Rebooting the News #56

In Podcast on June 21, 2010 by Dave Winer

Today’s guest for the full 45 minutes is Brendan Greeley of The Economist.

This week’s notes are provided by a listener, Mark Willis, via his blog post called Finding a Public Sphere in the Blogosphere, which we urge you to check out. Mark writes….

Rebooting the News #56 is a lively discussion of the rhetorical question, “Is blogging dead?” The interlocutors are Dave Winer, Jay Rosen, and guest Brendan Greeley, who now writes for The Economist about technology and culture. I first knew his work when he was blogger-in-chief for Radio Open Source with Chris Lydon.

The liveliest part of the discussion wasn’t the future of blogging but its history, as experienced by three early practitioners. I listened to the podcast a second time so I could write these notes:

Brendan Greeley is now technology and policy correspondent at The Economist. Similar beats:

Jose Antonio Vargas | Huffington Post | Technology as Anthropology

Evgeny Morozov | Net Effect | FOREIGN POLICY

BG asks “Is blogging dead?”

Attention has moved to FB, that’s where people are.

Cross-blog links are decreasing, Technoratti traffic has dropped while FB traffic has skyrocketed.

Dave: FB is blogging, why attachment to the word blogging, or to particular software, or form of presentation

Dave never did a Google Blog Search

BG: Could we define blogging as a set of habits?

Dave: natural-born bloggers,

Dave never liked word “blogging” – which he considers a trademark for Blogger software

Dave’s description: “unedited voice of a person”
Which Jay translated as “a person talking with you” – A medium for individuals

Jay’s first look at a blog – – didn’t know what he was looking at; appears at first glance to be like a page from a book, magazine or newspaper, but it’s real power comes from linking to the blogosphere. Blogging is blog + blogosphere.

Concentration of “sphere” into several huge sites, not as decentralized as blogging was originally.

Dave sees this as cyclical ebb and flow of technology.

BG: holy grail of radio: finding voices of real people. Blogs provided a database of what real people thought.

Dave on Twitter search: 140 characters not worth searching for.

Next level of innovation: someone breaks 140-character barrier, and we’re back to blogging!

“Facebook is training wheels for whatever will come next”

Dave: Twitter is a river of news aggregator; notification system and blogging tool, an integrated aggregator and blogging tool. Can you imagine FB or Twitter without RSS?

Blogging was this in 2002, Twitter is now”:
DW: “an integrated aggregator and blogging tool”

Jay: Life cycle: new tools emerge, learning curve, adaptations evolve that shape tools to life rhythms

Dave: Twitter isn’t just an outgrowth of blogging, but also SMS, texting. Esther Dyson predicted this in 1990s when web went so graphic.

All these things are iterations of RSS, river of news systems

Jay: media industries grew up around fixed ideas about how media works, understood attributes as assumptions, as givens – ideas about media thought to be unchanging

Brendan: what we used to call blogging has turned into publishing. Josh Marshall, Andrew Sullivan

Jay: when journalism was professionalized, it came with “de-voicing” of individual journalists. Now a new age of personal journalism – “re-voicing” of American journalism

Dave’s epiphany: writing tool should not be in WP dashboard; something lost with transition from RadioUserland and Manila to WP. He’s working on new blogging software.

Dave: When everyone thinks it’s all locked up, it’s about to blow wide open.

Dave: “Once the users take control, they won’t give it back.”

Here’s the ‘cast; we hope you like it.

5 Responses to “Rebooting the News #56”

  1. Excellent episode today. I really enjoyed the reverse-interviewee format. Especially liked having Brendan run the show for awhile. Great discussion on the definition of “blogging.” Good questions, too!

    RE: WordPress: I was very interested in hearing Dave’s comments on WordPress and would like to pull out the conversation just a bit. Maybe those better versed in WP than myself can also chime in.

    1) With this past week’s release of WordPress 3.0, WP just took a quantum leap from 1a) blogging tool to 1b) near-fully-featured CMS, and from 2a) single-weblog software to 2b) multi-user multi-site multi-network platform that allows for simple hosting of an unlimited number on interconnected sites from a single install.

    Plus its fully open-source software and has an expanding developer community. This sounds like a great fit for the Rebooted News community, especially with custom plugins, themes, etc. I wondering how are NYU’s WordPress plugins coming along?

    2) Also, wouldn’t be possible to develop a custom theme to simplify the dashboard screens and make them more user-friendly? i.e., hide the controls for some views and enhance the “writing” experience. This sounds like a simple fix to me.

    3) Or are Dave’s comments based on functional use and/or true technological short-comings of WP? If it’s just the display UI, I wonder if we can fix it and make WP better.

  2. These interview episodes are fantastic, and great food for thought.

    @BC Capps: While I think Dave is somewhat overstating the case against WP, working to get homeless and at-risk individuals online has opened my eyes to a lot of things I’ve taken for granted.

    The old world was booting up a word processor, picking a file and template, filling that template out, sending to printer, and a dozen little steps in there. The new WordPress world isn’t much different, really, and that’s a shame. I think Posterous gets a lot right in that respect, in that content producers can produce however they want. If I get a chance to redo our blogging platform, I’m going to try out the e-mail-to-post functionality and see if that’s a better paradigm in making this a more fluid, natural process.

    Even that, though, leaves a lot to be desired.

  3. I’m using the OPML Editor – Newsriver2 to subscribe to this podcast (or trying to). But the podcast shows up as an empty entry in my news rather than on the podcast page with my other feeds, all of which work properly. Also, the podcast does not download to the folder I indicated in my preferences. Any ideas?

    • Thanks for the bug report and thanks for using River2.

      I took a look and quickly spotted the problem and added a fix.

      Here’s what to do:

      1. Bring the OPML Editor to the front.

      2. Choose river2.root from the Window menu.

      3. Choose Update front Tool from the Tools menu.

      4. Click OK.

      5. It should download at least one new part.

      6. Choose Scan Now from the River2 sub-menu of the Tools menu.

      With any luck the latest Rebooting the News should show up in the list of podcasts and should soon thereafter download into your Podcatcher folder.

  4. […] make an etymological connection between public sphere and blogosphere, though, until I listened to Rebooting the News #56. Jay Rosen spoke several times in that podcast about how the “sphere” of media is changing, and […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: