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Notes from Les Blogs

Some quick notes from Les Blogs:

I’ve never gotten to meet Hugh Macleod, but I think I’d like him, based on his brief talk at Les Blogs. He introduces himself as living in Cumbria, which he compares to Vermont: “There’s sheep and rocks and not much else. It’s basically near some more sheep.” Western MA is a little like that, only we’ve got amore trees.

Hugh is well known for his blog-centric cartoons, written on the back of business cards, shown off at gapingvoid.com. (I’ve gotten at least two bizcards at this conference that featured his cartoons on the back. If you’re so inclined, you can have them on the back of your bizcards as well.)

Hugh is able to run this business from the middle of nowhere, as is his business partner, who runs a bespoke tailoring company called English Cut. As a result, Hugh says he’s “able to live somewhere cheap and easy, doing what the hell I want,” as opposed to living in London and, “doing some crappy little job in some glass building at the ministry of death.”

Ah, a fellow traveller.

Hugh expresses the hope that blogs will help support the process of microbranding, helping people make a living doing things they love, rather than working for companies that don’t love them back. (I’d offer that there’s another option, which is creating companies that do love you back.) Hugh notes that blogs help us create identities that transcend our jobs, “which is good because these jobs suck”.

(I met Hugh after writing this. I like him very much indeed.)

Anina is, unsurprisingly, a major hit at the conference. Like the vast majority of tech conferences, men outnumber women here by a substantial margin, and I’m confident in saying that very few people here other than Anina have their bust and waist measurements prominently displayed on their websites.

Then again, if I were a fashion model and blogger, as Anina is, I also might display my vital stats in my header. (As it is now, I’d need to use scientific notation.) While she’s flocked by men at the conference in part because she’s very beautiful, she’s also very articulate and clearly a blog true believer. She tells us that blogs have allowed the breakdown of hierarchies in the fashion industry, allowing people who work in fashion to connect and collaborate without working through their agents… who are basically useless if there’s no money on the table. 360 fashion, a project she’s involved with is designed to facilitate this sort of cooperation in the future.

She’s also very clearly a fashionista. Talking about the sorts of people she’s met through blogs, she remarked about a researcher who told her he was a big fan of her blog. She went on to say, “Socks and sandals… white on the inside of the sandals. Obviously you don’t read [my blog] enough.”

Man, I’m glad I bought new shoes before coming to this conference.

David Sifry of Technorati said several smart things (as he often does). The smartest, I though, was a new definition of weblogs: “The remnants of a person’s attention expressed over time.”

David also points out that Technorati can search in 20 different languages. This raises a question that’s pretty interesting to me – does David have information on the linguistic distribution of blogs that Technorati tracks?

6 thoughts on “Notes from Les Blogs”

  1. Hi Ethan,

    Keep up the conf blogging – between your blog and Anina’s, I feel like I’m in Paris rather than snowy, dreary Boston right now. Love Sifry’s new blog definition, too – wish I’d come up with that. :-)


  2. I am glad you bought new shoes, not that anina is a critical of other people’ appearance, but one should always try to look your best.

    Socks & sandals ! that person should consider thenselves lucky that they have not been nominated for a Darwin award as yet.

  3. Pingback: gapingvoid

  4. i completely agree with dave’s definition. but due to the lack of sophisticated information retrieval/presentations in blogs, we lose touch with shifting perspectives of concepts over time into the pits of archived posts. of course, tagging helps remedy that by creating explicit index pages with chronologically ordered posts, but that doesn’t present an overall sense of the shifting perspective of the author, across multiple tags and concepts and influences and time.

    imagine if malcolm x blogged throughout his entire life. how amazing would that read have been?

  5. Francois, you should have seen the shoes I would have worn had I not bought new shoes. I wouldn’t have been allowed out of the airport. France would have denied me a visa for being so poorly dressed.

    Sean, I wonder if Malcolm had blogged whether we would have gotten an autobiography from him? Not to suggest that the two are mutually exclusive, but I have to think it’s going to be interesting when bloggers start getting to the point that they’re writing end of life autobiographies – it’s very hard to see the past dimly and through rose-colored glasses when your thoughts and feelings from decades ago are cached by Google…

  6. the autobiography of malcolm x was an authentic account of his life, but it was told to alex haley upon reflection. imagine malcolm live blogging waiting to speak at mosque no. 7 in detroit or during his trip to mecca! how much richer would the *experience* of the read be if it were told in the moment, with layers of evolving contextual texture surrounding it within the interactive medium.

    you’re right; rose-colored autobiographies would no longer be possible, but those never really have been. the difference now/future is that the public wouldn’t purchase something that they experienced with the author (on their blog) or have access to post-mortem.

    when information retrieval and presentation iterates a few generations in blogging applications, will our blogs live on after we pass?

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