Author Archives: Des Walsh

Wanna be in a movie?

Someone’s making a documentary about bloggers and it appears that if you’re a blogger you and your blog could be in it.
See ‘We’re going to make a blogumentary about 59 bloggers who represent the Blogosphere’.
It’s happening in America, this summer. If you want to be considered, you have to be in the USA or if you’re a foreigner willing to get yourself there for when you’re needed.
The geographical bit counts me out, but could be fun – being a part of history, however evanescently – read The Rules.

Pod Rhymes With Religion

It had to happen.
According to Lycos 50’s Dean:
“One of the hottest trends in podcasting is ‘Godcasts.’ Many “pod preachers” of all faiths are converting their weekly sermons into Godcasts to more easily spread the word.”
And Frank Barnako in his post Podcasters getting religion picks up on a survey, also by Lycos 50 apparently (but I couldn’t find the source from Frank’s homepage link to Lycos 50), to mention that weekly church sermons have become the podcasts most in demand:
“One of the hottest trends in podcasting is ‘Godcasts'” Frank writes. “Many “pod preachers” of all faiths are converting their weekly sermons into Godcasts to more easily spread the word.”
No doubt preachers will be lining up for podcasting courses and church notices will soon be featuring the pod feedlink for the week – or maybe that’s already happened.

Blogger – So What Level of Service Did You Expect For Free?

Like many others, I have a blogger.com account and a fairly untended and lightly visited blog using the free Blogger platform. For me a couple of years ago it was a good way to get started. But now, even though (because?) it’s free, I don’t recommend Blogger to people wanting to get started with blogging for business, mainly because there are other services, such as Typepad, which Andy recommends, and BlogHarbor, which I recommend. At both Typepad and Blogharbor you can get an excellently featured, professional-looking blog, with very good support, for less than $15 a month.
As I’ve said about Blogger to more than one person: Yes, I know it’s free, but if the saying is true that you get what you pay for, what level of service do you expect for free?
A Ryze networking buddy of mine, Ken Lee of Professional Business Services, sent me a link today to an article in Wired Bloggers Pitch Fits Over Glitches , about problems people are currently having with Blogger. Makes interesting – and sobering – reading.
I have to say that I’ve noticed some very informative blogs which obviously use the Blogger technology. Let’s hope for the sake of all those valuable blogs – and for the people who get a start in blogging with what is undeniably a very good set of tools – that the Google owners of Blogger can get the glitches sorted out soon.

Creative Types Get New Digital Home at Ourmedia

Having been involved with the arts for a number of years, I’ve noticed that while there are a lot of creative types who are perfectly at home making their own websites – and now blogs – there are others who plug along pretty well as if the Internet never happened. I believe a lot of the latter group would love to be able to present their work online but are baffled by the technology.
From what I’ve seen today at the new Ourmedia site, that could all change, and very rapidly.
Ourmedia is an open source, volunteer run project, with serious backing both in money and organizational support, to provide free storage and free bandwidth for videos, audio files, photos, text or software.
This is their invitation: ‘Create. Share. Get noticed. Ourmedia is a global community and learning center where you can gain visibility for your works of personal media. Ourmedia promise to host your media forever – for free.’
And, amazingly for me – it’s ‘Forever. No catches.’
I have to admit that at first glance I thought, uh-oh, another one of these deals where they get a lot of people in free and then you need to ‘upgrade’ to paid membership to get any benefits.
Not so. This is admittedly a site that is not even in Beta, but self-declared Alpha. But the people and organizations involved are evidence that this could be the start of something very big. The advisory board includes some legendary Internet names and people who have an unassailable track record in ‘democtratizing’ online media for the creative community, people like Howard Rheingold and Denise Atchley.
This news item provides some background.
The one thing people have to do who choose to place their creative works on the site is to share.
And part of the news is that anyone who joins gets a free blog as part of the deal. That’s even if you don’t see yourself as a creative person.
I can see that Ourmedia could be a great resource for people whose main blog is for business but every now and again – or often! – want to create a work in text, or audio, or video, that has little or nothing to do with their business. It’s also a resource for people who want to have a more personal blog besides their business blog, but don’t want to have to pay to maintain it.

Blog or Die?

Shel Israel and Microsoft ‘Geek Blogger’ Robert Scoble are writing a business blogging book online, with the working title (but maybe not for long) of ‘Blog or Die’.
In a bold move, they are posting the draft to their Red Couch blog, and inviting comments. Which they are getting.
In response to some of the comments, they are reconsidering the title. I liked the title, but maybe it’s a tad too dramatic and unsustainable for a wide-ish audience.
I like the general line of argument in their draft first chapter, ‘Village Blacksmiths of the Information Age’. Something far-reaching is happening with blogging, in business as elsewhere – ‘vital and strategic’ to business, in their words – and those in business who ignore this will, they say, suffer the business results the village blacksmith faced in a previous era.
The whole concept of blogging for business is evolving rapidly and there are many points of view, reminiscent of the debates and comments when business moved in on the Internet and the Web in the 90s.
The criticisms in the comments on ‘Blog or Die’ are generally thoughtful and constructive and the chapter, rough as it is, has some very interesting observations and illustrations, especially about ‘Conversational Marketing’ – worth a look.
The authors are still seeking comments. And if you have a better title they will no doubt be delighted – the link again is the Red Couch blog.

Sit, type!

