Will politics ever get e-serious?

Good article by Bill Thompson on the BBC Technology News Site.

The political classes will be surprised indeed if the next General Election doesn’t take place on 5 May.

In fact Tony Blair might even lose votes if he disappoints us and goes for another date.

Apart from the date, the other thing that is clear to all observers is that the internet will play a key part in the campaign, with exhortatory e-mails, party websites and candidate weblogs all being wheeled out to persuade voters of the merits of one party over another.

Boris posts again

I can’t tell you how pleased I am to have said something bordering on the truly reactionary.

Is Boris trying to get back in Michael Howard’s good books?

Still, a lengthy and serious post from Boris which shows that he is at least trying to use his blog constructively!

Slow weekend for The Closed Circle

In that it stopped. Sorry. Was playing with my new toy:

my new phone

It’s pretty good. It can send emails, which is great, and means I can post to this blog on the move. Using Flickr I can even post pictures straight onto here which I take with the camera! Wonders will never cease.

Had stacks of feeds to get through this morning. Plenty of stuff been posted on the link blog.

Lawrence Lessig on Creative Commons

Lawrence Lessig on Creative Commons:

Creative Commons offers free copyright licenses to artists and creators. The purpose of the license is to enable the artist or creator to mark his or her copyrighted work with the freedom he or she intends the work to carry. Those “freedoms” are the exclusive rights that copyright grants the copyright holder which the law permits the copyright holder to waive. The design of the system is to be automatic. No contract, or meeting of the minds, is intended. It is simply a license that says “if you use my copyrighted work in ways that would otherwise infringe my exclusive rights, I won’t sue you if you have abided by this license.” (The law makes everything ugly, but anyway, that’s what it does.)

Blogging Blah Blah Blah

Ken Leebow links to this article by Radley Balko (!) on Fox News.

U.S. News & World Report reported last week that several senior Republican senators — upon hearing that “blogs” had uncovered the Dan Rather scandal, helped to defeat Tom Daschle and pushed for the resignation of CNN executive Eason Jordan — demanded that “blogs” be added to their official Web sites.

Even though, as a Capitol Hill Web consultant told the magazine, most of them hadn’t the slightest idea of what a “blog” actually is.

It’s an amusing story, but the more I read about the weblogging phenomenon from traditional media sources — the more I hear about it from talk show hosts and pundits, and the more triumphalism, tribalism, and group hurt we’re starting to see from the “blogosphere” — the more I’m convinced that even “hip” reporters and tech-savvy bloggers themselves don’t really “get” blogs any more than those senior Republican senators do.

In truth, “blogs” are nothing more than a relatively new way of distributing information, just as radio, television, newsprint, and conventional Web sites once were. Blogs differ from other media in that they provide links for easy referencing, they’re more easily and quickly updated (and, consequently, many times less carefully edited), they allow for more interaction between reader and publisher, and there’s virtually no barrier to entry — meaning just about anyone can start his or her own blog. You don’t need to win the approval of an editor. You don’t need start-up money from a publisher. You don’t need a radio tower.

Blogging Wiki

I have started to plan a new site which will aim to collect together all the information anyone could ever possibly want to know about blogging, from introductory stuff for the beginner right through to techinical articles for the experienced web wonk; taking in personal and corporate blogging; and offering hints, tips and hacks for every blogger out there.

I’m planning that it will be a Wiki, so that once it is up and running, bloggers can come in and add points and discuss entries at will. Hopefully it will be pretty well populated with content by then, so the ground can be hit running.

Where’s the content going to come from? Well, some of it will have to be written fresh, but I am wanting the vast majority to come from blog posts from the blogosphere. Each will be linked to and quoted at length. So, you want a quick summary of how to write a corporate blog? You will be able to read Robert Scobles’s Corporate Manifesto, with a link to the post, and therefore the blog, in question to follow it up.

There is a vast amount of information out there, some really, really good stuff and this will be a way of bringing it all together.

The first thing to do will be to come up with a name for this project, and register the domain. The other will be to decide on a Wiki engine.

Any suggestions will be greatfully received. Likewise, any offers of help. If you have some great blogging articles saved away, let me have them! Send me links, either through my comments or through email. If anyone wants to help put the site together with me, that would be extra cool too.


Blogging at the BBC

Great article on the use of RSS, blogs and wikis at the BBC.

Just a few minutes ago, I got an email with the title “Your blog could cost you your job.” Needless to say, I sat up and took notice. It turns out to be a link to this article, which paints a dystopian picture of the institutional blog. However, there is more positive news out there, if you look. Late last year I paid a visit to Euan Semple in the BBC DigiLab, and he has graciously allowed me to interview him about the very forward-looking way in which “Auntie” is taking the new on board and putting it to meaningful use.

How To Write Killer Blog Posts

…and More Compelling Comments.

How To Write Killer Blog Posts

Some very good advice here. Here’s the first 3 to give you a flavour:

Writing Blog Posts

  • Declarative sentences are good. Web readers demand them.
  • Link like crazy. One thing that distinguishes blog posts from dead-tree journalism is that bloggers link prodigiously. Link to any mentions in your blog to other blogs, websites, articles, books, products, bios or explanatory materials on other sites. Always provide links to information that clarifies or gives background on information and opinions in your post.
  • Write less. Omit all unnecessary words. The best advice I ever got about writing was from my first boss, the late “press agent” Leo Miller, who taught me a game to play with sentences. He’d keep taking out words until removing one more word destroyed the meaning of the sentence. Taking this last sentence for example, the sentence would end up like, He’d take out words until removing another destroyed the sentence meaning. Aim at keeping your posts at about 250 words.