Don’t ever read the comments

In July [of 2016?], recorded nearly 33 million unique users, and 491,000 comments. But those comments came from just 19,400 commenters, Montgomery said. That’s 0.06 percent of users who are commenting, a number that has stayed steady through 2016.

“Back in my day,” over on the RedMonk blogs we had some lovely comments from time to time. I hear Horace gets good conversations going. I’m tempted to say that niche topics – like tech industry strategy – get good comments, but of you look at the comments on my Register columns they’re a predictable mixed bag.

At first when I was writing definition pieces in DevOps, which El Reg‘s audience seems to loath, the comments were terrible. But recently – and I’m not sure why, really – I’ve found the discussion between commenters really interesting. They’re full of anecdotes (often goofy, but still helpful) and read like a transcript of IT therapy.

All that said, one of the various ad blockers use turns off most comments, so don’t see them on the web. Based on how many likes and smiles pictures of my kids get in Facebook, I think people just like the speed of Facebook and Twitter liking and reactions. That seems like a good “dial” to put in front of people instead of a keyboard.

Source: NPR is killing off comments. That’s great news!

The first time blogging won

Since The Huffington Post was founded 11 years ago, it has become one of the biggest online media organizations, known for its all-caps headlines. In 2011, the publication was acquired by AOL for $315 million, a hefty price tag that signaled the rise of digital media.

The publication won a Pulitzer Prize in 2012 and has expanded globally in the last several years. It has a robust staff that writes original articles, but it is also known for aggressive aggregation, a practice that has at times caused tension in the media industry.

The “HuffPo” and others (many in the AOL/Verizon empire now) formed a sort of apex of blogging, akin to that big wave Hunter Thompson saw out his Vegas hotel window. We don’t really even think of “blogging” much anymore, just publishing.

Source: How the Arab World Came Apart
Arianna Huffington Stepping Down as Huffington Post Editor in Chief

Tumblr not working out for Yahoo!

Originally purchased for $1bn in 2013, after failing to meet the $100m 2015 revenue goal, written down:

A bit of simple arithmetic puts Tumblr’s value after these writedowns at about $290 million. This is not only less than a third of its purchase price, but it’s also less than the value of Tumblr’s assets when it was acquired two years ago.

Source: Marissa Mayer promised “not to screw up” Tumblr, but she totally has

Moved to Squarespace

I’ve moved my main sites to Squarespace recently. In the process, I’m sure lots of URLs are all screwed up. Try the search if you’re lost. Fun!

If you find something wrong, please feel free to email or Tweet me.

In the process, I switched over to from You know, shorter, and cooler.

So, sorry for all the mess. I’m sure after a few weeks it’ll sort itself out.

My old tumblr site will keep it’s old content (but the URLs will be from, not and have cross-posted links from here.

After I use it awhile, I’ll write-up or talk about the experience, I’m sure.

The Blogging Enterprise, 2005: Post Roll-up

The Blogging Enterprise, 2005: Citizen Journalism Panel

I know all you folks love blogging about blogging. So here’s some blogging about blogging about blogging: a list of all my posts about the conference I went to today, The Blogging Enterprise:

As typographic/semantic note: I used square brackets to surround my own comments and thoughts. Most everything else in the real time notes posts are quotes or summaries of what people said, or an explanation thereof.

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The Blogging Enterprise, 2005: Shel Israel

Shel Israel at The Blogging Enterprise

BMC’s earnings call is (did) happening at the same time, so I’m only 1/4 listed to the first 2/3 of the ending key-note here at the conference, by Shel Israel.

But, I have to say, it’s looking like Naked Conversations will actually have some new content in it, and not just be a re-hashing of what we’ve been reading on the web over the past year (excluding, of course, the chapters they’ve been posting ;>).

Character Blogs, The Jack Theory

“If markets are conversations. And blogs are the power tool of that, how are you gonna pull off having a conversation with a moos?”

