Thanks to a great presentation by local blog goddess, Pam Spaulding, author of the Always Steamin' Pam's House Blend (which receives 160,000 unique visits per month), our Web 2.0 workshop yesterday helped me to think about how to reach my target audience and why a targeted audience is more important than just numbers, numbers, numbers (although, my friends, the HASTAC numbers aren't too bad--we were hitting 3000 and 4000 visitors a day during "Electronic Techtonics"). Pam gave us several rules for success: blog, reblog, and blogroll (blog unto others and they will blog unto you). Email bloggers you like and tell them about your posts and tell them which posts of theirs you will blog. Collaboration is good. Post your blog entries onto social bookmarking sites like digg, del.icio.us, reddit, furl, stumbleupon. Use Social networking sites such as My Space and Facebook. She used a blog survery tool and found that not that many of her readers used RSS feeds. And she found that many of her readers were white . . . one reason, she suspects, why she often is greeted by a relative silence when she blogs on race, but not when she addresses issues of sexuality or of other kinds of gender, sexual, or national politics. She says one key to her success is she posts blogs frequently, up to five a day. Since she cannot blog at work, she insists that "insomnia helps" the die-hard blogger. She also counsels to find your voice and to speak it. She also spoke eloquently abot the consequences of blogging and said there isn't enough education about blogging. Young people will sometimes say things that can cause them problems, later, when they are looking for jobs. The blogosphere is as close to immortality as one can get on this earth. Remember that! What you say today, will stick around to haunt you tomorrow.
We also heard from Brian Russell (www.yesh.com/blog), who talked about podcasting, audio activism, and what Dave Winer calls "unconferences." At an unconference, there aren't so much speakers as random swappings of knowledge on special topics. Like an intellectual flea market.
Evan (our expert participant in Second Life) told us about the really cool weapons he creates for Second Life. SL now is up to 6.8 million accounts, with 1.7 million visits in the last 68 days. Together with HASTAC New Media genius Mark Olson, an expert on video streaming, Evan came up with a cool way to stream videocontent live into Second Life. In fact, we were streamed as we talked. Now, as long as we don't get zapped with by some Ominous Purple Cloud of Immobiizing Slow Death (I just made up that name), we'll be just fine. Mark also made a great point. Evan has spent a long time mastering the deep, deep structure of Lindon Scripting Language. Mark doesn't have the time for that level of SL programming. But Mark knows all about live video streaming. Together, they pooled their knowledge, a mini Web 2.0 right there, and made the live streaming into SC happen. Very soon we hope to have the entire video for the In|Formation Year streaming into Second Life. I'll let you know as soon as it is up there.
Paolo Mangiafico, one of my colleagues in the Interface Seminar, ended our afternoon by talking about a host of great library tools. The one I will subscribe to today is LibraryThing. In fact, I think we'll be setting up a HASTAC group account on LibraryThing so we can share bibliography, tage one another's books, important content, and, in general, manipulate books and information-sharing about the most interesting (and the worst) books in the field through this tool. Paolo would love it if Perkins put its entire catalogue onto this tool. The folksonomies people use on LibraryThing may well be more user-friendly than Library of Congress cataloguing and it would be such a great symbolic step if a library actually made its catalogue open source. The kinds of data users could contribute would be endless and fascinating and instructive, especially to libraries themselves.
Paolo also told us about a very clever use of ReCaptcha, the symbol-recognizing security device, that is being used on words that cannot be read by computer scanning. Individuals identify the word to get into their bank accounts or other accounts and, in the process, do a communal good of using their eyes and human intelligence to decode a scanner problem and contribute to digital knowledge. DIY. Do It Yourself----but also, the message of the afternoon and Web 2.0, is that you do it better with others . . .