Wednesday, August 31, 2005

5 Blogs for Blog Day 2005

Blog Day 2005

august 31st, 2005

On this first Blog Day celebration, all bloggers are now displaying 5 new blogs that we heartily recommend to our readers.

Please visit these 5 blogs.

I think you'll probably find them worth adding to your Favorites Bookmarks list or your blogroll if you too are a blogger.

Then again, you may not share my tastes or enthusiasm.

Be it as it may, thanks for also, if you operate a blog, displaying YOUR own list of "5 new blogs you might want to explore" for your readers.

Let's join together to celebrate the wonders of the blogosphere...on Blog Day 2005.

Some Blog Definitions:

Blogs = first universal publishing system in history.

Blogs = fast, easy web content creation, updating, networking, and editing tool for non-geeks with no knowledge of HTML.

Blogs = free information hubs, to which you can contribute your own opinions or observations, to which you can add any textual content you want.

Blogs = two-way conversations between any two internet-connected people via the web.

Blogs = slow chat rooms.

Blogs = decentralized public micro/macro-casting of independent, uncensored, unedited, original content.

Blogs = multi-directional, multi-media enabled, digital communication platforms.

Blogs = the democratization of web content.

Blogs = "an email to the world" (Doc Searls).

Blogs = self-magnifying mouthpieces for activistic transformative process elucidation and proliferation.

Blogs are electro-telepathic conduits of mental revolution.


About Blog Day 2005

What is BlogDay?

BlogDay was initiated with the belief that bloggers should have one day which will be dedicated to know other bloggers, from other countries or areas of interests. In that day Bloggers will recommend about them to their Blog visitors.

Read my original post:

Blog Day 2005

What will happen on BlogDay?

In one long moment on August 31st, bloggers from all over the world will post a recommendation of 5 new Blogs...

...preferably, blogs different from their own culture, point of view and attitude.

On this day, blog surfers will find themselves leaping and discovering new, unknown Blogs, celebrating the discovery of new people and new bloggers.

Why do we need a BlogDay?

I am suggesting this kind of activity because in the last months I felt that the more blogs there are, the less time I’m spending on new web logs.

Because of the overload of information, I’m just visiting my favorite blog and therefore, I’m sure that I miss a lot of good blogs.

Who am I?

My name is Nir Ofir.

I'm the Editor in Chief of an Israeli Portal:

I consider my self as an innovation evangelistand and an entrapreneur. Experienced in initiating, founding and running "Userland" type of web based services.

I'm known for founding Israel's first commercial Weblog service and as the creator of the "BlogTV" service – Live Broadcasted web logs.

You can read more about me, the Israeli Blogging scene and BlogDay project in my blog.


Vaspers the Grate's

5 Recommended Blogs:

(1) Hello my name is Scott

(2) 10,000 Birds

(3) Edge Perspectives with John Hagel

(4) Lessig Blog

(5) Electronic Frontier Foundation

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate


What TV commercials should do

As a former advertising copywriter (copy = ad text), and direct marketing copy director, I am tempted to comment on blogs when the topic is advertising or commercials.

Doggone it, I did it again.

Here's what I posted as a comment to:

Deboer on Marketing and Creativity

"Rebirth of the 30 second spot"

[Be sure to visit Bruce's blog and see the full text of what I'm reacting against.]

[QUOTE -- comment by Steven/Vaspers]

I hate and despise the Chrysler and Hardee's commercials, in fact, just about all car commercials.

In automotive commercials, almost always, they show people driving wildly or at least at super high speeds, dangerous for anyone.

When you say you like TV commercials, I wonder about our difference in taste.

Can you name any?

To say they are "entertaining", "emotive", and "tied intimately to a brand"...nice, but wrong.

These are not what a TV commercial is supposed to be or do.

What TV Commercials Are Supposed to Do:

(1) provide product differentiation, a USP, reason to buy

(2) dramatize how the product solves a problem, meets a need, or enhances life/lifestyle

(3) dramatize why we need to BUY IT NOW...not tomorrow, which never comes

(4) dramatize what might probably happen if we DON'T buy it now

(5) dramatize how easy it is to buy product now

(6) explain how to buy it now, where to go, what to do

(7) explain any special offers or deals

(8) end with the name of the product (almost never done).

Posted by: Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate | Wednesday, August 31, 2005


[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

What determines true value of a blog?

What determines the
true value of a blog?

Not what you might think, or have been led to think by arrogant pop bloggers.

Before I explain, let's look at how Vaspers the Grate, a low traffic, but somewhat respected and authoritative business blog, ranks in TTLB The Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem. Okay?

The Truth Laid Bear tracks and ranks blogs by traffic, but I was unable to discover much more information about their system. Oh well...

Just scroll down my right sidebar until you see my ranking, there, under the link to Carrie's The Wrath of Grapes/Omnamaste blog. See? It says, when I last checked, "Crawly Amphibian".

Not bad for a specialty business blog.

Here is a copy and pasted list of their ranking system categories.

(I just noticed how "ranking by links" and "ranking by traffic" are both mentioned, and are not the same. Which is it? Now I'm confused as to what this TTLB ranking is all about. Maybe a reader can enlighten me.)


Ranking By Links

Higher Beings

Mortal Humans

Playful Primates

Large Mammals

Marauding Marsupials

Adorable Rodents

Flappy Birds

Slithering Reptiles

Crawly Amphibians

Flippery Fish

Slimy Molluscs

Lowly Insects

Crunchy Crustaceans

Wiggly Worms

Multicellular Microorganisms

Insignificant Microbes


True Value of a Blog:

* NOT number of comments

* NOT number of other blogs linking to it in blogrolls

* NOT number of other blog posts linking to it

* NOT number of hits from unique visitors

* NOT the MSM news coverage of the blog

* NOT frequency of posts

* NOT amount of words per post

* NOT how pretty or ugly the design is

* NOT how brazenly it uses the F word, or other vulgarisms

* NOT how many nude photos it contains

* NOT how antagonistic it is to everyone and everything

* NOT how many conferences and conventions the blogger attends and smugly posts about

* NOT how much clinking (clique linking) it engages in

* NOT how many blogs are listed in its blogroll

* NOT how many links to reputable or popular blogs it contains in posts

* NOT how many comments are praising it and kissing its butt


(1) How relevant, accurate, and unique its content is

(2) How engaging it is in writing style (funny, smart, scholarly, whatever is appropriate for topic and audience)

(3) How up-to-date its content is

(4) How much original thinking is presented, instead of just a sentence or two, with links to other posts at other blogs...unless the blog is a legit "link log" like Robot Wisdom or Instapundit

(5) How quickly, kindly, and thoroughly the blogger respondes to comments by readers

(6) How usable the design, navigation, and functions are

(7) How credible the blog is (indicated by presence of About/Profile/Bio, Contact, testimonials--like I display in my right sidebar, etc.)

(8) How much satisfaction YOU get from expressing your writing skills, personality, expertise, art, photos, opinions, ideas, sense of humor, problems, questions, etc.

Concluding Statements

The TTLB "ecosystem", and other fun ranking systems, are amusing.

I saw a blog that displayed "Insignificant Microbe" in TTLB Ecosystem, and I just laughed. I didn't think any less of the blog. How popular, how much traffic a blog gets, has absolutely nothing to do with how relevant and credible it is.

I also want to state this: some of my favorite blogs have little traffic, and almost NO comments. I feel a little sad when I see "0 comments" at nearly every post, and I try to think of something intelligent and On Topic to post as a comment at a few posts.

One way to increase reader loyalty, and your own winsomeness, is to engage in a little self-parody once in a while. If you can poke fun at yourself, it makes people feel more comfortable and more receptive to you.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the [Crawly Amphibian] Grate


Even houses have blogs now

Even houses have blogs now...

I stumbled onto this blog, or blog portal to be exact, during my perusal of today's Google Alerts in my Gmail inbox.

