Joining the Blogosphere Event In A Bit

Getting my ideas together for the Joining the Blogosphere shindig here briefly…

Some questions I have going in:

What does Jude Barry see as the political potential of blogs? Will every candidate start using them as a way to get their unmediated authentic voice out? Or is it enough to use the Howard Dean methodology of creating a community for your supporters – to give them a forum to develop their ideas for you as a candidate?

What does David Pescovitz think a site like BoingBoing does for society? Is it just another authority on Cool? As Slashdot would be the authority on Geek or Engadget the authority on all things, er, Gadget?

We know Dan Gillmor is the authority on grassroots journalism, but is there more to it than that? I had the impression that he quit the Merc to start something else – doesn’t he have some VC behind him? Is there a grassroots-enabling piece of software coming soon, or is it already out there? Maybe it’s enough that Dan is the shepherd/evangelist to a grassroots journalism movement – or at least to more citizen participation.

But if Dan’s not the technical pusher of the coming citizen journalism, who is? Jimmy Wales? Kos? Is blogging already filling this need? Are newspapers getting the software and developers they need to get citizen participation max’ed out?

These are just some of the things I want to quantify for myself tonight. As always, I’m interested to see how my expectations change throughout the night. And of course, there’s a part of me that wants to play some sort of drinking game (in my head): Drink every time someone says “horizontal communication”…”RSS”…”Wiki*”…

There’s no wireless in the library (I am not making this up), but I’ll post some highlights and afterthoughts when I get home tonight, or quite possibly tomorrow morning.

Meet the new Pope…same as the old Pope…or not.

Uh, so, I’m not Catholic, but what does it say to the world when the leaders of the Church elect the most conservative candidate? Well, honestly, it says “Hey, we’re the Church, man, what did you expect? ” The fact that Pope Benedict XVI (nee Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) is 78 years old makes it seem like a compromise – as if the Cardinals elected him just so that they could say they did the logical thing, and let the reformers relax because a man can only live so long.

Will more liberal Catholic parishoners find themselves alienated, turning their backs on their Church? I sincerely doubt it – the Catholics I know are far more concerned with the character and style of their parish priest than Il Papa. But it can’t help.

I thought the best coverage/analysis of John Paul II’s death and funeral could be summed up as “He was pretty liberal, for a Pope.” Those days are done for now.

I’m not completely surprised to find myself in a bad mood right now, and I intend to snap out of it. More coffee doesn’t seem to be helping, so I’ll just immerse myself in my reading.

For lots more on this, check out what Andrew Sullivan is saying.

DennisKucinich.us feed watch…

Regular readers of this blog (I’m talking to you, Mom) might recall that 12 days ago I checked out the shiny new web presence for one of my favorite politicians, Dennis Kucinich. Dennis had no feeds. I asked his volunteers/web monkeys to Feed Me. They said they were working on it. 12 days later, still no feeds.

Assuming that Dennis Kucinich (or an underling/web monkey) is running a feedster/pubsub/technorati search on his name so he knows what people are saying about him (guys, you are doing that, RIGHT?), I’ll mention his name again to make sure they see this post. Dennis Kucinich. Now if that only would work as well as it does for Scoble.

Prof. Richard Craig in the paper

(hey Mullenweg, where’s that “recover post” button…eh…guess I’ll just write it again and save frequently.)

SJSU’s own Prof. Craig weighed in on the “Now who exactly is it that’s a journalist?” question in an op-ed piece in today’s San Jose Mercury news.

Prof. Craig, who teaches the grad class I’m taking this semester (full disclosure: my grades are fine, and this blog is in no way connected to that class other than being a good idea…I think.)

The Prof’s point is that not all bloggers are journalists, and that most people know journalism when they see it:

“The overwhelming majority of blogs on the Web have nothing to do with journalism — most provide nothing more newsworthy than photos of a blogger’s children, discussions of a recent vacation or perhaps opinions on such weighty questions as “Why are the drivers around here such idiots?” A tiny minority choose to gather and report news, and, among these, there are outlets both legitimate and loony.”

I’m reminded of what Robert Scoble said at the Spartan Daily office earlier this semester when asked

“Is blogging journalism?” “It is if it is.” – Scoble

Simply put, journalism is journalism, and the weblog is a medium. Prof. Craig writes “Declaring that blogs equal journalism is like saying that television equals journalism — people mistake the medium for the message.”

Amen to that.

More on the BlogoJournoSphere tomorrow night at SJSU.

