July 29, 2004

Gotta love screwups

Ah, you gotta love it when the technology bites you in the ass. The previous post was a draft of my CNN wrap-up, with all of my screw-ups, typos, and bad edits. Goes to show me for using my weblogging software to write up these posts. One missed click, and what you write is up and out there. Such is how the sausage is made.

Things are really crazy at the convention. There's a lot going on, all at the same time, and up here in blogger's alley, we've got the loudspeakers pointing right at us, and crowds cheering, waving signs, and just being generally raucus. Even the lousy dancing during the breaks. I looked over and commented to some of the folks here about the need for a "7th Inning stretch" - and then it hit me - that's what the dancing is for. But I sure wish they didn't televise it, it's painful. :-)

Posted by dsifry at 12:11 PM | View blog reactions

July 28, 2004

Day 3 wrap-up, 7/28

Here's some highlights, from both inside and outside the FleetCenter.

Working our way through the evening:


  • Kucinich's bold anti-war stance: His speech got him grasroots credibility among the liberal bloggers. Zoe VanderWolk wrote, "Why has Kucinich been stuck holding the bag? Why isn't anyone else talking about Iraq? The reaction to his condemnation of the war has been overwhelmingly positive, and according to a delegate from NC I talked to the Kucinich delegates have been treated 'like kings'."

  • Jesse Jackson: Both liberals and conservatives weighed in on Jackson's speech, and the overall reaction was negative. Jesse Taylor of Pandagon opined, "Jesse Jackson's onstage now...and not really impressing. He just came off a Wyclef Jean performance, and the speech is just...weird. The more inflammatory elements of the Democratic Party are not coming off well in this new "hope springs eternal" message group."
  • More on Obama-mania:Positive reports keep coming in on Barack Obana, soon-to-be-senator from Illinois. David Weinberger: "The good news for Hillary is that she might get State Department when Obama is President in 2012.". Thomas F. Schaller at Gadflyer marked this as a turning point: "That said, at some future point we will realize that last night marks the point where Obama eclipsed Jackson as the standard-bearing voice of black Democrats. Sorry, Jesse: That unofficial title has finally been passed to a new generation."

  • Al Sharpton: Sharpton proves again that he is a masterful speaker. Dave Winer wrote in an email, "Sharpton was inspiring, had the crowd on its feet 18 times. A soul revival. Killer speech." Dave Johnson had sympathies for the man to follow Sharpton: " Who did Bob Graham piss off, that he has to follow Al Sharpton?" Other liberals were not as kind, and saw hypocracy in Sharpton's speech: "I just heard Al Sharpton address the convention and I was rather astounded by the glorious reception he received. 'Our vote is not for sale,' he thundered. This from the man who leased his entire campaign consultant named Roger Stone. The only line missing from Sharpton's speech: 'I have a scheme.'", wrote Marc Cooper.
  • Best delegate blogging from the floor award: Goes to 19-year old Karl-Thomas Musselman, the youngest delegate from Texas. His reporting on Kucinich's, Sharpton's and Graham's speeches were refreshing and showed his excitement at being on the floor, but be sure to read his earlier entires revealing more behind-the-scenes of a delegate's life.

  • John Edwards: Personally, I wan't terribly impressed by Edwards' speech tonight. Perhaps it is because he has laryngitis, or because he was tired, but his oratory didn't live up to admittedly high expectations. Others differed in their views. Dave Pell at Electablog wrote, "Edwards owned the crowd and the night and delivered just what this pundit ordered. A healthy infusion of the two Americas speech that rings so clearly true to the ears of any who open their eyes to see. ". And Alan at The Command Post weighed in: "The fanfare for Edwards is genuine adulation … the star appeal is palpable, and the crowd won’t let him go. Whatever happens in this election cycle … the next time Edwards runs in the Democratic primaries, he’s not finishing second." On a more humorous note, he added, "Thank Fod He Didn't Dance ... He didn’t try to do that stupid little on-stage dance that white politicians always try to do."
  • Blogs on Media on Blogs: First off, a great post on what blogging the convention is like from Visicalc author Dan Bricklin. Wired News' Adam L. Penenberg covers the eclectic mix of reporting going on from the convention floor. David Weinberger takes the media to task as well. His takeaway? "Objectivity is a form of rhetoric."

