Thursday, April 28, 2005

Derrida: Text and Networks

transform the world into a library...? Posted by Hello

Here's a tiny taste of what Jacques Derrida said in 1979 about text and networks.

Please notice how he touches upon hypertext linking when he says "a 'text' that is henceforth no longer a finished corpus of writing, some content enclosed in a book or its margins, but a differential network, a fabric of traces referring endlessly to something other than itself, to other differential traces."

Derrida discusses how the limits of the text are blurring, being smudged beyond recognition, undergoing a smoothing or evaporation, like sandpaper applied gratingly to the edges.

He mentions the "endless referring" of texts, and is this not what we see in blogs?

I embed a hypertext link into a text that I post. As you read my post, you can interrupt your reading, click/select a hypertext link, and off you go to another text, you read it, then go to yet another text, or return to mine.

So...where does my text end and the other begin?

Believe it or not, I decided I would just grab my copy of the hefty (625 pages) A Derrida Reader: Between the Blinds, opened it at random, and write a post on whatever my eyes landed on.

Luckily (?) for me, it was highly relevant. Or is the imaginary fictional character ghost of my perception of Jacques Derrida deriding my detractors and coming to the aid of my sorry and sullen butt?

Okay. Enough blathering. Let's dive into Derrida, my biggest influence in blogology.

Remember, this was written in 1979!


Prophetic? You decide...


If we are to approach a text, it must have an edge.

The question of the text, as it has been elaborated and transformed in the last dozen or so years, has not merely "touched" "shore," le bord (scandalously tampering, changing, as in Mallarme's declaration, "On a touche au vers"), all those boundaries that formed the running border that used to be called a text, of what we once thought this word could identify, i.e., the supposed end and beginning of a work, the unity of a corpus, the title, the margins, the signatures, the referential realm outside the frame, and so forth.

What has happened, if it has happened, is a sort of overrun [debordement] that spoils all these boundaries and divisions and forces us to extend the accredited concept, the dominant notion of a "text," of what I still call a "text," for strategic reasons, in part--a "text" that is henceforth no longer a finished corpus of writing, some content enclosed in a book or its margins, but a

differential network, a fabric of traces referring endlessly to something other than itself, to other differential traces.

Thus the text overruns all the limits assigned to it so far (not submerging or drowning them in an undifferentiated homogeneity, but rather making them more complex, dividing and multiplying strokes and lines)--all the limits, everything that was to be set up in an opposition to writing (speech, life, the world, the real, history, and what not, every field of reference--to body or mind, conscious or unconscious, politics, economics, and so forth).

Whatever the (demonstrated) necessity of such an overrun, such a debordement, it still will have come as a shock, producing endless efforts to dam up, resist, rebuild the old partitions, to blame what could no longer be thought without confusion, to blame difference as wrongful confusion!

All this has taken place in nonreading, with no work on what was thus being demonstrated, with no realization that it was never our wish to extend the reassuring notion of the text to a whole extratextual realm and to transform the world into a library by doing away with all boundaries, all framework, all sharp edges (all aretes: this is the word that I am speaking of tonight.), but that we sought rather to work out the theoretical and practical system of these margins, these borders, once more, from the ground up.

I shall not go into detail.

Documentation of all this is readily available to anyone committed to breaking down the various structures of resistance, his own resistance as such, or primarily the ramparts that bolster a system (be it theoretical, cultural, institutional, political, or whatever).


--Jacques Derrida, from "Living On: Borderlines" translated by James Hulbert. In Deconstruction and Criticism. Edited by Harold Bloom et al. New York: Seabury Press. "Survivre: Journal d bord" first published in Parages (1986).

"mode and motif" copyright 2004 by steven streight Posted by Hello

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Why You Should HATE Me

h.m. digital art copyright 2005 by steven streight Posted by Hello

Did this title get your attention?

Did you wonder what would possess some maniac idiot to proclaim:

"I want you to HATE me"?

Why? Why do I want people to HATE me?

Well, it's kind of complicated, but here's a brief and over-simplified, dumbed down version of a concept that is in the near vicinity of the actual answer.


This then is a partially relevant and legitimate reply, but not the "real" and "definitive" answer. Just be satisfied, for now anyway, with this...

Why I Want You to HATE Me


If you're a ghost blogger, link farmer, sleazy sponsored linker, spyware attacher, comment spammer, or any other type of malicious or dubious practice advocate...

...if you are a con artist, scam monger, email spammer, or porn producer... message to you is loud and clear: I Want YOU to HATE Me.

(1.) Antagonism gets our brains working faster and harder than does praise, flattery, pampering, extolling, idolizing, or reinforcing.

(2.) Hostility toward my ideas and assertions causes them to penetrate your consciousness faster and more deeply than affinity toward them.

(3.) By hating me and my opinions, you will go to the opposite extreme, in many, but not all, cases. This equal but opposite reaction will then fall under the Swinging Pendulum Syndrome, and at some point, your opinion, now at one end of the spectrum, in opposition to mine, will, through its own sheer weight, drop back down and sweep across the chasm, to end up in my camp ultimately.

(4.) Negative publicity sometimes, in some cases, is better and more influential, or I should say, more viral, than good, favorable, positive PR.

(5.) People, lots of them, often feel sympathy for the downtrodden, maligned, attacked, flamed, criticized person and his point of view, and will pay more attention to a persecuted individual than to an ignored person.

(6.) Hostility activates persuasive dimensions and insights not to be manifested in a friendly, supportive environment.

(7.) Hating something is nevertheless a form of attachment. Some religious people begin despising and exposing some evil, say pornography or drug abuse, then, due to obsessive focus on the item, fall in love with it secretly and eventually become that which they once hated, which paradoxically can sometimes inspire them to hate it even more, thus a dynamic feedback or loop is created.

CONCLUSION: Be careful about what you decide to hate. Your hostility could be auto-transformative.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

25 Newly Coined Blogospheric Terms

"computer confusion". copyright 2004 by steven streight. Posted by Hello

I have introduced a number of neologisms (new words) into the blogosphere, or into discussions of blogs and blogging.

John C. Dvorak, AdPulp and others have noticed and commented on these neologisms, and have rightfully credited me.

I feel it's time to collect all these in one spot and provide my original definitions of the terms, before people start mis-interpreting or mis-using them.

Vaspers Blogospheric Neologisms

(20 New Blog-related Terms coined by Steven Streight)

(1.) bloatosphere: The legitimate, professional and personal blogosphere (realm of blogs contained within the web), plus anti-blogs, pseudo blogs, link farm blogs, and other anomolies and aberrations which generally deviate from the Blog Core Values (Universal Blog Mantra).

(2.) clinking: Linking, in blogrolls or hypertext within posts, to friends and allies, in the manner of a closed cult or clique, hence: "clique-linking" or "clinking".

(3.) Universal Blog Mantra (also: Blog Core Values): Authenticity, passion, transparency. (Sometimes integrity, honesty, sincerity, veracity, and other values are added to this string.)

(4.) Compromised Blog Mantra (also: Blog Core Values Betrayal): Values that deviate from the originally agreed upon values as expressed in the Universal Blog Mantra. These "values" or pseudo-values (depending on your point of view) include entertainment, fun, experimentation, non-strategic creativity. Such alternative "values" are considered by some to enable blog consultants, who are unable to generate viable marketing recommendations, to substitute frivolous or unprofessional blog formats and content, such as Fictional Character or Ghost Blogs.

(5.) reciprocal commenting: Posting a comment on a person's blog, after that person posted a comment on yours. Or, conversely, posting comments on the blogs of others, in the (usually vain) hopes that some of them will return the favor, and post comments on your blog. While the intention is good, and the practice is highly recommended, actual reciprocation is rare.

(6.) pseudo blog (also: anti-blog): Any blog or blog-like site that deviates from the Universal Blog Mantra (Blog Core Values).

(7.) proxy blog (also: ghost blog): Blog or blog-like site that claims to be the online "voice" of an organization or individual (e.g., a CEO), but is actually written by an ad agency, marketing, or PR professional.

(8.) sponsored link-o-blog: A blog that features, and may exist primarily to drive traffic to, sponsored links, meaning links placed by external companies who pay a fee to display their links on the blog. See "scumblogging".

(9.) text-centric anti-phonological blog: Blog that refrains from featuring such sonic or aural non-textual devices as audio blogging, podcasting, video blogging, and music files that automatically begin to play when a user arrives at the site.

(10.) derridean arche-blogging: Blog theories, methodologies, and practices that seek to "deconstruct" or radically question the basic assumptions of popular or professional blogging.