If you have Gmail and want to stay current on various topics of interest, set up some Google Alerts. This is one of my secrets for discovering news and issues related to blogs and blogology.

The blog:

I call it a "blog portal" because it collects and presents excerpts, with read mores and links, to other house, home repair, home improvement, and real estate-oriented blogs. Houseblogs [dot] net acts as a portal, doorway, entrance, guide, or starting page, to all these other relevant blogs.

It calls itself, in a graphic in the left side column, "A Home Improvement Community". I wish the graphic background were lighter, because it obscures the text a little, just enough to be slightly annoying to a perfectionist artist/writer like me.

I love the header graphic at the top of the blog, containing the name or title of this blog.

Overall, the blog has a clean, tidy, well organized appearance.

It contains such articles or regular departments as: "Recent Entries from Housebloggers", "House Blog Headlines", "Featured Houseblog", and, get this, "Bamboo Toilet Seats".

Posts include updates on home remodeling projects, great deals on tools at Sears, repair tips and advice, etc., plus links to blogs by people who are blogging their home improvement activities.

This is merely a quick, cursory overview of the blog.

I didn't spend a lot of time on it, since, although I'm buying a bungalow semi-fixer upper myself, I have tons to do today, and this is interrupting my schedule. A pleasant and relevant interruption however.


I told my real estate agent that there are real estate blogs, like Curbed and Hotel Chelsea. Now I can tell her about this one.

After I posted a comment, on the posted comment page of this blog, I saw a line of text that appeared just below the blog header, thus in a very visible and prominent position, that read:

"First time visitor? [etc.]"

I feel this should be on the main index page of the blog also. This is called User Orientation, and every blog and web site and wiki should include a direct and immediately visible guide to newbies and new visitors to a site.

In fact, I think my own User Orientation could be improved, perhaps by explaining not only what a "blog" is, but what my blog contains and its intended audience. I need to get on this, today. See how I burden myself? Blogging is hard work if you wish to do it effectively and professionally. is an MT (Movable Type) 3.2 blog, recently upgraded, with some rendering problems in Firefox. I haven't checked it in IE or other browsers yet.

The rendering problems are in the graphic subheads:

Bungalow Sweet Bung
House in Prog
Party like it's
The Polom House
The Petch House
Steve and Juli
1912 Bungalow


These graphic subheads are getting chopped off at either the bottom or the far right. I posted a comment under the "Technical Difficulties" post, explaining the Firefox rendering problem.

There's a link in the left column called "Create a Site". Of course, this was the second function, after comment, that I selected to investigate. I will now quote the entire text of that page. I think I may follow their example and have a similar link and page in my blogs. Consider the same for your blog.

Why just entice readers to return to your blog? Why not also explain what a blog is and what your blog deals with (User Orientation)? And why not also help them to create their own blog?

[QUOTE--from Create a Site page of]

Become a Houseblogger

A weblog is like an online diary. And a HouseBlog is an online diary about your house!

It is a web application where you can publish your writing and/or your photographs on a periodic basis. Entries (or diary pages) are usually published in reverse chronological order.

Weblogs can usually be viewed by any internet user. (They are public.) They often allow readers to leave comments. They may link readers to other web pages through the use of hyperlinks.

Want a HouseBlog? Starting one can be simple...or complex! Free...or for a fee!

Top 5 Reasons You Should “Blog” Your House

1. If you stare at photos long enough, you can figure out where you left the electric drill.

2. Why keep all of this home improvement pain to yourselves? Share it with friends and family!

3. Keep a historical record to prove to others, “See! We really HAVE made progress!”

4. Keep stress low by laughing at disasters! (You know what an interesting blog entry that they will make!)

5. Record for future changes and maintenance. Never guess where you put the electrical conduit again! Photos let you see and remember where the “stuff” behind the walls ended up.

Here are some great resources
to check out if you are new to blogging:

This first link will give you a tour of blogging basics and walk you through creating a blog on How Blogs Work

This is an overview of various blog tools, how to use Google to help others find your blog, how to attract new readers and more!

Newbie FAQ 101: How to Make a Blog


Needless to say, I'll be returning to this blog frequently, and darn it to heck, they may just twist my arm into "blogging my bungalow" as my wife and I upgrade it to Bungalow 3.0 (a previous owner added a dorky sunroom from a kit to it).

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate


Monday, August 29, 2005

metaphysical cleansing

metaphysical cleansing Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 28, 2005

blog search engine debate

Blog Search Engine Debate

Have you ever wanted to get the latest buzz on an issue, but wanted only blogospheric sources, not MSM, website, or other non-blogginess?

Have you ever wished you could find high quality blogs on a given topic?

Have you ever been overwhelmed by the sheer number of blogs...

...and underwhelmed by the relevance, reliability, or richness of their content?

Have you ever found a blog directory that was valuable?

Have you ever done a search on a keyword and seen in the results list only blogs that had a sentence or two, with a link to another blog on that topic?--thus, these blogs were of no value at all, yet ranked high on SE results pages?

Mark Cuban to the Rescue?

Mark Cuban of Blog Maverick is trying to solve this problem with his Ice Rocket blog search engine and blog tracking service. I need to explore this site more, as I think it now has BlogPulse type features in it.

A debate is raging in the blogosphere: how should blogs be ranked?

According to how many other blogs link to it in blogrolls or posts (link popularity)? Or according to how many high traffic blogs link to it (traffic popularity)? Or according to how many credible, authoritative blogs link to it (link authority)?

I vote for link authority criteria, and I am opposed to all other criteria, but I am also still examining this issue, and cannot make any iron-clad, etched-in-stone pronouncements yet.

Great Articles on This Topic

To begin to understand this issue, check out the very smart posts on Blog Maverick:

"The however many"

"A splog here, a splog there"

"How many bloggers love me"

Incestuous (or) Clinking Blogs

One of the unethical strategies some bloggers use is called "Incestuous Linking", which I have called "clinking" or clique linking. These blogs link to each other as a matter of policy, and refuse to acknowledge, blogroll, or post about other blogs. You have to be in their butt kissing clique for them to affirm your existence.

Not only is this a sleazy tactic, what makes it worse is that these blogs are content-poor. They simply promote themselves and their clique.

A clinking, or incestuous, blog is full of references to the blogger's personal life, professional achievements, and offerings. Not much practical information is dispensed. Posts are endlessly promoting conferences, speaking engagements, seminars, e-books, consulting services, etc. ad nauseum.

When one clinking blog does manage to post a little relevant content, the other blogs praise it and link to the article. The clink-bloggers also swarm the post with comments, always postitive, of course.

Guess what?

These conferences are merely mutual admiration gatherings of other clink-bloggers. Not much substance is presented in their precious, highly hyped "speeches". If they can think of some "controversial" issue to unexpectedly unleash, even if it has nothing to do with blogs, they'll unleash it...with lots of fanfare.

I'm no expert on search engines, but I would imagine that one way to stop these empty, one might even call them "pseudo blogs", is to penalize such monstrosities in search engine results.

The way to penalize them is to give far greater weight to authoritative blogs.

Authority Ranking for Blogs

Here's a possible solution:

Weight the search engine results to favor any references to a post, any links, that come from established expert blogs. What are these blogs? Who are the real authorities of the blogosphere?

Some of the blogs I respect most include:

* Evhead (Evan Williams)
* Tom Peters
* Seth's Blog (Seth Godin)
* Hello, my name is Scott (Scott Ginsberg)
* Crossroads Dispatches (Evelyn Rodriguez)
* Tinbasher (Paul Woodhouse)
* Photo Matt (Matt Mullenweg)
* Edelman (Richard Edelman)
* Ad Rants (Steve Hall)
* Intuitive Life Business Blog (Dave Taylor)
* Joho the Blog (David Weinberger)
* Tinbasher (Paul Woodhouse)
* Blog Write for CEOs (Debbie Weil)
* Blog Maverick (Mark Cuban)
* Micro Persuasion (Steve Rubel)
* Plastic Bag (Tom Coates)
* Security Awareness Blog (Greg W. Hoffman)
* Ensight (Jeremy Wright)
* Naked Conversations (Robert Scoble, Shel Israel)

...and many others of this caliber.

