Hot startup to squirm away from old man's caring embrace

Melissa Gira Grant · 08/19/08 01:20PM

It's been a rough year so far, Internet, what with Twitter's ups and downs, Facebook's family feud, and Microsoft's failed bear-hug acquisition of Yahoo. Now a bunch of grumpy old men are plotting a "bear hug" on Twitter, too. Not a takeover, per se, and more passive-aggressive than hostile. But make no mistake: Steve Gillmor and his gang want to bend the microblogging platform to their will, with their ursine embrace, at Bear Hug Camp, a group grope set for September.This techie version of a "bear hug" involves deploying powers of annoyance rather than shareholder proxies. "Dave Winer used the bearhug to wrap his arms around Netscape’s version of RSS and not let go until a merged RSS was born," muses an unusually wistful but incomprehensible as always Gillmor. "The time may be here to bearhug Twitter." Gillmor's immediate goal is to create a standard for identifying every utterance made on the new microblogging services — not just Twitter, but Jaiku, Plurk, and the rest. This will serve to make it easier to cross-reference your own bon mots, self-promotional stunts, and hookup attempts. Never mind the architectural details of Gillmor's mostly-gibberish plan: What he's really trying to do, as Winer did with Netscape, is attempt a credit-nicking takeover of Twitter's best ideas. He's unlikely to succeed. Bear Hug Camp will certainly be an opportunity for the Old Men of Blogging to stroke each other's egos, and more. But Twitter should remember: It's not a hug Gillmor wants to give them. It's an attention grab that leaves a bad-touch feeling and a permalink in its wake. Better to let Gillmor and his gang beat their man drums in the woods, alone, together.

Web 2.0 Makes A Local News Site That Doesn't Suck

Nick Douglas · 01/24/08 11:05PM

Local journalism isn't a hot Web 2.0 field. Journalist Dan Gillmor learned that the hard way when he had to sell his unsuccessful citizen journalism site Bayosphere to a similar venture, Back Fence, which itself has barely grown past a few communities in Maryland and Virginia. Turns out people get their local news from old outlets just fine, or they turn to specific blogs. That makes sense; why would I need my local news to share a platform with everyone else's local news? The only way to add value is to aggregate already-existing local news and let the user pick the geographic and topical scope they want. That's exactly what EveryBlock, which launched this week, aims to do.

Backfence closes its doors

Tim Faulkner · 07/05/07 03:46PM

"Citizen journalism" — journalism with the participation of its audience and community — is an ideal easy to support, but it's not so easy to build a business based on idealism. Dan Gillmor, ex-journalist and leading promoter of citizen journalism, citing his lack of business skills, wisely jettisoned Bayosphere, the Bay Area community journalism site, to Backfence earlier this year. Now Backfence is "ceasing operations within the next few days" for all of its communities (the site is still live, but the closure notice is posted on each area's community page).

The Gillmor Guys

ndouglas · 04/27/06 04:17PM

In the chat after his Berkeley lecture ("The State of American Media") this week, Dan Rather talked to ZDNet journalist Steve Gillmor, who came with indie journalist (and ex-Mercury-News columnist) brother Dan Gillmor and Steve's look-alike friend, RSS czar Dave Winer. To save you from caption confusion, here's the breakdown:

No more for Gillmor

ndouglas · 01/24/06 01:51PM

Ex-journalist Dan Gillmor is selling citizen-journo site Bayosphere. He says his talent is less, you know, running a business and more "looking at lots of disparate elements and connecting the dots" — which technically means that Dan Gillmor is the Internet. Maybe he should drop the citizen journalism and get back to the, um, real journalism.

The New Yorker hotel and privacy

Gawker · 04/06/03 03:19PM

Journalist Dan Gillmor recently stayed at the New Yorker hotel in midtown and was forced to hand over his driver's license and credit card to be photocopied by the hotel. Gillmor worries about identity theft and comments, "I wonder if the NYC police are behind this. Are they systematically collecting pictures and addresses of everyone staying in mid-town New York City? If so, it's a sleazy way to go about it."
A hotel's privacy invasion [SiliconValley.com]

"Welcome to the world of nano-publishing" [Dan Gillmor]

Gawker · 02/12/03 08:11AM

Dan Gillmor, the San Jose Mercury News columnist, thinks nano-publishing could be something new in journalism. Even if journalists such as Matt Drudge and Jim Romenesko have been nano-publishing for years.