(11.) code blog (also: crypto blog): Blog that uses such special, non-normal languages as street slang, chat room abbreviations, acronyms, invented pseudo-speech, obscure foreign idioms, or highly technical terminology, generally with intent to veil the true content from parents, adults, enemy combatants, business competitors, or other unwanted or unauthorized visitors to the blog.

(12.) DFC (Dysfunctional Fictional Character) blog: A blog based on, or using as the primary spokes-entity, an imaginary persona, who replaces the logical spokesperson, which in most cases would be the CEO, owner, founder, or designated human surrogate.

(13.) bloffing: Blogging, or blog authoring, that relies on trivial, irrelevant, or predictable and impersonal or unprofessional "voice", sometimes refered to as "fluff", hence "fluff blogging" or "bloffing".

(14.) blooging: Blogging that is unprofessional, accidentally comical, or otherwise inappropriate. "Blogging" plus "goofy", hence "blooging".

(15.) crybaby bullying: A style of flaming, or personal attack, wherein those instigating the first round of combat pretend to be unfairly wounded victims of unjust harshing.

(16.) de-harshing: Apologizing for a flame attack, or explaining the legitimate basis of one's objective or principled critique, while negating any intent to express personal, subjective animosity.

(17.) phlog: Philosophical (i.e., technical, theoretical, scientific, non-personal) blog. "Philosophical" plus "blog", hence "phlog".

(18.) quackification: The relentless expression of feeling oneself to be persecuted personally, simply due to others not agreeing with ones marketing or creative concepts relative to blogs or other vehicles.

(19.) scumblogging: Any blog practice that is deceptive, immoral, criminal, unethical, or dubious. Includes "sleazy sponsored link blogs" that feature paid links for online casinos, pharmaceuticals, loans, libido enhancements, and other questionable or detrimental commercial sites, which may also be spyware or adware attachment conveyers.

(20.) astral blogging: Posting information on advanced blog concepts, theory, or applications, such as blogs and Internet2, blogs and glogs (cyborg logs, psycho-geographics, assistive digital technologies), or blogs and the Interplanetary Internet.

(21.) apostrophica: A condition of turning aside, moving away from the original intention, to pursue lower priority, or less valuable, goals. Used as a term to describe a switch proposed by inept blog consultants, to abandon the Blog Core Values and to base a business blog on entertainment, fantasy, fictional characters, imaginary personas, sleazy sponsored links, driving traffic to other web sites, etc.

(22.) blog scorching: Suddenly, decisively, and without consulting anyone, deleting posts from a group blog, due to lack of appreciation, change in blog orientation, or other unresolvable issues. From the "scorched earth policy" of combat in the American Civil War, whereby entire cities were burned, pillaged, leveled, which was practiced to inspire terror and broken spirits in the enemy and its populace.

(23.) brown blogging: Similar to "brown nosing" but in a blog. Using blog posts, or comments to blog posts, to "kiss butt" and win the favor of an online community gathered by the blog, and the favor of the blogger(s) or blog author(s).

(24.) dvoraking: Posting brief, witty, fascinating articles on various tech, societal, political, philosophical, spiritual, historical, corporate topics, with large headlines and attention-getting photos or art. From the name of a man who specializes in this type of blogging, John C. Dvorak. The opposite of "bloring".

(25.) bloring: Posting dull, ignorant, unexciting, irrelevant material to a blog, with no interesting photos or art, and no links to substantiating sources. Combination of "blogging" and "boring". The opposite of "dvoraking".

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate

Monday, April 25, 2005

Blog Warfare and Blog Core Values

no neutrality allowed Posted by Hello

Now I'm really going full invasion force.

Special intensive combat operations.

Heavy casualties [metaphorically speaking] will result.

I'm pulling out all the [figuratively speaking] heavy artillery, bunker busters, cluster bombs, nuclear warheads, HAARP, all the weapons in my arsenal.

It is Absolute Blog Warfare.

No neutrality allowed.

It's a fight to the death.

Which side are you going to be on?

Go see the skeleton I've pulled out of my armory closet.

Not much meat on its bones, but wait and watch. It will grow. And it will achieve undisputable victory:

Blog Core Values

Business Blog Post Titles Experiment

micro content writing examination Posted by Hello

Here are the titles of the 5 most recent posts of 32 business-oriented blogs, as of April 12, 2005 from 2:00 AM to 4:00 AM.

NOTE: This is NOT a list of "the best business blogs in the blogosphere, according to Steve Streight aka Vaspers the Grate". Some maybe aren't so good at all. This is rather just a quickly selected list of business and marketing blogs I know of and slapped together for this experiment.


Now...FORGET about who the blog authors are and how great their blogs "are supposed to be".

Judging ONLY by the post titles, which blogs would you want to visit?

Which blogs do you think probably contain, on a consistent basis, reputable and relevant content?

Which blogs do you think contain original (not linked-to) material showcasing innovative and practical business expertise?

Which blogs do you think might contain reliable material that could help you with your business blogging?


Which blogs do you think probably suck?

Which blogs do you think show evidence of an advanced form of the dreaded BBMAP disease (Business Blogger Mutual Admiration Psychosis)?

NOTE: I'm not necessarily implying that any of them suck, or are self-impressed or sycophantic, but then again....

YOU be the Judge, Jury, and Executioner (death to the guilty blogs--by not visiting, recommending, or emulating them).

REMEMBER: judge the blogs only by the post titles.

Not "that's an intriguing title"...

...but "I need to read that post to improve my business blogging skills or business acumen."

I know. This is more a test of microcontent, blog post title, writing than it is a test of the value of the blogs themselves. Phenomenology be damned. Think of how important the blog post titles are, especially in light of RSS technologies.

Once you're done, go ahead and visit them, if you dare, and discover what the posts contain. See if you change your judgment once you're a little more familiar with the blogs. See if you think they're valuable enough to bookmark as favorites.

Many, but by no means all, of the blogs listed here represent bloggers who are loyal and friendly allies. I'm not being harshly critical of them. They know me and my vasperish ways by now.

"I'm dancing in optical heaven" digital art copyright 2004 by steven streight Posted by Hello


Fast Company Blog

1. Fishing for Schools
2. Money Clusters
3. Pay for Players
4. Leading Ideas: It's Not Your Words
5. Just Use It

The Intuitive Life Business Blog

1. Come Listen to Me Speak at the "Ethics in Cyberspace" Conference!
2. Ultimately, history is written by the historians
3. General Motors miffed at LA Times review, pulls all advertising
4. Conference on World Affairs: 7 Million Bloggers
5. When Accounting Collides with Customer Service

Business Pundit

1. Trackbacks Turned Off
2. XBox and Playstation to Release the Same Day
3. 4/11/05 Carnival of the Capitalists
4. America - Still Too Much Debt?
5. Home Depot Commercials

Decent Marketing

1. Video Game Company Marketing VP [Job] Opening
2. Power Blog Reviews: Decent Marketing
3. Why
4. No Customer Service - No Customers
5. Big Brand Theory

The Red Couch

1. Coverage in Internet News
2. Grace Bonnie Interview
3. Another Case Plea
4. Draft Chapter 3
5. Small Business Cases Wanted

Diva Marketing

1. Free Live Learning
2. Paris Blog Event
3. Friday Fun: National Geographic Channel Blogs
4. Let's Our Customers
5. Biz Blog Profile Series: Internet QuickBooks Online Blog

Brand Autopsy

1. The Focus Group as a TV Talk Show
2. Innovative Index
3. Making Over the CBS Evening News
4. Chaos, Revolution, and Micro Media
5. Never Blog Alone

Thinking by Peter D

1. Memory Maps Combine Internet Technologies to Tell Stories
2. Watch Out, Cellphone In
3. Ripped Off on My Birthday
4. Cellphone Etiquette: Enforcement Technology
5. Target "Gets" Smart


1. TV Eyes to Debut Podcast Search Engine
2. NBA Unloads a Ton of RSS Feeds
3. IceRocket Refreshes Blog Search Engine
4. Jaffe Creates a Tiger of a Nike Ad
5. Facing Pressure From Wikipedia, Encarta Opens Up

What's Your Brand Mantra

1. Co-creation Trend 4: Balance
2. Co-creation Trend 3: Control
3. Co-creation Trend 2: Motivations
4. Co-creation Trends: Revolution
5. Multiloguing


1. Ecommerce Figures Run Hot, Cold, Hot
2. AOL Search to List Ingenio Pay-Per-Call Ads
3. Major Agencies Finally Acquire Mobile Ability
4. Weblogsinc.'s New Banners Give Voice to Consumers
5. Massive Efforts to Place Products in Videogames

Seth's Blog

1. What's the always?
2. Are your people like your customers?
3. Making your sneezers into heroes
4. Don't tell me you make a commodity
5. When a word is worth $1,000 (each)

Tom Peters!

