Category Archives: News

Doubt is Torture – Shawn Blanc’s Advice

Freelance publisher Shawn Blanc has an encouraging post about motivation for all writers: Doubt is Torture

He draws on Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg, from 1986, and shows how her advice to poets applies to writing web posts and constructing wikis.  Shawn’s connection: The weblog gives you that extra push needed to overcome doubt.

I am amazed at how many people consider themselves a writer, or who hope to become one, and weblogs have done something that journals never did. They’ve given an extra push of motivation to those people who always wanted to write, but never did.

Unfortunately, it seems the same motivation which encourages us to publish, also feeds those voice of self-doubt that Natalie talks about. I don’t know how many posts I’ve started and deleted because I thought they weren’t relevant or exciting or interesting enough. Which is why I love this sentence so much: “Instead, have a tenderness and determination toward your writing, a sense of humor and a deep patience that you are doing the right thing. Avoid getting caught by that small gnawing mouse of doubt.”

Nice connection. The kind of writing is not relevant here.  Tech writers, article writers, journalists, grant writers, freelancers suffer the same self-doubt as poets and essayists, and the weblog gives them all a space to practice patience, to chase out the mouse.

Both the book and Shawn’s blog are worth a read.


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Filed under News, Weblogs

Twitter style guide coming

Style guides like this show up with every new mode of exchange, but they are often worth looking at – just to see how users view the mode.

The Anatomy of a Tweet: Twitter Gets a Style Guide – Bits Blog –
The bulk of the book, titled “140 Characters, A Style Guide for the Short Form,” will revolve around eight key lessons from the Twitter universe, such as the importance of simplicity, honesty and humor. The project will also highlight notable figures worth following on Twitter, anecdotes from the community and even examples of the few occasions Twitterers have gone overboard: For example, Mr. Sagolla points to “bathroom tweets,” or messages about bodily functions, as falling into the category of things not to post to Twitter.

“This is a new genre of writing,” said Mr. Sagolla. “A new form of literature, in some ways.”

What’s interesting is that the authors are publising the book as a PDF and an iPhone app.  A print version is low on the list.

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Filed under New Media, News, Twitter

are web sites sinking?

Keep an eye out for web sites going down as the recession spreads.  I’ve read reports of two sites related to universities closing in two days.  JuicyCampus, a much-hated campus gossip site, is shutting down because of lack of revenue; and Ruckus, an mp3 subscription service for campuses, is closing for unknown reasons.

These sites were probably close to the edge already, so losing them might be No Big Deal.  But if advertising revenue dries up, other sites could close or move to a subscription service.  Google laid off recruiters and there are rumors that it might be cutting up to 1000 engineers.

Watch the blogosphere to see what washes up.


Filed under Blogging Tip, News, Rumor

A Horse Racing News Link

So I just watched this news story and I found it pretty interesting.  I don’t know if many people are interested in horse racing, but I bet you won’t believe the story about this horse.

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more on #uksnow and social media

Bloggers are checking in good and fast as #uksnow spreads.  Here’s one of the more recent posts that looks at how blogging as a social media functions.  From Lolly.

Even more: Someone has just started a blog for the #snowballfight this evening.

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Filed under News, social media, Twitter

birth of a meme

While we were watching the Superbowl, it was snowing in the UK. Twitter micro-bloggers devised a tag that allowed others to track the spread of the snow in 140 character texts and linked images. #uksnow.

Read about it here.

Have a look at related blog posts at

More links on the main wiki page.

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a new blog in the house

whitehousepartyArsTechnica has some early observations about the redesign (visual and content) of the website – which also includes a blog.  Of course the new adminstration is going to visually redesign the site to differentiate it from the outgoing admin.  But ArsTechnica notes that there are content changes, and a change in the rhetorical stance towards readers.  The new site encourages participation and feedback:

Participation is also a focus of the new site, and Obama’s administration will be publishing all “non-emergency legislation” for five days and soliciting feedback from the public before Obama signs it. The closest thing to a “beta” label is the request for feedback on what other features visitors would like to see at the site.

And this is a real kicker.  The new site has reduced the robots.txt file to a minumum.  The robots.txt file block or allow search engines to index a site so content on it can be readily found.  The old file blocked hundreds of  index spiders.  The new site seems to block … 0. writes about the details.

The signal sent to the web and the blogosphere: We share.

Update: More comment on the new website at the NYT Opinionator.

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Filed under New Media, News, Weblogs