Theme switching

Some of you may have noticed I’ve been a bit of a theme-slut on this blog the past few weeks. I still haven’t found the right theme for what I’m after, and I don’t have the time to build my own.

The current theme is black minimalism theme which is nice to look at, to be sure, but is still not quite there. (Plus I can’t seem to get the tagging plugin working). It’s based on K2, which I’ve trialed previously, but is a single column jobby (which means the blogroll and links and about are all at the bottom of the page).

I also really wish K2 was widgets aware – hopefully they will start to move in that direction soon. Mebbe I’ll have time one day soon to actually do the minimalist design I have in my head. Until then, expect the themes to keep a changin’.

Bloggers attempt to bridge the gap

MTV: Israelis, Lebanese Blog To Each Other As War Rages [via Doc Searls]

Both sides of the political fence often claim that the mainstream media misses their side of the story. During conflict we often hear from the political leadership, be it those involved in the conflict or those outside of it. And conflicts are often presented in black-and-white/with-us-or-against-us arguments.

I think the article Doc points to shows how people, having found a voice through weblogs, can bypass the media to some degree and demonstrate that there is an alternative to war.

Comments re-enabled

Due to a security issue I disabled the ability for commenters to register capabilities recently – I’ve re-enabled it today, so anyone that wanted to comment on recent posts can now do so.  Sorry for the inconvenience.

Social media

Over the past few weeks I’ve been working with the comms and fundraising teams at work to develop our plan for the next 12 months. Obviously I can’t go into the details too much (nor would you probably be interested), but one of the things that I’ve been focussed on is how social media (aka “participant media”, “social networking”, “web two point oh”) might play a role. Or, to flip that around, how WWF can become part of that community.

I’ve presented twice now on the various types of social media out there, and by and large the response has been positive. When we’ve explored how we might be able to engage with sites, and their attendant communities, like flickr, YouTube, myspace and the response has been on the whole positive and enthusiastic.

However, when the topic of weblogs comes up, the response has been missed. Although most of the people I’ve had dialogue with have seen the tremendous opportunity, many can also see the “dark side” of blogs – specifically how a seemingly innocent post could cause a storm (political or otherwise), how trolls might become a time sink etc…

The process, and the pushback, has been invaluable in learning how to present weblogs to an audience that is risk-aware, and more specifically how reputation can be so easily tarred.

However, I think, in the end, the opportunities outweigh the risk, and the more I work with the team at work, the more I’m learning about how to manage the risks, and cover off the valid concerns that are raised.

And hopefully this means good things in the year to come 🙂

Update: I was actually just thinking how cool it is that the ideas that have been brewing since as far back as 2003 (and probably before) are starting to come to fruition. Very exciting!

Moved to WordPress

If you can read this, I’ve finally made the transition to WordPress. One bug too many in MovableType (the inability to save posts even after doing a fresh install) and I’d reached my limit.

All the archives are still there (one good thing about MovableType is the ability to create static files), but any new posts will come through WordPress instead.

I’m using the Squible theme for the moment – it has just the right features built-in – but I’ll probably be tweaking for weeks (if not months) to come.

I’ve actually switched to K2 – having some issues with the Squible theme displaying long-form posts on the home page.

The news

Cameron quotes from a few blogs about the footage from the Pentagon attacks that was supposedly “released for the first time” yesterday.

One of the quotes struck me most:

If you’re just the slightest bit intelligent and keep up with current events, you’ll realize that the footage they’re trying to impress us with isn’t new at all. In fact, that footage was available mere months after the whole attack* even happened. I guess they figure we’ve let our guard down since then and they want to inject us with a new healthy dose of angst.

I saw the footage on the news last night and I too remember seeing it years ago. So much for new…

On two related notes – I watched the TV news last night for the first time in months and I was very unimpressed, except when I flicked to SBS. And I realised that I now get very little of my news through mainstream outlets like TV and the papers.

Just a few weeks ago I actually unsubscribed from the major dailies’ RSS feeds – so pretty much all of my news now comes through blogs and friends on instant messaging or email (i.e. people I trust – to a greater or lesser degree – flag items of interest for me).

So another of Cameron’s recent posts, Aussie Newspapers in decline and denial, really got me thinking.

There are some great graphs which indicate that capital city newspapers’ sales in Australia declined 2001 – 2005 and that the per capita consumption of capital city newspapers from 1993 – 2005 have declined substantially, especially the Mon-Fri numbers. The graphs also indicate that capital city commercial free-to-air TV stations have declined 2001-2005 BUT, and I love this, the ABC and SBS are UP over that period.

Very interesting stats. But this rang true most for me:

He misses the true point of what’s happening though. It isn’t technology that is disrupting the news industry – it is the people who are dissatisfied with the news product as it currently exists and who are using the technology to create alternative sources of information and entertainment.

It’s something newspapers, TV and radio would do well to tattoo on their foreheads so they don’t forget: It’s the people, stupid.

Factoid check

John Quiggin: Factoid check:

The obvious question is, if readers of this blog can find this kind of thing out for free, and in a matter of minutes, why is Albrechtsen getting paid for not bothering to make such obvious checks?

Reminds me of another recent incident at The Australian… Welcome to citizen media.

Update 17-May: John reports that a correction was included in the paper.

SMH blogs

I’m probably late to the party, but I just found the SMH blogs. No RSS – but some lively comments and interesting posts so far.

Update: I take that back – they do have RSS (scroll down to the very bottom right sidebar). The dead giveaway that they’re using MovableType as the back-end is that it’s “index.rdf” – RSS 1.0 – which nobody uses except MT for some strange (and I reckon silly) reason. Cool!