  • Posted by dsifry at 8:57 PM | View blog reactions

Media Frenzy

Man, there's a lot of media here right now. I've just spoken with folks from The Nation, and I've got a team from PBS looking over my shoulder - "Hey, can I get you blogging right now?" Just had a few of the journalists present yell into the blogger group, asking, "Hey, does anyone know Kerry's Secret Service codename?" Through the looking glass.

Posted by dsifry at 3:34 PM | View blog reactions

I'm showing Terence Smith how to post to a blog

Terence Smith, the classy reporter from The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and showing him how easy it is to set up and write a weblog.

Terence actually writes a mini-blog of his own, which he just showed me. Great!

Posted by dsifry at 2:59 PM | View blog reactions

I'm here with the folks from PBS' NewsHour

They just did a segment with me on blogging, and the impact it is having on the political conversation. Unfortunately, the speeches were going on at the same time, so I'm not sure how good the sound quality was, and we had to stop several times, but overall the interview went well. It should be on tomorrow night's NewsHour, which is on at 3PM PST if you're out on the west coast. Of course, this is TV, so who knows if it'll actually air, but I'm hoping it can get in. Either way, it was fun to meet the folks and do the interview. Spreading the gospel, spreading the gospel.

Posted by dsifry at 2:19 PM | View blog reactions

DNC Wrap-up, 7/27

Welcome to day 3 of the DNC, blogger-style.

First off, a roundup of the best (and worst) coverage of webloggers in the mainstream media: Note - I'm going to leave off weblogs penned by pros, like the excellent CNN weblog (nbote: I'm here at the DNC helping CNN make sense of the blogosphere). Wired News' Adam L. Penenberg covers the eclectic mix of reporting going on from the convention floor.

Many webloggers also were on the nightly news programs, and posted

Posted by dsifry at 2:16 PM | View blog reactions

July 27, 2004

Talking with Clifford Pugh at the Houston Chronicle

I'm showing Clifford how to post to a blog. I'm using w.blogger as my blogging tool.

Posted by dsifry at 1:36 PM | View blog reactions

July 26, 2004

Weblog wrap-up, 7/26

Thirty five influential webloggers were officially credentialed by the Democratic National Convention, including Dave Winer, Jay Rosen, Christian Crumlish (also blogging here), David Weinberger, Atrios, and Jeralyn Merritt. Here's some highlights from inside and outside the convention:
  • The Gore Speech: Jerome Armstrong of MyDD.com posted the text of Al Gore's speech before he gave it. This was important not because it was such a great speech, but because it lifted back the curtain on yet one more aspect of the political journalistic process. Journalists have always had advance texts of major speeches handed to them, and if you watch closely at some presidential addresses, you'll see members of Congress flipping through the written text as it's being given. Now, thanks to a blogger, the public is in on the real deal.
  • Who says Rebublican webloggers don't have a sense of humor?: A number of webloggers made fun of John Kerry's recent trip to Kennedy Space Center - probably the most creative use of photo editing software goes to Blogs for BushShove it?: Conservative webloggers were also abuzz about Teresa Heinz Kerry's recent "Shove It" comment made to a reporter at an event yesterday, but it hasn't picked up a critical mass, as only 307 posts were made about it today, out of over 275,000 weblog posts total for the day - over 10,000 per hour.
  • The "new new" convention: Jay Rosen, NYU journalism prof, again proved why he has such a following online: Rosen digs deeply into the odd journalistic trope of constantly referring to conventions past, arguing that the only way most reporters can make meaning of an event that has been emptied of most of its spontaneity by scripting and pre-determined outsomes is by relating it to the olden days when conventions really made news. But then he helps explain why it was that for so many journalists the "blogging phenomenon" was a story in itself to cover. The superficial answer, he says, is that this is only of the only "new" things happening here, at least worth a "nice sidebar." But then Rosen adds: But I think there's a different and deeper answer. Over their heads the arrow points forward. "Blogging represents--at least for purposes of the convention--what things are becoming. "The conventions have become..." is a tired story line. And that is one reason we bloggers ate breakfast today under the curious gaze of the press."
  • Henry Waxman and Howard DeanTwo politicians who went out of their way to pass a message to the Convention Credentialed webloggers are Congressman Henry Waxman and Governor Howard Dean, who both invited webloggers to special morning breakfasts this morning. Matt Stoller has a good report on Waxman's views, and Howard Dean arrived to talk about the effect of weblogs on his campaign. Pandragon reports.
  • Cameraphone CoverageLeave it to 6 smart USC students and their professor to take a technology to a new level. They're walking the convention floor with cameraphones, taking instant snapshots along with commentary and posting the information live, at the instant it happens. The Wireless Election Connection Moblog (a moblog is short for "mobile weblog") looks to be one of the surprise hits of the weblog coverage here at the convention.
  • A libertarian weighs in: Libertarian blogger Matt Welch, who writes for Reason magazine, gives an thought-provoking round-up on the first night. He writes "The biggest applause lines tonight came when Jimmy Carter and Al Gore slowed down their delivery, ratcheted up the southern growl, and condemned the Bush Administration’s war in Iraq."
    Posted by dsifry at 8:55 PM | View blog reactions