This is by no means an exhaustive, comprehensive list of reliable business blogs and bloggers.

These blogs are also not perfect, not always in agreement with my way of thinking, and not always brilliant. Sometimes I scratch my head over what I consider frivolous topics. But over the long haul, they have a much better track record than most other business blogs.

For more, see my blogroll and Triumphalist Blogger Honor Roll in the right sidebar column, including Digg and Lockergnome.

You may certainly have your own list of blogs you trust, respect, and honor. Those blogs should be in your blogroll, or in a "Daily Reads", or other type list, so your readers can find them, and can benefit from reading them.

But be sure to cite and link to other blogs, not just the ones in your blogroll. Avoid clinking, or incestuous linking, at all costs. If you don't, it may come back to haunt you, or bite you in the butt.

For another post that addresses this issue, see "My Top 40" by Greg W. Hoffman:

DISCLAIMER: Vaspers the Grate is in this list. I have no idea why. LOL.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate


Friday, August 26, 2005

How to kill the blogosphere

How To Kill the Blogosphere

Do you have a blog?

Do you check the truthfulness of every comment posted at your blog?

Do you make sure that no comments are slander, libel, defaming, or otherwise subject to legal prosecution by an individual, company, or organization?

Someone may decide to sue you, not for what you write, but for what someone else posted as a comment.

Sued for comments by others, posted at your blog.

Think this is just a paranoid fantasy? Guess again. It's happening right now, and you, or I, could be next in line.

Lawsuits based on comments at a blog is the new gloom and doom for the blogosphere. It could mean the end of all blogs. Think it can't happen? Think again.

I'm tired of blogocombat, but I'm forced into it every day. This time, I'll let my buddy Dave Taylor clue you in.

"SEO Book's Aaron Wall Sued
Over Comments on His Weblog

by Dave Taylor
August 26, 2005

What are we bloggers going to do? If we disable comments, if we don't allow our readers to interact with us, then blogs will be nothing but link logs or pulpit pounding. Candid conversations with customers or fans will no longer exist.

Very few readers will interact with a blog via email.

Even if readers do email a blog author, if the blogger posts these emailed comments in their blog, we're right back where we started. It will just be a more convoluted form of the same thing: a blog with reader comments. Comments that might result in lawsuits.

Read his post, then consider posting your opinion on his blog. Let him know what you think of this garbage. And/ a comment here at this blog.


[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate



My second comment that I posted to Dave's blog under this topic...


Since blogs are a powerful and increasingly popular vehicle for stating all sorts of controversial, combative, and confrontational viewpoints, there will be misanthropic forces determined to silence or control the blogosphere and its contents.

We have seen the extreme measures used to regulate, license, and stifle expression in radio and television.

I have been predicting that the free-for-all ideological expressive anarchy, or freedom from tyranny, in the blogosphere will not last for long.

The McCain-Feingold legislation, trying to claim that a link to, or even a remark about, a politician is a "financial contribution", was just one of the early steps in this direction of thought control and mental repression.

Here is the rumbling of yet another avenue of dictatorial control. Amorphous, tangled, and imprecise, the floundering will crystalize eventually into stern measures designed to limit free expression of political, religious, sexual, philosophical ideology.

We in the blogging community must rise up to understand the issues, with the kind help of professionals in the realms of law and ethics.

Posted by: steven streight aka vaspers the grate on August 28, 2005 11:23 AM



Yet another comment I posted to Dave's blog:


Will an erudite scholar please address the issue of blogger initiating a lawsuit against a comment poster, pursuant to his right to protect his blog from cyber vandalism, graffitti, or other defacing of digital property, i.e., the blog itself?

If a comment is researched with due diligence and a reasonable amount of time and effort, and the blogger, based on this prudent activity, is sure in his own necessarily fallible and limited understanding, that the comment is not damaging or false, how can the blogger be liable?

This is a big stinking pile of you know what.

Posted by: steven streight aka vaspers the grate on August 29, 2005 02:25 PM


- = +

Thursday, August 25, 2005

How I can help a company that wants to blog: Part One

How I can help a company
that wants to blog...but can't.

Companies need guidance in implementing these principles in specific environments. General principles must be supplemented with applied blogology for individual scenarios within unique industry parameters.

I could reveal Everything I Know About Blogs and Usability...and it still would not be enough.

The secret to effective blogging is in the Implementation Specifications, NOT in General Guidelines.

My friend Samantha Rufo of nxtConcepts

mentioned in an email that she has some clients who want to start blogs, but are not good writers. To blog well, it takes good general writing skills, and a special writing style appropriate to the online realm, the target audience, and the firm's unique corporate culture.

Writing style and format for blogs are very different from writing style and format in print publications, and somewhat different from web site content writing.

A company that flounders around in a blog, not knowing what it's doing, will cause more harm than good for itself.

Blogging poorly is worse than not blogging at all.

So how does a blogologist approach this problem?

By offering to "ghost blog", i.e., write "for" a CEO? Should the blogologist "pretend" to be the company's CEO and craft posts that the CEO merely signs off on?

NO. This is pseudo-blogging and is deceptive, self-defeating, and counter productive.


Think about it.

If readers post comments, with whom are they interacting? The CEO...or the ghost blogger? And who replies to their comments? The CEO...or his/her staff...or the ghost blogger?

Blog readers demand to interact with, have a candid conversation with, the actual CEO, or whatever spokesperson the company decides to have as its representative.

To fake it, to substitute a ghost writer, is unethical and unwise.

To hire a blogger to write glowing reviews about a company and its products: this is online suicide. Blog readers will see through it and reject such nonsense.

I will never ghost write any blog.

I will never blog about any product for pay.

But I will do some other things, that I consider ethical, smart, and effective.

In Part Two, I'll explain what they are.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate


Microsoft history includes Vaspers the Grate

Microsoft history now includes Vaspers the Grate.

This is a bit of a thrill to little obscure Vaspers, the Giant Killer. He's blushing like a ton of tomatoes.

Most of you probably know that I've been contributing what we web usability guys call "user generated content" aka (also known as) "comments" to The Red Couch blog.

Microsoft Chief Blogger, Robert Scoble, and marketing consultant and author Shel Israel have been blogging about a book on business blogging. And the name of that blog is The Red Couch, now aka Naked Conversations.

I was a rather early comment contributor to their blog. Thus, I got embroiled in most of the blogocombat that caused sparks to fly and flames to leap high into the air. How much Bill Gates paid attention to this is unknown to me, but he may have popped in, as a silent lurker, now and then.

Anyway, I was mouthy, brazen, strident, combative, and relentless in my commentary. Not only did I post tons of comments, not only was I often the first to post a comment on any given post, but I also fired off numerous emails to Robert and Shel when I wanted to communicate something privately, aka "back channel".

Sometimes the warfare was frenzied and I verged on sounding like a screaming maniac...when some wanker annoyed me with blatant and unrepentant stupidity. I would keep hammering my opinion until I either convinced or exhausted any opposition. Many times, I had the last word in a comment thread. This is called Triumphalist Blogging.

My proudest moment was when they finally, after prolonged and hot-as-hell heated debate, and my repeated pulverizing of their editor's idea, decided to agree with me, and dropped the book title "Blog or Die".

The point that pushed them to my side was when I said "in some countries, it's Blog AND Die. Bloggers in repressive regimes are killed or imprisoned for blogging and expressing opinions critical of a religion or a government system."

Instead of "Blog or Die", the editor came up with "Naked Conversations", which I totally hate, but in a rare moment of gentlemanly sweetness, I decided to leave it alone. If I launched a campaign against this title, I might be perceived as hopelessly, super-argumentatively antagonistic, and God forbid that I should accidentally achieve that dubious distinction. LOL

So anyway, here's an edited post, published today by Shel Israel, in which he expresses his appreciation for us input warriors.


