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A trade journal of a still-emerging field, written by Adam Tinworth.

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I must admit that I’ve never been a great fan of the Blog Herald. All too often it felt like a bunch of fanboys running what purported to be a news blog. To me, it failed to live up to its aim of being a news source for the blogging world. However, since the blog’s purchase, a whole bunch of new writers have arrived.

One post, by new author Liz Strauss, stuck a chord:

Authenticity and transparency are the reason I love blogging. They are what connected me. They make strong, brave, and vulnerable. They are the power of the truth. Nothing can undercut, overwrite, argue down what I say, if I write in my own authentic, transparent voice from the truth I know. I am safe and I am able to add something valuable.

She’s right. These two ideas are what make blogging so powerful – and why it’s hard for journalists to become good bloggers sometimes, as we’re trained to take ourselves and our processes out of what we write.

Which is why the observation about two-faced reactions to Le Web 3 made by Tom and Nicole puzzles me so much. Says Nicole:

It is not new, but it amazes me to see the amount of people being two faced.

As for example people telling you �you voiced exactly how I fell and I will never talk to him again� (being far over the top on this) and then suddenly when writing their own posts or giving comments they state that everything was great, wonderful and no problems to be seen?

Tom points out that people will notice, and he’s absolutely right. The web is a transparent medium, where all your comments and posts are easily collated and compared. People will read around a subject and will make comparisons.

So why on earth do it? Are these people really savvy enough to be reading blogs discussion the cutting edge of social media, without being savvy enough to know that unexplained contradictory positions will come around and bit them on the bum?

Perhaps this is just the result of a transitionary stage, with people seeing the possibilities of social media, without really understanding the full and total implications. If that’s true, we’re in for some very red faces in the blogosphere in the years to come.

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From the resurgent Casino Avenue:

You are a TV news network. You see a man has been arrested, suspected of being one of the worst serial killers for some years.

You discover he has a MySpace account. What do you do? Do you….

a) Not mention it.

b) Show some pictures from it, taking care to obscure tell-tale details that’d allow people to hunt down the site.

c) Show a screen grab of the whole bloody thing!

You gather together all your knowledge of the internet, and chose…. c. You get a reporter who knows nothing about the internet to declare he’d �kept a blog on the website MySpace�, even though the bit where the blog should be is empty.

The whole spate of murders in Suffolk has taken place not terribly far from where my Mum lives. It’s shocked the whole area, and seems to be a constant thread of conversation in pubs, butchers and supermarkets.

Having idiot journalists with a cursory understanding of the internet blundering in really doesn’t help.

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Somehow, Christmas seems to have caught up on me by stealth, this year. We’re only a few days away from the big day, yet I’m still here in the office, coding some changes into our Movable Type templates to make all our blogs more friendly to the search engines.

The building is getting strangely, quiet, and I suspect there will only be a tiny handful of us here by Friday. Perhaps I can get some serious work done now…

 

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Loïc Le Meur has responded to the criticism made about Le Web 3 in a long, thoughtful post.
Le Crowd 3

I do want to directly address some of the issues mentioned, but I’ll save that for another post. I do, however, want to get my own, personal feelings about the conference down, just for the record.

I had a blast. The conference was far from perfect, but I had an enjoyable, stimulating and though-provoking few days. I probably come from a slightly different perspective from many people there. I uneasily straddle the line between the old media (I’ve been a business journalist for 13 years now) and the new (I’ve been blogging in one form of another for the past five years, and am now a blog evangelist within a business publisher). In many ways, this conference was built for me, because it was an uneasy meeting of the core of long-term bloggers and the wider, mainstream world who have gone from mockery and cynicism about blogging to a business interest.

Was there an inherent conflict there? Yes, of course. There’s been a strong streak of “down with the mainstream media, down with existing business” in much of the early blogging rhetoric, and many people are deeply committed to those ideas. Seeing such an obvious point of meeting between the mainstream and the revolutionary is not going to be to everybody’s taste. But, if blogging, and Web 2.0 in general, is going to be as revolutionary as the claims made of it suggest, it needs to enter the mainstream somehow, either by destroying the existing mainstream, or by subverting it from within. And given my job right now, you can guess which method I favour…

In fact, there were probably four distinct conferences happening side by side:

  1. The experienced bloggers

    2. The Start-ups and VCs, come to do deals

    3. The wider business world, come to learn

    4. The French political circus, a side-effect of blogging’s prominence in France

The impression I get is that, on the whole, groups 2 through 4 had a pretty good time at the conference. The problem lies, broadly, with group one. I think there would have been complaints, even if a French presidential candidate hadn’t done a quick pop-up ad. It was very obvious that the presentations on the main conference floor were not aimed at the very experienced members of the audience. And this wasn’t well flagged up in advance.

Coffee & Networking break

The solution? Well, I’m not sure that this is the end of blogging conference, as Loïc and others have suggested. What I think this is is the birth pangs of a more diverse range of blogging conferences.

I’ve just spent the best part of a decade reporting on the commercial property industry (that’s the commercial real estate industry, for American readers). Given that we’ve been constructing buildings for the last few millennia, you might that that people have said all they have to say about buildings. Not true. There are dozens of property conferences every year, from the huge and general, to the small and niche.

I suspect that much of the reaction to Le Web 3 shows that the time has come for blogging and Web 2.0 conferences to start diversifying. One conference can no longer meet everyone’s requirements, and within the next few years we’re going to need to see a whole range of conferences in this area, from the very technical, to the very educational.

Le Web 3 was a brave, if faltering, step in that direction, and for that, Loïc and team deserve some praise. The really big question, though, is how well they take onboard the very valid criticisms made of the event and make sure Le Web 4 is clear and open in its intentions, and smoother in running when its time comes. I wish them well.