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September 18, 2006

40-year-old virgin

OK, so I'm a blog virgin... or pretty much at least, having made only one real blog entry so far.

I should of course rapidly point out that the 40-year-old bit in the title doesn't refer to my age unfortunately (though I am still, err, 40 something), but is a reflection on the fact that having not entered the blogging fray until now probably makes me the blogging equivalent of a 40-year-old virgin in the more usual sense.

But it is a real relief to have made a start and I hope that we can turn the Foundation blog into a useful resource over the next few years.

Some years ago, I remember discussing the then relatively new blogging phenomenon with Lorcan Dempsey.  I was trying to argue that blogging would kill email discussion lists, and as a result kill discussion in the community - because all the interesting people would stop having real [tm] discussions on lists, in favour of spending time writing their blogs.

At the time I used to hold up the CETIS SIG mailing lists as exemplars of everything that was healthy about email lists - and secretly I have long admired CETIS for the success that they've had at engaging with the community thru their mailing lists and f2f meetings.  But unfortunately, even the CETIS lists now seem to be going the way of other email discussions - few postings and only sporadic debate about issues (technical or otherwise).  Perhaps there are no burning issues any more :-)

The same seems to be true of the Dublin Core Working Group mailing lists.  The DC-2006 conference is happening in Mexico pretty soon and as chair of the Architecture working group I'm very conscious that there has been relatively little on-list discussion in the year since the last meeting - and that many attendees may well have seen or heard almost nothing in that time because a lot of the interesting stuff now seems to happen elsewhere within a relatively small group of people.  The Architecture working group isn't unusual in this respect.  All in all, it seems to me that this lack of wider engagement is one of the major issues that needs to be considered by the DCMI trustees and Advisory Board members when they meet in Mexico.

Whether I was right about the cause (and I accept that I probably wasn't), it does feel to me that many of our email discussion lists have stopped being the fertile space they used to be.  What worries me is whether they have been replaced by anything as productive?


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Congrats on getting your blog up and running. Your thoughts seems to fit with my recent experience in relation to people's seeming dwindling interest in setting up and joining discussion lists.

I reached these pages via a link inLorcan Dempsey's blog, but I suspect you could get a lot of search engine traffic if you are able to continue with titles in a similar vein to this posting. ;-)

All the best,


Simon is right. I have a blog, mainly with pictures of beaches in the Outer Hebrides, at:


"Hits" slowly grew then stayed static for a while, as did people reading the blog through feeds. Until I put up a post about "nudist beaches". Once that got indexed by Google, Technorati et al, traffic to the blog increased seven-fold.

Just sprinkle the words nude, naked, topless etc. in your posts and you'll get a lot of traffic. Though you'll also probably have a lot of disappointed readers...

Congratulations on the new blog! I found myself initially resisting blogs and sharing your favorable disposition towards email discussion lists. Now I find I generally prefer blogs for their convenience, generally more sophisticated markup, and the natural organization an entry + comments provides for conversation. I'm not sure you get the same community experience, but I also don't think it's an inferior one. And, yes, I share your concerns about the general decline of traffic on the Dublin Core lists -- we'll need to address this in Mexico. See you there!

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