Austin is watching

Funny how suddenly Austin, Texas has surpassed New York City and Durham, N.C. as the place sending the most traffic to this blog. The volume of traffic coming from Dell has been stepping up since last month’s proactive support post and with the launch of Dell’s blog earlier this week, as well as its stepped up activity in the blogosphere, I guess I now know why. Stay tuned for Lenovo’s blog play. Let’s just say it will be different, not built atop Telligent, and focused on a different mission. It should have gone out the door sooner, but let’s just write the delay off to my turning into Massive Headwound Harry after the Memorial Day bicycle incident.

On my way back to Cape Cod now. EVDOing from the Southwest lounge at RDU airport on my X60s, back to RTP on Monday, where the state pastime is perspiring.

Toward a New England Common: Or why doesn’t Mass. have a cohesive blogger community?

Media Nation: Toward a New England Common

“Part of why we’re different, I think, may be rooted in a cultural desire for control and for the old way of doing things. Even when something genuinely new comes along, it’s quickly incorporated as the new old, and change is resisted for fear of losing control.”

Some good points. Chris Lydon has been doing great radio with OpenSource, but New England doesn’t have an online power like Salon or for that matter, any sort of confederation of bloggers. I know of a blog of blogs here on the Cape, and sure there are others, but …

So Scoble moves on …

thanks to John Bell for alerting me last night that Microsoft uber-blogster Robert Scoble is moving on to a startup. I have no hands to wring or thoughts to cogitate on his decision, but Microsoft will suffer the loss of a highly visible ambassador that won’t be easily replaced by an expensive Spencer Stuart executive search.

This opens the question of how valuable a corporate blogger is in the market today as the medium becomes au courant with every company under the sun getting the advice to start blogging. I believe the best corporate bloggers emerge organically within the organization — not a hired gun riding in from the outside — which would dash the notion that there is going to be an active free-agent market of hot bloggers going to the highest bidder.
It’s also crucial to note that Scoble was not Microsoft’s official, nor certainly Microsoft’s only blogger. He was an evangelist and primarily focused on Channel 9 who happened to run his own personal blog on the side. The fact that he was an extrovert who was adept at wading into the sometimes savage world of Blogistan stood him, and by extension, Microsoft in good stead. But he was not the holder of an official square in the MSFT org chart.

Now, with PR firms recommending that a company get on the blogging band wagon, the notion of opening searches for effective bloggers to ride in and start a strong program seems a bit doomed. The companies that are known for good blogging practices rely on grassroots voices to emerge from their ranks.

Naked Conversations

I plowed through Shel Israel and Robert Scoble’s Naked Conversations on the plane ride down to RTP this morning.

  • If you blog and you have a day job then most of the book is old news.
  • The most useful application of the book is as a gift to your boss.
  • Read the last half for the useful tidbits, especially how blogging freaks out some command-and-control PR and corporate gatekeepers.

This book has to have been a moving target for the authors, something they acknowledge. The landscape is simply churning too fast to capture on paper. Punchline: get blogging and embrace the good old Market-is-a-conversation ideal of Cluetrain.
For anyone in the firing line of being a corporate blogger, it has some good elements of a manifesto.

Scoble & Israel -- TechCrunch Book Signing

I don’t get Frappr

When people get going on the word “mash-up” they generally point at the things being done to Google Maps by services that use the Google APIs to map everything from crime statistics to apartment classifieds.

I’ve used some great, and useful Google mash-ups. My favorite is the GMap Pedometer¬† which I use to build bicycle route maps for sharing with other riders.

But along comes Frappr — basically an attempt to build some community around the maps, adding physical presence to the notion of social networking. Roadbikereview — a vBulletin based forum favored by cyclists — has a Frappr group. I put myself on there a couple months ago and have never been back.

Yesterday, Rage Boy, aka Chris Locke, sent a Frappr initiated invitation, finding my Roadbikereview handle — Cape Cod Dave — and asking me to join his network. I did, I now see Chris and his buddies, but in the end I’ve gotta ask the question:

Why do I care about where, on a map, other people are? 

There’s no payday. Sure, we can babble about Web 3.0 and the airy-fairy notion of presence-enabled web, but I don’t want to have a GPS implanted in my head so people can see “where’s Waldo” as I move around the globe.

I think physical presence information is highly overrated. If I’m in Taiwan I’ll let you know so you can schedule the conference call. Or I’ll share my calendar — if the world ever gets calendar sharing fixed — but will I ever use Frappr to confirm that you are in Timbuktu?

I dunno.

The W.E.L.L. has a $200K book value

PaidContent.org: February 19, 2006 Archives

See my earlier post — “Sometimes I miss the W.E.L.L.”

Wow, how sad. Paid Content reports:

“Salon.com-owned The Well, the pioneering online discussion forum, has not yet found a buyer, according to Salon’s latest 10-Q filing. “Salon has not found a suitable buyer for this asset, which has a book value of approximately $0.2 million, most of which is goodwill. The potential sale of The Well is not primarily driven by a need to generate cash to finance Salon’s operations, but is primarily intended to free management to concentrate on Salon’s core operations.”

there are days when I miss the W.E.L.L.

The WELL Photo Gallery

Whole Earth ‘Lectronic Link. Where it all began for me online in 88 as dbuck. Home of the Savage User Interface — character based community run in some weird thing called PicoSpan. Deadheads dominated. Some serious characters: Tom Mandel, Howard Rheingold, Hinging, David Gans. The media salon before Salon bought the place.

The Web killed it, but what I learned about community, I learned at the WELL. Best thing ever to come through a PC into my face. The ultimate proto-Blog.