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Mike Sansone

Thanks for sharing your perspective, Beth.

I've also had the MyBlogLog widget running for a bit and I wondered what the audience felt by having their face appear on my site.

I've been finding new sites, and have been found by others - but that can easily be done from the MyBlogLog page.

I do like its community-building potential and will continue the experiment a bit longer.

Allan Benamer

I use MyBlogLog too but I'm absolutely not interested in the community aspect at all. I just like their stats. I don't think you can build community by installing a widget that shows people's faces. I find it to be of little relevance to a person's nonprofit tech work (my blog's audience) and just ends up taking more valuable screen space. I think good blogs are built up because the blogger sticks to the blog's mission statement.

Chris Blow

The problem with the aspect ratio is awful too! (the stretched faces).

And Marshall's concern about privacy is exactly right.

I think this would be better implemented as a feature of an open source project like Open ID (which will almost be certainly be developing rapidly in the coming years. I hope.)

Eric Marcoullier

Beth -- Thanks for posting about us. In regards to your concern about skeezy people joining your community, we plan to roll out shortly the ability to better manage your membership, including removing people from your community.

I appreciate your concern about cyberstalking, but I'm not sure how we are fascilitating it. I would love to hear what we can do to make MyBlogLog a safer place for our members.

I also appreciate Marshall's comment about privacy and I believe that over time we are going to earn and maintain everyone's trust. We are working to become Attention Trust compliant and soliciting other ways that we can actively manage privacy concerns.

Eric Marcoullier

Allan --

Many people are finding MyBlogLog a fantastic way to build communities:

In regards to nonprofit tech, here are a couple MyBlogLog users who might be worth connecting with:
(I found all of these by starting with Beth's community and working my way outward.)

You are absolutely correct though, in that you can't just install a widget and build a community. Our most successful users are the one who have always attempted to include their readers in the discussion, and MyBlogLog is just a better way to do that.


Wow, I go off line for a few hours and come back to lots of interesting conversation.


Thanks for pointing out the positive sides and new upgrade. I do think it has potential, and I need to see how it actually plays out ...

I also totally agree with you about the point that simply installing widgets doesn't build community. In fact, I wrote several other posts in my widget exploration on that topic. (Just click the widget category ...)

In terms of the concern re: cyberstalking, I'll answer that in more depth privately as I don't want to teach the terrorists how to create bombs so to speak.

Also, Eric, what's funny - all the people you pointed out - we know each other because we're in the same field. Once more of us it, then it might show some more value for us.

Allan, your point is well-taken as an IT person in a nonprofit who doesn't have the luxury of extra time - you have to really be careful how you invest your precious resource.

Mike Sansone

An excellent conversation. One of the ways I've used MyBlogLog to find people is the search function. Not just for myself, but several clients looking to build community.

I do hesitate a bit to click on some of the images because I don't know the meat of their message. Maybe a tooltip with tags or something.

Great stuff. Thanks for this discussion, Beth.

Marshall Kirkpatrick

The fact that it's opt in for readers to be displayed is important. I do in fact feel some level of community presence since we installed MyBlogLog at TechCrunch. One thing I would like to see is a prompt asking me to opt-in to being considered a member of a given community after I have visited a site multiple times. I know I can change that number but... I'd also like to see this integrated with in some way. I like the MyBlogLog guys a lot, but working with a nonprofit standards body would help with trust.

Marshall Kirkpatrick

Oh great, there's a problem! Some how wires have been crossed and probably when I tried to claim that I author TechCrunch (I don't think I was able to do so either) I am all the sudden logged in as TechCrunch and my boss's dog's picture is my icon! HELLO PROBLEM! MyBlogLog guys, I'm sure you are following this conversation so please drop me a line to let me know what's going on and that this problem has been solved! Bleeding identities are bad.

Susan Kitchens

I'm sorta creeped out in a different way. I saw my mug show up on another site when I visited. It is a site I visit regularly and all, no problems there. Thought, Okay, he installed that "who came by" thingie (er, uh, widget).

But now, when I look at my list of updated blogs, and see his on there, I find myself hesitating for a moment before I click the link to his site. I think, Oh, if I go there, my mug'll show up. Do I want it to? And, come to think of it, at least one time I've decided NOT to click his link.

That's very different from my own curiosity about my site visitors. "ooh! ooh! who's coming by! I wanna know. Please stop and leave a message, hm?"

No final conclusions yet about mybloglog "Recent Readers" mugshots, but those are my observations, so far. The hesitation to click did surprise me.

(p.s. I LIKE having pictures to go with the comments, tho.)

Scott Rafer

Hi, the new "get my face of their widget" feature is out --


This thing is branching and exploding this weekend, I'm very curious to see how it plays out--people follow to my site after I visit a busy blog. This is interesting...

But my site isn't a blog, I installed MyBlogLog last December to see which links were getting used, I do like the stats.

Maybe I'll start posting on my blog again. :)

Sandra Dickinson

My first cognition of MyBlogLog was a little creepy. I got an email mid-Nov that notified me mybloglog account was changing. Well, I at that point I didn't know what mybloglog was, I knew I hadn't set up an account, so didn't respond. The, I got another email that said choconancy had added me as a member of her community. I knew who that was, so I checked it out.

That was cool. I followed up several connections and discovered many more like-minded folks engaged in conversations I care about, and was able to introduce myself to them as well. Through a medium that is at lest semi-trusted.

I was SO SAD when I couldn't put the Recent Readers widget on my blog (the wordpress-hosted version does not support). Because suddenly everywhere I go, everybody else has one!

Some folks think that a personal photo or an organization logo serves to bridge the gap btwn online and offline communications. Other folks think it re-introduces racial, gender, age, and other prejudices into a communications medium that could otherwise be totally devoid of the traditional "indicators" that spark such prejudices. But, now suddenly, when I see one of those gray and black blank spaces where somebody's photo would be -- I wonder -- why don't they have their picture in there? (creepy)

I do think that many web2.0 tools are heavily text-based, and that we do need a visual mechanism to SEE who we are, what we do, how we contribute to the community. But I also agree that it is the SUBSTANTIVE contribution, rather then the personal photo, that bade me to follow any particular link.

HOW can we draw a picture of our substantive relationships?



Thanks for pointing out the "Get my face" off the widget roll out. Hmm .. so I have to remember to an hide myself if I'm on a site that I don't my face to show up in the widget. And, if I happen to come to my blog and notice a face that I don't won't on my myblog - then I have to hide it. It's a step in the right direction, but ads a cognitive step for the user.


I also wanted to add Scott, that I have had the same experience as Sandra above - that I have been able to connect to like-minded people, discover amazing blogs in the areas that I am interested, and have some good conversations.

Sandra, very thoughtful question ... gonna go chew on it.

One thing I like is that it feels a little like some of the conversation forums - where the photo is there by your words. However, what is missing the ability to thread us all together -- but that could also happen inside of mybloglog.


Clearly, it's both. I also find it very unsettling to see my photo on the site I'm visiting, but it does add a sense of community that the list of 'recent comments' does not - MyBlogLog adds a nuance that makes the blog about its visitors as well as about its content.

More creepy: I had to go in there to delete my home address and telephone number, which is not spidered in databases (YP, WHOIS) but would be on a wiki.

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