Saturday, January 01, 2005

70 degrees on New Year's Day, the kids and Luna and I went out to our bud Charles' old family farm in Rockingham County, where we tromped though the woods to admire the work of some industrious beavers, checked out a springhouse built in the 1820s and paused by the grave of Charles' forefather William Patrick, Sr., whose headstone from 1771 must be one of the oldest in this part of North Carolina.

5:39:23 PM    comment []

Dan Gillmor is off into the wild blue yonder of blog-based media, quitting one of the best jobs in journalism to help us all figure out this new world. He does have some high quality wingmen in Pierre Omidyar and Mitch Kapor.

Dan, you are an inspiration. Good luck, we'll be watching your progress.

5:32:22 PM    comment []

The idea of a teach-in for local pols interested in blogging has percolated up from the comments at Hoggard's place. Great, I hope it happens. This was the original concept behind last summer's Piedmont blog conference, and although turnout among active politicians was pretty light, that was long ago as measured in web time and blogging has gained more mindshare locally and nationally since then, so this could be the moment.

The conversation at Hogg's blog has touched on the subject of vendors and software types to be endorsed at the teach-in. I think this is the wrong way to go. The BloggerCon model has been successful by focusing on users and not vendors, and a teaching conference should be agnostic as to the software and service -- the idea being to get politicians online, not to sell them stuff. That said, a presentation that covers several of the available choices for blogging software would be useful, especially if presented by someone with no financial or ideological stake in the game. Two possible moderators.

There is also talk about open comments and registration at political sites. To me this seems simple: the walled garden model will fail, or at least constrain a blog from its full potential. Heavy volume of comments may require some form of threading or management -- a problem I'd love to see -- but that's not the same thing as collecting names and other info for business or political uses. As with much of the debate over the N&R's presence in the local blog scene, I think this involves a fundamental misunderstanding of what blogs do, or can do -- it's not just a way to rebuild the old media, to create new fiefdoms and grab turf from others, it's an open, interlinked system that lets anyone with access to the web be heard.

12:31:21 PM    comment [] cannot endorse the heavy consumption of wines from the St. Emilion and Champagne regions, ingestion of large quanties of rich foods, and the detonation of unlicensed pyrotechnics well into the small hours of the first morning of a new year. But, hell, it works for us.

We took time at dinner to remember the friends we lost in 2004, and the horrible toll of the tsunami and the war in Iraq, and to count our blessings amid good friends across generations, and to raise a glass to a better year to come.

12:04:06 PM    comment []