The great experiment

I'd like to welcome both the new Technorati website design and Politics Coverage into the world. We're still working out some kinks and bugs, so don't be surprised if there's an occastional problem - please let us know and we'll fix things ASAP!

Here's the press release announcing the launch. I'd just like to reach out and give HUGE thanks to the Technorati team. I'm so lucky to be working with you. You guys rock.

More to post later when I get to the Fleet Center for the DNC coverage today. As soon as the CNN coverage launches, I'll post as well. I sure hope the Wifi confinues to work after they turn on those ISM wireless video cameras (they both run at 2.4GHz)!

Posted by dsifry at 6:26 AM | View blog reactions

July 25, 2004

Arrived in Boston - Call for Convention bloggers

Well, I've arrived, gotten the credentials, and I'm here now in one of the CNN trailers waiting to get taken into the Fleet Center.

Also, if you're a convention blogger with IM access, please drop me an email at dsifry@technorati.com with your AIM screen name; I've been approached a few times already by producers looking for bloggers to interview on short notice. If you're already here at the Fleet Center, let me know. If not, let me know what days you'll be here.

Posted by dsifry at 11:41 AM | View blog reactions

July 21, 2004

Technorati and CNN

A few minutes ago CNN announced that Technorati will be providing real-time analysis of the political blogosphere at next week's Democratic National Convention. I will be on-site in CNN's convention broadcast center, along with Mary Hodder, and I'll be providing regular on-air commentary on what bloggers are saying about politics and the convention. And on Sunday, July 25, we'll launch a new section of our site for political coverage: politics.technorati.com. This site will make it easy for bloggers,
journalists, and anyone interested in politics to see the postings of the most linked-to political bloggers, to track the ideas with the fastest-growing buzz, and to monitor conversations in thousands of other political blogs. CNN.com will link to this site, and we'll be updating the CNN site with the latest from the blogosphere.

This is a very exciting development for us at Technorati, and a great acknowledgement of the importance that blogging has achieved in political discourse. We're incredibly humbled by this opportunity. It provides us with a great way to serve all of you who make this amazing new medium possible. We take this responsibility very seriously and hope to make you proud.

UPDATE: There's lots of good information in the CNN Press Release.