1. Brand: the Word
2. Cool Friend: Steve [Yastrow]!
3. Saturday Night Stay-over
4. On Winning
5. Getting on the Same Page

The Origin of Brands Blog

1. GoDaddy looks like a winner
2. Can Martha make a comeback?
3. Doing deals is not enough
4. Advertising Super Bowl
5. 7 Keys to a Sensational Super Bowl Ad

Chief Blogging Officer

1. sticks, stones, and stories
2. self-help and spiritual technology
3. some blogs
4. transititions - in which one thing leads to another
5. looking back

Business Blog Consulting

1. Boeing Blog Gets Closer
2. WOMMA Blog Presentation Resources
3. Top Nukes General Blogging
4. Happy Belated Birthday to this Blog!
5. Todd and Rick Speak On Blogs at WOMMA Conf., Chicago, Next Week


1. RE: Our Saturday Feature - 10 Tips for 10 Million Women
2. RE: So Tell Me What You Want, What You Really REALLY Want
3. RE: Tips for Recruiting, Training, and Entertaining Employees
4. RE: Good Housekeeping's Spring-cleaning Checklist
5. RE: Celebrity Tattoos and You

Small Business Blog

1. 8 Minute Test to Screen New Clients
2. A Guide to Startup Pitfalls
3. 5 B2B Copy Myths
4. Diversifying Your Line to Keep Your Startup Alive
5. How the Internet Has Changed Small Business Forever

Radiant Marketing Group

1. Guest on First Ever "Conversations With Experts"
2. Doc Searls' Blog Post Snowball Effect
3. Podcast Interview with Stacy Harp, Pres. of Mind and Media
4. SkypeCasting Made Easy
5. Google is the New Yellow Pages

BlogWrite for CEOs

1. Case Study: All Action, No Talk for QuickBooks Online Blog
2. Email April Fool's
3. A More Informal Corporate Blogging Policy
4. Blink...and You See White Male Bloggers
5. Tagging and Blog Maps


1. Look, Dick. See Jane. See Jane Change!
2. Sunday Fiction Feature: Five or Ten
3. Jane Turns Reporter
4. TGIF: From Jane's Point of View
5. Jane Gets Ornery

Fresh Inc. [Inc. Magazine Blog]

1. The Apprentice - Week 11
2. Succeeding and Starting Over Again
3. Where the Innovators Are
4. The Art of Micro-Interaction
5. For the Love of Franchising

Wonderbranding for Women

1. The Value of Doing the Same Old Thing
2. Blowing My Own Horn
3. The Good News and the Bad News
4. M2W - Marketing To Women Conference
5. Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

Crossroads Dispatches

1. Gone Dwelving
2. The Honey Pots and the Inner Guru
3. The Blessing of Stuckness
4. I See Patterns and the Zenification of Nearly Everything
5. Throw More Pots

Blog Business World

1. Carnival of the Capitalists at TJ's Weblog
2. Carnival of the Un-capitalists at the Green Lantern
3. Mission Statements and why do you blog
4. Links: your questions answered
5. Carnival of the Un-capitalists entries request

Nick Usborne Excess Voice

1. Monday Copywriting Tip #38: They Don't Read Instructions
2. Copywriters Compensation and Fee Survey
3. Extra Income for Writers
4. Monday Copywriting Tip #37: It's OK to Show Character
5. Freelance Copywriting Success?

PR Thoughts

1. Blogs & Wikis: Technologies for Enterprise Applications?
2. Intelliseek's Blogpulse
3. Wanted: PR/Marcoms that are not blogging and might want to try it
4. Edelman and Intelliseek publish the 1.0 Guide to the Blogosphere
5. Evaluating the New Siemens SK65

Don the Idea Guy's Brain Blog

1. New Music in the Wimpy Player
2. Whole New Frame of Mind
3. A Logo in Need of Life Support
4. A Hand for Hans

GM FastLane Blog

1. Still Open for Business
2. Sharpening Focus
3. Context is Everything
4. GM Performance is Back!
5. Zeta Not the End of RWD Performance

Church of the Customer

1. Better than a bake sale
2. Citizen Marketing and Tiger Woods Video
3. Brand Evangelists
4. "Why, Exactly, is GMC on this Earth?"
5. Creating Sustainable Word of Mouth

HELLO, my name is blog

1. You'd just have to say hi to this guy...
2. How to Get More Creative on the Phone
3. How to Handle Those Awkward Pauses
4. Hip Hop Music Teaches Us a Valuable Lesson about Small Business
5. Does Your Business Card Stand Out?

Ensight Business and Tech

1. What Makes a Great Post Title?
2. A Streamlined WordPress 1.5 Admin Dashboard
3. Chapters 1 and 2 Written
4. In Toronto Wednesday
5. Some Sentences are Art

...and what the heck, I'll throw my sorry ass, much feared and hated, blogology and web usability analysis blog into the fray:

Vaspers the Grate

1. Comment Spammers are Doomed
2. Ancient to Modern Spam
3. Fine Business Blog Theory and Practice
4. Some Business Books in Vaspers Library
5. bloatosphere: bloated with anti-blogs

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Top Blog Pros at Blog Core Values blog

web hub for blogological insights Posted by Hello

I will be starting a new blog credibility and proficiency blog, tentatively called the Blog Core Values blog.

Those pro bloggers who signed on to a previous group/acadmemic blog, which I have now renounced and severed all ties with, will hopefully hop on board my new project.

These include:

(1.) Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing
(2.) Serena Matthews, Painting Angels
(3.) Robin "Roblimo" Miller, NewsForge, Slashdot
(4.) Evan Williams, evhead, Blogger, Odeo
(5.) Debbie Weil, BlogWrite for CEOs
(6.) Hugh McLeod, Gaping Void
(7.) Robert May, Business Pundit
(8.) Ken Layne
(9.) David Hudson, Green Cine Daily
(10.) Dean Esmay, Dean's World
(11.) Perry de Havilland, Big Blog Company, (posted, more coming)
(12.) Dave Taylor, Intuitive Life Business Blog
(13.) Amy Gahran, Contentious
(14.) Jeff Gregory, Subspace Platform Recordings
(15.) Scott Ginsberg, HELLO My Name is Scott
(16.) Christopher Locke, Chief Blogging Officer, Cluetrain Manifesto, Gonzo Marketing
(17.) Bennett Theissen, Blog Hater Extraordinaire
(18.) Joi Ito
(19.) Doc Searls, Cluetrain Manifesto, Doc Searls Weblog, Linux Journal
(20.) David Weinberger, JOHO the Blog
(21.) Shel Israel, It Seems To Me, The Red Couch
(22.) Wayne Hurlbert, Blog Business World
(23.) Ernie Svenson, Ernie the Attorney
(24.) John Moore, Brand Autopsy
(25.) Jennifer Rice, What’s My Brand Mantra?

(28.) Buzz Bruggeman, Buzzmodo
(29.) Jeremy C. Wright, Ensight
(30.) Todd Sattersten, A Penny For, 800 CEO Read, Blog Book Tour
(31.) Rich Marcello, Hewlett-Packard, Rich Marcello's Blog (posted, more coming)
(32.) John C. Dvorak, Dvorak Uncensored, CBS MarketWatch
(33.) Richard Edelman, Edelman Independent Global PR
(34.) Hugh Hewitt
(35.) Dave Pell, Davenetics
(36.) Laura Ries, The Origin of Brands Blog
(37.) Michael S. Hyatt, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Working Smart (posted, more coming)
(38.) Neville Hobson, Nevon

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Goodbye Web Analysis, Hello Blogology

comedic deconstruction Posted by Hello

I was going to entitle this...

* enhance every jot and tittle ("diacritic dot, iota, jot, particle")
* titivate ("dress up, spruce up") the article
* give it a sense of titular ("having the nature of a title, or, existing in title only") entitlement a titillating ("to excite or stimulate pleasurably") manner:

"Web Sites are Dead. Long Live Blogs."


"Abandoning Web Analysis in Favor of Blogology."

You see, I am pretty much abandoning web usability analysis.

You want web analysis?

Here: web sites suck. Period.

You want blogology in a nutshell?

Here: blogs rule. Period.

"But Vaspers," you cry despondently. "Surely not all web sites in existence are horrible. And admit it, there are some worthless, stupid blogs out there. You said so yourself."

