WordPress vs Blogger & thank you Todd

Thanks to the advice of Todd over at his blog suggesting I change formats, and the fact that Uber Blogger Scoble switched to it I’m going to switch to WordPress blogging very soon. The biggest challenge with blogger is that you can’t categorize the posts which is VERY helpful even as the author looking back to see what you already wrote.

Todd by the way, has one of the best SEO blogs out there. This is because he’s one of the top SEO guys anywhere. He often speaks at conferences about “link building” and is always insightful about complex SEO topics.

Content is … Pawn

Not only is content’s role as KING becoming questionable, I think we may be entering an era where content has effectively very few “rights” attached to it, and instead it’ll all be about the aquisition, distribution and organization of data rather than it’s creation. I have mixed feelings about this as we spent a LOT of money assembling a LOT of data at Online Highways and it’s clear a lot of it got nabbed by other sites and scraped into “made for adsense” sites that use legal snips of information to displace more legitimate and better sites in search rankings.

I think Mashups may become king very soon and that’s probably …. OK with me.

Myspace perspectives from Danah Boyd

Danah Boyd is a social networking researcher who also works at Yahoo. Easily one of the brightest observers in this space though I’m not yet convinced that she is a *wise* observer of these things. I’d read her blog and realized she’d have valuable perspectives on Myspace. Here is a great summary of her perspective, though I’m concerned that there may be a generational issue of “parents have the RIGHT and OBLIGATION to know about those tracking and marketing to their kids (e.g. Myspace.com)” that she can’t see cuz….she’s young and has not yet had the shot ‘o wisdom and insight that comes from having children running around in potentially dangerous environments.

Is Myspace.com a safespace?

On CNN a child psychologist warned that NO child should have a “web page”, and that Myspace.com, a social networking site popular mostly among teens, was a dangerous environment that could be used by predators to “profile” potential victims.

It sure seemed to be an exaggeration, and since I actively encourage my own 16 year old to develop websites I thought I better find out a bit more. The buzz in the industry is that Myspace and friendster are getting replaced by facebook, which I understand is more popular for college students looking for dates. Partly for this reason I hadn’t been paying … enough … attention to myspace.

But indeed my son had a page and so did many of his friends. Nothing too provocative from that group, but the psychologists concerns were justified in other respects as I learned browsing the listings and content and by signing up for my own Myspace account. Here are the interesting features that I guarantee few parents are aware of and would concern many greatly:

* Extensive personal information, often including pictures and names of friends, crushes, school and city specifics.
* Discription of sexual orientation. This includes the term “swinger”.
* Easy picture upload.
* Crappy age verification. Easy to make up things to “get in”, so many of the age listings are almost certainly false. This fact or ALONE raises many serious legal issues as minors are posting volumes of suggestive material with no oversight.
* Advertising for adult sites. I didn’t see any ads (yet) for x rated material, but prominent were ads for “intimate dating” which is euphemistic for sex match services. I don’t object to these ads in the adult space, but actively advertising sex dating to teens and preteens should be of concern to any clear thinking parent.

There’s more but I’d urge any parent to browse the site. An upside to the detail is that you can learn about your own kid’s friends and other aspects of their life they might not share at the dinner table. I’d argue that the most important factor is whether this environment is getting abused rather than whether it *could* be abused. For that I’ll need to research a bit.

Moderation in all things

Provocative thought for the day:

Change is coming from the WRONG set of ideas. It’s coming from both the positive and negative “exciting” stuff like wars and conflict, concerts and rich people. Change SHOULD be coming from a careful examination of what is working the middle class mundane lives that most people in the developed world lead – the tried and true stuff. How do we bring this boring but workable stuff to the rest of the world?

*Bringing mediocrity to the world* is going to require great thinking and great innovation – wild and speculative innovation included. I sure like projects like Dean Kamen’s power/water devices which are a great way to make boring mundane but ESSENTIAL change happen in the 3rd world.

…. jeez, he introduced it at the TED conference a few years back… maybe I’m WRONG about TED. If it’s spreading this kind of innovation I’m….WRONG.

FOCUS defines a LOT of the world. What we as people, nations, groups, businesses choose to focus on defines a lot about us.

It’s much easier to focus on big controversies or big positive events than it is to focus on the mundane, daily grind events. YET, it’s our own mundane daily grinds where the stuff is happening that we need to pass along to those for whom the daily grind is …. life threatening.

Too hard on TED?

Have I been *a bit* too hard on the TED Conference? I’ve been reading more. It’s certainly great to see discussion of the project to document human rights abuses with digital cameras (Peter Gabriel), see the history of TED includes awards to luminaries in smart, scalable development like Bono, and much much more. TED conference blog

But there’s still a HUGE problem with such events which provide economic barriers to entry that are so great they insulate the TED community from….the real community. Sure these guys have mechanisms to hear from and about AIDS children in the Congo, poor Chinese factory workers and Indian farmers, but the voices of these folks are absent as conferences like TED set the agenda for what some would call progressive change. (yes they have some free spots but they appear to be tightly controlled and very limited. This is a choir who likes to hear themselves preach).

I’m always amazed how well intentioned wealthly people often create microclimates of compassion that miss the big picture. TED is better than that, but certainly we need to find ways to have the most influential discussions about critical global issues take place on the global stage, not the 1000- at-$4400-per-person-half-caf-cappucino crowd.
(no offense to the full caf cappucino folks)

TED conference? Get out your wallet…..

What a contrast between the hyper energized Mashup Camp with college students, internet legends, and free admission (hey, I did donate some cash!) and the fancy pants Technology Entertainment Design Conference which I … had to miss because I 1) had never heard of it and 2) didn’t care to pony up $4400, by INVITATION ONLY, to hear a bunch of very rich people talking about … something. With a barrier to admission like that you’ve got to wonder what these folks take away from the experience.

If your request is accepted you will be entitled to purchase a TED pass for $4,400. We welcome to TED a wide variety of leading thinkers and doers from all fields of endeavor.

… who are rich/gullible enough to pony up $100 per hour 24/7 for the duration of the conference. … thanks but….I’ll pass.