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Hypergene MediaBlog » CityBlogs revisited
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CityBlogs revisited

John Hiler, creator of the new CityBlogs: New York posted a response to our suggestions on his new enterprise. Here’s what he had to say, in blockquote, and our response below:

Get collaborative: You’re right - we definitely need more bloggers on board.  But I’m thinking more along the lines of one blogger per section, so that each section can develop a strong voice.  This is related to my plans for a revenue model, which I’m writing up now.  (I like your fact checking idea...  I’ve been calling event planners and venues to establish relationships. Hopefully that will help set the stage for a real fact-checker).
True. One blog/one voice might suit a niche as narrow as Latin Music and Dance Events, but a collaborative method might certainly be viable for something as broad as Alt-Cinema. We dig the collaborative style over at E-media Tidbits. The different perspectives of ethnicity, gender and age could be valuable to your event blogs. Would Gizmodo suck if it was collaboratively written? Nope. If you end up sticking with one blog/one voice, might you consider multiple blogs on the same topic? That may be your best bet.
Allow comments: Yeah, still having a think over this one.  I’ve had comments on high-traffic sites before, and it definitely changes the nature of a site.  I’m thinking more along the lines of trackback-style comments, to minimize problems with comment-spam and quality-of-discussion.
Perhaps you could consider the methodology used by Kottke and others. Just allow comments on some posts, sort of a bloggers choice. Comments might be most useful and interesting on post-event coverage.
Make the content open source: I’m going to create a “Events this week” javascript feed that NY bloggers can stick on their sites, by category… is that open-source enough, or do I have to give all my content away?  I don’t mind letting non-commercial sites do whatever with it - but I’m lining up some offline syndication deals, and a wholesale open-sourcing of the content feels like it would be at odds with that.
Javascript feed?! Ugh. Hate the performance hit. Might want to mirror that feed in RSS. Regardless, good idea. If you have offline syndication deals, you’re right – open-sourcing all isn’t the way to go. But consider giving that events feed (which is really a headline feed) to commercial and non-commercial media. What do you care, they still have to come to your site to read the good stuff. No?

A few additional thoughts for CityBlogs.com
• We’ve never been a big fan of those calendar interfaces that are a mainstay of weblogs, but event-based blogs might actually be the perfect case to use them.
• Make old-events fall off the calendars. Today’s the 3rd, but the Dec. 2nd showing of Roman Holiday is still on the calendar, why?
• This website could be in jeopardy of falling in league with metro weeklies and their higher-than-thou, cynicism toward anything mainstream. It can get so nauseating. Encourage your city bloggers to include fresh takes on mainstream events. That’s something the mainstream press sometimes forgets to do.

Most of all, have fun John. Looks like an exciting project.

Also in the fray: The Shifted Librarian has some thoughts about John’s project, and Hiler leaves a comment in that blog noting he is going to add RSS feeds. Excellent! JD Lasica, Jeff Jarvis and Glenn Reynolds also have some very good comments. Glenn points to a spirited discussion about blogs vs. alt-weeklies.

Trackback: Link Cosmos, Blogdex

Posted on Dec 03, 2002 | 9:12 pm EST

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Reader Comments

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>Would Gizmodo suck if it was
> collaboratively written?

In both defense and to disprove this comment, there is just one word: Usenet.  What are Usenet newsgroups but text-only and completely open and collaborative blogs? Looking at Usenet it’s immediately apparent that collaborative authorship can work very, very well, and it can be abused very very easily; given protection and “policing” methods (such as usenet’s nocem) there’s good evidence to support the open web-form/blog as a powerful means to capture and present community knowledge.

Posted by: Gary Lawrence Murphy on Dec 04, 02 | 3:30 pm EST

Gary, we’re not advocating completely open collaboration. We’re advocating 3-4 expert bloggers writing about a particular niche. To me, that’s more compelling than just one point of view when it comes to event guides.

Posted by: shayne on Dec 04, 02 | 3:35 pm EST

Yes, I understand that you were looking at somewhat restricted authorship, I was just pointing out that even unrestricted authorship /can/ be powerful.

But to disprove my own point ;) … Doc Searls weblog today contains a story of how his blog grew out of the cluetrain blog where they started with 4 individuals who were really very aligned in their ideals, but they found that the personality differences of each invisibly split them off into private weblogs; what Doc has discovered is significant to this discussion because I think the cluetrain authors may have accidentally found that weblogs work best when they are first-person singular.

Posted by: Gary Lawrence Murphy on Dec 04, 02 | 4:34 pm EST

agree with you on unrestricted collaboration. /. shows that it can be powerful and likewise abused.

after a mere two months of collaboratively writing this blog with another person, I guess I’ll just have to respectfully disagree with Doc. and i don’t have the timeline of the e-media tidbits blog, but that doesn’t seem to lose any steam with roughly 20 contributors. That each of the members of the Cluetrain rock group eventually went solo doesn’t seem all that significant to me. Maybe a year from now I’ll change my mind.

Posted by: shayne on Dec 04, 02 | 8:43 pm EST

 

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