Monday, February 9, 2009

O'Reilly Tools of Change For Publishing (Part 1)

The Allegory of Painting -or- The Art of Painting, Jan Vermeer van Delft, 1666

O'Reilly Tools of Change For Publishing

Good morning. I am sitting at my computer at 5 a.m. typing away. I am ready to go to the O'Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing Conference. It starts with a continental breakfast at 7:30 a.m. . This is the conference with the earliest start I have ever been to. I will be taking the train in a few moments. I am very much looking forward to going.

I read a bit more of Monster A Novel on the way to the conference. The train was not very full in the early morning hours. It was nice light entertainment.

I got to the conference at 7:00 a.m. at the Marriott Marquis Hotel on 1545 Avenue of the Americas. The continental breakfast was quite pleasant. I talked to a lady from New Zealand who was there to learn about what was happening with the web. The breakfast was pleasant and the coffee was good.

I went to the first panel by Chris Brogan who has a blog at . The title of the panel was Blogging and Social Media. His blog looks very well put together.

His presentation reminded me of someone who had very deep web knowledge like (Fravia) or Shally Steckerl (Recruitment), or David Carpe, (Business Research). I realize these are research oriented people with a different focus, but the knowledge is there.

The panel started at 8:30 a.m. in the North Ball Room. Apparently, Chris Brogan likes libraries, bookstores, and comic books something I can very much relate to. He chatted with me for a few moments before the panel started.

He had a very open ended discussion that was not in a particular order. It was spoken extemporaneously with lots of questions from the audience. I am rearranging what I think I learned from his talk to the audience. It was quite enlightening. This is more an arrangement of thoughts than anything else. Everyone sees the world differently, so what I remember may not exactly mirror the words of the speaker, but they should be somewhat similar.

I took notes in long hand on a pad of paper. I like writing and taking notes in long hand because the physical act of writing helps me remember what I am writing. I also rearranged what I heard so I could make sense of it.

More than one person should work on a blog in a company. The primary purpose of blogging is communication. The first thing that a person should see on the top of a blog is how to communicate with the author. The purpose of social media is to have presence and communicate with people. Social media is two way communication.

The currency of blogging and social media is trust and attention. This means not just using things like twitter, but combining them with older methods like email marketing. If you want a successful blog you should make things easily accessible and help people. Also, you should give a reason for people to visit your blog. Part of that reason it to point to places where people can find useful information.

Most blog and web tools are free and cheap. It is more important to invest in educating yourself in how the tools work than buying very expensive technology. Most of the tools he demonstrated on the screen like and are free.

He mentioned a software application for annotating different locations in the world called Bright Kite using an Iphone. You can say things about specific locations when you visit them. He compared this to William Gibson's science fiction novel Spook Country where the main character used virtual reality to annotate different physical locations. He called this ARG (Alternate Reality Games). It sounds like one of those classic techie things where you can do unusual things with the internet.

Another idea he expressed was that publishers were becoming information brokers. A book is a package or bundle of information. He said that if he buys a book, he should be able to read the physical copy, listen to it in the car, and read it on his iphone on the way into the office. It should be a complete experience. I rather liked this idea. I can see this happening easily in the not too distant future.

Twitter was a large part of the conversation and tools built around Twitter. He compared Twitter to the phone of the future. I rather like Twitter, I was very impressed with his over 30,000 followers on his Twitter feed. I intend to read his tips for blogging on his blog to figure out how to improve what I am currently doing.

Part of this conversation which was all over the place was about authors. One of the authors he mentioned was Neil Gaiman who has a blog at and a twitter feed at neilhimself. Although, he did not mention it, the author who I most think of in connection with Neil Gaiman is Jonathan Carroll

I asked him about social networks. He pulled out a few suggestions, Shelfari, Librarything, and An audience member mentioned a site called Red Room. I have Shelfari on my website. I have never heard of Red Room or Book Oven. I also learned about another social networking site for books later in the day, Authonomy. There is also African American Literarature Book Club, Lit Minds.

There was the classic mention that people are no longer just consumers of content, they are now producers. A Flip Mino for the price of $100-120 can produce cheap web video. You can buy a domain and very easily redirect content to it through one of the many different sites:,,, blip tv, and

Another theme was something he called, "Cafe Shaped Conversations," or small focused discussiions that relate directly to the reader.

The talk was very open ended, but I can remember large amounts of it still because the speaker was quite vivid. There were other things being discussed, but these are the things which I remember the most from the talk.

I will continue describing the second session after I take the time to rearrange my notes. The second session was as deep as the first session.

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