Friday, October 28, 2005

PR guru Steve Rubel gets the wikipedia religion

Mr. Rubel is one of the first PR people i've seen who actually seems to get it. (so far). He is right on the money as far as how PR pros should tread lightly in wikipedia-land for now. As for the future... more on that later. Mostly i just wanted to give a shout-out to Rubel on this point.

Journalism and blogs, Looking back, Looking forward

I went to the memorial service for a man named Joe Kovach who was very close to a friend of mine. That memorial service was amazing. I never knew Joe but I feel like I did, having heard the vivid remembrances. It seems he was the kind of tough-as-nails, demanding, no-bullshit, newspaper editor character that I had previously thought was only a myth. There were memories of all kinds, about how he was personally as a husband, a friend, a boss, a brother, but the thing that struck me most (outsider that I was) was the way people talked about his professional life, and how his kind of journalism was exactly the kind of journalism that is lacking at this moment in history, and that we desperately need right now. People spoke of his devotion to the truth, and to the readers- and his desire to cut the crap and get right to the heart of the matter and say it clearly in words that the average "man on the street" could understand, and to hell with the consequences.

Something we need more of for sure. Hopefully I'll get some more thoughts together on this later, but for now just two things:

1) I had a really interesting conversation at the reception after the memorial with a young editor at a local paper- he looked like he was my age or younger. I asked about blogs and he made a really good point about the difference between a blogger and a journalist- a) that the journalist, being a professional (as very few bloggers are) has time to go knock on doors, run down facts, visit places, do all the things that Joe asked his reporters if they'd done- did you go here? Did you go there? Did you find out everything you could? - you just can't spend all day doing that if you have a day job. and b) that the workplace of the journalist was key-- the co-workers- the editors (like Joe was) - expecting more of you- and people to bounce ideas off of- the blogger has the community of other bloggers, but that comes AFTER they've written whatever they wrote- not before- does that make a difference. He thought it did. It definitely makes the writing better. I'm not sure what I think about this, but it seems interesting.

2) There's a site called "romenesko" which some people are calling the conscience of the journalism world- a place for journalists to call each other out, and demand more of each other. Maybe this is part of the way up and out of the current sorry state of affairs.

Google Base update

Somebody decided to break out google base as separate entry on Wikipedia. Its interesting how this story has developed- tuesday night it was on a few random blogs about search engines- by wednesday morning it was all over the blogosphere- and in a couple of online magazines. By wed. night it was on the NYT and the WSJ. Now interestingly i think the nerds are getting the point a little more than the professional journalists- what is truly exciting about this (IMHO) is the what effect this kind of service could have on the world not just on ebay and craigslist. That article i pointed to before written in 2002 but written as if it were looking back from 2009, is really worth reading on this point, its also pretty funny.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

wikipedia and the O.E.D.

You read the Professor and the Madman? I was just thinking that the O.E.D was created using the an army of volunteer fanatics - just the way that Wikipedia is being created now. Turns out Lawrence Lessig allready thought of this point (see the link in the title of this post). So the power of huge numbers of people motivated by the desire to learn and contribute to other's learning is not new- all that's new is how efficiently they can do it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Google Base (all your base are belong to us)

Wow, people are really talking about this alot out there. But yes, i did make that wikipedia entry and please add to it anyone who is out there who finds this interesting. I've been thinking alot about wikipedia. It seems to me like it could and will become the repository of all "generally accepted facts" about everything in the world- which is pretty amazing. What will the world look like when everything that anyone knows is available to anyone anywhere instantly? What will the world look like if google is able to index not only all the web pages in the world, but through a product like google base all the information about all the stuff in the world too? Google base (once it launches) and wikipedia right now both seem like good mediums in which art could be made. Anyone want to try? Now, just because wikipedia could change at any moment- i'm going to duplicate my wikipedia entry here:

Google Base

In Late October the existence of a not-yet-public product in development called "Google Base" is discovered at the address: by Tony Ruscoe. Described in an official blog by google as "new way for content owners to submit their content to Google", some speculate that it may be a product to compete with craigslist or ebay, or may be the beginning of what Paul Ford predicted google would do in a 2002 essay about the Semantic Web. It was taken down soon thereafter but not before several people took screenshots. A great deal of interest and speculation followed in blogs, magazines and newspapers.