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Introducing New Blog Design... Thoughts?

When I first started this blog, it was on a whim and I built it over a weekend on a hosted version of Wordpress. The theme I implemented and hacked-together worked well but didn't scale well with increased amounts of content, advertising, etc. And while much of my readership is via RSS and email, I was bothered by the overflow that become my blog.... so I finally mustered up the time and courage to hack a redesign together over the past few nights. So here it is: a new theme that is more of a "magazine" template. It is based on Arthemia and is very flexible / customizable. There several great features which aren't turned on because I haven't had the ambition or confidence to upgrade to the latest version of Wordpress (any help welcome!).

Lots of blogs are moving away from the old top-to-bottom styles and into more organized, magazine styles (see TechCrunch and Mashable's new looks)... much of this is the ability to better scale, feature advertising / promotions and increase pageviews. As I test out the new theme, I will report on any changes and trends that occur, particularly within:

- pageviews - navigation - SEO - eCPMs / engagement rates

I'd also love your thoughts - like it? Hate it? Improvements? Know CSS and want to help!?

New Blog Template

Widgetbox Launches The Widgetbox Blog Network with 29 Blog Channels

This week has been slow for the blog because it’s been *very* busy at the Widgetbox office where we launched the new Widgetbox Blog Network in time to hop on a plane and attend / present at the BlogWorld Expo in Las Vegas. BlogWorld is a convention of nearly 2,000 bloggers – some who blog as side projects, others as part of large media companies and others that do it for a living. The audience is ideal for Widgetbox because bloggers and blogs are the core of our community and the new Blog Network: - Widgetbox has widgets on over 250,000 unique blogs - Blidgets have been served over 1.5 BILLION (!) times - Widgetbox now reaches over 65 million unique each month (verified by Quantcast)

Widgetbox Network

The Widgetbox Blog Network connects bloggers through 29 channels (from art to celebrities to music to food) using a single widget that dynamically showcases content across all of the blogs in that channel. You’ll notice, for instance, that I’ve joined the Tech News Channel and placed the widget in the top right of my blog template. On each page view, new blog posts are dynamically presented from other bloggers also in the Tech News Channel - and likewise, my blog posts appear on their pages… effectively driving highly relevant traffic across the network and taking advantage of Widgetbox’s large audience / community.

Widgetbox Blog Network Home

You will also notice that the widget is customized for my blog – showing a badge of my blog and its rank within the Channel (sadly I'm #11).

Joining is easy:

1. Visit and select the Channel that fits your blog 2. Click the Join This Network button, select your blidget (or create one) and then grab the Channel Widget’s code 3. Add the code to your blog template and press activate

That’s it. Your content will now be automatically populated in the widget and you will begin to see new streams of traffic.

The Evolution of Social Content: From Email to Blogs to Disqus / FriendFeed

Fred Wilson's last two blog posts are about the changing / evolving blog landscape: 1) the death of "long form blogging" (ironic) 2) the evolution of blog commenting and how comments are becoming as important as the posts

I found the first post particularly thought provoking:

I've posted every day for almost five years. Its a routine and a habit that's hard to break But today, I've got nothing to say that's blog worthy I've twittered six or seven times and posted three times on tumblr I think its time to acknowledge that long form blogging every day may be coming to an end

I certainly agree that blogs are changing and the distributed, social content landscape has made 'short form' discussion easier and more effective. That said, I think everything serves a different purpose: long form blogging is the table at which the conversations occur, introductions are made and meals are enjoyed. Fred might not have considered the above post "blog worthy" - but he still found value in posting it and 29 readers found it engaging enough to comment. Those comments were likely shared via Twitter, FriendFeed and email...

To me, the most important evolution of social content is that we are now empowered to produce and consume in a variety of formats and platforms... and I find that choice and distribution open me to new relationships and new content. Proof enough is that much of my richest dialog is still through email. Email continues to be a great source of recommended reading and intense discussion. If email is closed discussion, blogging is one-to-many discussion and services like Disqus, Twitter and FriendFeed are opening those discussions further.

Using Web 2.0 to Build Your Brand

672525791 This afternoon, I wrote a post about using web 2.0 to land a start up gig (or at least grow your personal 'brand'). Then, thanks to SlideShare, I came across these two presentations which cover roughly the same topic ... but much more creatively and interestingly. The first presentation is about using and contributing to web 2.0, which in turn fosters a public, online identity. The author apparently arrived at IBM after being identified through her blog. The second is about using the web within a company to improve culture, connect with peers, and be more effective.... Quite honestly, the first presentation makes more sense to me... but worth flipping through the slides nonetheless.

The Gen-Y Guide to Web 2.0 @ Work

Web 2.0 @ Work: In Pursuit of Passion