Acknowledgement--Thanks to You All

by Shel Israel
August 25, 2005

We would like to thank all of the people who gave us constructive input through the blogosphere in the last six months. It is logitically a daunting task and below is draft #1. It includes most of you who left us comments. As we completed it, we realized that we had not followed track backs.

Also, we eliminated any Comments that were not clearly from real humans.

[STREIGHT: A veiled reference to spambot comment spam, something I repeatedly emailed them about, demanding that they immediately delete it, and get better at preventing it. I'm somewhat famous in the blogosphere as a Comment Spam Killer.]

If you left an email and no URL, we eliminated the email address, but will restore it upon your request. If we overlooked you, please let us know. There is still time to add names. If you gave us a link and missed you, please also tell us and we will add you in.

Also, this chapter needs to be edited into hardcopy so the links are to the right of your name, rather than hyperlinked.


The authors give special thanks and undying gratitude to:

* Howard Israel, for teaching his baby brother a passion for books.
* Charlie O’Brien, an eternal friend and mentor.
* Andy Ruff for having the idea that became Naked Conversations.
* Buzz Bruggeman , the Connection King for bringing Scoble and Israel together.
* Dave Winer and Dori Smith for getting Scoble interested in blogging to begin with.
* Vic Gundotra for taking a deep business risk on hiring Scoble into Microsoft.
* Loic LeMeur, for opening Europe to us, and giving us some of our favorite business stories.
* Six Apart for extraordinary cooperation throughout this project.
* Cluetrain Manifesto’s authors Doc Searles, David Weinberger, Rick Levine and Christopher Lock for inspiring this book long before we dreamed of writing it.
* Ernie Svenson, for giving us our funniest moment. As he told us how he loved technology, the phone line went dead.
* Jill Fallon for contributing the most interesting story that did not fit into our book.
* Brewster, Shel’s loyal companion and Kinko, who shared his workdesk.
* Jim Minatel being a friend as well as an editor.
* Joe Wikert for being right about publishers and authors being partners and for picking up the Valentine's dinner tab
* Faithe Wempen our copy editor who proved she is well-named.
* Steven Streight who posted nearly as many words to our blog as we did.
* To the denizens of the blogosphere of you who left intelligent, constructive and useful comments:

[snip--a dense listing of other valued commenters, including my good friends Paul Woodhouse and Jeremy C. Wright]

Thank you one and all


So, dear friends and allies, this is a nice thing, right?

Now, I know many of you have no great love for Microsoft or Bill Gates, but I do like them. I use MSN dial up internet connection, but I use Firefox browser.

I like Windows OS, though I know that the vulnerabilities may be due to their commercial pandering to the dumbed down file sharers and newbies who want to do lots of frivolous activities.

I hate and despise crackers and worm/virus/malware code writers who, in their hatred for Windows and MS, infect the web with their scumbag creations. Opposing a large corporation is one thing, destroying home PCs and organizational networks is quite another.

Virus/worm/malware writers: screw you and your mother.

But, happy day, I, the notorious Vaspers the Grate, the love machine, the most hated blogger in the blogosphere, after Maddox, I am now a tiny part of Microsoft and blogospheric history. Nice.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Blogosphere needs more hate

The blogosphere needs more hate.

I mean that with all my seething, sweltering heart.

As more and more conservative business losers, pampered wanker sissy boys, and loony tunes fanatics invade the blogosphere, I think we're seeing a general dumbing down and crybabifying effect.

Seth Godin warned that as the drivel blogs accumulate, the overall value of the blogosphere plummets accordingly. He's right about that, you know.

My good friend Dave Taylor has been keystroking some powerful and valuable posts lately. Sometimes I agree with him, sometimes I don't. But he does provoke thought.

Recently he's even been on a I Hate Podcasts binge, which I admire. (See August 2005 posts at his blog.) Podcasts of lectures and interviews are much too long-winded, including my own.

Now I just stumbled upon this delightful cautionary post:

"Business Blogging Tip: It's a Jungle Out There"

Dave tries to prepare business leaders for the occasional flame comment.

But see, I like it when a comment flames me, especially if I really did do or say something that needs a harsh criticism.

Constant praise makes us self-indulgent, careless, full of grandiose delusions. But criticism, complaints, attacks make us tougher, smarter, more precise.

I visit some personal blogs for a change of pace, and I read some amazing comments. One type of comment I encounter a lot is: "Thanks for taking a stand against that. Most bloggers have no guts and avoid confrontation. I'm glad you spoke up and voiced a legitimate critique."

Blog readers seem surprised to read a post that really expresses a hostile opinion about something that is truly evil, selfish, or stupid. Of course, my readers are blessed with a steady diet of no-nonsense, no holds barred, bold and blunt dealing with a variety of issues.

Let's see what Dave Taylor says on this subject of harsh comments at business blogs, then I'll give you my pointed response.

[QUOTE by Dave Taylor, August 18, 2005]

One of the things about business blogging that has a tendency to surprise corporate people who are used to a world of control, of polite and professional interaction, of carefully managed interaction, executive "handlers", and planned messaging: bloggers can be a pretty merciless bunch.

Ask anyone who has been involved in the blogosphere for any length of time and you'll hear stories about a few words taken out of context, a single sentence out of a 650 word essay that is misinterpreted and then takes on a life of its own.

Not that this sort of thing doesn't happen with corporate communications anyway, but once your words are online, easily quoted and efficiently disseminated, they're also quite easily misquoted.

If you're getting ready to start blogging, make sure you're also ready to have people say bad things about you outside of your sphere of influence.

This facet of business blogging isn't always apparent because most of the business blog community itself has a good professional ethic and while they'll disagree with corporate positions, they tend not to take potshots at the bloggers.

But cast your net more widely and you'll find that the bloggers outside the mainstream or the bloggers that don't consider themselves "business" bloggers are happy to take potshots, often in your own comment stream, but just as often on their own weblogs where the best you can do is add your own comment in response to what they say or, perhaps, to just ignore it.

However it happens, and whatever response you decide to utilize, do recognize that the more your company becomes visible online, the more you'll find that you're written about -- for better and worse -- online too.

And my advice? Roll with it. Focus on the positive. Write good content and stay on message, on your message.

[END QUOTE by Dave Taylor]

[Vaspers the Grate responds vasperishly...]

Here's the comment I posted in response to my buddy Dave's post.

I encourage pot shots, directed at myself, and at everyone else.

Not comment spam, trolling, baiting, or abuse, but real live livid vivid COMPLAINTS and Criticism is desperately needed.

The rough and tumble world of the blogosphere is not for pampered sissies who played sports where no score is taken so there are no losers.

Companies need to hear the complaints of consumers. When the corporate losers outsource customer service, we shall insource bitching.

We are the battle scarred insourcers, hating every bone in their rotten bodies, the corporate scum.

We hate, hate, hate, and love every stinking minute of it.

March on harsh commenters. I beat the martial drum for you.


My point, and I hope everyone catches it accurately, is NOT that hate in itself is "good".

My point is: the MSM (mainstream media), governments, religions, and corporations have told us to shut up and passively listen for too long.

We're sick of pulpit pounding with no Q & A, seminars with no interaction, professors lecturing ad nauseum as we race to scratch notes, and advertising that forces idiotic commercials on us everywhere we go.

Now the dummies who are naive enough to start a blog are going to hear from us.

"Blog, busineses, blog" we coax.

"Blog, CEOs, blog" we tempt.

"Blog, pastor, blog" we taunt.

"Blog, professor, blog" we chant.

"Blog, politician, blog" we sing.

They have no idea what we're REALLY after.

We encourage them to start blogging, not for their benefit, not as another advertising medium, but for our benefit, so we can bitch and gripe and yell at them.



Lovelessly yours,

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate


Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Donald Trump blog controversy

Check out the Donald Trump blog controversy I'm engaged in over at my Blog Core Values blog.

