Scoble's NorthernVoice Talk (now including links)
(I'm having trouble editing posts in Blogger, so I'm throwing this into a new post as a short term alternative. I'm not happy about this. I will come back and add in the links.)
Scoble: How I read a thousand blogs a day (Scoble's Link Blog)
I’m really honored to be here in front of people I read and really like. People kept going up to me and telling me I’m crazy. How do you read a thousand things a night. They want to see how I do it. On Channel 9 they ask if I can do a video.
I want to talk about some of the trends in blogging, and RSS. I was late today as I was blogging about a post at Microsoft that did not have RSS. They said no one is linking to this site. It is how I build relationships with people, companies and product team. If you don’t’ have an RSS feed I’m not going to point to you. He said it was a site for non geeks, for kids. I said then tell your non geek friends to link to it. The efficiency of the blogosphere, the tip of the iceberg of human experience. A grain of sand on the overall beach. With that tip I can get a sense of what people are taking and thinking about. I can also become a connector who connects two people together and make magic happen. That connect today happens through RSS. The bleeding edge people here understand and use RSS. If you go the political blogosphere and understand how they get their news, they are reading a large number of blogs in a news aggregator. The reason that works, and why we don’t use browsers. Lets say I’m reading 100 sites a night. If I have to go to 100 sites you wait 2 – 10 seconds to load. Second, I don’t need to read every site, just those who have published since the last time I read. Go to my news aggregator, you can see what I haven’t read in bold. If you want to keep up with me, have the same info access that I do, you have to visit all 20 sites every night. I don’t, just the ones with new. Right away I’m dramatically kicking your ass. If you go to slashdot.com – your mind has to load that page, parse it, remember what it saw last time. In other words, if you were here last night, you have to mentally think about what you saw. You can do this for 10-30o but not for thousands. Your mind can’t do that. I only have to read the items that were published. I’m between 10-30% more productive than someone using a browser.
Then you come into some other minor things. On slashdot you have to look at color and layout. Mentally deal with logos, ads, things around the content you care about. I don’t. I only read the content. No blinky crap distracting me. No advertising though ads will come to this. When you are publishing content you need to have a business model.
There are 2 approaches to RSS. Notification. Use it like an alert system to tell my readers I’ve published something. They just put headlines. I don’t subscribe to them any more. Headline and link to content but they want you to visit the webpages. The other approach is publishing, syndication mechanism. I’m going to let you do what ever you want with my content. Those two approaches are in conflict. USA wants you to visit their page. I don’t care, you can take my content and use it. Put it ion your own link blogs, whatever. There is value in participating in a system where we all share with some common rules. That’s the efficiency of what I’m doing.
The nice thing that now, in RSS, the other thing that is nice. With HTML I’m stuck with a browser. I can’t use this information in a new way in a new place. Howard Dean had a news aggregator, he build a new application that allowed him to do something new on a screen.
I like RSS in outlook because I live in Outlook. The power I bring to MS is I read things and pass it around. I read complaint to IE, I pass that on the to IM team. The listening them Tim talked about really resonated with me. That’s why I’m reading so many feeds. This global market is conversations all day long. If you aren’t involved in this conversation you are going to be out of business.
Some things we’ve seen in and out of MS – the efficiency of word of mouth is amazing. In retail in the 80’s most of the traffic was word of mouth. Ad brought in only 20%. Firefox – 25 million downloads in 3 months. Where did you hear about that? Though word of mouth, not the NYT. That’s the cautionary tale. If you don’t build the best product that people talk about it and recommend it, you are out of it.
