Monday, 27 October 2008

Growth in social networking sites over last year

Facebook is not growing as fast as other social network sites now. In the just released Nielsen report covering Sept 07 to Sept 08, Twitter is leading the pack with a 343% growth rate, 330%, and Ning 251%. Facebook comes in 6th at 110%, but overall it is still the largest site.

Nielsen's Blog "Connecting the Dots" has further analysis.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Sunday high jinks in the bird bath

Now that the weather is warming up the New Holland Honeyeaters descend on our bird bath and chase the other species away. Often there are 5 or 6 at a time. Today, just two. I managed to capture this short clip by hiding behind the wheelie bin with my camera.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Blogging in a closed society

On 28th October there's to be the first ever democratic election in the Indian Ocean nation of the Maldives

The currect leader, President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has been in power for 30 years and there's a chance he may loose control of the country. The election has gone to a second round, after Maumoon failed to win the first round outright.

In this country where freedom of speech is somewhat limited, by Australian standards, it's not surprising that blogs are where much unfettered political debate is occurring.

A friend pointed me in the direction of mvblogosphere where many Maldivian blogs are listed. The coming Maldives election are a popular topic right now.

"mvblogosphere is an attempt to track, map and analyze the exponentially growing Maldivian blogopsphere, in order to draw a larger portrait of the social, cultural, political and economic structures they represent. "

For background information on the country check out also: BBC Country profile: The Maldives

Australian journalist, Antony Loewenstein, has just published a book, The Blogging Revolution, in which he's reported on bloggers in countries where press freedom is limited, such as Iran.

LiteraryMinded has just interviewed Loewenstein on her blog post Join the Revolution! An interview with Antony Loewenstein on The Blogging Revolution. Here's a snippet:

"When visiting a country like Iran – a population of 70 million, the majority under 30 years old and millions of web users – it’s immediately clear that solely relying on state-run media isn’t an option"

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Death of religion at the ABC

One of my favourite programs on ABC Radio National is The Religion Report. It's always presented a very balanced, inclusive reporting that appeals to a wide audience, regardless of religious affiliation.

Not only that, but host Stephen Crittenden's introduction, telling listeners about this misguided decision, was axed from subsequent versions of the show on Wednesday. But you can hear what Stephen says and read about it on Crikey, what are they doing to Radio National

More dumbing-down of public broadcasting is planned with another quality program, the Media Report and others, going too.

Comparing your reading lists via Library Thing

One of the great aspects of Web 2.0 is that it opens possibilities to connect with others and share experiences and compare notes.

Library Thing can put you in touch with readers who are reading the same books. If you have input your own reading list into Library Thing you can compare reviews and see what others wiht similar tastes to you, are reading. For those of us in book groups this can lead to a good source of suggested titles, best seller lists, book reviews.

I have put some of My Library on LibraryThing

I discovered that the most popular book in My Library was Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. There were 15,285 copies in other members' libraries and 391 had written reviews.

The least popular book in My Library was The Truth About my Fathers: a Memoir by Gaby Naher. There were only 3 copies of this in members' libraries. You'll find Australian titles are not as frequently input into Library Thing. But there are still many Aussies putting their collections online here.

Most popular Australian book from my library was The Book Thief by Sydney born Markus Zuzak , followed by Peter Carey's True History of the Kelly Gang. The latter was the winner of the 2001 Man Booker Prize so bound to be well read.

Facebook has some book reading list applications too: Visual Bookshelf and others.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Bill Henson debate on Theatre Notes

It is no surprise to those who follow blogs, that here is where some of the most interesting and current public discussions are taking place.

A fine example is Alison Croggan's independent literary blog, Theatre Notes and its coverage of the Bill Henson debate. In essence the debate is about allegations of child pornography against one Australia's most important artists. Alison's blog has largely provided a more balanced set of views than the histeria being reported in the mainstream media and coming out of the mouths of senior politicans in the land.

In May 2008, when the Bill Henson controversy first broke, Alison Croggan was responsible for getting together the Open Letter from members of the Creative Stream of the Australia 2020 Summit in Support of Bill Henson. Cate Blanchett and many others supported the letter which went out to Australian media outlets.

I am interested in this debate as ECU teaches photography and we hold probably one of the most significant photography book collections in Australian libraries. Our collection includes books of Bill Henson's beautiful art photography. We often find ourselves needing to justify collection policy in response to books far more risque than his.

What also interests me, from the point of view of Web2.0 technologies, is how blog debates can unfold, be recorded and organised and easily retrieved later via the blog labels.

You can follow all the Bill Henson posts and comments on Theatre Notes via the Bill Henson subject label.

Now, Bill Henson is in the news again and Alison has posted today on her blog:

"How is it that an internationally acclaimed photographer, who has been making his art for 35 years without a whisper of complaint from any of his collaborators, has become the local equivalent of Gary Glitter? The mere mention of Henson in some quarters now means "paedophile" and "kiddie porn". And yet - even under the glare of this hostile publicity - the images he makes have been passed by authorities as suitable for general viewing"

To appreciate Bill Henson, I can recommend the Tony Wyzenbeek film The Art of Bill Henson, produced in 2003 for ABC TV, which can be purchased at ABC program sales.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Google Blog Search takes on Technorati

Google is relentless. It now has a Google Blog Search that rivals Technorati in tracking the latest happenings in the blogosphere. Their advanced search screen looks very similar to Technorati

Technorati is already tracking 130 million blogs and ranking them. Google Blog Search doesn't have a ranking system but they say that they aim to "include every blog that publishes a site feed (either RSS or Atom) ... not restricted to Blogger blogs, or blogs from any other service"

You can already integrate other Google products such as Google Groups, Analytics and Google Reader into your iGoogle start page. Now Google Blog Search offers extra tools to help you track a particular blog search: blog search feed, blog search gadget and the ability to set up an email alert to your blog search. These can be set up within iGoogle.

Read more about Google Blog Search vs. Technorati on the Mashable blog post.

If you don't want to get too locked into Google then you'd be advised to continue with Technorati, which still has a lot more blog related features and its own array of widgets for bloggers.