First installment: "Donald Trump vs. email"

Next (coming in a few minutes several minutes): "Mark Cuban vs. Donald Trump"

Discover how I could not post a comment at The Trump Blog, how The Trump brags about having the best tech people, and how Donald's blog is just another link in a long chain of self-adoration and despising the poor and downtrodden.

Vasperishly yours,

the love machine blogger: Vaspers the Grate


Blogger is having technical problems.

I cannot post that installment #2 on the Donald Trump blog controversy right now.

I shall keep trying.

If this appears, that in itself will be a miracle. Blogger has been having lots of problems, very strange problems lately. Like my not being able to edit a post, like "document contains no data" on this post when I try to publish this Edit Update, etc.

So I'm not messing with you, promising something, then neglecting to deliver.

For now, go visit Mark Cuban's blog post "Thank you, Donald" and I will post my commentary on this Mark Cuban post later. Hopefully, depending on Blogger, I will be able to post it tomorrow.

Blog Maverick

But see, I can't promise, with Blogger's tech problems overriding my desire.


It's published now.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate

Blogger fights comment spam

Blogger Fights
Comment Spam

I've been a fiercely aggressive enemy of spam: email, trackback, guestbook, RSS feed, and blog comment spam.

To fight this foe, I have posted many articles exposing them, and unveiling the tactics spammers use.

I visit other business and marketing blogs, and when I've seen comment spam, I've demanded, via comments and emails to the blog authors, that they immediately delete it. I've raised a hundred kinds of hell with other bloggers for being lazy, inept, or ignorant about comment spam.

I've fully explained the many issues, preventive measures, and hazards of blog comment spam. I've described what it generally looks like and why a blog visitor should NEVER click on any links displayed in spam comments.

Fortunately, my blogs have only rarely, and for short periods of time, been targeted by spammers. Once, I turned off comments on all my blogs, for a month or two. I hated doing this, but I was spending too much time deleting the spam comments.

My Current Battle
Against Comment Spam

Right now, my blogs are under attack again by comment spammers, apparently more than one, judging by the types of spam.

Since this Vaspers the Grate blog is a "blogology and web usability" blog, it's even more critical for me to monitor and combat comment spam. I have to set a good example for other bloggers.

This time, I'm not turning off comments. Instead, I'm diligently monitoring my blogs, via Comment Notifications at my Gmail inbox.

Every time any comment appears on my blogs, an email notification is sent to my Gmail inbox. I can instantly tell if a comment is legitimate, or irrelevant, detrimental comment spam. All I have to do to go right to the spam comment is click on the blog title link at the bottom of the email notification.

I check my Gmail inbox periodically every day, and more so now that comment spam has been showing up in my blogs.

Blogger's New
Anti-Spam Tool

Now Blogger has introduced another Anti-Comment Spam tool: "word verification" (or "captcha").

You've probably seen this at various blogs. Dave Taylor uses it, for example, at his Intuitive Life Business Blog. Before you publish your comment, you have to visually recognize and type in a word or number appearing in a box. The box usually has a background that slightly obscures the letters or numbers, and the letters and numbers may be warped slightly.

A "word verification" or "captcha" device is designed to block automated programs ("spambots") that prowl around the blogosphere, seeking blogs to deposit comment spam in. Theoretically, only sighted human beings will be able to read and type in the contents of the verification box.

Blogger also uses this verification device in the final stage of Blog Creation, thus preventing "blogbots", automated blog creation programs, from creating multiple blogs as "link farms" that exist exclusively to drive traffic to other sites.

Suggested Comment Settings
for Blogger/Blog*Spot Blogs

Go to Dashboard.

Then your blog name [e.g., Vaspers the Grate].

Then Settings.

Then Comments.

Once at settings for comments, what I suggest you configure is displayed in dark red type.


Comments: Show

Who can comment?: Anyone

Default for posts: New Posts Have Comments

Comments Timestamp Format:
Tuesday August 23, 2005 8:53:35 AM

Show comments in a popup window?: No

Show word verification for comments?: Yes

Show profile image on comments?: Yes

Comment notification address (we email you at this address when someone leaves a comment on your blog): [type in the email address you want to use for this notification]

Save Settings: [click-select this]

Republish: [click-select this]

Republish Entire Blog: [click-select this]

Your blog published successfully.
View Blog: [click-select this]

You're done. That was easy, wasn't it? Do this for all your blogs. Then you can relax a little, with a bit less to worry about.

You have now implemented two powerful tools to help combat, or prevent, comment spammers from using your blog as a free bulletin board to post their crap on.

Links in comment spam go to porn sites, con artist product sales sites, or sites that will attach such malware as viruses, Trojans, or spyware on your computer or network. Comment spam is also an attempt to boost site ranking in link popularity lists or in search engine results.

NOTE: You may still get comment spam on your blogs, if a human spammer hand codes it in the comment form. The "word verification" only prevents automated programs from posting spam on your blog.

Remember these two tools to fight comment spam:

(1) "Show word verification for comments"

(2) "Comment notification address"

If you unfortunately do need to turn off comments on your blog for a period of time, simply go to "Who can comment?" and click-select "No one may post comments on this blog" or however it's worded.

You may also turn off comments on individual posts by click-selecting, at the bottom of the post entry form, right below "For keyboard shortcuts..." and just above "Save as Draft"/ "Publish Post":

Allow New Comments on This Post: No

Email me or Post a Comment
if you have any further questions...

...or any other suggestions or
insights to share.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate


Sunday, August 21, 2005

Independence equals arguments

Independence equals arguments.

If you try to be innovative, creative, non-conformist, anti-mediocre, beyond the run-of-the-mill, special, unique, unusual, non-boring, or simply "yourself"...

...expect conflict to come banging on your door.

You may be shy, reticent, withdrawn, quiet, reserved, and given to understatement.

Too bad for you.

You won't stay meek and mild for long.

Sooner or later, someone will force you into a position in which you'll have to take a strong and not uncertain stand. You'll either express your contrary opinion, politely stifle yourself, or retreat into a cowardly hole.

I'm not saying that confrontation is always appropriate or productive. Sometimes it's best to just ignore statements, keep your thoughts to yourself, and seek common ground in some other territory.

But many times, you must speak up and voice your opinion. To remain silent and unassuming may be interpreted as agreement, or being too dumb to even have any opinion.

If you bow to peer pressure, if you want to be "liked" more than anything else, if you hate and dread any kind of conflict, you might have an easy, wimpy life. But if you think outside the box, if you form independent opinions, if you question everything, get ready for a rough, unpleasant, and uncomfortable life.

I'm contrarian and confrontational. My life is often rough, unpleasant, and uncomfortable. And I love every minute of it.

Understand this: I'm not saying I love arguing and debating. I'm not saying I'm intellectually superior to those who disagree with me. I'm not even saying that I love discussing concepts and innovation in art, music, philosophy, and technology.

All I mean to communicate to you is this: I love study, research, and exploration. I love working hard to understand a topic, then expressing the insights I've gained, expressing them in wording that is as perfect and persuasive as possible.

That's what I like. Having well-informed ideas and communicating them with finesse and power. That's a lot of fun. And hopefully, beneficial to others.

And, whether I like it or not, whether I'm in the mood for it or not, I find myself engaged in arguments quite often. Even so, I don't antagonistically prolong these debates, I don't deliberately seek them, and I don't necessarily enjoy them.

What often happens is someone else will state something as a fact or a taste that is then "bullied" onto others. You must agree, and you shall agree. I then voice my disagreement, or a question, or a reservation, and all hell breaks loose. If at all possible, I'm made to look like the bad guy, for daring to question the crybaby bully's opinions. I'm made to look like the argumentative one.

It's like, "If you agree with me and worship my opinions, you're cool. However, if you dare to express an alternative idea or if you boldly deviate from my impeccable tastes, you're an irrational, argumentative, lazy thinking, stubbornly stupid drama queen."

