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The myth of the citizen journalist July 17, 2006

Posted by Pontiff in chronicnews, local search, Pontification, unbundled content, Unbundled Media, user interface.
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I’ve been in a dialogue with someone whose been involved with the whole citizen’s journalist thing and asks a good question.

How do you plan to get people in each of the communities to view the sites and more importantly contribute to the site? The whole contribute thing is a big problem for a lot of people and it is one that I have yet to see a solution that works on a constant basis for multiple communities.

My response:

Our approach is slightly different. But this tiny difference matters in terms of the sustainability. Without going into the long history of how we got here I’ll explain.

We target certain bloggers in an area based on criteria yet to be formalized (nice way of saying we just wing it). Then we send them letters and ask for permission to aggregate their blogs and its almost always given. Once the slate is set we proceed to automatically aggregate the feeds. The software displays the product in a fashion designed to emulate a human editorial team – i.e. not too many items from a single blog at once and a good mixture of content types and voices.

The aggregation creates natural urls and pings the blog directories and search bots to say its updated every hour or so. It creates a huge index and search visibility rather fast but can be a technological problem keeping things fast.

So to answer the question in a round about way the content isn’t dependant on group participation from average readers..I tried this and its not really a business model that works consistently enough. Dan Gilmour started Bayosphere at the same time and learned this as well. The citizen journalist is a myth. You are either a journalist or you are not and theoretically we are all citizens of the web.

Think of ours as tapping into a new source for content from a semi-professional sort — the constant blogger if you will.

I guess the last thing here is that we are trying to create ways to attract and keep the better bloggers but that’s another discussion.

That is our key difference and we’re working on ways to massage these content sources better. Its the current focus and will be manifest in http://chronicblogs.com relatively soon — sometime this week I hope..

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Chronic Advertising June 9, 2006

Posted by Pontiff in chronicnews, Pontification, unbundled content, Unbundled Media.
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Chronicnews shows network bloggers its ad system that flows text and rich media through blog content in place of static banners or text. Node Flow ads allow publishers and bloggers to set a synchronized or semi random placement of text, flash, image or streaming video content inside ‘ad nodes’ which flow along the page with the content as it moves from top to bottom.

The service is free to bloggers in the network. Chronicnew is a Nashville company operating a web based publishing network focused on local content. It utilizes RSS for content delivery and relies on search visibility for its site promotion. The results of their initial experimental development were evident in late May when NashvilleSNews , the original development site, reached number 8 in Google search results for the search phrase "Nashville News". That key word combination is one of if not the single most competitive in the market.

Full PDF

Advertising whereever you look…!!!

No actaully this works nicely and while it isn't going to revolutionize the web it will help productive bloggers get paid for their output whereever it may end up.

Unbundled content for real May 18, 2006

Posted by Pontiff in Pontification, unbundled, unbundled content, Unbundled Media.
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I just noticed something I didn't think was working yet. The Tipit actually travels from site to site in the bloggers RSS feed. I think this is what Terry Heaton is talking about regarding the unbundled web.

Follow this link to a post by Elizabeth Perry. Notice the Tipit logo at the bottom. Elizabeth is one of the Pittsburghsnews.com bloggers and probably among the best 10 artist offering work on the net openly accessible to all. Note this does not mean free and it does not mean it isn't copyrighted.

That post is on Socialistsytem which is our internal blog for employees to keep up with what's going on with the other sites. Now what's nice about this is that the Tipit part of the feed originated back on Pittsburghsnews.com and will stay with her feed as long as its picked up by relatively up to date sites that process RSS 2.0.

The content originates and stays on her site .

This may seem confusing but its not. Her content is published on her site which produces an RSS feed. We pick up her feed on Pittsburghsnews.com where she has enabled Tipit with her Pay Pal information. A reader does not have to be logged in to leave Elizabeth a tip. All they have to do is click the Tipit logo and enter an amount. That's it.

We pickup the Pittsburghsnews.com feed for our internal purposes and the Tipit and her content are in essence reproduced there. A user can again leave Elizabeth as tip or payment and has no reason to know that the feed is coming form Pittsburghsnews. The transaction is between the blogger and the user and the rest is as it should be — invisible.

Thank you Elizabeth.

elizabeth perry photo art


What site? January 15, 2006

Posted by Pontiff in NashvillesNews.net, Unbundled Media, Uncategorized.
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The real change between the old web and the newly christened web 2.0 is in user perception. Internet users now see a large portion of the net as one ‘thing’ rather than allot of small sites with links to one another.

Specifically they see two large areas of the web — 1.,those individual sites that are engaged in ecommerce or selling stuff and 2.,what has become known as the blogosphere. Some users of course are aware of the technologies powering blogs and blogging software. While they understand that these things are powered by discrete servers and databases they behave as if it is one big single web applications. This behavior is translated into a general impatience with anything that has to do with re identifying themselves to individual sites.

This behavior is of course the grand design behind the blogosphere and a testament to its success. People are frustrated by having to log-in to each site and inputting their credit card information to make a small purchase.

Note too that RSS is the enabling technology here. We who work in the boiler room are focusing on the cogs and gears when in point of fact they only relevant to others in the same engine room — ie. very few. (more…)

Google Video is going to work..I mean now. bye bye networks.. Hello fun. January 13, 2006

Posted by Pontiff in Google Video, Unbundled Media, Uncategorized.
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Here is Kenzie. I think she’s an angel. You might not aggree. But who cares? I can do this and it took me 4 minutes. Now anyone in my family from LA to New York to Nashville and infinity and beyond can look at my daughter in all her cutness.

Next up — a one hour version. heh heh.. Okay you don’t have to watch. But look what your will be missing.