During the tsunami it was interesting to see how the blogosphere… efficiency. I was involved with the 9-11 response to the blogosphere, interacting with people all over the year. When there is a news story like that, everyone goes online. Comparing notes, figuring what the story was. The tsunami – the first time I heard about it on Sunday, I went to a site called PubSub and created this little feed. It has thousands of items in it now. Called Phuket Tsunami – first place he heard about. It grabbed anyone writing about it and they would show up in that folder. Evelyn Rodrigues wrote about the tsunami from a hospital bed in Thailand. I was one of the first people to link to her and her writing about her experiences. She came to blogger con a month before. We had relationships, but I first saw her in this folder, not in her blog folder
Earlier this week I was at the Demo conference, talking to Steven Levy, Fred Vogelstein and Walt Mossberg. People like me kill to be next to these people and they are coming over to find out what I’m doing. They said they are all using pubsub and are earching on words like MS sucks, tech problem, technology, Longhorn. All the terms they care about. Any blogger with two readers shows up in that folder. If you write today that Microsoft Sucks, Walt Mossberg sees it. Should we pay attention to you or Walt Mossberg It is really complex. PR tells Robert to clean up the messes the bloggers create, but they are going to have to change to understand this new world. Really what they need to do is to understand how to build a movement. Study Firefox and how they got the word out. Firefox is not the only anti-IE, but they new how to feed the bloggers, getting them to talk about it. Things people talk about. It. They got me to link to them. That’s pretty impressive.
Movement start with 5 bloggers. I’m telling PR folks, the industry. If you want to do something, get 5 bloggers. You can do it the wrong way. Right out plea for links. It won’t help if you ask Dave Winer for a link. You don’t have an expectation of a link. Tell me about something cool. Blog I wrote this morning on the same thing. Tim said the same thing. That team EXPECTED me to link to them. You have to give me something to talk about. Play by my rules. The RSS rules.
My routine. I start at one end or the other. If I were starting today I would use onfolio, RSS bandit, Macs might use netnewswire. I use one in Outlook. Onfolio – (Comment from the crowd about the outlook interface but I can’t hear). I do my scan just once a day. Start at a and go down. Sometimes start at W and go up. Sometimes I don’t get through the whole feed. Maryam might want to take me out to dinner. She is why I am able to do this. She puts up with a lot of crap.
Different pages have different ways of showing RSS. You click on this page of crap you can’t read. It is XML. Tim could explain it. He invented it. This feed, is something you can subscribe to. Onfolio gives you a way to search for the feed. On Newsgator I just hit subscribe. (He doodles around on his computer) You add a website feed and you paste it. This is going to go away in a year. Autosubcribe features coming in browsers. This will become easier. It is now a bit of a pain. Some of them, if you go to, dada dee dee, some put XML icons, orange RSS, subscribe to feed buttons. It varies. Auto sub will take care of that. Now I can read this in newspaper view. A river of text that I just have to hit the down area and go through.
How do you read a 1000? I just poke at them. Some of them I don’t. You’ll see that I see the preview, if it is interesting I’ll read in depth. If it says my name, I’ll read more. If it is interesting I drag it to my blogosphfolder.
The reason I’m reading a 1000 feeds. Humans are random. We do weird things. Die, get married, have babies, come up with weird stories and experiences. If I read each of you individually in folders I can build a relationship with you in a deep way. Pubsub brings me purified sugar. If I type Sun, I get all the mentions. It is pure sugar, not nutrition, not relationship building. It alerts me. When I’m done I hit mark all as read, then I march through these things. Let’s do a couple . Here, enterprise library links, really boring, OSX, I’m not an OSX guy but I’ll check for something interesting. I’ll keep going though. Beeches reflection – just read it to see what this person is doing. Kids Beware, this is a funny link. I look for trends, for reputation. That tells me that it is something interesting to you. That’ catches my eye. What is more important for me to pay attention to.
Q: You do that in your brain? The 5 links? Yeah, that is how. When something is hot, you can tell it is hot. When we made an announcement about Longhorn. Within an hour 30-40 blogs had linked. During a hot new cycle, not only does my news aggregator tell me, but you are Iming and emailing me. If it is realy important then I’ll build a pubsub feed and start watching it as well. (Question from audience about outlook – could not hear. Robert ran through the tip really fast.) It’s documented somewhere. Probably on a blog.
How do I get rid of feeds? IF they turn racist, sexist, gone. If boring – maybe. If they don’t’ publish full text – probably. Headline only especially. You have to be Walt Mossberg to keep me subbed to headline only. I hate partial text feed. I read these on the plane. That’s why I don’t use bloglines because all your feeds are on a server. This has all the feeds locally. I can go to a park, read them in a cary while Maryam’s driving.