Posted by dsifry at 2:13 PM | View blog reactions

July 19, 2004

Adam Hertz joins the Team

I'm happy to announce that Adam Hertz has joined Technorati as our VP of Engineering. Adam comes to Technorati with more than twenty years of experience as an executive and manager in the software and online service industries. He has extensive product, technical and operational experience with a variety of technologies including web and internet, distributed systems, databases, text indexing and information retrieval. His application experience includes digital photography, web portals, mobile services, search, shopping, personal information management, productivity, email, and community.Prior to joining Technorati, Hertz was Vice President of Product Development at Ofoto, the Internet's leading consumer online digital photography service. He led Ofoto's development and network operations teams, helping the service scale to unprecedented levels of usage and reliability.Adam's other experience includes Contact Networks, Inc., an early pioneer in the field of permission-based personal information sharing, Excite@Home Inc., where he was a vice president of engineering, General Magic, NeXT, ON Technology and Lotus.

I'm really excited to be working with Adam. His attitude and skills impressed me right from the very start - and he's already a blogger and a user of the service. His first priorities are to keep the site up, get things stable and fast, and roll out new product development. We've got a lot of neat stuff in the pipeline - well, there's a lot to come, I won't give it all away now. Welcome aboard, Adam!

Posted by dsifry at 11:16 PM | View blog reactions

July 10, 2004

Keyword searches were still disabled on the website

Thanks to a good Eye from Kevin, who noticed that the keyword search results were still commented out on the production site. I went in and reenabled them and all is running fine.

Posted by dsifry at 7:59 PM | View blog reactions

July 7, 2004

Technorati tracks 3 million blogs

Three Million Weblogs tracked, 425 million links tracked
At 6:38PM PST on July 6, 2004, Technorati tracked its 3 millionth weblog. The growth of the service has been pretty remarkable - here's some stats: We're currently seeing anywhere from 8,000-17,000 new weblogs created every single day.
On an average weekday, we're seeing over 15,000 new weblogs created per day. That means that a new weblog is created somewhere in the world every 5.8 seconds.
Technorati tracking graph of weblog growthOf course, not all weblogs that are created are actively updated. Even though abandonment rates are high - our analyses show that about 45% of the weblogs we track have not had a post in over 3 months we are still tracking a significant population of people who are posting each day. The number of conversations are increasing. We're seeing over 275,000 individual posts every day. That means that on average, more than 3 blogs are updated every second. The median time from when someone posts something to their weblog to when it is indexed and available for searches on Technorati is 7 minutes. And we're striving to handle the load. But to be perfectly frank, it isn't easy. We've had some bugs and some outages - and for that I am truly sorry. I don't think the service is fast enough or stable enough. So, stability and fast response time is job #1, over new features and product developments. It has to work, 100% of the time.

technorati-newlyadded-06-2004.PNGI'll tell ya, it was a lot easier to ensure that when we were only tracking a couple hundred thousand weblogs, and we only had a few thousand page views per day. Those days are long behind us. The team and I (we're growing the team, btw) are working night and day to Be Of Service to you, the folks participating in those conversations. We're working on building out our backend infrastructure so that it can keep on scaling, as more and more people continue to create content on the web.

In the meantime, I beg your indulgence. Please be patient with us as we work on fixing our problems. But please be brutally honest and frank in your feedback. One of the things I love each day is reading through the comments we receive - and the best kind is the frank, honest kind that doesn't pull any punches. Yeah, sometimes it makes me squirm, but that just means that you're right. That helps me to keep the focus on our users, and how we can be of service to you, to not get complacent.

One of the things that drives me personally is that weblogs are turning us all into producers, creators, and participants in our society, not just consumers. As Doc Searls likes to say, "consumer is an industrial-age word, a broadcast-age word. It implies that we are all tied to our chairs, head back, eating 'content' and crapping cash." Of course, the act of producing, creating, and participating means that we're not doing something else - and here's the best news of all: A Forrester Research report asked Internet users which activities they were spending less time doing in order to spend time at their computers. 78% of the people polled said that they gave up television viewing. A study from The Georgia Institute of Technology's Graphic, Visualization and Usability Center showed a clear shift in media habits with more than one third of respondents saying that they "use the Web instead of watching TV on a daily basis."

