Searching for the Moon

Shannon Clark's rambles and conversations on food, geeks, San Francisco and occasionally economics

Some things Dave Winer is wrong about…

Posted by shannonclark on May 15, 2005

I listened to Dave Winer’s podcast of May 14th and I have to disagree with him on many many points.

One, I have heard him repeat many times that “he was the first blogger” and that “all the first bloggers in 1997/98 were using Frontier”. Dave is simply flat wrong here. There were people who were keeping online journals (not called blogs but effectively the same thing) for not just a few months but for many years before Dave’s blog. How do I know this? At least one of them is a very good friend of mine, Mary Anne Mohanraj (her journal, online since 1995 is at http://www.mamohanraj.com/Diary/diary.html ) and I think there were even a few others who posted online journals prior to Mary Anne.

Two, Dave makes a point which he (and others) have made that there are “not many woman bloggers”. (I’m male btw if you are reading this via rss) I looked over the 166 some blogs I read via RSS, nearly half of them are by woman. Further, there are dozens of other blogs I read not via RSS which are mostly by woman. A common trait for many of them – they are not blogging about tech. I think often Dave (and others in a certain circle of bloggers) think that “blog” == politics & technology. Even with the examples of podcasts, LiveJournal, MSN Spaces, Yahoo 360 and a few million other blogs (many not in English) all who are blogging and talking about music, personal lives, loves, writing, tv shows, movies, games, sports, and dozens of other topics.

In that world, there are millions of bloggers, many of them woman.

And one final point.

Three, Dave goes on to put out a call for “non-professional”, “not the best quality” etc from podcasts. Perhaps that what he wants to do, perhaps that is what he wants to listen to, but it by no means whatsoever what I as a listener listen to or what I seek out (or when I think about producing content seek to produce). Rather, I look for people who have consistent quality, produce content that engages me, and generally (unlike Dave) content I can listen to as I want to listen – but don’t have to drop everything I am doing to just listen – i.e. sound quality stays the same, threads of content don’t ramble (too much) and the overall product is very high. As I have posted previously (and commented on many times elsewhere) most of the podcasts I listen to are by semi-professionals (Dave’s being an exception).

In a few weeks I’ll have podcasts which I’m on going up on IT Conversations – recordings from MeshForum 2005 – like everything Doug Kaye puts up, only the highest quality recordings will go up (unfortunately this means a few of our speakers may not air). While disappointing this is also why IT Conversations is as good as it is.

Dave (if you are reading this), this is not personal, and you are certainly welcome to attend MeshForum 2006 (or other future MeshForum events). I do, however, think that there is a vast and complex world (of blogs and other activities) which you have been ignoring to a point. As technologists we should remind ourselves that at the end of the day it is the vast, complex networks (my personal interest) of people who will be using and interacting within and around and through the tools, platforms, events and technology we put together – their uses may not be how we imagined, most likely they will ignore 90% of what the tools “can” (or as many would say “should” do) in favor of what people actually want and do.

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