Pubsub is a website. Technorati and Feedster. Technorati looks at linking behavior between blogs. Pull up Google and Technorati news pages. They watch the blogosphere, filtering it in different ways. Technorati looks at linking behavior. You can click on this cosmos button and see who is linking to you. Hey Dave Winer’s on the phone. Should we talk to him? Anyways, Technorati if you look at Google news vs Technorati news. Google shows it the way a big city news editor shows it. 50000 people dead at top. News judgement. Technorati looks at what you guys are linking to. If you link to it, it’s at number one. Interesting to look at those two pages side by side every morning. Sometimes the same, sometimes not. We link to more blogosphere centric things.
Pubsub. Yeah. (Mutter mutter mutter while he does something. Time posts. Someone in audience says 200 things about this!) Hey man, if you can’t…mutter, wireless is slow. Pubsub is a site like Google. You don’t use it with a web browsers. You create an RSS feed and it brings you anything about a term into a folder. He shows links on Northern Voice that are already up. This is why podcasting went from being some idea in Curry and Winer’s mind to the NYT in six months. Now we can all start movements. I’m using NewsGator which only works within Outlook. The Outlook team might have an announcement about this later in the week. Dan Hackamovich is responsible for IE7. If you didn’t keep pounding on the team…keep asking them for features. What do big companies care about? Adoption. What is getting adopted, what is hot, what is interesting, what is Marc Canter building, where is the next Google, Office, Mac, what is tagging. Got to put that in my feedster thing. You can start studying trends, right? Incredibles. Over the last 5 months, I’ve seen hundreds of blog posts that say it is the incredible movie. I have not seen one that said it sucks. So the DVD opening is going to be huge. Halo 2 was going to be a big success because of the marketing. The movie trailer, people cheered. I knew it was going to be a successful first night, but I built a term for halo 2 for what the blogosphere say. They said it was they greatest F-ing game they had ever played and sales went through the rough. Come to my house at 3am to play. They started feeding the stuff into the blogosphere and it went on to sell a record number of copies.
(Question from audience that I can’t hear) We rely on people’s built in bullshit filter. There are going to be companies that try and take advantage of the blogosphere. Fake site, no RSS feed, no interaction. Ragingcow.blogspot.com – the Dr. Pepper marketing site. It fizzled quickly. McDonalds tried one two weeks ago. People smell out fakery and then you will get derision. I’m going to call people on it. Microsoft. Steve Rubel talked about Google and it has been in major papers in less than three days because of the blogosphere.
Canter: Honesty and integrity, that might be a positive. Look at criticism and respond to it.
How to handle crisis. There’s a virus in your software, a product flaw with your locks (Kryptonite). It was in a bike forum, someone posted hey, you can pick the locks with a bic pen. Put up pictured. Picked up by Engadget with 250,000 readers and then the press picked it up. Get in Endgaget and it happens fast.
What they didn’t do it right, if I saw MS product flaw in my reader. I would acknowledge it right away, link to it. That acknowledgement will allow people to calm down and we can have a conversation about it. Kryptonite did not acknowledge it. They did not comment on Engadget. Say that we see the problem and we are working on it.
Saw Malcolm Gladwell talk a few weeks ago. The bodyguards of the president are debating if they should or not have guns on. If someone starts to shoot, in a blink you go for your gun. Instead you should have stepped in front of the president. Just by acknowledging it you get a couple of hours to meet with your teams and handle it.
Thin slicing. One of the reasons… comment from the audience – I can’t hear it. About the I Love Bees. They treated more like a game than a fake blog. Where McDonalds got banged up is they presented it like a blog with fake comments. I Love Bees was actually a game. People could interact with it. I have 700 emails I haven’t answered (he had a pop up). When you become a public face you become overwhelmed. Everyone is sending me email tryng to get my attention.
Applause and it is a wrap!
Coffee break then on to PodCasting session.