Archive for March, 2009

Blogging’s effects on dieting

I recently wrote a feature piece for PBS exploring how dieters were able to utilize blogging — and the community support built around it — to maintain weight loss. I found it incredibly fascinating combing through the archives and speaking to these bloggers, some of whom have lost upwards of 60 pounds after launching their blogs.

A few days later I was contacted by a producer from a program on community radio in Sydney, Australia called “The Fourth Estate.” She said she wanted to interview me about my piece, and you can listen to the interview on the program’s website — just click to listen to the March 12 episode and I’m in the very first segment.

Twitter’s Google problem

I send out a horde of emails every week to bloggers, neatly packaging links with a short argument for why they should be including them in posts. Over the last few months, I’ve been receiving a reply email that reads to me as a mixed bag: “Thanks, I just tweeted it.”

While I love twitter as much as the next person, I’ve noted more than once that the micro blogging service has made me a lazy blogger. Rather than taking content and extrapolating on its merits and weaknesses, I find myself time and time again copy and pasting the headline of the content and blasting the link out to my Twitter followers.

And even though from personal experience I know that tweets (particularly ones that are retweeted) can send a quick flood of traffic, I wonder about the long-term effects this has on the web. What I’m referring to is the fact that Twitter modifies all links so that they contain a “no follow” tag, making them virtually invisible to Google.

So does this mean that an article’s “retweetability” is a hidden curse? After all, if your content is mostly ignored by regular blogs in favor of the ease of tweeting links to it, doesn’t this mean that someone else’s content published a year ago — before Twitter was as widely used as it is now — has an unfair advantage?

And what does this mean for Google? Just because there’s a “no follow” tag in a link doesn’t mean that the link doesn’t have value. If Twitter continues to grow at its current rate, then it may permanently skewer Google’s authority ranking. After all, most Twitter users don’t know or don’t care about the “no follow” tag in their links. So they have no individual investment in propping Rome (i.e. Google) up.

Does anyone know this Sedaris quote?

An email I just received:

Hello,
I know this is really peculiar but I was writing to ask the source of a David Sedaris quote you had on your Twitter, I think? I was at an Ira Glass lecture a few months back and he played a Sedaris reading with the quote, “I love you, I love you, but I don’t know how to love you, It is a mantra we learn one day and use regularly for the rest of our lives…” toward the end of it. I’ve read and heard a lot of Sedaris’s work but had never come across that particular essay and the quote has been running through my mind ever since. I got fed up scanning through his books (and I can’t find my copy of his first book, anyway) so I googled it, and your page was the only thing that came up.

Anyways, if you know what I’m talking about, that would be great, a huge moment of clarity, and quite the testament the internet as an information source.

Thanks,
Daniel Dreiberg

This is what I wrote back:

Hey Daniel,

The exact same thing happened to me. I went to see Ira Glass in Charlottesville VA and heard that quote and couldn’t get it out of my head. Unfortunately I think it was just one of his diary entries that he read on NPR before he was super famous and he never collected it anywhere. It’s a shame too, because though I remember the first part of the quote I couldn’t remember the entire thing. Do you remember it all?

–simon

Heavy breathing at SXSW

UPDATE: One of the twitter users featured here says he isn’t at SXSW, that he’s parodying it. Poe’s Law

Based on tweets I’ve seen coming out of it, South By Southwest is populated by horny males disappointed there aren’t any hot babes there to ignore them.

mark drapeu

That’s funny, if you search for “Dr. Mark Drapeau” and “is really hot,” nothing comes up for that either. Conspiracy?

mark drapeau
mark drapeau
sxsw tweet
sxsw tweet
mark drapeau
mark drapeau
mark drapeau
sxsw tweet
sxsw tweet
sxsw tweet

Craigslist post of the day

TOPLESS BARBERS WANTED (HARTFORD)

we r in the process of opening a private membership topless barber shop in hartford, we are looking for lady barbers and a receptionist, who has no problem working topless, will give out more info ater the applicants request more info and send a pic.

Another victory for Twitter?

I caught this on Twitter within two minutes after the tweet was issued. I immediately went to Google News and did a sort-by-date and there were no articles that popped up, meaning that Twitter has theoretically beaten the mainstream in breaking this news, assuming that it is verified to be true.

twitter citibank bombing

The copy editor layoff song

I just may have to write a PBS article on this guy. He’s the Jonathan Coulton of the newspaper editor.


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