"Er...I did?" I reply in the persona, the non-fictional character, or caricature, of Vaspers the Grate.

"Yes. You even invented categorical systems for objective examination of bad blogs, like ghost blog, proxy blog, DFS (dysfunctional fictional character) blog, anonymous blog, drivel blog, and so forth. Fess up." You show visible signs of being wholly discomfited (frustrated, embarrassed).

Unable to leave you hanging in a discomfort zone, I respond with maximum clarity.


You are not amused.

"You have harshed blogs and blog consultants and blog practices you disagreed with, on many occasions," you explain with the last reserves of calm you can muster. "You have even angered and upset blogophiles, I mean blog lovers, by being so critical and judgmental of the blogosphere, which, by the way, you sneeringly refer to as the bloatosphere."

"Is that right?" I reply, in a feeble bid to buy some time.

"Yes, it's right. You know it's true. So now you're mounting yet another high horse, and denouncing web sites. Just another target for your hysterical hostility. I guess we should be used to jumping from one rant to another, with no rhyme nor reason. Sigh."

I shamefully stare at the buffed layer of black shoe polish gleaming at me as the light strikes it at a 45 degree angle that is calculated by guessing the attack vector it travels from my lamp to the shoe I'm wearing and at which I am shamefully staring.

"Well, I renounce nothing," comes my slow and awkward apologetics. "But, even though 90% of all blogs suck and are virtually worthless, still--blogs are the brilliant future, while web sites are the gloomy past."

"In what respects," you ask irritably.

"Web sites are generally non-interactive, unilateral broadcast billboards, full of corporate we-oriented fluff and bureaucrat-ese. They are typically just copy-and-pasted brochures, mission statements, and press releases. Rarely updated, cold and distant, their formality and stiffness are repulsive to the online users."

I feel proud of my summarization of why web sites suck, and thus, my rationale for losing all interest in analyzing their usability characteristics.

"And the superior attributes of blogs consist in what?" I hear you ask with a troubled look on your tone of voice.

"Blogs tend to be more interactive, via comments..."

"Aha!" you scream, nearly knocking me off my feet with your exclamation. "You hypocrite! Comments? Comments? On blogs? You turned your comments OFF, and the rumor going around the blogosphere is that your posts, which have evolved suddenly into hateful castigations of the blog scene and of blog consultants, have exposed you to such negative feedback, that you turned off the comments because you couldn't handle the negativity of your readers, or didn't want to let them challenge your assertions."

"...via comments or email to the blog author," I continue, ignoring the rude interruption.

"See? You won't even let me make a comment in this conversation! See? Some interactivity you espouse," you proclaim, smiling now for the first time today.

"Blogs allow an individual or organization to initiate a candid, direct, authentic, sincere, honest, intimate conversation with an audience. Whereas, web sites are just the old corporate BS in an online version." I state triumphantly.

"Oh yeah?" you counter quite logically. "Then what about this conversation? Why can't you acknowledge my comments right here and now?"

I smile patiently, and let a few seconds intervene between your question and my final statement, my glorious and vain reply:

"Because I coincide theoretically with Jacques Derrida, in affirming the supremacy of writing over talking, of text over speech, of blogging over podcasting, of inscription over vocalization. That's why. But comments on blogs are good and I do respond to them. I had to turn off the comment posting function, due to a comment spam storm. If you have any further questions or comments, just email me at: vaspersthegrate [AT] yahoo [DOT] com"


Thursday, April 21, 2005

Derrida. Linear Writing. Hypertext Linking.

arche-blogging prelude Posted by Hello

Your patience and courage in torturing your beautiful and voluptuous brain with attempting to understand Derrida...such rigor will pay off.

Deconstruction, the meta-methodology and arche-archaeology developed by Jacques Derrida, is very intimately related to hypertext, linking, online writing technique, the blog, internet, web, and digital systems in general.

How could this "philosopher of language and metaphysics" enlighten and inspire us bloggers now?

Patience, dear friend.

As the story unfolds, in my clumsy manner of trying to tell it, or of trying to allow it to escape my telling of it, to signify itself in spite of my mis-tellings, as this process continues, you may discover some valuable gems.

You at least will not become less smart or less spending a little time with Derrida and me.

Let's go ahead and plunge into today's text.

Derrida discusses "linear writing" (strict progression from point A to point B all the way to point Z, no skipping around without some loss, or even confusion, of meaning)...

...and refers to what would later take form as "hypertext linking".

this visionary was discussing these issues in extraordinary depth and complexity, prophetically, back in the 1960s and 1970s.

When Derrida says "the end of the book" I don't believe he meant literally "no more books ever again" like some "total erasure of book publishing and purchasing".

No, I feel he probably meant the end of books dominating text, the end of books as the primary and permanent sanctuary or preserve of writing.

As we now see, more people are self-publishing their writings in blogs, than in traditional books. This is the Derrida/Blog Revolution.

Jacques Derrida speaks (writes):

"The end of linear writing is indeed the end of the book, even if, today, it is within the form of a book that new writings--literary or theoretical--allow themselves to be, for better or worse, encased.

It is less a question of confiding new writings to the envelope of a book than of finally reading what wrote itself between the lines in the volumes.

That is why, beginning to write without the line, one begins also to reread past writing according to a different organization of space.

If today the problem of reading occupies the forefront of science, it is because of this suspense between two ages of writing. Because we are beginning to write, to write differently, we must reread differently.

For over a century, this uneasiness has been evident in philosophy, in science, in literature. All the revolutions in these fields can be interpreted as shocks that are gradually destroying the linear model.


The necessary decentering cannot be a philosophic or scientific act as such, since it is a question of dislocating, through access to another system linking speech and writing, the founding categories of language and the grammar of episteme.


[Derrida quoting Leroi-Gourhan, Le geste et la parole, Vol. 2, pp.261-262]:

'A vast tape library with an electronic selection system will in the near future deliver pre-selected and instantaneously retrieved information....if some procedure would permit the presentation of books in such a way that the materials of the different chapters are presented simultaneously in all their aspects, authors and their users would find a considerable advantage.'"

--Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology (De la grammatologie. Paris: Editions de Minuit. Translated with an introduction by Gayatari Chakravorty Spivak. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976.

See, when you visit a blog, you probably don't engage in "linear reading", starting at the top and working your way down. You may indeed start in this traditional "linear" fashion, but chances are, you'll jump around.

You'll read some of a post, then see a hypertext link, click/select it, and jump over to some other text. Or notice something in the sidebar that seems more relevant, entertaining, or interesting, and click/select that, perhaps an archive category or "previous posts" or "recent comments" link.

Derrida died a short while ago. I tried contacting him when I heard he was sick, but didn't reach him in time.

I wonder what his blog would look like if he were alive now and blogging.

Well, we can all honor his memory and pioneering work, by delving into his writings, his mindings, his deconstructings.

[tear falls from eye]

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Interplanetary Internet

"tomorrow is less than one day away" copyright 2004 by steven streight. Posted by Hello

In addition to my involvement with the EServer Tech Communicators Library [online] of Iowa State University (, Internet2, the coming New Super Blogs, and the development of Deconstructionist Blogology Theory... if I didn't already have enough on my plate...

...I have officially joined the InterPlaNet (IPN) Special Interest Group, a public, government, and corporate body interested in Interplanetary Internet concerns.

They provide an interesting discussion list on the subject of internet access, security, and development for "Terrestial to Extra-terrestial" applications.

This is explained below, which is the text featured in the IPN SIG "About the IPN Project" page:

If you're a business person, the time will come when you're going to need to understand and utilize the interplanetary internet.

You might as well start learning about it now.

The interplanetary internet features some interesting aspects that you can already relate to in your typical computer usage routines.

For example, the security protocols used in the IPN (to ensure confidentiality, integrity, authentication, and non-repudiation) are similar to what are now used in your email client, a non-interactive environment that operates independently of a need for massive bandwidth, online reliability, or guaranteed connectivity.

Also, the Mars Multiple Orbiting Relay Satellite Network is currently readying a deep space infrastructure for fairly reliable connectivity between Earth and Mars.


The objective of the Interplanetary Internet project is to define the architecture and protocols necessary to permit interoperation of the Internet resident on Earth with other remotely located internets resident on other planets or spacecraft in transit.

While the Earth's Internet is basically a "network of connected networks", the Interplanetary Internet may therefore be thought of as a "network of disconnected Internets". Inter-working in this environment will require new techniques to be developed.

Many elements of the current terrestrial Internet suite of protocols are expected to be useful in low-delay space environments, such as local operations on and around other planets or within free flying space vehicles.

