Weblogging Writing

New O’Reilly book on weblogging

We’ve been given the go ahead from O’Reilly, the “…FRIENDLIEST and most WONDERFUL publisher we’ve ever dealt with” (sorry, a little editor tease there), to announce a new book on weblogging!

Among the authors is yours truly, writing the chapters on Blogger. I’m joined by Mena and Ben Trott writing about Movable TypeScott Johnson who’s been dropping hints about the book, Rael Dornfest from O’Reilly, and Cory Doctorow of Boing Boing fame. Nathan Torkington is the editor that has to manage this wild and wooly crowd.

The book should be out in September. Start saving your pennies now.

The name of the book will either be Weblogging Essentials or Practical Weblogging. My preference of course is for the latter since I’m also writing Practical RDF.

Weblogging Writing

In support of Content

Normally I don’t insert my body into the ranks of the weblogging intelligentsia when AKMA, Searls, Weinberger, Himmer, and so on become deeply engaged in cross-blogging about particularly heavy and philosophical topics. I’m usually happy to just sit back and watch the flow — brain pushups.

However, when the topic is “content” and the by-play between participants is so interesting, why I just have to jump in. My only worry is that the gang will take one look at my efforts and throw me back. My eyes are clear, and my scales are firm, so we can hope.

The thread root seems to be a posting that Doc made, in which he says:

That’s why it’s no coincidence that when Big Media (and .com wannabe Big Media) saw the Web, they took everything we used to call “art,” “editorial,” “music,” and “news” — and recharacterized it all as “content.” Because “content” is something you ship, something you distribute. It’s not necessarily something you share.

Doc has a very good point — is the use of the word “content” a way of demeaning what we write? Instead of literature, we create content. Instead of art, we create content?

Weinberger continues on this theme when he states:

Links not only literally make the Web a web, but the nature of those links determines almost everything that is interesting and important about it. Content is to the Web as zombies are to human culture.

Beautifully said. Powerful. And Halley responds in agreement, stating “People who use the word ‘content’ make my words into whores.”

Chris fearlessly drenches his feathers by jumping in, cannon ball style with:

Shuffling, whether off the mortal coil, or into the spotlight, it’s the motion, not the meat, mama. The medium ain’t worth a rat’s posterior. The eye is drawn to motion – ‘don’t move or he’ll see us’ is whispered child’s-voice breathlessly in a technicolour dream of Monsters Under The Bed.

When Wonder Chicken turns demented owl, there is no better read on the web.

AKMA, my favorite man of the cloth used the dastardly word and paid the ultimate price. However, he saves the theological bacon with a lovely posting, containing among other things:

If we distinguish web “content” from any other aspect of online textuality–MIDI background music (argh), Flash animations, “blink” tags, Java-scripted moving buttons, whatever–we deny the meaningfulness of auditory, graphical, kinetic stiumuli, a pretty mess into which I wish I hadn’t stepped.

By the way, AKMA, how’s the term DylanBoy for Mike Golby, who also added his thoughts to the fray with “stuff happens”.

If each of these postings was a unique note, this symphony would be a keeper.

Being the curious sort, I did a Thesaurus search on content. Following is a summarized view of the results:

Of well-being and affections
Existence in space, being both the dissenter and the noncomformist
Averse acquiescence, uncontradicted
Cordial and cheery to the marrow, from the bone
These dainty comforts, scraps from the album

Odd, but when you look at “content” this way, I don’t mind being a content creator.


Freenet and Freedom of speech

One person I admire greatly is Ian Clarke, the founder and architect of Freenet — the most sophisticated and open distributed network. In an interview in, Ian talks about 9/11’s impact on Freenet, and the greater need for this type of technology today.

When asked the question:

What effect has Sept. 11 had on your drive for online anonymity? Are there more concerns today that Freenet could be used for terrorists’ or other lawbreakers’ activities, and has the project itself felt any official pressure because of it?

Ian responds with:

Well, since Freenet is a publication mechanism, the only way that terrorists could really use it would be to share information with the general public, such as why they must resort to terrorism. Personally, I think this is a good thing. I grew up in Ireland, parts of which have suffered from terrorism for most of my youth. One thing that taught me was that the only way to resolve issues such as terrorism is to understand the other point of view. Simply dismissing people as “evil” won’t do anything to resolve the problem.

Found thanks to link at Boing Boing