Shel says character blogs won’t/don’t work. Someone in the audience suggests that Jack could pull one off. Another person shouts out that he could do a podcast ’cause he has a recognizable voice. Moore suggests that it’d be too much Jack, and we’d get sick of it. Others, and Moore, suggest that a blog isn’t really the right form, but a website, even with just comments, would do great.

People don’t want to interact with a fictional character, they want to talk to genuine people about how the company is doing, how it does what it does, and insider info about it’s product. [You can use blogs to help your customer feel smarter, and know that you’re the one who helped them feel smarter. BAAM!]

No Fear

“Overall [blogging] isn’t as dangerous as it seems.” Less than 100 people (probably) have been fired world-wide for blogging.

We’re also reminded of the product management angle of blogs: you can invite people to check out your stuff, bloggers or no, and it’ll generate input.

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The Blogging Enterprise, 2005: This Shit Takes Time

A re-occuring theme is (complaining about) how long blogging takes. People bring that up time-and-time again. Shel Israel says that it’s talking directly to/with your customers, so it’s worth it.

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The Blogging Enterprise, 2005: Blogging To #1 – Positioning Your Company As The Thought Leader

People: Joel Greenberg, GSD&M (moderator); Charles Bess, Fellow,
EDS; John Moore, Principal, Brand Autopsy; Scott Rehling, Producer,
The University of Texas Longhorn Football Vlog; Todd Watson, On Demand
Business, IBM.

(As a side note: there’s a screen behind the panel. The moderator’s
intro usually contains some slides; then the screen usually contains
the names of all the panelists and their URLs. That’s pretty damn
nice, compared to other panel discussions I’ve been at recently [e.g., Lone Star Software Symposium] that just have little paper “name-plates.”)

Blogging from the Middle

Watson: People in the middle of the corporation, like IBM, can now
get their voice out there, showing off the thought-leadership that a
company has previously locked up.

But, we can’t give you a specific instance where we gained
business. It’s still too fuzzy.

Rehling: again, using blogs as a real-time feed of what’s
going on…and not allowing yourself to be sound-bited.

Moore: people are starved for more info.

What About the Company That Doesn’t Have Anything to Say?

…or “why does Procter and Gamble need to blog about Jiff?”

Moore: if your product/service is selling, you have something to say.

And, if your product is a commodity, by starting a conversation up,
you have the chance to move it out of a straight commodity into
something special. This, would, of course, just be old wine marketing
in new media bottles.

Internal Marching-Vision

Watson: internally, you need everyone marching to the same
beat. Whether it’s public or internal, you can use podcasts, blogs,
etc. to accomplish this. IBM is doing this.

How is Blogging Different…?

Moore: the mind-set of blogging always puts you in a mind-set of
“how can I be collaborating [linking & commenting] with this, or
find stuff to collab with?” He used to do the old xerox articles thing
to distribute, but now it’s the hyper-version of that. Ye Olde the
more links you make, the more links you get, aka, “the
information you get is equal to the information you give.”

Is Blogging Vocation or Avocation

Watson: it takes a lot of time to do it. PR people have been
managing the public image of a company for 50 years, spending a lot of
time doing it. And blogging will probably be the same: part of
someone’s job, not just “stolen” time.

Moore: I’m a one guy shop where people pay me for my ideas, so what
better place than a blog for that. But, you can’t go dark for very
long or people assume you’re gone and forget about you.


Bess: EDS’s started off as a group blog. “Definitely a way to get
diversity of perspective.” [Probably, just an easy way to keep the
frequency of a blog up instead of getting the One Post Bloggers.]

Q & A

Rubel: “How much to give away [on your blog] and how much to you
[keep to sell]?”

Moore: “The more you give the more you get.” But, I still “keep
some things in my back-pocket” to sell.

Rehling: we have a built-in audience enough that we can just give
away snippets of Mack Brown & Longhorn videos, and people will pay
for more.