However, the speed-of-light delays, intermittent and unidirectional connectivity, and error-rates characteristic of deep-space communication make their use unfeasible across deep-space distances.

It is also anticipated that the architecture and protocols developed by this project will be useful in many terrestrial environments in which a dependence on real-time interactive communication is either unfeasible or inadvisable.

The IPNSIG exists to allow public participation in the evolution of the Interplanetary Internet.

The technical research into how the Earth's Internet may be extended into interplanetary space has been underway for several years as part of an international communications standardization body known as the Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems.

The CCSDS organization is primarily concerned with communications standardization for scientific satellites, with a primary focus on the needs of near-term missions.

In order to extend this horizon out several decades, and to begin to involve the terrestrial Internet research and engineering communities, a special Interplanetary Internet Study was proposed and subsequently funded in the United States.

The Interplanetary Internet Study is funded by DARPA's Next Generation Internet Initiative, and presently consists of a core team of researchers from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, MITRE Corporation, SPARTA, Global Science & Technology and consulting researchers from USC/ISI, UCLA and CalTech.

The primary goal of the study is to investigate how terrestrial internet protocols and techniques may be extended and/or used as-is in the exploration of deep space.

The study team has also founded the IPNSIG and has formed the core of an IPNRG under the sponsorship of the Internet Research Task Force.

The primary goal of the NASA IPN Study team will be to act as liaison between the satellite and space communities and the ISOC/IRTF communities.

The NASA IPN Study team will assist with requirements and assistance with understanding of the deep space environment and missions, while the primary research on new or modified protocols will be conducted by the IRTF. In addition, the NASA Study Team will also act as liaison with the Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems.

The NASA Study Team will also enable simulated and actual opportunities to test protocols and the use of Internet techniques in the space environment.


Blog Text vs. Spoken Words (re: Derrida)

derridean arche-blogging Posted by Hello

Today, we're going to drop the fluffing nonsense, found in most business blogs, and attempt to seriously consider, in a sweet, soft, calm, loving, peaceful, kind, tolerant, heated, ugly, hurtfully combative manner, Writing vs. Talking...

...or Blog Text vs. Spoken Words.

To explain why Textcentric Blogs are better than [superior to, more realific than] Telephone Conversations, Podcasting, Audio Blogging, Text Messaging, Instant Messaging, Skyping, Party Gossiping, Murmuring, Verbal Brawling, Yodeling, Yelping, and all other forms of Vocal Utterance ("mouthing off")...

...we must turn to the master, to Jacques Derrida.

And I'm going to do what he often did, that is: quote large blocks of writing by others, then append brief commentary.

I dedicate this post to Kyle and Leigh and the gang of foresite at Fluid Imagination. An interesting and inspiring intellectual blog.

When you've read this, you'll never look at speech or text in quite the way you were brainwashed by the logocentrists and phonologists, who tend to despise our beloved Blogosphere.

Vaspers, chill out dude!

not always easy to be soft and sweet... Posted by Hello

Vaspers the Grate has been a bit too grating, according to some fans, allies, and colleagues.

While they sympahtize with some of my legitimate concerns, and admire how I am taking a bold and decisive stand against deceptive or unwise blog practices, they are offended by my tone.

Schmuck that I am, I idiotically allow myself to get so bent out of shape, that I rail and rage against something, and forget my guiding principle, stated thusly:

I prefer a reader to think, "Yes, Vaspers is correct. Ghost blogging [or whatever] is not a good idea in most cases."

Rather than, "Wow. This dude sure is angry. Can't control his temper. Huh."

So this is just a heads up that I am listening to you.

I think I shine when it comes to posts like "33 Ways to Enhance Blog Credibility", "Seven Laws of Blogging", "How to Write Power Emails", "CEO Blogs, Polish Them Up Please", and similar, more positive, more practical topics.

People do change.

Vaspers is not a raging bull, looking for blogospheric anomolies and aberrations to attack and denounce, although they do exist.

Vaspers is torn between his desire to warn and alert you to trouble or deception...

...and wanting to be peaceful, helpful, kind, and constructive.

Sometimes it's not easy to maintain a strong online voice and a compassionate heart.

So, hang in there.

The New Smiley Super Vaspers is coming.

In fact, I think I see him coming around the bend.

Thanks for your patience and understanding.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Blog Mantra and Blog War

war has been declared...
Posted by Hello

[EDITED to sound less vindicative, but retaining the substance of the problem and the solution. Thanks to a blogger ally who had the guts to scold me and question my tone. {wink] She knows who I refer to.]

The blogosphere, especially the business sector of it, had a seemingly spontaneous set of core values.

If Derrida were here, he might be interested in how this set of core values arose from the "flux", or the metaphysical, primal source-point of the "now".

What was this set of blogging's core value?



Authenticity. Passion. Transparency.

Now, with immoral practitioners proclaiming their criminal intent to "steal" intellectual property...

...and fake blog consultants advocating such spurious things as fictional character blogs, ghost blogs, simulated blogs, vending machine blogs, and quasi-team blogs...

...I have proposed an expansion, thus...


Interactive Community.

I would have added "Profitability" but I believe that is a natural offshoot of adhering rigorously to the core values, as expressed in the mantra.


The battle lines are being drawn.

You will have to decide where you stand on these issues.

We've seen how mail became junk mail, phones became telemarketing, television became infomercials, and email became spam.

We aim to defend the blogosphere from similar corruptions.


[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate

Monday, April 18, 2005

Plagiarist Consultant. Derrida. Voice.

another rutless road
Posted by Hello

I’m going to explain quickly why a ridiculous quote from an alleged “blog consultant” is pathetic and also immoral, why Derrida is the foremost theoretician for the blogosphere, and how to keep visitors coming to your blog via true "voice".

Plagiarist Consultant:

First the quote from a person’s blog …

(I will delete identifying terms and, because this is an non-identifiable snip for purpose of illustration, and not for substantial usage in my own material, I need not link to the source):


I just signed a contract to blog for [……]. I’ll be joining an A-list of business & marketing bloggers including [……], [……], and [……].

The blog will be called “[……]” and is geared to small businesses that are using or wish to use blogs as marketing communications tools.

I’ll be providing tips, insights, news, and information that’s more practical than what you often read here.

Boy, will I be stealing a lot of stuff from all my fellow business and marketing bloggers for this one!


Let that “stealing a lot of stuff” sink in for a moment.

Is this a rational, educated, ethical person saying this?

A real marketing professional with original and valuable ideas to share?

Or a rip-off artist? A con man? A petty thief?

Friends, there are laws that prohibit such criminal acts. And those laws will be enforced.

The netiquette, and legal requirement, of online usage of source material is to credit the author and display a prominent hyperlink to the original document.

Failure to do so can cost you a lot of money, litigation, and aggravation.

Derrida the Blogologist

Jacques Derrida was the founder of Deconstruction Philosophy, which in simple terms means:

“the close and rigorous reading of text, questioning the very foundations of concepts, the discovery of hidden, and flawed, metaphysical assumptions that govern Western thought”.

I used to have his books Writing and Difference, Margins of Philosophy, The Archaeology of the Frivolous: Reading Condillac, Of Spirit: Heidegger and the Question, The Truth in Painting, The Postcard: From Socrates to Freud and Beyond, Disseminations, Of Grammatology, Spurs, Positions, Memoirs for Paul de Man.

In his first major work Speech and Phenomena and Other Essays on Husserl’s Theory of Signs (Northwestern University Press, 1973), he discusses the question:

“When I talk to myself, silently, mentally, in an interior monologue–is it communication, expression, re-presentation?”

Deep and serious aspects of “voice”, “presence”, “difference”, “indication”, “signification”, and “phoneme vs. grapheme” are analyzed. It gets pretty heavy.

Derrida is “flaming” Husserl, and all of Western logocentric metaphysical tradition, for exalting the spoken utterance over the written or inscribed text.

I will deal with these issues in simple, but hopefully enlightening detail, in the coming months.

For now, run out and buy any book by Jacques Derrida (not about him, but by him) and torture your poor brain with trying to understand what he’s saying.

If you read 30 pages, but only understand 3 sentences…those 3 sentences will do you more good than 300 business books.

Jacques Derrida spoke frequently of hypertext, email, linking, traces, voice, self-presence, and many other issues that have a direct and very deep bearing on blogs and business blogging.

He also got flamed, baited, trolled, and harshed a lot. They accused him of saying “there is no absolute truth” and other junk. They didn’t read him closely, they must’ve read “Derrida for Dummies” or something.

