted hour to discuss tools and strategies that affiliate marketers could use to help them both better monitor and better participate in the increasingly important social networks out there in the wild.

This is an important issue because not only are these networks (in my presentation we touched on Twitter, Friendfeed, Seesmic and Facebook, but there are dozens of others) important for “traffic” but these hubs of communities have become an invaluable source for marketers to find conversions, early adopters and brand evangelists.

The main questions that most people had during, after and in the week since about the presentation pertained to the “how” aspect of using these networks in a responsible manner.

It’s not an easy question to answer since a great deal of operating in the social web is subjective and full of variables associated with individual programs, personalities and the social networks themselves.

At the end of the day, my constant recommendations all went along the lines of “do your homework, know the community and don’t feel obliged to use services such as ping.fm to cover everything.” In fact, I advise marketers to generally stay away from services like ping.fm because the fine line between “participant” and “spammer” is so easy to cross (and so easy to seemed to have crossed).

In other words, be interesting and provide a service (such as pointing to relevant info, even if its yours) in a responsible (whatever that means to you) manner.

DeWitt Clinton gets very geeky and brings in another aspect that you might want to consider if you’re a marketer with a little bit of know-how… attractiveness.

Head over to his blog and read the rest of the entry with the examples he gives. It’s a powerful read that points to the need for both functionality and appeal as you get your messages out there (and aren’t all messages marketing messages?):

Microblogging syndication formats » DeWitt Clinton: “This is just the beginning — I feel I’m only scratching the surface of what can be extracted from existing syndication formats. For example, comment stream aggregation (via the comments element or RFC 4685 autodiscovery) is a great next step after this. And I only call out FriendFeed because they’re the best at aggregating multiple content sources, but these concepts apply to any content aggregator, and finding a way to reuse existing formats like RSS and Atom to create rich presentations automatically will enable us to do more with less manual work between aggregators and publishers.”

While practicality is important to reach, don’t discount the need to reach people through visual appeal!