“Wild Ducks”, or, Control

Watson: I thought I was one of the wild ducks, so I was surprised
when they asked me to blog. But, I’ve been able to hold back posts
like “Sun and Google Sittin’ in A Tree,” so there’s a degree of
self-editing that you need to have.

Moore: if we trust people in stores to do the right thing, why is
it different online. [Cause on-line, everyone in the world can
find and see it, while in stores, it’s isolated to the geography. This
is why investigative journalism exists: to get hidden camera video of
employees and companies wider exposure.]

Bess: we probably self-censor more that we should. My blog posts go
through corp. communications folks, and they haven’t censored anything
yet, so maybe we’re not pushing the envelope enough…

…as always, “don’t be stupid.”

Has IBM Ever Asked You to Blog About Something?

Watson: not yet, but I expect the day will come. “I’m partially,
whether I like it or not, a spokesman for the company…. To the credit of the communications people: no one has ever [censored] me.” And an exciting new phrase, “Have you heard about our Genetic Identity? Let me try to net it out.”

Bess: I’ve been asked, and I just do it if it’s interesting to

Final Comments

Rehling: In my industry, entertainment, we’re learning that we can make money from this.

Moore: blogs help small business look bigger, they can make them
get bigger.

Notes, or, “There was trouble at the
lab with the running and the exploding and the crying
when the monkeys stole the glasses off my head. Wh-ha ha.”

Dr. John Frink

Dude, Moore is all into playing the mad-scientist role. He wears a
white lab-coat and flares open his eyes all the time and talks

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The Blogging Enterprise, 2005: PR & Blogs – Anticipating & Managing The Blogstorm

Panel: Shel Israel, author of Naked Conversations; Ellen Simonetti,
author of Diary of a Flight Attendant and former Delta Airlines Flight
Attendant; John Slafsky, Partner, Wilson Sonsini. I didn’t catch the
moderator’s name.

Slafsky: Blogs are the Next Email for Lawyers

[Internal Blogging|External Blogging] Policies

Simonetti: Delta, of course, had no blogging or internet policy.

Slafsky: it’s, of course, good to come up with a policy, but, it’s
not going to be a cure-all. You can’t anticipate everything, so you
need abstract things.

Shel recalls an earlier quote from Slafsky: “you shouldn’t do
anything stupid.” And you’ve got the Scoble (from podcasts I’ve heard)
point that if you’re going to publicly blog about a company, make
sure you know the goals and culture of that company.

Controlling the Corporate Voice

Slafsky: “The short answer is that lawyers are cringing.”
Esp. those that work with/for public companies.

What Exec Has the Time for Blogging

Schwartz is cited as an example. Slafsky says that McNealy is
prohibited from blogging; his style of communicating doesn’t match.

When it comes to walking the delicate line of what to make public
and what to keep secret, Shel suggests that any C-level person already
knows that extremely well, so it’s not an issue of needing a lawyer
looking over their shoulder.

What Could Kryptonite Have Done Better?

Shel: The first company hit by bad blogging PR. A Kryptonite PR person
said they were working “around the clock” trying to figure out what to
do. There wasn’t an understanding, perhaps in anyone’s heard,
Kryptonite and otherwise, of what you’d do.

Blogger Arms Race

A MSFT PR fire-fighter said he used to have 10 days to respond to a
PR-crisis, but now he has 4 hours. There’s mention of using your own
bloggers to respond: a sort of blogger arms race.

How Could “The Bloggers” be Negatively Effected

Salfsy: the 1st amendment issues do a lot of shielding. But, there
will probably be some big liability cases very soon.

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The Blogging Enterprise, 2005: Kick-Starting The Blogging Enterprise Panel

Legal Stuff from John Slafsky

No law about blogs. So we’re trying to map existing law.

