>Dave Johnson



>Dave Johnson is a fellow of the Commonweal Institute, a new think tank

>and communications organization working to bring positive moderate and

>progressive messages to the public, where he participates in development

>of fundraising and marketing strategies, and does research and writing.



>Dave has over 20 years of technology industry experience and has

>previously held positions including CEO, and VP of Sales and Marketing

>with technology companies. He has specialized in evangelical marketing,

>direct mail, and use of the Internet. Dave was a pioneer in the design

>and development of productivity and educational applications for personal

>computers and has been involved in political and environmental activism.


>He will discuss the rise of the web log as an electronic communications



Johnson began his talk by explaining that a web log is nothing more than a program that sits on your server and logs all of the hits to the websites hosted there, along with where the visitors came from and how many clicks they had spent there. Then he paused and explained the above was an April Fools joke, weblogs are really much more interesting than that.

Blogs are personal journals stored on websites, where members of the public can check them out. The most recent material is the closest to the top, so you are going back through time as you get further into such a site. Some get as many as a hundred thousand visitors a day, and can be fascinating. Johnson warned us that discovering blogs can cause your days to disappear into a haze fascinating reads about everything from the war in Iraq to the latest cleaning of a toilet somewhere in middle America. For an example of a typical one, he pointed to his own blog, which is at: http://seetheforrest.blogspot.com/ .

Johnson said that blogs (in form of the word "weblogs") are turning into a good way to break news stories that the mainstream media isn't carrying. One example is the recent Trent Lott story, which was caused by http://atrios.blogspot.com/ breaking the story to the public. Whereas the mainstream media focuses all of its attention on the same old highly paid beltway insiders making the same old predictable comments about the situation that they don't want to acknowledge the changes in, bloggers have true diversity of opinion. Fresh right wing ideas can be found at http://www.instapundit.com/ , and other points of view are http://www.commondreams.org/ , http://www.alternet.org , as well as a number of other places.

Johnson further explained that becoming a blogger is easy and free. All you do is visit http://www.blogspot.com and follow the instructions to create your own blogging zone. There will be ads at the top of the page, but if you want to get beyond that you can give them money to upgrade your space. There are many weblogs with quite interesting content, and lots of the good ones include pointers to others where you can also find interesting stuff. Getting such links is the key to the kind of exposure that nets you thousands of hits a day. He warned us again that discovering blogs can cause your days to disappear into a haze of interesting clicking experiences.

He finished his presentation by handing out a sheet of paper that had the address of many interesting blogs on it. Among them are the key war news site www.agonist.org, media site www.mediawhoresonline.com, for becoming a major journalist talkingpointsmemo.com, This Modern World www.thismodernworld.com, Presidential candidates Howard Dean (http://deancalltoaction.blogspot.com) and Gary Hart (http://www.garyhartnews.com/hart/blog/), and www.bartcop.com, a humor news site.

Tian Harter