Why Dave Winer won’t point to Facebook posts

He has two other reasons with which I agree, but this is my favorite:

“It’s supporting their downgrading and killing the web. Your post sucks because it doesn’t contain links, styling, and you can’t enclose a podcast if you want. The more people post there, the more the web dies. I’m sorry no matter how good your idea is, fuck you I won’t help you and Facebook kill the open web.”

I’ll have a blog till the day I die or I’m too far gone to maintain it. God willing, I’ll have an AI to take over at that point.

Dave Winer’s Comment Guidelines

I forgot how often Dave Winer says things I think but can’t find the words for. Below are a few excerpts from his comment guidelines on Scripting News.

They should always take into account what is said in the post. If you haven’t read the post in full, reasonably carefully, don’t comment. If it is obvious that you have not read the post, your comment will be deleted.

It’s not a free speech zone. It’s not a place for you to be heard.

It’s not a place for you to promote your products, services, blog, initiatives, political causes. Don’t post spam.

I’m not interested in debates here on my blog. If you want a debate, host it somewhere else, and if I’m interested in participating I will.

Absolutely no personal comments about me or anyone else.

“Google+ is a bank”

Dave Winer believes Google+ wants to “move money around the same way Amazon does. They need your real name because it’s a business.”

“Google-Plus is their integrated communication system. Over time, it’s going to be at the core of everything they do, from auctions, to paying for things with Android phones, to their groupon and yelp clones. They’re going everywhere, and this is the system that will tie it all together. So, at the outset, of course they need real identities. That Google-Plus account you’re playing with today is going to be your bank account next year.”

“Reporting is what makes news news”

This post by Jeff Jarvis raises a number of interesting questions –and what he calls myths– about the role of journalists in the ever-changing media world. Here are three nuggets (not contiguous) from the longer post:

“In an offhand reference about the economics of news, Dave Winer wrote, “When you think of news as a business, except in very unusual circumstances, the sources never got paid. So the news was always free, it was the reporting of it that cost…. The new world pays the source, indirectly, and obviates the middleman.” This raises two questions: both whether news needs newsmen and whether journalists and news organizations deserve to be paid.”

“The (printing) press has become journalism’s curse, not only because it now brings a crushing cost burden but also because it led to all these myths: that we journalists own the news, that we’re necessary to it, that we decide what’s reported and what’s important, that we can package the world for you every day in a box with a bow on it, that what we do is perfect (with rare, we think, exceptions), that the world should come to us to be informed, that we deserve to be paid for this service, that the world needs us.”

“And that’s what Winer is trying to do when he reminds us that the important people in news are the sources and witnesses, who can now publish and broadcast what they know. The question journalists must ask, again, is how they add value to that. Of course, journalists can add much: reporting, curating, vetting, correcting, illustrating, giving context, writing narrative. And, of course, I’m all in favor of having journalists; I’m teaching them. But what’s hard to face is that the news can go on without them. They’re the ones who need to figure out how to make themselves needed.”

“Blogs don’t make money. But people with blogs can.”

Dave Winer says he’s made more than $2 million with his blog over the last 12 years. And he’s never put a single ad on it. He explains how this came to be –and the role of a blog– in this excellent post:

“…it’s a way of communicating what you’re doing. Companies, consultants and authors need to do a lot of communicating, and blogs allow you to go direct, and be more efficient, less diluted. People get a real feel for who you are and how you think and what you’re like as a person. Why would I ever let someone else hitch their “message” on this — it would get in the way of me making money!

If I had any advice to offer it’s this — get in the habit of communicating directly with the people you want to influence. Don’t charge them to read it and don’t let others interfere with your communication. Talk through your blog as you would talk face to face. You’d never stop mid-sentence and say “But first a word from my sponsor!” — so don’t do that on your blog either. I can’t promise you’ll make any money from your blog, and I think the more you try the less chance you have. Make a good product and listen to your customers to make it better, and use the tools to communicate, and you may well make money from the whole thing. To expect the blog alone to pay your bills is to misunderstand what a blog can do.”

If you’re a blogger or think you might ever be, this post is worth a read.

Dave Winer’s list of qualifications for Preident

“I think in their hearts Americans know that electing a President who was like the rest of us was a mistake. We need someone who is an over-achiever, not just curious, but a sponge for ideas, information, perspectives. Someone who can’t stop reading and asking other people what they think.”

Dave offers an interesting list of things one should know and have done if they want to lead the country. I’m not qualified and I know it.

“Reform journalism school”

“It’s too late to be training new journalists in the classic mode. Instead, journalism should become a required course, one or two semesters for every graduate. Why? Because journalism like everything else that used to be centralized is in the process of being distributed. In the future, every educated person will be a journalist, as today we are all travel agents and stock brokers. The reporters have been acting as middlemen, connecting sources with readers, who in many cases are sources themselves. As with all middlemen, something is lost in translation, an inefficiency is added. So what we’re doing now, in journalism, as with all other intermediated professions, is decentralizing. So it pays to make an investment now and teach the educated people of the future the basic principles of journalism.” — Dave Winer

“Advertising will go poof”

Does it do me (as an advertiser) any good to force someone to watch or listen to a commercial for my product or service, if they don’t want to? I can argue that my commercial is what paid for the free TV show they’re watching so it’s only fair that they watch it. Doesn’t matter. If the ad is about something I don’t care about (most of them)…Tivo fast-forward.

If you can find a way to show me ONLY the ads I care about, I’ll probably watch them. But Dave Winer says the end of advertising (as we know it) lies at the end of that road:

“When they finish the process of better and better targeted advertising, that’s when the whole idea of advertising will go poof, will disappear. If it’s perfectly targeted, it isn’t advertising, it’s information. Information is welcome, advertising is offensive. Who wants to pay to create information that’s discarded? Who wants to pay to be a nuisance? Wouldn’t it be better to pay to get the information to the people who want it? Are you afraid no one wants your information? Then maybe you’d better do some research and make a product that people actually want to know about.”

I think what Winer is saying is that once you get the right information…about the right product (specifically for me)… you won’t HAVE to pay someone to put it in front of me. I will already have made that happen or have facilitated it. I WANT to know more about your product/service. At that point, it’s no longer advertising.

The point he’s trying to make is a subtle one and hard to grasp if you’ve grown up bombarded by radio and TV ads. For better or worse, we won’t have to wait long to find out if he’s right.

The Unconference

How many conferences have you been to where one (or all) of the sessions went something like this:

The moderator gets up and welcomes everyone to the session…provides a brief overview of the session topic…and introduces the panelists. Each of the panelists gets up and does a little presentation which may or may not have anything to do with the stated subject of the session. And, as a bonus, these are often self-serving pitches for the panelists’ company, product or service. Each of the panelists runs over their alloted time so the last guy gets screwed. If there is any time left, the panel fields questions from the audience. Most of these are usually off-topic and self-serving as well.

In recent years, something called an “unconference” has gained some popularity. Dave Winer is a big proponent of this format and they’re employing it at Gnomedex later this month. Dave does a nice job of explaining the concept:

We don’t have speakers, panels or an audience. We do have discussions and sessions, and each session has a discussion leader. Think of the discussion leader as a reporter who is creating a story with quotes from the people in the room. So, instead of having a panel with an audience we just have people. We feel this more accurately reflects what’s going on. It’s not uncommon for the audience at a conference to have more expertise than the people who are speaking.

The discussion leader is also the editor, so if he or she feels that a point has been made they must move on to the next point quickly. No droning, no filibusters, no repeating an idea over and over.

Gnomedex 6.0 will be my first “unconference” and I’m looking forward to it.