NY and LA Times articles miss the big picture

· People Power

Following up on Rayne’s previous post and filchyboy’s addendum, my sense is that while Billmon is clearly thoughtful and a great writer, he makes the same mistake Klam made in the Times magazine cover story, which is to view the A-list, top-of-the-power-law bloggers for the whole shmear.
Of course some will cross over and sell out. Of course the “golden age” will end and blogging will be assimilated (although I’ve long been amused by the way Internet denizens can wax nostalgic for, say, six months ago). I remember when it happened to the web in the mid ’90s. Everyone said the independent, funky, arts sites would disappear because they couldn’t compete with Yahoo, et al.
Well, maybe they were eclipsed, harder to find for newcomers etc., but generally it’s just as easy now to host a funky cool website as it was a decade ago.
There is too much emphasis on mass success and not enough on the culture of collaborative media filtering and blogs that David Weinberger calls the tail of the power curve:

Thus, the tail of the power curve – which is probably at least 5 million blogs long – gets erased. In fact, the tail is where blog are having their most important effects. That’s where self and community, public and private, owned and shared are re-drawing their boundaries.

The blog conference on the Well

· Storytelling

A year or so ago, with the help of Jon Lebkowsky, I started an independent conference on the Well called blog.ind. Plenty of people on the Well are blog-savvy already of course (case in point: Cory Doctorow), but the information about blogging was scattered across a number of confs, and I also detected a bit of old school “where’s the beef?” resistance to the blog form, so I thought there was a need the conference would fill.
Apparently I was right, as we’ve got a lively active conference with new posts pretty much every day and a wide range of interesting topics, and the Well recently decided to turn our little indie conf into an official “Featured” conference on the Well.
As a perk of hosting, the Well now comps my membership, which is gratifying, given the time involved in monitoring and cultivating the conference, but the main effect of becoming Featured is that the blog conference now shows up in the official conference list and its a little easier to promote within the Well community (for instance, longtime blogger Rafe Coburn just dropped by today on noticing the new listing).
We’re going to look into mirroring the Well Bloggers group blog on the conf’s description page. We’ll probably get more Well bloggers onto the feed as well.

I'll be the one in the orange Yankees cap

· People Power

I’m meeting RFB co-contributor Liza Sabater outside P.S. 122 in my old neighborhood in just over an hour. Liza and I last met face to face something like six or eight years ago, so Liza, in case your blogging between now and 6:45, I wanted to tell you I’d be wearing my orange and black Yankees cap, so you can spot me in the crowd.
Getting a little backlogged with half-written weblog entries. I’m not sure event-blogging is really my forte. I wasn’t even able to muster anything for JazzFest this year after everyone loved the photo essays I published in 2003. Oh well. It all come out in the wash.
Go read True Dirt to get a sense of what I’m missing by being here in New York this week.

On the road again

· conventionology

Life’s been a little crazy for personal journaling lately, but the pent-up urge to blog is reasserting itself. I flew into JFK on the jetblue redeye last night and have been holed up in the family compound in Manhattan today drinking liquids and recovering.
Tomorrow I’ll check out the Tank and the other liberal bloggers covering the convention. I wasn’t tempted to venture out into the protests today. It was too hot and I was too headachey and sleepy.
Haven’t eaten all day but not sure I actually need to. A little coffee helped the headache. Time for another glass of water.

Voting as a social act

· People Power, The Power of Many

I enjoyed reading Louis (didn’t they call him Luke when he taught literature in New Jersey?) Menand in the New Yorker on how voters decide who to vote for:

[…] Voters go into the booth carrying the imprint of the hopes and fears, the prejudices and assumptions of their family, their friends, and their neighbors. For most people, voting may be more meaningful and more understandable as a social act than as a political act. […]

via all about george