Off The Map

I promise this will be the last time I plug this movie, but I finally saw Off The Map this weekend at the Del Mar in Santa Cruz. Hey Campbell Scott: good job! When we were making this movie (which Campbell directed), I never thought it would be as funny as it turned out. That’s right – funny. I was expected a family melodrama with wistful mountain views, but the Me & Mrs. Jones bit blew me away. All the cute little dialogue bits that I figured would only entertain me (Never not.) seem to have pleased everyone. The theatre was packed, and my wife and I were not the youngest people there — families with kids and everything — and everyone walked out happy… A real quote from someone waiting outside to get into the 930 show: “Well these people saw Off The Map and they look happy…”

Of course, seeing my name in the credits was fun — I’ve seen it before, but never in a theater full of people who paid to see the movie. I resisted the urge to yell out “That’s me!” or “Yay grip department!” Maybe if we had time for a beer before the movie…

My wife got a little misty-eyed, all proud seeing my name up there and knowing that this was the work that bought her engagement ring. That alone was worth the $8.50 each.

More on the Commonwealth Club event at SJSU

It seems like they really are serious about running through the whole “Blogging as Journalism” schtick. One of the organizers stopped by our class and showed a bit of video to pump us up about the whole horizontal communication thing.

The coolest thing about the event, especially given Jay Rosen’s recent post about how boring it is for these guys and gals to talk about the same stuff at every panel (ah – that’s the catch about evangelizing: you have to keep doing it over and over again to everyone…), is that the audience is going to break up into small groups after the panel and, er, communicate horizontally about some of the questions that get brought up.

Cool.

Of course, given that Pescovitz announced the event at BoingBoing, which has over 19,000 subscribers on Bloglines alone, those small groups could get pretty big. I call front row!

Once again: Dan Gillmor, David Pescovitz, Jude Barry, David Satterfield, Chuck Olsen, er, Richard Craig, and the whole MCOM 210 gang will all be there. Come and see.

Tuesday April 19th, 2005: MLK Library, 7pm.

The Future of the Mass Audience

Here’s a few links that go with my presentation in our graduate class tonight:

Baghdad Burning: Iraqi woman blogging about her life in Baghdad – she was 24 when she started the blog in August 2003.

The Annotated New York Times: Putting the content of the NY Times together with the commentary and criticism. Anyone who links to a NY Times story in their blog should end up here. Check out the long list of feeds or search by NYT writer.

Current TV: Taking back TV? Let’s see how it goes. There’s already “viewer-created content” online here, and they seem to mean business.

Bloglines: a pretty simple feed aggregator – just register and start adding feeds. Try adding a “subscribe with bloglines” button to your browser to make it really simple.

Small Pieces Loosely Joined by David Weinberger online.
We The Media by Dan Gillmor online.

Another Blogger Talk at SJSU

Next Tuesday night, April 19th, at the MLK Library: Dan Gillmor (grassroots media guru), David Pescovitz (co-editor of BoingBoing), and Jude Barry (ex political-PR type) will be talking about…well heck, it’s being billed by the organizers as “Joining the Blogosphere” and sounds like an “Are Blogs Journalism” mixer — but with reps from Media, Technology, and Culture there, I assume we’ll be talking about some of the Big Ideas getting kicked around in the blogosphere these days.

Appropriately enough, the Prof from my Tuesday night class just sent the email announcing that our class is going. More on this later.

DETAILS: 6:45 p.m., Registration | 7:00 p.m., Program | Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library, Second Floor, 150 East San Fernando St., San Jose | No charge | Parking free in Fourth St. Garage after 6 p.m. |
Co-sponsored by Roundtable Media and the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, San Jose State University.

Feeds Simplified

Hey Mom – Here’s a good explanation of RSS feeds and how to use them from Yahoo:

What is RSS?
RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is an XML-based format for distributing and aggregating Web content (such as news headlines).

Using RSS, Web content providers can easily create and disseminate feeds of data that include, for example, news links, headlines, and summaries. Other sites using RSS to deliver content to a wider audience include Christian Science Monitor and CNET News.com.

How can I use RSS?
Typical applications for consuming or using RSS include:

* Using a program known as a News Aggregator to collect, update and display RSS feeds
* Incorporating RSS feeds into weblogs

News Aggregators (also called news readers) will download and display RSS feeds for you. A number of free and commercial News Aggregators are available for download. Popular news readers include AmphetaDesk, NetNewsWire, and Radio Userland.

Many aggregators are separate, “stand-alone” programs such as those listed above; other services will let you add RSS feeds to a Web page. Yahoo! lets you add RSS feeds to your My Yahoo! page; to make this easier, you can click on the “Add to My Yahoo!” button to the right of each link above.

Another way many people use RSS feeds is by incorporating content into weblogs, or “blogs”. Blogs are web pages comprised of usually short, frequently updated items and web links. Blogging as a publishing tool is used for many purposes: traditional journalism, personal journals, group discussions around a topic, and many combinations in-between.

Any questions?