I’m not trying to strut around with pseudo-intellectualism here. I’m turning you on to a great thinker and pioneer in hypertext theorizing. Difficult, yes. But also: bizarre, funny, smart.

Inner Voice

So, to tie this all together, we bloggers are attempting to post our voices on the web, via blogs, and those “voices” are now generally inscribed or “typed” text. Audio blogging, podcasting, and video blogging may radically alter this blogoscape, I haven’t decided if things are moving that way or not.

But plagiarizing, copy and paste techniques, with no credit or link back to the source…

…this is immoral, unethical, and illegal.

You don’t need to plagiarize. You have your own experiences, observations, ideas, opinions, dreams, visions, information, imagination, and expertise.

And I’ll bet it’s pretty interesting, too.

Besides, I do most of my blogo-combat behind the scenes.

How To Transmit True Voice in a Blog:

(1.) read lots of high quality blogs, by smart people like Matt Mullenweg, Jennifer Rice, Seth Godin, Robert May, Robin Miller, John C. Dvorak, David Weinberger, Christopher Locke, Debbie Weil, Steve Hall, Robert Scoble, Shel Israel, Glenn Reynolds, Dean Esmay, Amy Gahran, etc.

(2.) try posting comments as often as possible, and see how easy it is, and how seldom anybody flames or mocks you.

(3.) read good books, classics, philosophy, art criticism, science, things that you must read super slowly, but will improve your brain, rather than rot it.

(4.) write posts on your own blog that reflect exactly what you think, in your own words, very slight on the quoting and pointing to other sources, tell us what you think.

(5.) think a lot, ponder, “communicate with yourself”, post to your own interior “mind blog”, contemplate ideas and issues, discuss them with others, with those who are smarter or older or drunker than you, see what happens to the ideas.

May I propose a slightly revised Universal Blog Mantra, due to new developments in plagiarizing?

“Authenticity. Passion. Transparency. ORIGINALITY.”

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Inspiring Employees to Post on Your Blog

inspiring employees
Posted by Hello

We've had a fascinating little discussion over at BLOGthenticity on how to get employees to support and contribute to a business blog.

A restaurant owner is excited about blogging. He says he has 50 or 100 employees, and many are very "colorful", have interesting stories, love to talk...but refuse to post material to the company blog.

"If the colorful talkative employees posted some anecdotes, it would make the restaurant blog more interesting, contain rich content, and thus, drive blog readers to the restaurant," reasons the restaurant owner.

How to Get Employees to Post to Your Restaurant Blog:

(1.) Make it having a contest: the first 5 to post a legit and valuable writing to the blog get gift certificates, dinner for 2 with drinks and desserts. The best post of the month: 2 paid vacation days. Best post of the year: 1 extra week of paid vacation.

(2.) Don't ask them to post to the blog. Just send an email survey, asking each employee a question, like "who has been your favorite restaurant customer, and why?" or "what do you like best about the restaurant?" or "what could we do to improve the restaurant?"

Then post the best responses.

(3.) Have a suggestion box type thing, only call it the Blog Post Box, a slight pun, and let employees scribble material and pop it into that box.

(4.) Have the employees trained in blogology:

* in a banquet room

* give them a catered lunch from some other restaurant that your buddy runs

* show them what a blog is

* show them some really funny ones, some other restaurant blogs, blogs on various topics, etc.

* ask them what your blog could learn from these other cool blogs

* have employees step up to the computer and write a "practice post" that is not published (unless it's good) just to show how to do it.

Anybody have any more ideas?

If so, since comments are temporarily turned off, due to comment spam storm, please email me.

Email your comment to me and I'll post it.


Saturday, April 16, 2005

re: lurkers (pomade flambeau nebulosity)

"emulsion encumbrance" by s. streight (copywrong 2004)
Posted by Hello

A blog is a Slow Chat Room.

[You heard it here first.]

When a blog visitor reads a post, naturally they should have a mental reaction to it, and feel an irresistable urge to express themselves in a comment.

Then why do only 2% of internet users post content to websites, discussion forums, bulletin boards, or weblogs?

Here are 22 possible reasons for this posting paralysis.

Why a lurker (slacker who won’t post comments) remains a frozen or frightened embryo:


(1.) shy, withdrawn, bashful
(2.) fear of being trolled, baited, or flamed
(3.) inarticulate, clumsy communicator
(4.) in too big a hurry
(5.) needs to obtain information more than to express opinions
(6.) doesn’t know what to say
(7.) fear of alleged genius not being fully recognized and appreciated
(8.) fear of putting foot or entire leg in mouth
(9.) has had entire belief system demolished by post, functionally mute
(10.) too drunk, can barely sit at computer
(11.) too tired, can barely read computer screen
(12.) too busy eating pizza or applying nail polish
(13.) watching television and reading blog at same time
(14.) listening to loud music and reading blog at same time
(15.) mowing lawn and reading blog at same time
(16.) selfish, jealous, doesn’t want to enrich your blog with his profound wisdom
(17.) psycho-capitalistic, anti-altruistic, can’t see “what’s in it for me?”
(18.) has been told not to think for himself, thus has no opinions until they’re given to him by the Powers That Be (boss, wife, or news media)
(19.) fear of having to debate endlessly to defend simple statement
(20.) fear of making enemies online by posting offensive statement
(21.) not skilled enough with computer to enter and post a comment
(22.) afraid that the UFOs will read his comment and use it against him when they finally get their act together and take over planet Earth

Thursday, April 14, 2005

One of the Worst Blogs I've Ever Seen: talking moose

pseudo blogs suck Posted by Hello

That's it. I can take it no longer. Will this BS ever end? Somebody is smoking way too much crack.


This is not cute, not relevant, not entertaining. Old ignorant jokes. No personality.

Blogs don't have to be based on my "rules".

Blogs can take any shape, content, format, purpose. But blogs offer smart companies an opportunity to connect with customers in a candid, sincere, relevant manner. You'd think this would be the priority. Guess again.

I read 3 posts at this piece of crap blog, and that's all I could handle. I thought I was in some psycho nursery school where they throw a toy at you to distract you from the Thorazine they inject into you every hour. Can you say "brain dead"? Fire the "blog consultants" and I don't give a damn who of my allies and business bloggers were behind this one. It reeks.

Not funny. No coherent marketing strategy. No connection whatsoever with product or USP or brand spirit.

Not entertaining. Not intelligent. Not worth even looking at, unless you want to see One of the Worst Blogs I've Ever Encountered.

Enough pussy footing around and saying "the blogosphere must make room for talking moose blogs." That's just a cop out, a cover for pathetic, inept blog consultants and marketing staff.

How much more stupid, unprofessional theorizing must we be subjected to? This is wretched mediocrity and lack of business acumen. If you think I'm just "against fictional characters" check out my science fiction micro story web site, COSMOS BLOGMOS.

Grrrrrrr. Puke. People, this is insipid, insane, extremely uncreative, boring, and idiotic.

Who am I to be so bellicose? I'm an avowed enemy of the Bete Noire of the Blogosphere: the kingdom of the ghost blog, dysfunctional fictional character blog, and pseudo blog.

"Why do you call yourself...the Grate?" This is why. Now you know.

Since I think my comment may be deleted due to its extreme offensiveness, here is what I posted at The Red Couch:

If the bloatosphere starts filling up with such uncreative, worthless, idiotic garbage as this "talking moose" blog, I'm leaving the Commodity Internet and moving over to Internet 2.

This is a new low in unimaginative, non-strategic pseudo-blogging.

So much for a company being candid and forming intimate conversations with an audience. Goodbye to Al Ries, Rosser Reeves, David Ogilvy, Seth Godin, Christopher Locke, and common sense.

Hello to insipid ghost blogging and a thick wall of darkness separating company and customer, in the guise of a "talking moose".

Next time try a talking butt hole.

Posted by: Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate | April 13, 2005 11:01

I get so hateful because I hate what is happening to the Beloved Benevolent Blogosphere.

A little later, I added another comment to The Red Couch....

God, the bloatosphere is starting to anger me, it's turning idiotic overnight.

It figures. Same thing happened to postal mail (junk mail), telephone (telemarketing), television (infomercials, soap operas, most sitcoms), electro-mail (spam)...see why I issue warnings?

Robert, Shel, come on. I really admire you guys. Are you falling for such slacker wanker junk? I refuse to believe it. Get some sleep. Take a walk outside in fresh air and sunshine.

You know I am not, and never would, flame you two.

But seriously.

Online community. Transparency. Authenticity. Candid, direct, sincere conversation with customers. Flush it all down the proverbial toilet?