Things to Worry About

Trade secrets, product launches, roadmaps, revenue estimates,
defamation, employment law issues (getting fired for blogging),
copyright and patent law (like posting about Secure RSS), and
Securities regulation issues.

“People should not be blogging about the stock price, personal
matters, launch date of next release of product.”

On Blogging Policies

Probably not great as shields against liability. The blog author(s)
is still at risk[, as with all actions in a legalistic society.]

Todd Watson talk about Legal Issue with IBM Blogging

Engaging the legal freak-outers: they just need an explanation of
what’s happening.

Blogging guidelines.

Used a wiki to have internal conversations about the public
blogging strategy with legal, corp. communications, and the blogging


[What if turns out your blogging employees aren’t very good at
blogging? They don’t have domain knowledge, writing skills, or they
don’t have the “common sense” needed to know what to and what
not to blog.]

Using Blogs As Product Management Input. [The idea is that you’ve
flattened the input channels out so that you can drink from the
fire-hose of your customer’s comments. Assuming your customers have
enough passion about your stuff to spend time/energy to post.]

Q & A: Are Blogs Here to Stay?

Here to stay until the next things comes along. The business card
of the future. Here to stay. Train’s leaving the stations.

And here’s more detail from Shel.

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The Blogging Enterprise, 2005: Steve Rubel

Here’s some brief notes from Steve Rubel‘s opening talk. Most of it was intro’ish stuff, so I just typed up the novel stuff:

Blogs can level the playing field for small companies — the
black-hole effect in marketing sphere — meaning that large companies
need to worry about them stealing attention. [And that large companies
can seem more like small companies.]

The old, CEO/execs can use a blog to get their message out instead
of being sound-bited. Mark Cuban was used, of course, as an example.

[Use your blog to promote and discuss the lifestyle/Godin-story your
company/product exists in.]

Shel Israel has a more detailed write-up.

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Going to The Blogging Enterprise 2005

Thanks to BMC (in particular, the VP of BMC Performance Manager, Israel Gat), I’ll be going to The Blogging Enterprise on Nov. 2nd, here in Austin.

It’s a day long event packed with several interesting speakers and panels, including fellow BMC’er Mike Smith, who owns/runs

And I’ll get a free copy of
Naked Conversations
to boot.

So, hopefully we’ll see and talk with some of you there ;>

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Blogs Strike Again

“What’s fascinating about the Jon Stewart takedown of ‘Crossfire’ is not just what he said, but how his message got distributed,” Jarvis wrote. “The really stupid thing is that CNN didn’t do this themselves: ‘Hey, we had a red-hot segment…you should watch; here, please, look at this free download because it will promote our (hosts) and our brand and our show and give us a little of that Stewart hip heat.’ That’s what CNN should have done. Instead, they’ll charge you to deliver a videotape (what’s that?) the next day.”

“Jon Stewart ‘Crossfire’ feud ignites Net frenzy”

Big Time Blogging

an article from Business 2.0

In theory, at least, blogs are a marketer’s dream. That’s because — unlike burning through millions of dollars on TV or print advertising campaigns — they are a virtually cost-free way to communicate with customers. And not just any customers. These are self-selected hard-core fans of a particular trend, hobby, idea, or product. “Bloggers are an incredibly influential consumer segment,” says Technorati CEO David Sifry. “These people are huge networkers. They get the word out quickly on products they like — and don’t like.”…The chief blog marketing goal, then: Create a community of knowledgeable insiders. “Done right, consumers will do all the marketing for the company — forwarding the information they found to their friend and encouraging others to visit,” says Lydia Snape, Internet services director for New York agency Renegade Marketing.

And then this note about Schwartz’s weblog:

Sun COO Jonathan’s Schwartz’s take no-prisoners style of blogging has apparently pushed Hewlett-Packard execs past their boiling points. According to a report on, HP has written a letter to Sun demanding that Schwartz remove HP from the target list of his sharp-tounged Web log commentaries.