Now for my Independence Day message: We're connecting with each other, we're talking to each other, finding people of similar interests, and we're having conversations. My dear hope is that this is the beginning of a rebirth of civics in America. Much in the same way that email revived the lost art of letter writing, Blogs are reviving the lost art of civilized civic dialogue - of argument, of well reasoned thought and response. And 3 million people (heck, even if you only assume that it is only 1.65 Million people, given the current abandonment rate) participating in worldwide civic discourse puts hope into my heart.

One last thing - I want to thank the team who have made this happen. You guys - our employees, friends, advisors - you folks made this happen. I can't believe how lucky I am to work with such a great group of people, who put blood, sweat and tears into making this happen. You guys made this happen. Thanks.

Update: Mary Hodder points out that not all blogs that are inactive are abandoned. In a private IM, she wrote that "people use them for very different reasons.. archive for annual event..conferences or vacations or whatever, that happen periodically and months may go by with little posting, but the postings are important and need to be searched.. until the next trip or event.."

Posted by dsifry at 2:23 AM | View blog reactions

Technorati tracks 3 million blogs

At 6:38PM PST on July 6, 2004, Technorati tracked its 3 millionth weblog. The growth of the service has been pretty remarkable - here's some stats: We're currently seeing anywhere from 8,000-17,000 new weblogs created every single day. On an average weekday, we're seeing over 15,000 new weblogs created per day. That means that a new weblog is created somewhere in the world every 5.8 seconds. Of course, not all weblogs that are created are actively updated. Even though abandonment rates are high - our analyses show that about 45% of the weblogs we track have not had a post in over 3 months we are still tracking a significant population of people who are posting each day. The number of conversations are increasing. We're seeing over 275,000 individual posts every day. That means that on average, more than 3 blogs are updated every second. The median time from when someone posts something to their weblog to when it is indexed and available for searches on Technorati is 7 minutes. And we're striving to handle the load. But to be perfectly frank, it isn't easy. We've had some bugs and some outages - and for that I am truly sorry. I don't think the service is fast enough or stable enough. So, stability and fast response time is job #1, over new features and product developments. It has to work, 100% of the time.

I'll tell ya, it was a lot easier to ensure that when we were only tracking a couple hundred thousand weblogs, and we only had a few thousand page views per day. Those days are long behind us. The team and I (we're growing the team, btw) are working night and day to Be Of Service to you, the folks participating in those conversations. We're working on building out our backend infrastructure so that it can keep on scaling, as more and more people continue to create content on the web.

In the meantime, I beg your indulgence. Please be patient with us as we work on fixing our problems. But please be brutally honest and frank in your feedback. One of the things I love each day is reading through the comments we receive - and the best kind is the frank, honest kind that doesn't pull any punches. Yeah, sometimes it makes me squirm, but that just means that you're right. That helps me to keep the focus on our users, and how we can be of service to you, to not get complacent.

One of the things that drives me personally is that weblogs are turning us all into producers, creators, and participants in our society, not just consumers. As Doc Searls likes to say, "consumer is an industrial-age word, a broadcast-age word. It implies that we are all tied to our chairs, head back, eating 'content' and crapping cash." Of course, the act of producing, creating, and participating means that we're not doing something else - and here's the best news of all: A Forrester Research report asked Internet users which activities they were spending less time doing in order to spend time at their computers. 78% of the people polled said that they gave up television viewing. A study from The Georgia Institute of Technology's Graphic, Visualization and Usability Center showed a clear shift in media habits with more than one third of respondents saying that they "use the Web instead of watching TV on a daily basis."

Now for my Independence Day message: We're connecting with each other, we're talking to each other, finding people of similar interests, and we're having conversations. My dear hope is that this is the beginning of a rebirth of civics in America. Much in the same way that email revived the lost art of letter writing, Blogs are reviving the lost art of civilized civic dialogue - of argument, of well reasoned thought and response. And 3 million people (heck, even if you only assume that it is only 1.65 Million people, given the current abandonment rate) participating in worldwide civic discourse puts hope into my heart.

Three Million Weblogs tracked, 425 million links tracked
Technorati tracking graph of weblog growth
technorati-newlyadded-06-2004.PNG

Posted by dsifry at 2:20 AM | View blog reactions