Some answers and some sanity please. No offense. You'll probably have to knock me up the side of the head once in a while too.

I've done some real dumb things in my life, I admit. This makes me sad to see this.

Posted by: Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate | April 14, 2005 12:25 AM

Are we going to sit back...and watch Blog Credibility, Authenticity, Relevance, Intelligence be mocked and contaminated in such a manner?

I will protest, attack, hate, and raise a war cry against this.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Apostrophica: the Problem with Blog Consultants

apostrophica Posted by Hello

We who are supposedly "consulting" with clients on how to build, write, maintain, and promote a business blog, need to work harder on perfecting our own blogs.

I see a deadly apostrophica creeping into our ranks all over the Business Sector of the Bloatosphere.

We “blog consultants” need to get our own acts together first.

We, and I include myself, need to write better, think smarter, and offer much better value to clients.

We could do more harm than good to clients.

We aren’t writing valuable posts, too many “I went to such and such conference” or “Billy Blogalot is a great blogger, let me introduce him, so he can kiss my behind later on his blog” or “guess who has a great tv commercial right now? Nike and Tiger Woods".

Give me a break.

We all need to improve, and I ain’t no role model. I need to improve more than my esteemed colleagues here, some of which Toby, Paul, and Jeremy are wonderful allies and friends.

I just don’t think our own blogs are good enough yet.

Don’t hate me for saying this, it’s my grating goading opinion onion.


[My vasperishly wicked and annoyingly contrarian comment posted on a business blog, whose author was asking "do you provide blogging consultation to clients and businesses?"]

Let's stop gazing lovingly into each other's eyes and start challenging each other to pursue excellance and seth godinian remarkable blogdoms.

We don't write good enough posts.

We don't post enough comments on our fellow bloggers' blogs.

We don't sound the alarm at dubious or demented blogging practices, like sleazy sponsored links and cultish, indiscriminate reciprocal blogrolling.

We don't offer enough practical advice.

We skip over vital issues.

We incestously link to our friends, while ignoring the obscure, but radically brilliant new and struggling business blogs out there.

We may not know who to turn to when we ourselves have questions about tip jars, anonymous blogs, crypto-blogging, code blogging, ghost blogging, team blogging, sleazy sponsored links, audio blogging, podcast search engines, good blog directories, Technorati profiles, deep linking and plagiarizing, stolen posts appearing in material for sale by scumbloggers, etc.

We hype business blogging too much...then clients complain that even though their search engine page rank is high, the blog is not putting cash in their pockets.

We are guilty of "apostrophizing".

Apostrophica: acts of marginalizing the more important blog guidelines in favor of fluff and hyperbole (exaggeration), practices involving the partial explanation of a topic of serious import.

apo = from

strephein = to turn

apostrophe =

(1.) "a turning away to address one person"

(2.) "indicate possessive case"

(3.) "to show omission of a letter or letters from a word."

We are apostrophisers.

We turn away from the real blogging guidelines and proven methods, to address a client in a simpering (silly, affected, smirking) manner to make blogging look exciting, trendy, and profitable.

We act as if we possessed the clues, secrets, and special ingredients of Super Blogging...but we can't even explain RSS, post writing, post title composition, dynamic looping, template selection, color schemes, recommended typefaces and the rationale for them, comment spam prevention, feed scraping, RSS ad spamming, dangers of personal blogging, or multiloguing (as defined by Jennifer Rice, of What's Your Brand Mantra blog, a real blog pro).

I try to cover some of these issues, but only the readers, the audience, can determine if I do it reasonably well.

We omit the really necessary facts about how:

* blogging is hard work, not always "fun" and "self-fulfilling" or "revolutionary"
* blogging must provide lots and lots of practical advice, tips, relevant info
* blogging must express your most obnoxious opinions
* blogging must be sincere, transparent, honest
* readers aren't thrilled with announcements for conferences they can't attend
* readers aren't thrilled with flimsy proclamations of articles they must link to, instead of you giving a nice summary and commentary, plus the link to the article
* you have to post more than twice a month
* you have to have something worthwhile to post about
* you have to interact with other bloggers
* you have to speak in your own authentic voice
* you have to constantly hate your blog and seek ways to improve it
* you have to visit lots of other blogs and post comments at them
* you have to reply in a timely manner to comments on your blog
* you have to accept flaming and trolling as facts of life.

I ain't no role model, as I said above.

But I am saying: "Let's provoke one another to strive for really Astonishing Super Blogs."

Please accept this post in the friendly spirit that I sincerely intend.

I'm really not so bad once you get to know me.

But know this: if I get in your face and debate you aggressively about something, there's a good chance we'll both end up a lot smarter, and tougher in our debating skills. Not flaming, just honest Socratic debate.

I seek to champion the New Improved Business Blogosphere that is coming, if we make it happen.

If you have suggestions, complaints, opposing points of view, please email me.


[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate

Monday, April 11, 2005

Comment Spammers are Doomed

for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal Posted by Hello

To comment on my blog posts, I ask that you email me your comments, at the address displayed on this blog.

Comments on all my blogs (Vaspers the Grate, Streight Site Systems, Art Test Explosion, Cosmos Blogmos, etc.) have been temporarily turned off effective today, to deal with a comment spam attack.

This attack against my blogs, and their interactive mechanisms for user-generated content, will not succeed--and I shall retaliate.

The attackers don't know what weapons I have at my disposal, but they're about to find out.

I have never experienced any problem with comment spam on any of my sites until a few days ago.

Being disabled, I don't get out much and I don't sleep much.

Which means I'm guarding and working on my blogs constantly, round the clock. There is no good time for a comment spammer to try to launch an attack against me.

I'm vigilant and diligent in removing comment spam from my blogs, to prevent an unwary user from linking to a malicious site.

And I'm attentive and tireless in alerting my allies to comment spam attacks on their blogs.

Comment Spam is a human (manual) or spambot (automated) contribution to a blog's comment field, which often contains a brief, vague intro ("Love your site. Just discovered it today. Read almost the entire article. Will return later to read more. Hey, check out these sites..."), then a list of URLs (hypertext links) for sleazy, immoral, unethical, con artist, or malicious and dangerous sites.

The purpose of comment spam is to drive traffic to these sites to sell dubious or non-existent products, and/or to attach spyware to your computer, or cause damage to your computer's files or hard drive. It is also used to boost the ranking, and thus the visibility, of the site in various search engines results lists.

MY LIGHTNING RESPONSE: I was able to spot the comment spam on my sites, and remove it immediately, thanks to some detection controls built into my bloggery boles working in conjunction with an email alert system. But I've decided to firewall the comments for a while to save me even more time and trouble, during this busy period for me.

I don't blame them for having hostile intent, since I have not downplayed or disguised my all out warfare against them.

I have proposed, sponsored, and enacted various initiatives to expose, disrupt, and harm comment spammers.

Ironically, my most popular post on Vaspers the Grate, and the one that got picked by the blogosphere more extensively than any other, was "Comment Spammers: Internet Pigs and How They Feed," which blogger Amy Gahran called a "brilliant manifesto," and she included it in her email newsletter.

ATTENTION: All Cyber Vandal Comment Spammers:
Here's a cryptic hint for you to sleuth. Do not look into laser with remaining eye!

Vasperization continues unabated.


Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate


Saturday, April 09, 2005

Ancient to Modern Spam

spam noise annoys Posted by Hello

communication tool: FACIAL EXPRESSIONS
spam intrusion: deceptive winks/smiles/grimaces, crocodile tears,masks

communication tool: GESTURES
spam intrusion: misleading body language

communication tool: VOICE
spam intrusion: spoken lies, irrelevant chatter

communication tool: PAINTINGS, MURALS, SIGNS
spam intrusion: print ads, posters, billboards, marquees

communications tool: SMOKE SIGNALS
spam intrusion: ad blimps, airplane banners, sky writing

communication tool: BOOK
spam intrusion: trashy literature

communication tool: NEWSPAPER
spam intrusion: tabloids, yellow journalism

communication tool: TELEPHONE
spam intrusion: telemarketing

communication tool: RADIO
spam intrusion: radio commercials

communication tool: FILM
spam intrusion: propaganda shorts and sales trailers

communication tool: TELEVISION
spam intrusion: tv commercials

communications tool: POSTAL MAIL
spam intrusion: junk mail

communication tool: ELECTRONIC MAIL
spam intrusion: unsolicited commercial email

communication tool: BLOG
spam intrusion: ad agency simulated blog or ghost-written blog

Some Business Books in Vaspers Library

recommended reading Posted by Hello

I'm always curious about what books others are reading, especially my colleagues and allies.

