18:32 PM

Letters to the Editor: Throwing a cat amongst the pigeons. . . the blogosphere reaction to "The Selling of the Blogosphere...." the first in a series

. . .it's like Doc Searls snowball effect

By Tom Foremski for SiliconValleyWatcher

Walled Garden.jpgMy recent piece about companies such as Technorati collecting data on bloggers and their conversations and selling that to marketing and PR organisations created quite a stir.

I am not against such practices, BTW, I report on the business of Silicon Valley, and much of that business is media technology business these days, Google, Yahoo, etc. And I'm interested in the business models of the second generation media companies and their ecology--which includes companies such as Technorati. The development of successful business models by Technorati and others, will define the look and feel of our future society.

And the selling of the blogosphere, without significant kickbacks in terms of services or value, will lead to the Internet becoming much more private.

We will have an era of the walled garden, the fort, the trusted private networks, the gated communities. There will always be a public face, but the rest of the 90 per cent of people's time online and in real interactions will not be public. imho.

Fractured and separated communities coexisting on servers but not physically, or on culture/ideas/opinion--is something I think about as a possible future scenario. Our current technologies can easily support the creation of millions of private and impenetrable online communities.

It would be good to have a Technorati type service to help a fractured society learn things about itself as a whole.

Here are some reader reactions,(thanks to all, especially Sam Whitmore of the excellent Media Survey.)

From Doc Searls weblog [Doc is on the board of Technorati--he is a master of the art of blogging. I had the fortune to share a panel with Doc earlier this year--and felt like I had robbed the guy, because I walked away far richer from the experience. I learnt a tremendous amount from Doc that day and am still learning.)

The Doc Searls Weblog:

It's interesting to see the ripple effect of The selling of the Blogosphere—Technorati's big push into monetizing its treasure trove of data collected about millions of blogs, by Tom Foremski at SiliconValleyWatcher.

read more here...


Also, hear from the moderator of the panel and Ron from Cisco writes...so click on through...it's all good!

Hey Tom,

Liked the post this morning on your recent blogging seminar. I think Technorati's offer is a little overkill. Yes, there are many blogs, but only a few worth reading. Very few have any significant influence on either the blogging or non-blogging communities. Know what is going on among the few key blogs, and you pretty much know what is going on in the outer reaches of the blogosphere.

Ron Piovesa, Cisco Systems

I agree Ron, things will shake out in good time, and it will be plain to see which blogs/online sites are the ones that matter within an industry/community. That won't require algorithms... :-)

This is from Shannon, a partner at the Horn Group, who did a wonderful job as moderator for the panel (I took some notes.)

Shannon Latta


Tom. I’ve been meaning to write you for a few days now to thank you for participating in the panel last week. The panel was one of many great sessions (both on the clock and after hours) at our annual company offsite – it’s taken me a few days to recover. Nonetheless – thank you!

Your post is packed with good observations and musings. Peter’s Technorati pitch did come on strong, especially for an audience of agency people. But I sought him out as a panelist to include the perspective of a search and measurement company so it was fitting to a degree. He was also the dominant presenter in terms of speaking style and delivery, so it came on even stronger.

In your SVW pitch you nailed the issue that I thought most powerful in our panel – giving up control of the corporate message. You’ll recall that Peter’s response to that question was “control is so 20th century.” As agencies continue to establish our role in these new mediums where everyone is publisher and publication, the notion of message control has huge implications. It’s changing the way we communicate, pitch or engage (call it what you want) with media, clients, companies and bloggers. Finally, we’re talking together to uncover the real stories underneath the prescribed stories. It makes me think of rule number one in the good years of Burning Man – participate! You said it: “Participate in, rather than seek control of, the blogosphere.”

I wasn’t able to formulate my entire opinion about the panel until I got feedback from our employees in the room – and apparently it was a hit. The right mix of panelists, we answered a few big questions and sparked some bigger ones, and everyone took something away – so I’m pleased. Most of all we’re participating, rather than gawking from the sidelines. Good stuff!

Shannon Latta

Horn Group, Inc.