On the Blogs & Bloggers network over on Ryze, Marla Stout shared with us the delightful Life is Ruff blog of her dog Kegan. I felt I had to share this and trust that Kegan’s charm will be appreciated more widely.
Then I found that while I’d been doing other things, the phenomenon of ‘dog blogging’ had crept up. I had to find out more! By googling on ‘dog blog’ I found the entertaining Dog Blog site – well, it was entertaining for me, don’t know how a dog might find it – of III Nana, pet dog of Lulu, who apparently fronts the voodoolulu group. There is a quite interesting post there from August last year which provides some references to dog blogs.
I have known some quite interesting dogs, but I think I would find it a challenge to maintain for any length of time the conceit of writing as if I were a dog. Then again, I’m not currently connected to any particular canine. Anyhow, my becoming aware of this particular field of blogging naturally brought to mind an old favorite, the wonderful Peter Steiner cartoon in the New Yorker in 1995 – ‘On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog’.
Incidentally, and to maintain strict triviality rules here, in one of the items I read, this dog blogging phenomenon was referred to as ‘blawging’ (as in ‘dawg blog’, I imagine), but a quick search on Google confirmed that the terms ‘blawg’ and ‘blawging’ have been well and truly claimed for blogs about the law or by lawyers: more about this at Blawg .

Blogging Platform Junkie Settles Down

In a previous post I recounted some of my journey in search of the blogging platform that would work for me. I’m happy to say the journey is now essentially complete and the platform chosen is Blogware via BlogHarbor.
One of the many good things about Blogware is that you get a free 30 day trial, with nearly all the bells and whistles and without having to hand over your credit card details. So I was running a comparative test, using both the Lockergnome and BlogHarbor resellers. Pretty soon I decided on BlogHarbor. The technology is the same but I experienced much better and more personal, rapid support from John Keegan, the BlogHarbor guy.
Having decided to make BlogHarbor my new platform, I then decided to move immediately, even though I still had 3 weeks or so of free trial. Reason? I had a domain sitting by – thinkinghomebusiness.com – and I needed to upgrade to a paid subscriber to be able to have that as my primary url for the blog. Getting that organised from my domain host, GoDaddy, was not as easy as it might be for the more technically savvy – again, John Keegan came to the rescue and helped me, speedily but patiently, get it all set up. And I can have two other urls pointing to that site.
There are things I’m still learning, as you do, about this new platform, and I am very confident that with the support that’s there at BlogHarbor, both directly through the support ticket function and through the online forum, I will sort out whatever needs to be sorted out.
Through all this and no doubt through hanging out here with Andy, I’ve become a bit of a blogging evangelist, not at Andy’s level or with the same intensity, but I am absolutely convinced that blogging is a wonderful gift for people, like me, in home based businesses, who want to both do business and build community (or the other way around) online.
And for anyone who, like me, is daunted by technical terms and procedures that our programming savvy mates have no problem with, I have to say that the journey to find the blogging platform that works for me has been worth every one of the many hours I’ve spent on it.

Blogging Platform Junkie ‘Fesses Up

OK, I’m a blogging platform junkie – but when I started I thought I would only try one or two!
Since discovering the Joys of Blogging back in May 2003, I’ve been on a search for an elegant blogging platform that was suitably friendly to someone who has a smattering of HTML but is not a techie and does not really want to learn a lot of technical stuff. But I want a blog for business, not just for fun.
So I’ve tried – and/or had blogs on – Blogger, Greymatter, Movable Type, Diaryland, Radioland, Xanga, Typepad, Squarespace, maybe one or two others and now Blogware. OK, I’m a serial tester. I am not putting links in to all of these, partly because I’m a tad embarrassed about all the cyberspace junk I’ve left behind in my search – actually, I realise just now I don’t know the blogging etiquette here. Should I close down sites (if I can) or is that against the code of blogging?
Movable Type and Greymatter were too hard for me. Even when people wanted to help, and they did, I simply did not have the vocabulary to understand what they were saying, or at least to understand it enough to make the necessary adjustments. I liked Xanga but it’s a closed system – you have to be a Xanga member to comment: although with commenting spam turning rapidly into a Big Issue (see for example a current post at Blog Business Summit), maybe Xanga is not such a bad idea. Can’t quite remember what I did not like so much about Diaryland (which I thought for a while was Dairyland – coming from a line of dairyfarmers, not so dumb really, or maybe?)
Andy Wibbels put me onto Typepad and it’s excellent in many ways, and that’s where I have my currently most posted to blog – Thinking Home Business – although I have a few frustrations and gripes. Squarespace looks good but once more we have – I speak personally and from the bias of a non-techie – a platform with tools and explanations designed and delivered by someone who I can only assume is very bright but doesn’t know what it’s like to be bewildered and annoyed but even the “simplest” technical jargon.
Blogware is good, but it’s early days (for them too, it seems) and there are some really basic things I can’t find in the 500 page online manual. And their tech support forum is down. And the re-seller hasn’t replied to my support query. Good that I’m still in the trial phase. I’m still blogging there but feel constrained by not being able to configure the site as I would wish.
Blogger, now owned by obscenely rich Google, is good, but in a Blogger forum I belonged to there were regular complaints about glitches and breakdowns – hey, it’s free, so one can’t complain too much.
But Typepad and Squarespace and Blogware are not free, so I expect more.
I see Andy is using WordPress. Which is fine for Andy because he has the technical smarts . I’m open to being convinced, but I’d take some persuading that I don’t have to be even a trainee propellorhead to make it work well for me.