Then again, anybody. I mean, whenever I visit someone, even strangers, I normally sneak a prolonged peek at their bookshelves, then their CD collection.

I could care less about their DVD or VCR film accumulations, since I hate all movies, except maybe a few. I write constantly and listen to music as I write. The only programs I watch on TV are Seinfeld, Blotter, Mr. Show, The Apprentice, and Larry Sanders.

Mostly the only music I listen to is Stereolab, Squarepusher, Stereolab, and Stereolab.

Now I'm going to let you have a glimpse at some of my favorite and highly recommended business books in the Vaspers Library.

Credibility: How Leaders Gain It, Why People Demand It by James M. Kouzes & Barry Z. Posner (Jossey-Bass, Wiley Imprint, 2003)

Gonzo Marketing: Winning Through Worst Practices
by Christopher Locke [co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto], (Perseus, 2001)

Marketing the e-Business by Lisa Harris & Charles Dennis (Routledge, 2002)

Deming's Road to Continual Improvement
by William W. Scherkenbach (SPC Press, 1991)

Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors
by Michael E. Porter (The Free Press, 1980)

Net Gain: Expanding Markets Through Virtual Communities by John Hagel III & Arthur G. Armstrong (Harvard Business School Press, 1997)

F'd Companies: Spectacular Dot-Com Flameouts by Philip J. Kaplan (Simon & Schuster, 2002)

Homepage Usability: 50 Websites Deconstructed
by Jakob Nielsen & Marie Tahir (New Riders, 2002)

Webmaster in a Nutshell by Stephen Spainhour & Robert Eckstein (O'Reilly, 1999)

Who Let the Blogs Out?
by Biz Stone (St. Martin's Griffin, 2004)

Net Words: Creating High-Impact Online Copy
by Nick Usborne (McGraw-Hill, 2002)

Wisdom for a Young CEO by Douglas Barry (Running Press, 2004)

Attaining Manufacturing Excellance
by Robert W. Hall (Dow Jones-Irwin, 1987)

Free Prize Inside: The Next Big Marketing Idea by Seth Godin (Portfolio, 2004)

Guerilla Marketing for the Home-Based Business
by Jay Levinson & Seth Godin (Houghton Mifflin, 1995)

The One To One Future: Building Relationships One Customer at a Time
by Don Peppers & Martha Rogers, Ph.D. (Currency Doubleday, 1993)

Thriving On Chaos: Handbook for a Management Revolution
by Tom Peters (Perennial Library, Harper & Row, 1987)

How to Master the Art of Selling
by Tom Hopkins (Warner Books, 1982)

Reality in Advertising by Rosser Reeves (Alfred A. Knopf, 1961)

The Media Lab: Inventing the Future at M.I.T.
by Stewart Brand (Penguin Books, 1988)

Wired Style: Principles of English Usage in the Digital Age by Constance Hale & Jessie Scanlon [editors of Wired] (Broadway Books, 1999)

Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive: Outsell, Outmanage, Outmotivate & Outnegotiate Your Competition by Harvey Mackay (William Morrow, 1988)

Computer Confluence: Exploring Tomorrow's Technology by Beekman, Brent, Rathswohl (Benjamin/Cummings, Addison Wesley Longman, 1997)

Thursday, April 07, 2005

bloatosphere: bloated with anti-blogs

bloat and grope Posted by Hello

The blogsophere is becoming bloated with anti-blogs.

This bloated, burdensome, obese blogosphere I refer to as the "bloatosphere".

Let's consider the various components that make up the "bloatosphere".

"bloatosphere" = the realm of blogs that is becoming bloated or fattened by the rapid accumulation of anti-blogs: broadcast blogs, pseudo-blogs, simulated blogs, drivel blogs, sleazy link blogs, fictional persona blogs, and link farm blogs.

"broadcast blogs" = blogs that, by not being interactive, that is, by not enabling users to post comments or contact the blogger, violate the primary purpose of blogging, which is starting a candid, intimate conversation with a target audience.

Some bloggers will not enable comments due to comment spam problems.

Today, I had to change my setttings on one of my blogs, because I got hit with eight comment spams, and had to manually search the comments of 67 posts to find and delete them. Now, users must register if they want to post a comment on my Vaspers the Grate site.

Unilateral blogs are not all bad, and may be appropriate for certain situations. But they really are not blogs, they're quasi-blog bulletin boards.

"pseudo-blogs" (also known as "proxy-blogs") = blogs created by ad agencies or marketing professionals, who charge a sucker, I mean, client to design, ghost-write, maintain, and promote it.

It is "pseudo" because the voice posting is not the authentic, candid, personal voice of the alleged blog author, but rather a hired hand. Thus it is definitely *not* a real blog and never can be, unless the client fires the ghost blogger and starts posting his own thoughts in his own words.

It's acceptable practice to help a client to compose posts, to edit them, or to write some sample posts just to show the client how to do it. But to ghost a blog, this is not authentic or credible, IMHO. Others may disagree, but I see no good reasons for ghost-blogging. If a CEO can't blog, he should find someone in the firm who can, who knows the industry, products, and customers well.

A hired blogger who blogs about topics related to the company and its products is acceptable and not in the same class as a genuine "pseudo blog". In this case, the professional blogger is not pretending to be the client, is not putting words into the client's mouth. For example, I could see an amateur astronomer-blogger hired to write a blog for a telescope manufacturer, as long as he writes in his own persona, and doesn't pretend to be the CEO.

However, if the ghost-blogger, from outside the company and industry, who has no real passion for the product, is being paid to say nice things about the company and its products, it fills my head with question marks. It seem disingenuous, phony.

If ghost-blogs become popular and pervasive, we will grow to be skeptical about all the blogs we encounter. "Is this really Bill Gates, or someone he paid to speak for him?"

And if a ghost-blogger writes on behalf of a CEO, users are being tricked into interacting with a proxy. Isn't this what consumers dislike about much advertising, direct mail, celebrity endorsements?

Aren't we moving close to consumer fraud and false advertising when we accept proxy blogging?

Consumer: "He doesn't really use and love the product. He's getting paid big bucks to pretend he does, but actually it's a lie."

"ghost-blogging" = writing blog posts for a client, because the client...

(1.) can't write
(2.) is stupid or inept
(3.) has a fear of blogging
(4.) hates having to learn new skills, so delegates, or outsources the blogging to others
(5.) just sells product, but doesn't know anything about the industry or customers, thus literally cannot blog about it
(6.) refuses to spend the time required to learn how to blog, but thinks they "should have a blog" since it's the trendy thing to do
(7.) has been persuaded by the ad guys or marketing hacks that they can do a better job writing the blog posts, since they allegedly "specialize in communication, branding, and customer relations".

"simulated blogs" = fake blogs that a company sponsors just because it is considered the trendy thing to do, and their ad agency or marketing team is desperate to come up with some device to make the client think they still have some value.

May have no regular posting, no author, no interactivity, no blogroll, no links, no conventional blog features.

"drivel blogs" = personal blogs that are poorly written and designed, have no value except catharsis and narcissistic self-expression for the blog author, usually abandoned after author realizes no one cares or comments.

I'm not refering to digital journals, where a person is striving to keep track of items, to improve their writing skills, or to provide entertainment for friends and family.

When I say "drivel", I mean egotistic personal blogs that are created just to blabber pointlessly, sloppily recording trivial mundane events and feelings, with no value to self or others. These are like phone calls or visits from a person who chatters endlessly and annoyingly about his or her self, and expresses no interest in you.

Sometimes "drivel blogging" can infect a business blog, when business topics are buried in excessive amounts of irrelevant personal details. Be careful with adding personal details to a business blog. Don't let private revelations distract users from the more important material on your blog.

"sleazy link blogs"
= blogs created to incorporate links for, and drive traffic to, sleazy sites devoted to dubious, fraudulent, or malicious online gambling, online pharmacies, low rate loan sharks, sexual enhancement products, bogus computer products and software, con artist pseudo-charities, charlatan diet aids, etc.

"fictional persona blogs"
= phony blogs of non-existent characters who are deceptively writing about imaginary events, involving other make believe characters, fantasy adventures, and pretended musings about a customer base or product.

If a company has a branded fictional persona (e.g., Ronald McDonald, Barney, Chicken of the Sea tuna mermaid, Pillsbury doughboy), this may not be entirely bad practice, but consider the ramifications carefully. Why would you want to deliver your marketing message via a false entity? Is the CEO really that unknown or uninteresting?

"link farm blogs" = unreal, artificial blogs created simply to link to a target site, to boost its search engine and link popularity rank.