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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 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  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?

The Prague Post On The Impact Of Business Blogging
The Prague Post has a fine article by Katya Zapletnyuk on April 19 called "Blogs are Changing Corporate Communication."

The article mentions the blogging success of Ivo Lukačovič, founder of the Czech search engine Seznam.  Zapletnyuk correctly opines that a major part of corporate blogging's success comes from business bloggers adopting a less stiff, more open (and even sometimes downright informal) tone.

I don't know if I would say a good corporate blog has to be "gossipy," but certainly it should encourage multi-directional communication - between the blogger(s) and readers, and among the readers themselves.  That's where the beauty of collaborative communication really emerges.
Apr 4
The New York Times Adopts Blog-Like Design
The New York Times has redesigned its website.  It looks more like a blog now!  Anil Dash of Six Apart explains in depth.

Just one step closer to the practical convergence of "newspapers" (what's a newspaper anymore?) and "blogs."
Stewart Mader: You Either Get It (Wikipedia) Or You Don't (Britannica)
Note by Easton: Thanks go to Stewart Mader for this guest post, which forms part of the Know More Media Guest Blogger Week event.  Stewart has also posted about wikis twice this week at this blog (see "Wiki vs. Blog" and "The Difference Between Steve Jobs And Bill Gates; The Zen Wiki").

Chartreuse wrote a great post called The New Hotness (Or the Encyclopedia Britannica's Guide To Becoming Internet RoadKill) on the Know More Media blog, and he's right on.

Every time something new and revolutionary comes along, some refuse to acknowledge it, others cast it off as a fad, and some attack it in the most virulent terms. Those who refuse to acknowledge it are preoccupied with day to day routine and unable to see it coming. Those who cast it off as a fad at least have the ability to see a larger picture, but stand to lose more because they discard that potential foresight. The third group loses the most, because, by attacking the new and so firmly planting themselves against it, they establish themselves as anti-new, and therefore, stiff, resistive, and out of touch.

Britannica has just joined that third group. By virulently attacking Wikipedia, they've planted themselves on the wrong side of the line, and by taking so long to do so, they've made Nature's case better than Nature could. In business, and education, you must be fast, know who you're competing with, and be agile. The bottom line is, I used Wikipedia this morning, and I can't remember the last time I used Britannica.

by Stewart Mader
Should We Lament The Decline Of Newspaper Circulation?
My short answer is no.  The longer answer is, I'll always cherish those early mornings delivering The Washington Post when I was younger, but still, no.

Georgie Anne Geyer has written a thoughtful piece (I found it at Yahoo! News) called "Without Newspapers, Americans Can't Understand The World."  Before you read what I have to say, you should know that Know More Media's Gary Bourgeault has already written a series of posts at TheAlphaMarketer in detailed response to Meyer's article.  I hope to add a little to what Gary has said.

My understanding of Geyer's article is this: She says that because Americans don't read newspapers as much as they used to, they do not oppose the war in Iraq like she thinks they should.  She writes:

"While there are many reasons for this American lassitude, I think we have come upon one of the major reasons this week. Too many Americans no longer seriously read newspapers, and thus don't have any idea what is happening in the world."

I want to focus here on one aspect of Geyer's statement: the idea that the decline of newspaper reading is causing Americans to know less about current world events.  I think she's missing the boat, because this fall in newspaper readership is due more to American consumers' shifting choice of news sources - that is, electronic as opposed to print - than to any trend toward ignorance.

That said, I like Geyer's thought that it is healthy to read articles that you otherwise wouldn't - to expose yourself to news that may not directly concern you.  That is what newspaper reading forces upon you, because you must pass your eyes over articles that you are not interested in to get to the ones you do want to read.

Geyer also says:

"If more Americans had had a comprehensive view of the world -- the kind that is irrevocably blurred by the 80,000 new blogging sites launched every week -- it would have been barely possible for the 30 people who in essence started the Iraq war to have acted without the accord of the American people."

Georgie Anne, I don't think the skyrocketing number of blogs equates to an increasingly blurred or uninformed perception of what is happening in the world.  If what you're saying is that we have too many choices laid before us and therefore are finding it increasingly difficult to identify the most important and relevant news, then I think you're right.  But I also feel differently about the value of blogging than you do.

Lessons for business bloggers?  One - write about a variety of topics.  Your readers are not one-dimensional.  Talk to them about funny things, weird things, and just plain off-topic things from time to time.  Keep it rare, but use it to spice up your conversations.  Newspapers may continue to be less read, but professional fact-checking and careful reporting (hopefully) will always be in style.

What do you think about Geyer's piece?  What lessons about blogging can you take from this conversation?

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