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May 23, 2003

[BlogTalk] Photos

Some of the speakers (Rebecca Blood in the front, Dan Gillmor in the back) at dinner last night in the Vienna Woords:

Bloggers at dinner

Paolo Valdemarin and Matt Mower, still together again:

Paolo and Matt

Thomas Burg, the conference organizer:

Thomas Burg




[BlogTalk] Sebastian Fiedler

Sebastian begins by wondering if the usual educational assumption that learning is done to us by experts helps us become truly educated. He refers to some psychological theories of the 1950s that look to conversation as the way in which we build up an understanding of our self and world. (Sorry to be vague but I had a little incident and had to reboot.) Could conversation, he wonders, be a key to education?

Now he makes the transition to web publishing and weblogs as a “conversational learning tool.” These give us the ability to reflect upon our public representations. There isn’t a lot of data about this yet, he says. Think of personal web publishing networks as “conversational learning environments for self-organized learners.”

[Cool idea. And I like the recasting of education as conversation. Of course.]


[BlogTalk] Martin Roell

Martin begins by pointing out, coyly, that there’s a difference between speaking at a conference and weblogging: if he writes something boring, we can skip it, but if he’s boring here, we can’t. [Fortunately, he’s funny, not boring.]

His topic is weblogging in business. His premise: Sharing information is boring. But doing what weblogs do – talk about what matters to us – is fun. Unfortunately, businesses think weblogs are warblogs, diaries or places where people put up cat pictures. And managers like things that can be explained simply and that promise great revenue at no risk. So, Martin wrote a paper. It presents a chart that moves from proof of concept to group weblogs to knowledge-logging. He recommends that a company start small, get some blogs going, and link them up.


[BlogTalk] Oliver Wrede: Discourse and Weblogs

Oliver Wrede sets up weblogs for university courses. He asks students to take charge of particular topics, stimulating posts.

Courses are linear and end when they end. Oliver would like to find a way to create loop so it won’t come to a screeching halt. So, he’s making a knowledgebase, feeding into new courses what’s been learned from previous ones. In fact, it stimulates new courses. In fact, after the course ends, the weblog continues. 80% of the visitors come from Google searches.

See here and here.

He looks at the posts between Winer and Palfrey about blogging the NH primary. What isn’t said in the posts are a set of background assumptions and context. Paul Ford, he says, has categorized a variety of “speech acts” (John Austin, John Searle) routinely round in weblogging, e.g., two opposing opinions posted in proximity are an “OppoLog.” Two of his students wrote some software to map the links while indicating the type of links.

He points to a paper by Richard Seel (“Emergence in Human systems”) that give the qualities required for business organization to be emergent. Oliver points out that they are the same qualities typical of weblogs.


[BlogTalk] Tricas Garcia et al.

Fernando Tricas Garcia and Juan JM Guervos talk about their Python-scripted tool, the Blogometro. They use it to analyze Spanish-speaking blogs.

There are about 1,500 postings a day. 1,160 blogs posted at least once during the last month. There are about 2,000 blogs. Much smaller than Poland but still a significant amount of activity. Among the popular links: Prestige. A popular blogger: MiniD. They say that, despite Clay Shirky, Spanish blogs don’t follow the power law yet.

Conclusions: They’re not yet clear about the size and extension of the Spanish blogosphere, but there are some clear centers.

Question: Why are there fifty times more weblogs in Poland than in Spain since they have the same population?

Milonas: Weblogs got a lot of publicity. It’s a part of the youth culture. Also, it’s cold in the winter.


[BlogTalk] BlogTalk Bloggers [Update]

Here are the URLs of some of the bloggers blogging from Blog Talk:

Azeem Azhar

Gilbert Cattoire
Marysia Cywiñska-Milonas
Lilia Efimova

Dan Gillmor
Scott Hanson
Heiko Hebig (with pictures)

Jorg Kantel
Nico Lumma

F. Matthes
JJ Merelo

Jose Luis Orihuela (also here)
Martin Roell
Kieran Shaw

Ulrich van Stipriaan (and on non-BlogTalk topics)

Fernando Tricias

David Weinberger
Phil Wolff
Oliver Wrede (auf Deutsche)

Also, two students are live-blogging it, says the organizer, Thomas Burg.


[BlogTalk] Milonas, Polish blogging

[My running notes on Marysia CywiƱska-Milona‘s talk auto-erased themselves. Aarrggh. Excellent talk. Rough reconstruction follows.]

Maria is a Polish blogger. There are 100,000 Polish bloggers, 62% by women. 90% written from home, and a huge percentage are written by people younger than 20. So, why are so many young Polish women writing blogs, she asks?

She suggests that, psychologically, they are lonely and are willing to make themselves “nude” in order to get a response. She disagrees with what I said in my keynote: the Polish blogs are online diaries, without a lot of links. “Does this make us underdeveloped or just different?” she asks. (But, she later talks about how Polish blogs are dialogues and build communities, which was my point.)

Blogs are also popular because they’re cheap to do in a co untry where dialup time is very expensive.

She ends by saying that, despite the stress at this conference, Polish blogs aren’t about Knowledge and Stuff. “We like entertainment,” she says, “Do you?”


[BlogTalk] Hossein Derakhshan

Hossein Derakhshan, an Iranian blogger, says there are 12,000 active Iranian bloggers. [Wow!] He says the current regime is powerful and definitely not reformist: they’ve shut down 90 newspapers in the past 5 years. About 3/4 of the bloggers are men. There are about 50,000 posts per day. 27% are on general topics, 16% are personal, and politics is only 7% f the topics. The number of sexual blogs is unlisted, but 6 of the top 10 are about sex. (Source: For some reason, Persian bloggers don’t use blogrolls.

He says blogs serve many functions in Iran, including socializing and dating (many of the blogs express depression), connecting parents and children and exiles with their homelaned, introducing e-zines, producing serachable PErsian contnt, introducting new standards and technologies, providing pornography, inspiring writers (e.g., Rez Ghassemi’s daily novel) and generating direct relationships with readers.

Weblogs are a great window into Iranian society, Hossein says: people are both hopeful and eager to try their freedom, and are feeling depressed and represssed (especially sexually).


[Hossein says on his blog that he doesn’t like the idea of live blogging because it’s rude. Nevertheless, here I am, likve-blogging his presentation. Sorry, Hossein!]


[BlogTalk] Ethan Eismann: Sustainable Knowledge Production

Ethan is talking about the Berkeley Intellectual Property Weblog (BIPlog). His research partner, Mary Hodder, blogs about intellectual property as part of a “knowledge community.” Ethan is going to talk about communities of weblogs that are topic-based: Weblog Knowledge Communities.

The dynamics of a WKC is self-sustaining. As authors produce high-quality information, it attracts other authors. Much of this is driven, says Ethan, to build and maintain a reputation.

He provides some “best practices” for a WKC his research has found:

1. Determine your topic. “Write what you love.”

2. Determine your blog team’s size.

3. Analyze your audience

4. Determine your infrastructure

5. Decide on your mission

6. Define categories

7. Voice

8. Decide on an information architecture

9. Link!

10. Participate


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