Arrogance cannot acknowledge competition. The other side is wrong, evil, and hopelessly ignorant about everything. That's how we got political parties, religious sects, and warring philosophical camps.

Be an independent thinker, but also steel yourself for the inevitable combat.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate


Blogs are about contrary opinions

Blogs are about
contrary opinions

"I don't like it", I said about a television program, Fluffy the Glampire Filler.

"What's not to like?" he asked, visibly irritated by my non-conformity.

"It's designed for teenagers, high school kids," I explained.

He got angry with my contrary viewpoint, and decided to attack my judgement.

"You're just one of those many people who don't get it."

I was offended that he was implying that, by my not agreeing with his taste, this disagreement necessarily made me uncomprehending, dense, ignorant.

"I get it," I answered. "But I still don't like it."

Blogs are about
contrary opinions.

The lone blogger relishes the opportunity
to express a different point of view,
to be free from peer influence
and ideological expectations.

The isolated blogger dreams
of disunity within all fascinations.

By boldly declaring a position,
one obtains confidence.

Self-assured assertions
bring about steadfastness.

Clarity of focus
establishes independence.

Unique voice evolves
from separation.

Popularity is achieved by
doing what is unpopular.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

bloody finger mail

Bloody Finger Mail

Here's your long awaited Friday night shocker, for you blog lurkers and commenters who should be out carousing around and chasing members of the appropriate sex.

If you're up this late, wasting courtship time at my blog, here's your grim reward, your macabre treat.

It's called Bloody Finger Mail.

Your cursor becomes an index finger with the tip chopped off. Then you move the bloody stub across a wall to form a message. As you form the letters, blood drips from the letters. (I tried zipping the finger across the wall really fast, and I disabled the blood dripping function).

You can send a link to the completed message to anyone with an email address.

My Bloody Finger Mail Vaspers the Grate message may be read by visiting:

Brought to you by Engine Digital ghoulish lurker you.


Friday, August 19, 2005

boring debate: personal trivia

boring debate: personal trivia


I don't know about you, but I'm extremely bored with the tired old debate about how much personal detail a business blog can contain.

Whenever a blogger raves about how the personal and the professional should be mixed, ask yourself, "Why is there a strong urge, in this blogger, to divulge personal trivia?"

Narcissism is very common, especially in bloggers.

Narcissism is unrestrained blabbering about the self. It's a selfish attitude that exalts "ME" over "YOU". It's an uncaring attitude toward readers.

Personal Trivia
in a Business Blog
assumes that:

(1) readers really care about all the mundane details of your life.

(2) readers have nothing better to do than read about films you like, what your children did today, how you feel about the war in Iraq, what you had for lunch, what your sexual problems are, what music you like, etc.

(3) readers feel more comfortable with you when they know all sorts of private facts about you, rather than knowing you are credible, accurate, reliable, authoritative.

(4) readers will think your personal life is interesting (when it probably isn't).

(5) readers will appreciate having to dig through irrelevant clutter to find useful information on your blog.

Primary Considerations
for Including or Excluding
Personal Information in
a Business Blog:

(1) Does this personal information help readers understand a business principle or fact?

(2) Does this personal information help readers improve their own life?

(3) Is the need to express this personal information simply a narcissistic impulse?

(4) Could this personal information be counter-productive to the purpose of my blog?

A blog is humanized, made personal, NOT by including lots of extraneous private information, but by the tone of voice, the friendliness projected toward readers, honesty, and fast replies to comments.

A blog can be humanized, made personal, by showing a photo of the blogger.

A blog can be humanized, made personal, by a unique and distinctive writing style.

A blog can be humanized, made personal, by having an independent point of view.

A blog is TRIVIALIZED by adding excessive, irrelevant, boring personal details.

A blog is CRIMINALIZED by displaying nude or scantily clad photos of your children.

A blog is SCANDALIZED by pretending to divulge facts about a controversial lifestyle, when your lifestyle is really not controversial. In other words, making a big deal out of a small factor. Like claiming to be "outing" oneself when all you're doing is putting a fancy name on a common behavior.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate

+ = - [more is less]

Goodbye to Blogging by Web Wimp

Goodbye to Blogging by Web Wimp

Here's a blog curiosity for you.

Actually, I need to compile a composite collection of such oddities:

* business bloggers who fold and disappear

* the man whose final blog post was the name of the person who murdered him while he was blogging

* the personal bloggers who have had nervous breakdowns

* nations in which people are killed or imprisoned for blogging

* the blogger who got divorced when his wife read his posts about the "other woman"

* the allegedly homeless blogger who demanded money from me for answering a two question email survey, then called me bad names when I told him that multitudes of top tier blogging pros provided brilliant survey responses--without charging me a penny for their valuable insight

* the group blog in which I was a contributing editor, which by my frequent posting got me accused of "taking over the blog and not letting other contributors jump in", so I removed all my posts and left, and then the other contributors still refused to jump in, so the blog has one new post every 14 days or so, and the two founders have abandoned it

* the web design blog that banned me for implying that both political parties are corrupt.

Someday I'll write that book on Blog Curiosities and everyone can be enlightened.

Until then, I'll toss bits and pieces at you sporadically.

Like this one...

Read now some excerpts of a slinking and a slumping into blog-o-blivion.


"One Last Blog and Adieu"
by dietdoc
August 18, 2005

It saddens me to see America in its current state. And it takes a great deal to bring about this particular emotion and this singular decision. I have lived a lot of years and seen, firsthand, how a country can be torn apart by a divisive war.

But, this time, the division, I feel, is deeper and more fractious. America, a great people, have been cut apart in a fault line approaching a critical depth and width. I am not sure we will ever be as strong as we once were. That overwhelming feeling of something truly great, forever lost is the reason for this very personal affection.


What troubles me is not that the country simply has differing opinions but that we are beginning that freefall into the unresolvable and unreconcilable chasm we have seen but a few times before. We are being slowly, irretrievably torn apart by our differences.

[STREIGHT: I don't know about you, but I'm weary of all this worrisome drivel about how "deeply divided" America is. I like it that way. It's part of the democratic process.

One extreme counters the other extreme. One fanatic group acts as watchdog on its reversed mirror image, its polar opposite.

People, lacking imagination and independent ideology, line up on one side of the spectrum or the other, never realizing that the spectrum itself is haphazardly contrived. Ho hum. So what?]


I have been reading and occasionally participating on BlogCritics for almost a year now.

During that time, I have found myself - as if anyone else would notice or care - posting fewer and fewer articles on that site.

[STREIGHT: Nope. Nobody noticed and nobody cares.

There are millions upon millions of blogs out there. Millions of voices all self-impressed and floating in formalized fantasy worlds of bloated self-importance. There are too many voices to keep track of, and nobody will notice or care if any one, or one thousand, or one million, of these voices vanishes.

When one blogger disappears, thousands spring up to replace him. Lost in the digital swirls, individuals, including Vaspers the Grate, mean next to nothing. Big deal.]

And it is for a very simple reason: everything - save the occasional innocent movie or CD review - immediately degrades into the most mind-numbing exchange of vitriolic commentary one can imagine.

[STREIGHT: Yeah, it's called hardcore blogocombat. Big deal. "Mind-numbing"? "Vitriolic commentary"? This sounds rather wilting to me. Crybabyish.]

It has become painful, at least to me, to read.

[STREIGHT: " read"? You mean it's "painful" to read an opposing opinion aggressively stated? Poor little wet noodle, huddled in a cave of cherished conceptions.]

The cycle is completely predictable. A writer posts his or her view of some seemingly benign event and, regardless of the topic being proferred, those of the two polarized and distinct political views - for simplicity, we will fall back to the usual labels of liberal and conservative - begin their venomous exchanges.

[STREIGHT: And this bothers you, because...of what?]

Lest you think I am against the informed discourse that makes our country great, I am most certainly not.

Debate and the intelligent exchange of ideas is always enlightening and has been the very lifeblood that has been our country’s strength since its inception.

