Monday, May 28, 2007

Iran and US Reps Meet with Smashing Success

I have been reading and hearing about the new dialog between the US and Iran. This is considered historic because Iran and Iraq haven't officially spoken in 20 years. In the meeting, the US Ambassador to Iraq reportedly accused Iran of exporting machinery of war into Iraq and his Iranian counterpart denied it. What progress. But who are these guys? Do they represent the average Yank or average Iranian? I suspect not.

I am closer to the average American in terms of lifestyle, income, habits, family and so forth, despite the fact that I live abroad. And a student of mine this past semester from Iran is likely much closer to the average Iranian. And we agree on all sorts of things. In fact, we're friends. And from what he tells me about most people in Iran, they sound like great folks, the sort I'd be happy to meet.

Do we accuse each other of wrongdoing and deny accusations? Of course not. Our "dialog" has been one of peace and education. Why hasn't this made world news? "Representatives of US and Iran meet with smashing success" could be our headline.

Perhaps we need something grander to steal some of the show from the representatives of the investor class and militaries.

Friday, May 04, 2007

This blog entry is devoted to itself. I taught my journalism students this past Wednesday that if you want people to read your blog you need a focus and you need to update it on a regular basis. I suspect there's a grain of truth to that. So far with my blog, I have done neither. There are a few folks out there who have read my blog and have indeed come back to it. (If you are one of those, please leave a comment and let me know). This all raises a larger question: who, in general, reads blogs?

People who read blogs must have a few things: access to a computer, some time when they are sitting in front of it and some level of interest in the content of the blog. I suspect the largest single group of people who have all three are office workers and students. The former are probably the larger group. In general office workers have less heartfelt interest than students in the activity they are expected to engage in, hence their likelihood to be doing something else. They also nearly all have computers to use and - being office workers - are sitting by them for more hours of the day than anyone else among us. I myself have been an office worker on a few occasions and it was then that I did the most online reading and blogging. Perhaps those were my most creative periods with the computer. There's nothing like being given the opportunity to do something you shouldn't be doing instead of something you should, especially if it is that very thing you're avoiding that is getting you paid. So office workers are the probably the biggest readers of blogs. Students probably come second as they have both the technology and the time and they're also a pretty big group. Then come that group I'll call the spare timers who sit at a computer as a sort of hobby. They don't have much they should be doing, but for whatever reason they have both the requisite technology and time, as well as interest. As a freelance, I fall outside of these groups so out of respect for myself I'll designate a fourth group, the freelances. These are the primary groups that read blogs. The members of each of these groups I'll place into secondary groups based on their motivations and interest in reading blogs.

The idealists are the people who read blogs because they have certain beliefs or passions that they explore, have affirmed or challenged in the pages of blogs. The voyeurs are those that somehow get off on reading about the lives of others. Next come the curious: people who feel pretty left out in general, but still want to learn a bit about what's going on or what happened even if it won't directly affect them or have any impact on the actions of their wills. Of course there are also the laugh-addicts who read blogs in search of a good laugh.

I suppose I'm an idealist when I read, essentially a blog devoted to emerging technologies and a laugh-addict when I go to

I just got back from overheardinnewyork. For me it's always a kick. I used to live in New York and I find the blog captures the experience so well I actually feel like I just visited the place. It's a blog where people in New York post things they overhear in the street, in the subway, on the bus, in shops, coffeeshops, workplaces, etc. It delivers the New York vibe like nothing I've found.

I believe I may have found the true secret to blogging! To successful blogging, that is. One has to blog for its own sake. Otherwise it's just not satisfying and probably no fun to read. Don't bring in any ulterior motives like "stuff I gotta do" or "this I believe" or "my reaction to this evening's episode of Szomszedok (an 80s and 90s evening soap here in Hungary currently in re-runs). Just blog for its own sake . . .