Dispatches From Blogistan

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the book
Dispatches From Blogistan
by suzanne stefanac
peachpit/new riders
voices that matter series
shipping now
> amazon
> barnes & noble
from the book
> table of contents
> chapter 2 history of open discourse
> chapter 6 history of journalism
> 10 blog design tips
> what is this long tail?
> trackback demystified
> blog ethics primer
> glossary
> resource hotlinks


> cory doctorow

> farai chideya

> bruce sterling

> denise caruso

> craig newmark

> jamais cascio

> laura lemay

> christian crumlish

> jon lebkowsky

interview with craig newmark

Ccap.gifraigslist.com has had an undeniable influence on major American newspapers. Some say that craigslist’s free classified ads are single-handedly killing municipal newspapers. Others claim that the evolving service is handing journalism back to its citizens. The community bulletin board launched in San Francisco in 1995, the vision of Craig Newmark, a software engineer turned social engineer. Today, localized versions are popping up in cities all around the country, offering classifieds, personals, event calendars and more. Craig is a man of few, but well chosen, words who continually finds new ways to give back to his community. Check out Craig’s personal blog for a window onto his ongoing interests.

Dispatches: Some say that the freedom to publish and clash of ideas on blogs give rise to Truth, while others just see them as so much noise. What are your thoughts?

I’m not sure what Truth is these days, but as long as people are honest, we can all use our intuition to ferret out some truth. What we really need are collaborative filtering mechanisms which can utilize the “wisdom of crowds” with controls to help prevent mob behavior.

Dispatches: How do you envision news being delivered in five years? How will revenue be structured?

Mainstream and citizen journalism are merging, so no need for panic. Mainstreamers need to speak truth to power; citizens need to do more fact-checking.

Revenue will flow from some unknown combination of existing models, including advertising, subscription, sponsorship, and pay to view.

Dispatches: Some associate the participatory nature of blogs and wikis with an increased democratization of culture. Is this naive?

The ‘net overall is helping people create a historical big trend involving the redistribution of power; it’s happening already. Check out instapundit and dailykos. per above, we’re figuring out how to get masses involved without mob rule.

Dispatches: New software and online service platforms are increasingly open, distributed, self-organizing and “in perpetual beta.” What are our best strategies for adapting smoothly?

I think the norm will be networks of people solving all sorts of problems together, we just need to prevent stuff from getting in the way, like the big telecom attacks on ‘net neutrality.

Dispatches: How likely is it that public feedback forums will transform product development and customer satisfaction?

I think people will demand adequate or better customer service, and online forums will drive that.

Dispatches: Spam. Will we ever get a handle on it or is it like mosquitos and we should just suck it up?

I think widespread deployment of authentication tech will prevent a lot of spam and other abuses, I’m waiting to see who’ll start it off… maybe Visa?

Dispatches: Do you read any blogs regularly? What keeps you coming back?

I do read a bunch, including dailykos and instapundit; also gadget blogs and the media talk blogs focusing on NY and Washington.

Dispatches: What makes you happiest when thinking about craigslist?

Maybe we remind people that they should treat people as they want to be treated themselves, that feels really good.

Dispatches: Least happy about?

I’m not happy with people who use our site to abuse others, or who post illegal stuff.

Dispatches: What would be the best evolution of craigslist and how would that fit in with traditional media?

Overall, we’ll be doing more of the same, better customer service,
probably no real media connection.

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