Monday, November 03, 2008

Recent book on liberty summarizes many resources for bloggers

Today I reviewed a book “Give Me Liberty” by Naomi Wolf, which includes a section on blogging by Elizabeth Curtis. The review is here. I thought I would add a few of the references that she gives.

One of theses is “Alternet” which “creates original journalism and amplifies the best of hundreds of other independent media sources”. The idea is to capture, categorize and organize information on concerns of political progressives so that visitors can “connect the dots.” Alternet offers a convenient syndication feed (daily or weekly) of major stories to visitors.

Then there is "Smart paperboy" site called Bloglines (“The Same Internet, Minus The Clutter”), which delivers favorite content to a home signon page. This is a convenient way to keep up with things, but I use Mixx to get news this way. I signed up for a bloglines account and never got the validation email.

However, I’ll include a Bloglines subscription button here:

Subscribe with Bloglines

This particular blog of mine (you can look up the other associated blogs on my Profile for more specific subject matter) tracks, at a high level, developments in some of the more “existential” problems underneath our modern idea of personal freedom. It also tracks how Internet and communications technology is interacting with legal developments (legislation and litigation), that seeks to sort out some of the previously unprecedented ethical and potentially legal problems that the Internet can create.

Another similar service, perhaps more convenient for those with Google accounts, is Google reader, which shows up on the Account menu. You can subscribe to blogs or feeds (you can also do it on the Blogger dashboard if you use it).

Another resource is “Blog Carnival” where “where someone takes the time to find really good blog posts on a given topic, and then puts all those posts together in a blog post called a ‘carnival’”.

Bloggers have a number of tools available to analyze their traffic, including Google Analytics, Urchin, and Site Meter.

One of the most important potentialities of some of these blog syndication, subscription and aggregation or “carnival” tools is to create the ability to conduct online deliberation of issues: to let visitors figure out what is going on with a particular controversy (for example, credit default swaps in the financial world) so they are not caught by surprise by news developments, and, more important, they do not perceive news issues on some subjects as personally polarizing. The ability to aggregate blog and individual or personal website material from personal sources could lead to another level of Web deployment (or semantic web) that could eventually have legal benefits, in being able to provide review and oversight efficiently at acceptable cost.

Previously this column has discussed "Blog Talk Radio" (Mar 25, 2008) and RSS feeds.

There’s one more story today about Internet advertising, that I found on Mixx; it is a welcome uptick during this period of so much bad news about business. Here's the link. By way of comparison, on Nov. 5 there is a story on CNBC about News Corp (Fox) that shows that, while Myspace still performs decently, it is getting harder, for some operations at least, to maintain good ad revenue on the Internet, because of consumer caution.

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