Sunday, May 9, 2010

Blogs, Podcasts, and Social Media Technology -- Part One

... or Why am I doing a blog and internet radio show?

This is the first in a series of posts on why I'm doing the various related parts of Off the Beaten Path (the blog, the podcast, OTBP's facebook page, etc) and what I hope to accomplish with them.

At one point I did a blog on a variety of related topics called AtlantaLarry. It covered New Urbanism, Atlanta history and neighborhoods, transportation issues, and smart growth issues. It's still up and running, although I update it infrequently. As somewhat spontaneous blogs go it was very successful at its peak, with an active and engaged readership.

Now I'm reasserting a web presence in a much more technically ambitious manner, with somewhat different subject matter, and an expanded number of types of media.  While I intend to still cover some of the topics near and dear to me involving our human habitat, I've decided to focus on some interesting aspects of the industry and subculture which has provided my livelihood for the past twenty years, the field of computer technology.

But I'm using the term computer technology in a much broader and deeper sense than usual.  To me the uses of technology are as important as the various algorithms, protocols, and hardware.

So I view programming methodology, chip design,  news of a rock band which has decided to release it's music under terms similar to the Free Software Foundation's  GNU Public License,  independent internet Television, and stories on Search Engine Optimisation all worthy of attention and coverage.

Not just Social Media advertising


When I began thinking about various types of social media (blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, podcasts) I started out with  a very narrow focus. My intent was to push myself out just far enough to increase  the volume of my contract programming business. But as I explored the media I discovered that it was becoming not a means to an end (picking up jobs building webscrapers) but an end in itself.

Social Media


The entire world falling under the general category "Social Media" is evolving, dynamic, and fascinating. The cost of entry is incredibly low. In fact it's possible to start getting involved at no cost except the time. A person with no money, but access to a public library with computers can set up and maintain a blog. Doing podcasts and videos have a bit higher entry cost, but with the availability of free community resources like public access TV, and with the cost of equipment dropping every year, it's possible to do nearly every sort of media with minimal cost.

Do I really know what I'm doing?


Much of this I'm doing by intense muddling. The podcasts in particular don't come naturally to me. My voice sounds rather like Gomer Pyle's, I'm struggling with slowing myself down so I don't lapse into a long series of "uhs" and "ers", and developing an entertaining flow is going to require some focus and work. But it's still fun and rewarding.

.My approach at this time is to polish my writing and audio delivery, to continue to accumulate resources for excellent podsafe music, and to line up interesting guests to interview.

My next post will describe where I'm trying to go with the overall form, content, and quality of Off the Beaten Path in Technology, and the specific steps I'm taking to get there.

But in the meantime if anyone needs a website scraped, gimme a holler :-)

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