But, what I am observing, is not debate. What I see is purely disjointed, acerbic, hate-filled writing that is exchanged with deafness and blindness to dissent.

This is not debate. This is a collection of people shouting at each other, in a virtual world, without any actual exchange of information or any chance of middle ground. There is no give-and-take, there is only hate.

[STREIGHT: And he wishes it were...what? Full of love and harmony, everybody patting each other on the back? Extolling each other's wisdom? Nothing but soft cuddly puppies wagging their tails with delight? A mindless utopia of perfect agreement?]

All civility is dispensed with and the only thing that stops the name calling and caustic and, often, incoherent exchange is that a new posting occurs. The two armies break camp and move their raging hoards of hyperbole off to attack on the battleground of a new thread.


The goal, in this game, is not to sway opinion; the goal, in the new reality, is to suffocate and silence. This is not debate. This is pure, unbridled, discordant chaos. I am reminded of a famous definition of a fanatic as “one who will not change his mind nor change the subject.”

[STREIGHT: And a definition of a web wimp is "one who will not face online confrontation, nor engage in vigorous web-enabled discussion". A wuss who wishes the contradictors would shut up so he can continue to blabber about whatever.]

I no longer have the stamina to read fanaticism.

[STREIGHT: Notice how this person repeats that what is "painful" and what he lacks the "stamina" for, is simply READING these aggressive opinions.

Sounds like a weak minded person who cannot tolerate anymore dissent, disagreement, and division.

Does he want to post his thoughts, and see only praise and appreciation in the subsequent comment thread? Pathetic.]

I tire of the tedium. I see no hope for any remedy. I am too old and lack the energy to watch the gulf of savagery into which the commentary inevitably recidivates any longer. It is my weakness and I will live with it as I can.

With this tiny withdrawal, I seek no comments for they, inevitably, will produce more of what I have come to dread most.

[STREIGHT: Aha. The truth comes out. He can't handle, he in fact dreads, dissent, opposing points of view, which he relegates to the seething hell of divided ideologies. Give me deep divisions any day, rather than a heavily sedated uniformity of "correct" opinions.]

I will continue to read what and where I can on BlogCritics but, as the comments drift into mindless bedlam, I will turn away. If I want to read unrestrained malevolence, I will go to a place I hold with less respect.

It is no loss to the content of BC [Blogcritics] and it is I who will be lessened by my aged timidity and cowardice.

[STREIGHT: Well, at least he admits he's a "coward" driven by "aged timidity". I just don't see how age allows one to retreat into timidity. Elderliness is the wrong time to collapse and give into shameful fear.]

The challenge to contribute something enlightening or thought-provoking - that is to say, something that “measured up” - to a place I held in inestimable esteem is what I will miss most.

BlogCritics will continue to thrive because it allows what Americans seem to need most in our current time, namely, a forum to be heard. It’s just that, for me, the right to be heard carries with it the obligation to listen. And I feel that reciprocation is no longer de rigueur. It is a my heartfelt loss.

[STREIGHT: Bring out the violins and Kleenex. How tragic. What a pity. So I'm "obligated" to "listen"? To his opinions? And not say "you idiot" if that's what I feel like saying?]


[COMMENT--with moderated delayed posting--by Streight]

Poor little puppy, can't handle blogocombat anymore.

I have not read any of the "debates" here, but to abandon a forum due to harshing, flaming, lack of "reasoned discussion", to complain of partisan posturing and bickering...this is what made our country great.

So what if it degenerates into name-calling and irrational venom? There are clever responses to such things.

You're "tired" and "aged"? So what? You sound sobbing and hangwringingly: "I'm taking my toys to play somewhere else."

Magnanimous speeches whining about an allegedly "deeply divided America", we don't need such sissified whimpering.

All things have divisions, from amoeba splitting to psychological ambivalence.

If a blogocombat participant thinks an argument childish or insane, move on to another battle zone. Don't moan and sulk, leaving the lather of overgroan repulse.

Liberal vs. conservative.

Faith vs. disbelief.

Religious vs. secular.

Political vs. psychological.

Mediocre vs. innovative.

These categories will conflict until the end of time or humanity, whichever comes first.

No, you won't be missed. Nobody is missed in the digital realm. We are humanufactured, interchangeable cogs in a meaningless machine rushing headlong into nothingness.

Enjoy the ride.


[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Blog Revolutionary

Are you a glorious Blog Revolutionary?

If you're a business person, CEO, or advertising/marketing professional, your answer is probably, "Huh?"

If you're a caveman, computer-hater, lousy writer, or the type that resists new technology, your answer is probably, "No way!"

If you're a television addict, an email-and-online-shopping-only web user, or a smug, self-centered person who's not the slightest bit interested in the experiences or insights of others, your answer is probably, "Who cares?"

That's fine.

In every revolution, there are always those who "don't get it", until it reaches the point where their ignorance is finally seen as pitiful, stubborn, or just plain bizarre.

Who is a "Blog Revolutionary"?

If you meet any of these qualifications, you're officially an active and important part of this Blog Revolution:

* BLOGGER: You have a blog and you continue to add fresh material ("posts").

* HARDCORE BLOGGER: You post new content daily or more than weekly, you have more than one blog, you regularly visit many other blogs, and you post numerous comments at them.

* BLOG PIONEER: You had a blog before they were popular, from 1992 to 1999.

* BLOG INNOVATOR: You use a blog in unusual and effective applications, or you develop new tools and techniques for blogs.

* BLOG READER: You visit blogs regularly and sometimes you may post comments or email the blog author.

* BLOG LURKER: You read blogs, but never post any comments. Still, you contribute to blogs by mentioning them to your friends, family, co-workers.

* BLOG CONTENT PROVIDER: You post comments, questions, criticisms, etc. to blogs.

* BLOG-ENABLED BUSINESS: You use a blog to achieve various business goals, drive traffic to an ecommerce site, or attract new customers.

* BLOG ACTIVIST: You use blogs to provoke people to take action on a social, political, or personal issue.

* BLOG JOURNALIST: You use blogs to provide news and investigative reports to people, often due to MSM negligence, falsifications, or inability to cover a breaking story.

* POLITICAL BLOGGER: You use blogs to promote a political party, ideology, or candidate.

* PERSONAL BLOGGER: You use a blog to express yourself and connect with peers in a public diary, password-protected journal, or other format.

* CORPORATE BLOGGER: You use a blog to cultivate candid conversations with customers, to counteract negative PR, or to promote your products.

* PROFESSIONAL BLOGGER: Not a "ghost blogger" pretending to be a CEO, nor blogging about anything for pay, but one who uses a blog for such professional purposes as job seeking or client acquisition.

* LINK BLOGGER: You use a blog to share your "pre-surfed web" recommendations for online resources, web sites, or other blogs.

* PRODUCT BLOGGER: You use a blog to publicize or sell a specific product, generally software or a book.

* MOMMY BLOGGER: You use a blog to express your motherhood or to interact with other moms.

* CELEB BLOGGER: You're a celebrity, rock star, movie star, etc. using a blog as a fan club type device.

* META BLOGGER: You use a blog to discuss blogs, blogging, blog stats, blogospheric news, or other blog related issues. Similar to BLOGOLOGIST.

* BLOG NETWORKER: You belong to a online community of other bloggers, or visit specific blogs and post comments to them, to achieve specific personal or professional goals.

* BLOGOLOGIST: You study blogs and blogging, and help others learn best practices.

* BLOG CONSULTANT: You study blogs and blogging, and help others start and maintain blogs, generally for business or professional purposes.

* BLOG TECH PROVIDER: You work in the realm of blog software, blog tracking, blog directories, blog stats, template design, hosting, RSS, podcasts, add-ons, etc.

* BLOG ILLUMINARY: You are a famous celebrity, CEO, journalist, politician, or other high profile person who uses a blog and receives wide media coverage.

