of the (Tuesday) July 8th, 2003 Meeting
of the Rocky Mountain Internet Users Group
(RMIUG): "Blogging - The New Mouthpiece
of the Net"
The meeting started at about 7:00 pm with
roughly 60 people in attendance. Dan thanked
the RMIUG sponsors for their support:
generously provides food and beverages at
the meetings. The company provides creative
and technical talent for Web, interactive
media, marketing communications, and software
ONEWARE (http://www.ONEWARE.com) -- a Colorado-based
software company that provides semi-custom
web-based applications, is the sponsor of
the RMIUG meeting minutes.
Mike Komarnitsky of Komar Consulting Group
(http://www.komar.biz) for RMIUG website
NCAR - for use of their wonderful facility.
Dan also gave the names of RMIUG's four
Dan Murray (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Bryan Buus (email@example.com)
Jeff Finkelstein (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tom Bresnahan (email@example.com)
Dan solicited announcements from the floor.
UCAR has new job openings, which can be
found at its website http://www.ucar.edu.
Dan then introduced the first speaker for
tonight: Christopher Locke (firstname.lastname@example.org),
a noted industry speaker and author, publisher
of the EGR Weblog, and president of Entropy
Web Consulting in Boulder. He was included
in The Financial Times' 2001 list of top
50 business thinkers worldwide and has written
extensively for publications such as Forbes,
Release 1.0, Information Week, Publish,
The Industry Standard, and Harvard Business
Review. Chris is author of "Gonzo Marketing:
Winning Through Worst Practices" and
co-author of "The Cluetrain Manifesto,"
a business bestseller. Dan noted that after
three of the authors of Cluetrain spoke
at RMIUG, it became a bestseller (obviously
an important part of the book's marketing
Chris called his presentation, "Why
I Blog and They Don't." Blogs are frequently
updated online diaries or journals. While
preparing for his talk, he decided to write
down his thoughts on the matter in his blog.
He compared the pathological narcissist
(prevalent in Boulder) with bloggers, and
warned us that his comments would likely
offend everyone in the audience at some
point. Sure enough, some people did walk
out. (But some of those returned once the
other speaker of the event, Derek Scruggs,
began his presentation. Perhaps they just
needed a long bathroom break, which just
happened to coincide with Chris's presentation.)
Chris read his blog entry, which can be
found here, http://www.rageboy.com/why-i-blog.html
After he was done, he was asked by an audience
member if bloggers, who judge their readership
by subscribers and search engine rankings,
are any different than movie and television
producers, who keep track of ratings and
box office sales. Chris said one difference
is that blogging is often motivated by pure
vanity while there is some monetary reward
with Hollywood's output.
He said the cultural benefit of blogging
is that we are sharing our humanity. People
describe in great detail what their lives
are like, thus exposing us to the diversity
and plurality of the species.
Next up was Derek Scruggs (email@example.com),
founder of Escalan, LLC, a full-service
online agency. He has also been the permission
advocate for MessageMedia (now part of DoubleClick),
one of the original email marketing service
providers. Before that he was founder and
CEO of Distributed Bits, a Chicago-based
provider of email customer service software
acquired by MessageMedia in 1998.
Derek talked about RSS (Really Simple Syndication
or Rich Site Summary, depending on who you
ask). He described it as a pull technology
(using an XML format) that feels like a
push technology. It can be used to bring
designated web-based information to a user's
computer. According to the website http://www.faganfinder.com/search/rss.shtml,
"RSS files (which are also called RSS
feeds) simply contain a list of items. Usually,
each item contains a title, summary, and
a link to a URL (e.g. a web page)."
While RSS is currently popular as a way
to enable subscribers to receive updates
from their favorite blogs and newsites,
it can be used for a number of different
purposes where event-driven notification
is desired. It can be a tool for enterprise
information, knowledge management, and content
management systems. Because it is XML, it
is machine readable.
Derek described how RSS is being used in
blog aggregators. Blogger, a blog application,
has approximately one million registered
users, but only about 20,000 of them are
active. Still, there are enough of them
to benefit from some organization. A RSS-based
blog aggregator allows you to subscribe
to your favorite blogs and receive updates
and links to new entries. It sends the results
in a format that looks like email. However,
RSS is a web service that uses HTTP as its
communication protocol. This means it doesn't
require an email, thus avoiding the problem
There are three versions of RSS in use,
0.9x, 1.0. and 2.0, with multiple standards.
This is not a problem other than the fact
that there is no standard way to subscribe
to a blog. There are least a dozen aggregators
are available. Each is different. Five or
six are commercial endeavors and the rest
are made available by people experimenting
with the technology. Derek said it feels
a lot like the browser wars in 1995. "Pick
the one that you like, then wait a couple
of years and get the one from Microsoft,"
AOL will soon release a blogging tool.
Microsoft is dipping its toes in the water.
Yahoo has many internal RSS feeds, but has
not released them to the public yet. The
new Google has a "Blog This" button
built in. (Google recently bought Blogger.)
During the Q&A period, Chris talked
about the early days of the Net when he
was working at IBM and publishing diatribes
about it. He wasn't worried about getting
in trouble because he assumed "IBM
was too stupid to find me." Now companies
are much more vigilant. "The Net is
most yeasty when there is no commercial
potential. The tools get better, but there
are more chilling effects." He feels,
though, that companies should encourage
their employees to blog. "If 1000 people
at your company are blogging, 1000 people
are spreading the company's name. It's amazing
how many people want to write. We've never
before had the opportunity for individuals
to express their lives as they seen them."
At the end of the presentation, Dan asked
a trivia question and gave the winner a
gift certificate to Softpro Books (http://www.softpro.com/).
Tentative upcoming RMIUG meetings:
TBD - "Offshore Technology Outsourcing
and How It Affects US Tech Workers"
---> Please send speaker ideas to: firstname.lastname@example.orgTBD
- "Music on the Net - Marketing and Technology"
TBD - "Web Technology - What the Present
and Future Holds"
TBD - "Starting an Internet/Software
TBD - "Domain Update - Legal Issues &
TBD - "Nonprofits on the Net - A Web
TBD - "E-Learning: Did the Hype Ever
TBD - "Instant Messaging vs. Email vs.