Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Counting comments; A pod of bloggers? I am not Strumpette; Self-esteem and PR; Spiderbot armies

Posted by Tom Foremski - April 1, 2006

Counting comments

Tom Abate, my long time buddy from the San Francisco Chronicle stopped in for a visit a couple of days ago. His boss Al Saracevic, a senior business editor at the San Francisco Chronicle recently launched The Tech Chronicles--a business tech blog. [Here is a link to a post about Howard High]

I'm a big supporter of newspapers launching blogs and Al is really enjoying it and he says his team is exploring this new kind of printing press, that is always-on.

Tom was saying that the traffic to the Tech blog isn't that great but I disagree, the numbers are very good especially since this is launching a new media brand and it takes some time to build--even when you leverage the San Francisco Chronicle brand.

Also, I remember telling Al that he should not look at the numbers of comments as an indicator of the blogs' success. Because most people are often more comfortable discussing things in their own peer-groups rather than on a very public forum. It can be very intimidating to leave comments on a very visible mainstream media blog but less-so on lower profile sites.

You can often follow the trackbacks and Google Alerts and Technorati links to see where your posts are creating discussions. That's a far better metric to see who is discussing the posts and where those discussions are taking place.

. . .

A Pod of Bloggers

Tom Abate and I were wondering what would be a good collective noun to describe a group of bloggers? A gang? A collective? A guild? None of those terms seemed quite right.

But how about a "pod" of bloggers? Pod usually refers to whales and bloggers sometime carry whale-sized egos, and some have assumed a whale-like profile :-) and we also have the iPod generation...so "a pod of bloggers" hits on several relevant cultural points. What do you think?

. . .

I am not Strumpette

Some have asked me if I am Strumpette, not I am not despite the coincidence that Strumpette went off-line at about the same time SVW went off-line.
[BTW Strumpette is back-online and here is the latest: Church Ousts Dominatrix from Vicarage

The thorny subject of gender is raised in the whole Strumpette venture. Which is a loaded gun and nothing good comes out of this debate as everyone heads for the moral high grounds or prefers not to engage.

I wish we didn't have the gender wars. Yet I regularly I see feminism used in exactly such a way.

I'm exploited by this system too, yet why am I "the Man" becuase I'm a man? Why do we have such a divisive form of feminism instead of an inclusive and collaborative form of feminism?

Any form of discriminiation in society is discriminatory and should be done away with, imho.

. . .

Self-esteem and PR

There is a tendency for people that work in public relations to have low self-esteem, and that's because they have low esteem for their work--at least in its current form.

PR people are asked to spin and that doesn't make anyone feel good. I keep saying that PR shouldn't be about spin. It's supposed to be about truthful communications.

And PR or for that matter corporate communications, should not be run by marketing.

Let me say it again: PR or corporate communications should not be run by marketing.

Marketing is not communications. Marketing is spin. Marketing is clueless when it comes to communications.

. . .

Spiderbot armies

I went off-line on Friday because I ran out of my bandwidth allocation for the month thanks to 20-odd robots hitting me multiple times a day and sucking up a third of my bandwidth and then returning less than 5 per cent of my traffic.

Could somebody do a study of how much bandwidth the spiderbot armies are sucking up across the internet?

And every week there are more and more of them, at some point they will gum up the entire internet. They reduce server performance and negatively affect the internet experience for everyone.

Yes, I could put up a robots.txt file and tell them to bugger off--but there has to be something in between. How about a Robots.txt file that only lets in spiderbots that have made a payment, to cover the bandwidth costs at least.

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