* BLOG WATCHDOG: You visit blogs, inspect them, and critique them for ethics violations, poor usability, fraud, bad design, worthless content, plagiarism, sleazy sponsored links, and other toxic characteristics.

* BLOGOCOMBAT TROOPER: You start or participate in debates that are raging in the comment threads of your own blog or the blogs of others.

You may also attack any Main Stream Media (MSM) outlet that mocks, dismisses, mis-defines, lies about, or otherwise distorts the true nature, benefits, and characteristics of blogs, bloggers, and the blogosphere.

* BLOGOSPHERIC PHENOMENON: You have done something miraculous, astonishing, universally beneficial, or otherwise great and benevolent with a blog or blogging technology.

Is there really a "Blog Revolution"?

That's a valid question.

Naysayers and lazies will argue that blogs are not important, not pervasive, and never will be.

But check out the new survey report from ComScore.


Press Release

50 Million Americans Visited Blogs During the First Quarter 2005, According to New comScore Study

First Comprehensive Study of the Actual Online Behavior of Blog Visitors Now Available

RESTON, Va., Aug. 8, 2005

comScore Networks today released a report detailing the scale, composition and activities of audiences of Weblogs, commonly known as “blogs.”

The report, which was sponsored in part by Six Apart and Gawker Media, found that nearly 50 million Americans, or about 30 percent of the total U.S. Internet population, visited blogs in Q1 2005.

This represents an increase of 45 percent compared to Q1 2004.

Other key findings of the Behaviors of the Blogosphere report include:

Five hosting services for blogs each had more than 5 million unique visitors in Q1 2005, and four individual blogs had more than 1 million visitors each.

Of 400 of the largest blogs observed, segmented by eight (non-exclusive) categories, political blogs were the most popular, followed by "hipster" lifestyle blogs, tech blogs, and blogs authored by women.

Compared to the average Internet user, blog readers are significantly more likely to live in wealthier households, be younger and connect to the Web on high-speed connections.

Blog readers also visit nearly twice as many web pages as the Internet average, and they are much more likely to shop online.


To view the full Behaviors of the Blogosphere analysis, please visit

comScore Networks provides unparalleled insight into consumer behavior and attitudes.

This capability is based on a massive, global cross-section of more than 2 million consumers who have given comScore explicit permission to confidentially capture their browsing and transaction behavior, including online and offline purchasing. comScore panelists also participate in survey research that captures and integrates their attitudes and intentions.

Through its patent-pending technology, comScore measures what matters across a broad spectrum of behavior and attitudes.

comScore consultants apply this deep knowledge of customers and competitors to help clients design powerful marketing strategies and tactics that deliver superior ROI.

comScore services are used by global leaders such as AOL, Yahoo!, Verizon, Best Buy, The Newspaper Association of America, Tribune Interactive, ESPN, Nestlé, Universal McCann, the United States Postal Service, GlaxoSmithKline and Orbitz.

For more information, please visit


Let me isolate and repeat that finding about the Most Popular Blogs:

(1) political

(2) "hipster" lifestyle

(3) tech


Way to go, blogging sisters, stickin' it to The Man. I applaud you wonderful bloggy gals. You make the blogosphere go round...and round...and round.

QUESTION: Where are the CEOs, businesses, advertising people, marketing folks? A pretty poor showing, I must say.

What's the problem? ROI? Don't make me bust a gut laughing my you know what off.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Are business blogs self-revelation zones?

Are business blogs self-revelation zones?

It seems that some business and marketing bloggers are maybe running out of things to talk about.

It seems that maybe they are groping for juicy material.

Or perhaps they're just lonely.

At any rate, some of them are suddenly crying out for the freedom to post very private material on their blogs. Some are even starting "Personal Blogs" as an outlet for such trivia.

I probably seem "old fashioned", "overly professional", or "repressed".


Because I don't think a business blog is the place to discuss your sexual orientation or appetite.

I don't think a business blogger should add private clutter to their blog.

Private, family, sexual, political, medical, mental health, religious, ethnic, or racial material just gets in the way of the meat of your blog.

If I can't blog for a few days, due to a back problem, I might mention this medical problem. But only because this problem is having an impact on my blogging activity, not because I want everyone to know me on a deeply personal level.

Remember now: I'm talking about Business or Marketing Blogs.

What I say is probably also true for Academic, Scholarly, Scientific, Philosophical, Industrial, and other professional type blogs.

A business blogger, for whom I have extremely high levels of respect and trust, is now campaigning in favor of Perso-Pro blogging. "Perso-Pro" means Personal-Professional, the mixing of private, extraneous material with relevant, practical business information.

I am...flabbergasted.

I am...freaked out.

I am...very perplexed as to What On Earth could be the Purpose of such drivel?

Oh, I'm going to be accused of having a stern, stoic, un-fun, stuffy approach to blogging.

Friends, if you've been reading my blogs for any length of time, you know that's not true. However, if you think I'm some kind of uptight business zealot, trying to force bloggers to strip all personality out of their blogs, kindly email me or post a comment explaining your opinion.

Do I have a personal life? Sort of, I suppose. Not much, though. I spend 70 to 90% of my awake time at the computer.

Let me make this perfectly clear:

I am a business blog consultant and a web usability analyst.

I am not a personal blogger.

My wife (who's a web user observation test administrator, my company's business manager, and an accountant), and I are attending a web development meeting tonight at an architectural firm.

These folks do not want to hear about our house hunting, our family problems, our tastes in music or film. They simply want us to spend the time alloted in discussing improvements to a web site. Period.

It's not that they are old fashioned fuddy duddies. It's simply that they are Professional and have limited time. If I want to blabber about irrelevant personal details, well...

...that's what bars, country clubs, hairdressers, barber shops, friends, and social organizations are for. Right?

I don't even tell my closest friends or family every excruciating detail of my private life.

Why would you post private material in your blog, when the same private material would be inappropriate in a business meeting? It would be a waste of everyone's time.

Your business blog is similar to a business meeting. Readers visit your blog to learn things that might apply to their own blogging or business practices.

Let me ask my readers right now: is a business blog a self-revelation zone?

Do you want me to divulge my tastes in music, food, religion, politics, fashion, films? How would such irrelevant revelations enable you to "feel more comfortable"? How would such revelations assist you in your business, your blogging, or your life?

Am I offended or horrified when a business blogger reveals sexual, dietary, musical, family, or medical details? No.

Do I need to know any of this? Probably not.

Here's my comment that I just posted at the blog of this business blogger who advocates self-revelatory "freedom":


All this talk of "Berlin Walls" between personal and professional life betrays a bias in favor of "gushing". I think women may be more prone culturally to do this in a business context.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems that when male business people get together, nearly no personal information is divulged. The private material that might be touched upon would be sports team allegiances or a new truck recently purchased.

The moment a man begins to speak of private, emotional, sexual matters, it is generally considered irrelevant, vulgar, or inappropriate. Plus: weak, insecure, and self-obsessed.

It is not "old fashioned" or "repressive" to be reserved when it comes to such matters, especially in a business context. In fact, it is questionable, to my mind, when a person implies that unless you spill your guts about all your personal tastes and private affairs, you are somehow not honest or credible.

I really have no need to know, nor any interest in, a business blogger's taste in sex, politics, diet, music, films, food, sports, family values, or any other private matters.

If a business blogger has a strong need to express and share these things, I don't condemn them, but I have to wonder why this need exists.

On my blogs, I started displaying a list of music CDs I was listening to, but after about a month, I deleted this list, considering it frivolous, irrelevant, and being a potential turn-off to some potential clients or current readers.

In the military there is a wise "Need to Know" policy. If you have no "Need to Know", you are not going to know. I approve of this. Too many personal details are simply clutter and they dilute the meat of your message. (Strangely mixed metaphors, huh?)


Your opinions, as usual, are appreciated.

Let me know your Personal Detail Policy as a BUSINESS BLOGGER.

Email me today, or post a comment.



Take the "Online Professional/Personal Overlap Survey" at:

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate