Monday, February 28, 2005

Blog graduate course

I suppose this had to happen, the University of California at Berkeley is supposedly offering a graduate course in blogging. The course would be part of the school's college of journalism.

Is blogging a form of journalism, a form of self-satisfied egotistic key-tapping, or some mix? Judge for yourself and take a look at Sales Master World for one take on this and then at ktheory for a blogger's perspective.

While you're looking around, see if you can find any substantiation for the existence of the class at Berkeley.

The Sales Master World has some good reading including this: "To a large extent, bloggers are more interested in a point of view or the power of an idea than they are 'readers.' While the thought of a worldwide audience is certainly an ego rush, many bloggers would continue blogging for an audience of one. Think less about what I can do for you and more about what you can do for me."

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Blog history 101

Time for a little history lesson on blogging in general and Movable Type in particular. After all, most of what we take for granted with blogging can be traced to Mena and Ben Trott, owners of Six-Apart, LTD. Just a few short years ago, when both were 20 years old, Mena got into blogging while Ben followed not as a blogger, but as the programmer of the family. Today, after their acquisition of LiveJournal, the couple's privately-owned company has about 7 million customers. Here's an excerpt from the Boston Herald article which warrants a visit and complete read:

None of it would have happened if Mena hadn't grown bored during the post-boom doldrums of early 2001 and decided to write her own blog.
"I really needed a creative outlet," Mena said. "I figured I wasn't going to be famous in the real world, so I may as well try to be famous in the online world."
Mena gradually won fans with a quirky journal called Dollarshort. The blog shared the foibles of her youth and mused on eclectic topics like her disgust with people who clip their fingernails on public transit and her obsession with the 1972 disaster movie, "The Poseidon Adventure."
It was the kind of thing her taciturn husband would never do.
"Ben is shy and gets uncomfortable when people talk about him," said Andrew Anker, Six Apart's executive vice president of corporate development. "Mena gets upset when everyone is not talking about her every day."
As Mena blogged, Ben became frustrated in his search for a decent computer programming job. While unemployed, Ben began to work on the computer code that became Movable Type.
When 100 people downloaded Movable Type during the first hour of its release in September 2001, the Trotts decided to run their own business from their bedroom, drawing the inspiration for the company name from their nearly identical age - Ben and Mena were born six days apart in 1977.
"We were just looking for something to subsist on," Ben said. "We figured if we ever got 3,000 users, we would just close the (TypePad) service and make it invitation only."

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

#1 looked up word for 2004: "Blog"

This probably wouldn't surprise anyone who blogs, but The Merriam-Webster Online Web site named “blog” its No. 1 word for 2004, based on the number of people looking it up.

“Blog, noun – short for weblog (1999): a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments and often hyperlinks provided by the writer.”

The explosive growth of blogging has led to an equally explosive growth in blog readership. A recent survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found blog readership jumped 58 percent in the United States last year, representing about 32 million people, or roughly 27 percent of all Internet users. -- Journal Gazette

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Yet another blogger fired

But this time, can you guess what corporate employer fired their blogging employee?

None other than Google, owner of Blogger. That's right folks, Blogger has fired a Blogger employee for blogging because they didn't like what he was blogging about. Something or other about not being especially happy with Google's renumeration package. Whatever.

As pointed out by Suw Charman, Google/Blogger apparently doesn't even have a written policy or guideline for their employees to go by. What's allowed? What's frowned upon by the corporate high geeks? Apparently saying anything about being unhappy, even in passing, gets you a ticket out the door. Sort of the same way North Korea runs things.

If you want to show your support, Mark Jen's site is here. Go take a visit and see what he has to say about being suddenly unemployed.