[sociate] The Flow - Lists, blogs, Brains and more

  • From: "Jerry Michalski" <jerry@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "Sociate News" <sociate@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 24 Aug 2002 15:48:21 -0400

I'm expressing a point of view. I'd like it to be explicit, accessible and
useful. I'd like its constituent parts -- the ideas, commentaries, citations
and such -- to be available as building blocks for other people, just as I
am going to build on others' work.

I love Weblogs and am starting one here, but they have two weaknesses that I
would like to overcome.

First, Weblogs offer only one distribution model: People have to come read
your blog at its Web address. Why can't people read each entry as it is
posted, if they would like to, as they can with e-mailed newsletters? It is
somehow strange that Dave Winer's Radio Userland Weblogging software doesn't
allow its users to do what Dave does every day with Scripting News, which is
post to his broadcast list and his Weblog. (You can syndicate Weblogs with
Radio and use XML for other nifty features, but it's not a mailing list.)

This weakness isn't that hard to fix. I've been an advisor to Pyra (the
company behind Blogger) for some time, and Ev -- surviving considerable
nagging from me -- has added a post-to-e-mail feature in Blogger Pro.

In fact, I'm creating two lists for this one Weblog. The first list,
Sociate, is a broadcast list for people who want to see new items quickly,
but don't want the e-mail traffic of a discussion list; the second,
Sociate-Talk, includes all the outbound posts of the first list, but is
meant for people interested in the discussion.

So, depending on your level of interest, you can

a.. Visit the Sociate Weblog,

a.. Subscribe to the Sociate List
(the Weblog info as an e-mail newsletter) or

a.. Participate in the Sociate Discussion
(all of the above, as a two-way mailing list)

Again, if you join the discussion list, no need to join the newsletter also.
It's included.

Here's the second weakness: Weblogs offer little context. Like articles and
stories in more official news sources such as newspapers, radio and TV, blog
entries flow past, one after the other, slipping off into archives. Good
entries are cross-posted by other bloggers, but eventually they all slip
into archives. If you know what you're looking for, you can probably find an
old entry, but most are just gone. Blog posts live in evanescent streams of
consciousness, rescued from total extinction only by Google, ever the
watchful servant. In this sense, blogs are too much like the traditional
media with which commentators often contrast them.

So I will harvest the best items and set them into a more permanent context,
using several tools. The obvious method is to collect similar items into
various categories and post them on this Website, which I will do. But Web
pages aren't that expressive, so I will also use two more interesting tools:
a wiki and my Brain.

By combining Weblogs, mailing lists, Web pages, wikis, TheBrain and other
tools and services in interesting ways, I hope to turn the daily flow of
news, recommendations and ideas into useful stocks of information, all
within a broader context.

I won't be doing any of this alone. Many others are at work across the
world, and I'll be weaving some of those pieces together from my perspective

posted by Jerry Michalski at 1:24 AM

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