The Evolution of Blogging: Back to the Future

We’ve spent a lot of time the last two years updating our company Twitter account, where we share links to interesting stories and quick thoughts.  In the process, over time our blog sort of became a place for long form content only.  We posted short thoughts and links on Twitter and longer stuff on the blog, and that was pretty much the way things went. 

After some reflection, this struck us as kind of dumb.  We were needlessly limiting our blog to long form posts only, and posting a lot of great content to Twitter only, where our regular blog readers wouldn’t see it.

So we’ve decided to tweak our strategy a bit.  Moving forward, we plan to supplement our longer posts with shorter entries consisting of quotes, links and/or videos.  Inspired by the designs of blogging platforms like Tumblr and Posterous, we are using WordPress Asides to differentiate our shorter posts from our longer ones.  We won’t be posting every link or video we post to Twitter to the blog, as posting five or six entries a day here is too much.  Instead, we’ll only post the best stuff from our Twitter feed here.  Follow us on twitter if you want to see everything. 

From reading some blogs, it sounds like others are making the transition from posting essays to posting shorter entries, as if this is a new thing.  It really isn’t.  Our blog started out as a place to post short, quick thoughts and evolved into a spot devoted exclusively to longer post.  So we’re actually reverting back a bit to our original strategy, and the way folks like Kottke, Instapundit, Andrew Sullivan and John Gruber have been blogging for years. 

Top Trends from #pdf09 in the News and On Twitter

News and Blogs Versus Twitter at PDF09

Chuck Fitzpatrick from our ImpactWatch team has a great post up analyzing which themes and speakers from the 2009 Personal Democracy Forum got the most traction on Twitter and in the traditional media and blogs.  Folks on Twitter were most excited about talks by danah boyd, Mark Pesce and Michael Wesch, while the presentations by White House CIO Vivek Kundra and NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg generated the most coverage from bloggers and the mainstream media.  Chuck’s full piece is definitely worth a read.

Analysis of Top Themes at PDF 2009

PdF09 Twitters From the White House to White Flight: Whatever

A great analysis of the trends and topics that got the most buzz at the 2009 Personal Democracy Forum.  The data behind the analysis was pulled from our tool, Twitterslurp.

Search for Children

As I have worked at The Bivings Group, I have focused on helping design websites and applications for specific audiences – professionals and adult aged individuals.  Many of the clients I have worked with don't need to focus on children, and young web surfers have unique needs.

Recently, I was introduced to the International Children's Digital Library (ICDL) website.  While the site has a rather conservative and standard design – in my opinion – I am really intrigued by its book search feature geared towards children.


On this page, children are presented with a search interface that is different from an interface geared towards adults.  Adults are asked about keywords, authors, and titles, but children may not know such information.  Further, children are probably more prone to browse when searching for a book instead of having a specific author or book title in mind.  That is why IDCL provides children with different search options.  For instance, a child can search for a book that has orange on its cover.  Or instead of searching for historical fiction, children can search for “Make Believe Books” or ones that have “Imaginary Creature Characters.”  Further, they can search for books based upon age groups and type – picture or chapter books.


Another interesting feature is that the search options are presented as graphical buttons that children can easily suss out the meaning of.  The search results are also presented by showing the book covers, and children can also flip through the entire books on the computer.

I think that this is an interesting search feature.  Imagine if Google or Yahoo! was set up like this…

New York City Courts Emerging Tech Development with New Incentives

Hoping to compete with emerging foreign markets and prevent another major industry collapse, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Tuesday the city’s launch of eight initiatives aimed and drawing and keeping new media technologies in the Big Apple.

“New York City is the media capital of the world, but, with the industry undergoing profound changes, it’s incumbent on us to take steps now to capitalize on growth opportunities and ensure we remain an industry leader,” Bloomberg said in a press conference, according to the New York Times.

Among the eight programs is the establishment of a media lab modeled after those at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University.
The lab will “issue a request for proposals from universities and other organizations interested in providing space for lectures, workshops and other events that would being together media professionals,” The Times reported.

Other initiatives include recruiting entrepreneurs from around outside of the city, seeking rising starts from emerging markets in Asia, the Middle East, Silicon Valley and the Boston area, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In his press conference, Mayor Bloomberg estimated the city’s media industry makes up about 10 percent of its private sector, adding up to around 300,000 jobs. The new initiatives aim to create 8,000 new jobs over the next 10 years and will cost the city about $1.5 million.

A spokesman for the organization behind the initiatives, The New York City Economic Development Corporation, said a focus on new media companies will help curb the slow-down of traditional media development and the plan is based on past lessons learned.

“We know that 10 years ago, when you look at some of the media giants, many were not even incorporated yet, and is they were, many were just tiny entities,” NYCEDC Vice President of Public Affairs David Lombino told PRWeek.

The project follows a similar push in January to keep financial employees in the city, and after tacking media, NYCEDC will focus on curtailing slowing retail business.

Commenting on a Conference? Blog it? No, YouTube it.

I spent some time today going through a random selection of the videos of presentations, tweets and blog commentary about the Personal Democracy Forum conference held last week in New York City.  Sort of goes from the insightful to the inane to the downright snarky.  Kind of expected.  But then I happen upon a little nugget, something different.

Here’s Natali, a conference attendee (and senior editor at, who after the first day, and before dinner I presume, wants to provide a little of her own commentary on the conference.  What’s unusual is that she admits to forgoing a blog post, saying that it’ll take too much time, and she won’t need to “obsess about content, wit, structure, grammar and all that stuff.” (Emphasis added.)  And instead she does a video post “to throw it all out there.”

It’s engaging.  Natali’s camera-friendly and thoughtful.  The video post is part commentary, part confessional.  Natali does another video post about the second day.  In it, she admits to playing hookey, attending only the first half of the day, and going for an afternoon jog in Central Park.  (BTW, it rained cats and dogs later in the afternoon.)

Is this the beginning  of a new trend?  Speaking is obviously easier than writing, especially after attending an event, when you just want to do a “brain dump” with friends.  And with making a video post on YouTube so easy now, I’m wondering if we’re going to see more of this.