An abstract on journalism vs. blogging

Posted in Blogging, Business, Social networking

Today I went on visit to the set of The 4400 and interviewed one of the cast, Chad Faust. I drew a lot from the interview, and ironically little had to do with the interview itself (although superb).

Sometimes moments in time stand out for you where you have the opportunity to assess where you are and where you want to be. This was one of those moments.

The moment had as much to do with my view of myself as well as my goals in the industry. I have stepped aside from calling myself a journalist or a writer in the past. This has been purposeful in some ways, but also perhaps a mistake.

b5media is still recognized more as a ‘blog’ network than a ‘new media’ network. That is one part of the perception issue. The other part has to do with purposeful grassroots strategy. We put the community first. Understanding that the community is best served by not just information, but dialogue, immediately strips away much of the formality in journalism today. We take on the role of the blogger, which is much more approachable. We talk as if in conversation. We gossip. We go for niche posts with depth instead of sparser, more comprehensive posts. It is a different style, which has its merits.

However, I wonder if by doing so, do we in some ways underestimate our audience, as well as ourselves? Does removing the formality of language necessarily mean removing the formality of topic?

I think this is more applicable to our tv sites than our celebrity ones. In the case of The 4400, I think Alexandra (my co-writer) and I have taken to task the analysis portion far more than on any other site. We dig down into the nuances of episodes as well as the overarching themes and the social commentary therein. But it’s more the exception than the rule, and due credit goes to the writers of the show for making this key.

This struck me today as an odd balance. On the one hand, I think our decision to strip away formality has been a great one, even if it can mean "dumbing down" sometimes. On the other hand, it might be something we want to consider as the network grows. As we try to get more professional recognition as journalists by "old media" standards there will need to be some give. With communities of scale, there is the expectation that we will have the inside information privy to journalists, and we have a responsibility to meet these expectations.

I have some very exciting ideas in this area to add to the big pile of ideas that I’ve been sitting on for a while now. The spotlight is shifting our way and I feel the pressure to innovate. To pull things together, create a brand that sells not just to advertisers but to media, and give our hard working writers the due credit – and opportunities – they deserve. 

I feel the urgency to grow our network not just in size, but also in reputation. To use our skills as writers, with the aid of technology and innovative ideas, to be recognized by communities and industry alike.

We are all the experts in our topics, far more than old media yet recognizes. And, as a network, I think we have much more to offer as well as prove.

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Finding a balance

Posted in Business

I have been swamped these past few weeks with so much to do. Life seems to hand over a lot at once to test our sanity, it would seem. I will rant now on all that I’ve been doing.

I can’t complain over much about my work. I do love what I do and enjoy it every day. But I admit I’ve been doing too much of it, too many hours, and extending it into my weekend. Bad me.

Very rarely do my particular entertainment sites overlap in their waves of information flow. This month they have all been spiking up, requiring a significant increase in my post frequency. Hilary Duff, for example, takes about 10 posts per day right now. That’s a fair amount. I get very frustrated, but also have immense respect for her amazing marketing skills. The payback is worth it – a community that thrives and appreciates the work is satisfying.

My health is a rollercoaster. There are ups – like a reduction in my medication for my arm as a result of successful Nucca chiropractic treatments – and the downs. I suffer more from neck weakness and back pain and a significant increase in migraines. I have lost a lot of muscle tone in this past year of my health problems. It will be a slow road to recovery. It’s been quite frustrating to be on so many ups and downs, which are for the most part out of my control.

We have been planning a good deal for our home. We are settling in quite nicely – though still have no couch – and are happy here. We also just planned our anniversary – can you believe we’ve been married a year already? We plan to go for a romantic weekend away to the Sunshine Coast. Getting "off the grid" will be a welcome treat.

With our dedication to our work, our attempts to spend time together, the work on our home, and my ongoing health care, there seems very little time to relax and enjoy things – like our blogs – and create interesting projects of our own. You might be thinking, why do we want to do more work? Well, it’s not work. Things that bubble in your head are exciting and enticing and fun to work on. But we come last in our list of things to do.

Oh and taxes. I hate taxes. And I’m sure Ianiv will concur with that, since he’s the one with the accounting software ;)

Now, I think I have "checked my email" for long enough now and should call it a night.


Interview on 901am

Posted in Arieanna & Ianiv, Business, Professional Blogging

Duncan shot me out an interview on professional blogging a couple of days back for

It was an interesting experience to re-evaluate questions I have been asked before. I am much happier as a "pro blogger" now than I ever have been, but the answer as to why might surprise you.

Go check it out  :)

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Are you a designer?

Posted in Business

We’re in need of a designer over here. Someone really good with graphics.

I often have these ideas in my head that my skills won’t let me articulate either on paper or in photoshop. Or I’ll want something different… but don’t know what to make it instead. Ianiv is an amazing coder, but he’s not a designer either. We could use some fresh ideas over here.

So, if you are a designer, we are looking to redo a whole bunch of sites, mostly blogs, and perhaps develop a relationship we can continue when we work with future clients. We would do all the coding, so we’re just looking for graphics skills.

We’re looking for someone who is very keen on innovative designs. Who has an understanding for community and for using the latest widgets and gadgets – or in envisioning ones not yet created. We don’t want someone just reuses elements of other sites, but can rather think outside the box.

If you have experience in web design, design or graphics, please drop me a line. We may not be able to start tomorrow, but we want to lay out the plans to start soon.


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YouTube to start rev share

Posted in Business, Marketing, Technology

YouTube has announced today that it will be enabling a revenue share system:

"Chad Hurley, co-founder of YouTube, said Saturday that the wildly successful site will start sharing revenue with its millions of users.

Hurley, who along with the site’s co-founders sold YouTube to Google for $1.65 billion in November, said one of the major innovations the site is working on is a way to allow users to be paid for content.

‘We are getting an audience large enough where we have an opportunity to support creativity, to foster creativity through sharing revenue with our users,’ Hurley said at the World Economic Forum. ‘So in the coming months, we are going to be opening that up.’ " [Source]

Does this have something to do with the YouTube deals? (Google, Warner Music, Verizon, NBC, etc) How content will be syndicated? To identify material that is copyright? Or to simply bump up the marketing hype and make YouTube even more viral than it already is.

So, my question, being in the Entertainment industry – what constitutes original content? What is the line for ‘parody’ or fair use? I know already networks take different stances on it. I’ve even been thanked by the WB for my videos, while had one from another network stripped. So, how will this change the system?

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YouTube’s Chemist

Posted in Business

Just like Bloglines has its plumber, YouTube has its chemist. Always down when you are trying to get work done ;)

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Google to test BMG/Warner video ads

Posted in Business

Google is expanding its video advertising testing with new ads from BMG and Warner.

According to the article, Google announced today that it will work with these two major music labels to embed video advertisements over the next 4 week test period on a select set of websites.

"Over the past few months, we have run tests to figure out how we work with our partners and advertisers to combine high quality video content with ads and then distribute them (over) the Google AdSense network," Google said in statement.

The test with the two music labels follows an earlier public trial of Google’s video advertising system with Viacom’s MTV Networks, which provided music videos to run on a select number of Web sites running Google ads…

As a example, Warner Music has defined multiple video channels along themes like "rock music" or featuring the "Divas of Pop Music." A Web site owner can select a video channel and embed it on a section of the site dedicated to running Google AdSense ads. Visitors then can click to watch ad-supported videos within the video channel on sites running the ads.

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