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Web 2.0 Archives
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May 5
What Can Bookmarklets Do For Business Bloggers?
Arrgh ... Have you ever crafted a post that really mattered to you, and then somehow lost it all before you could hit Publish?  I totally goofed up and lost what I had written about bookmarklets.  I'm too frustrated right now to rewrite it all.  So here's the short and sweet version:

1.  Every business blogger should learn what bookmarklets are and how to use them.  Basically, they are quick-fix magical tools you can add to your browser as bookmarks.  They can help you work faster and smarter!

2.  Check out Lorelle VanFossen's post about bookmarklets and Steve Rubel's classic top bookmarklets list.  I plan to do some more digging through Lorelle's bookmarklet gold mine; I've already scavenged Steve's list and found it very tasty.

3.  My favorite bookmarklets are "Alexa This" and "Technorati This" - what are yours?

4.  I'm trying out blummy and I think you should, too.

Let's learn about bookmarklets together, shall we?

Apr29
Cocomment Firefox Extension: It's Aliiiiiiiiive!
Cocomment Logo.gifJust a quick update and some gushing praises related to the new cocomment Firefox extension.  I've emailed a few of you to vent some of my excitement.

Install the new cocomment Firefox extension!  It streamlines cocomment so you don't have to use a bookmarklet every time you make a comment at a blog.  It works very well - few are the pages where I haven't been able to get it work (and that's what this del.icio.us page is for) - and you can even tag your comments so they are better organized at your cocomment page.

My cocomment page shows all the recent comments I've left using cocomment.

I was conversing with David Brazeal about this when the light flickered on in my mind.  If you get the cocomment extension and comment at that page, it will tell you within a few minutes when another cocomment user posts a follow-up comment!

Here's where you can let your imagination run wild.  What if you could see what a blogger is saying not only at his or her blog, but ALL OVER the blogosphere?  And what if you could grab that as a feed?

Well, you can! See: Comments by Easton
Also: All cocomment comments left on conversations I've joined

This changes the way I blog.  I comment more and respond more quickly to others' comments.  I have a record of where I've commented so I can review those links regularly.  I get notified instantly when another cocomment user responds to me at any of those pages.

Yes, I wish cocomment would index EVERY blog comment (not just ones submitted by cocomment users).  And I wish it offered a comment search engine and slice-and-dice feed creation capability a la Topix.net.  Or a cocommenter directory, organized by tags so you could tag people according to the kinds of comments they made.  And I wouldn't mind if it put ads here or there throughout or charged a subscription fee for extra toys, because I want this idea (or something like it) to succeed.

In a way, your cocomment page and feed become like another personal blog.  It enhances the connectedness of the blogosphere in my mind and makes it easier for people to have conversations.

What ideas do you have for using cocomment?  What do you think cocomment should do to improve?
Apr28
Cocomment Releases New Firefox Extension
I am super excited about this one!  My favorite comment tracking tool, cocomment, has released a new cocomment Firefox extension.  I'll play with it and let you know what I think.  In the meantime, I highly recommend that you try cocomment out.  It can make keeping track of your conversations a breeze.  (See my cocomment page.)

In fact, cocomment has helped me do a lot MORE commenting around the Web, since I'm no longer so worried that I'll forget where I've talked or what I've said.  GREAT tool.
Mar30
The Three Coolest Tools I Found On The Web 2.0 Awards List
I scoured the entire new Web 2.0 Awards list for useful business blogging tools that I hadn't heard about.  I discovered the following excellent tools:

Eurekster Swicki - Lets you add a smart little search engine ("swicki") to your blog that anyone can use collaboratively to generate focused searches on topics that are important to you.  Comes with a buzz cloud that shows you what people are searching for on your blog!

TagCloud - This pulls keywords from RSS feeds you specify and displays them according to prevalence.  So you could publish a tag cloud that shows your readers what topics are most popular at your blog.

WetPaint - Allows you to place wikis on your blog where people can collaborate by sharing information and ideas.
Mar29
Stewart Mader: Wiki vs. Blog
Note by Easton: Thanks again to Stewart Mader for guest posting here. He also posted on wikis yesterday. This special guest post is part of the Know More Media Guest Blogger Week effort.

In my last post, I made a comparison between Bill Gates and Steve Jobs - not so much to be critical, but to illustrate a point about the online world. "Today" is central to the growth of technology because the tools and services you can use today are the ones that will have the greatest immediate impact on your work. They'll also better prepare you to be agile and adopt the newer, better services available in the future. After my post yesterday, Easton commented to me that, "there's an important connection between blogs and wikis - both offer incredibly easy publishing capabilities. Smart businesses and smart educators will know how to use both to enhance their offerings." This is the perfect segue to today's post, which looks at the distinction between blogs and wikis.

As web communication and collaboration tools evolve, the distinction between them has become subtle at the outset, and greater as the use deepens, like a fork in the road. Blogs and wikis might not seem that different on first glance, because they both enable communication of information by a person or group of people, and provide a platform for feedback. Blogs do it in the form of comments, while wikis do it by letting users directly edit the contents of a given page. This is where the distinction becomes more apparent. For example, businesses are increasingly using wikis to allow users of their products to write documentation, and the result is better, more comprehensive documentation than a product manager or engineer could write. Here are examples from Merlin Systems and Mozilla. A blog wouldn't work as well for this, because direct editing of pages is necessary for users to alter the same text when correcting errors, improving clarity and flow, and adding new information. A blog would be useful for announcing a new product, and the comments feature would allow people to react to the announcement by posting questions, asking for further details, etc. A wiki wouldn't work so well here, because the text of the announcement needs to stay stable in order to communicate accurate information to as many people as possible. The same general principle applies to education - blogs are a better communication tool when you want to get information out to people, and want to enable feedback, but keep the original text intact. Wikis are better when you want information to be touched - and enhanced - by as many hands as possible. Attached to my blog is a wiki documenting uses of wiki in education - see if you're inspired by the ideas already there (many of which apply equally to business), edit them if you like, or contribute new ideas - that's what technology today is all about!

by Stewart Mader

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