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Tim O'Reilly
Oct. 27, 2002 05:08 PM
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I'm only an occasional blogger. There's only so much time in the day, and most of my informal writing goes out over email, not to the web. What's more, most of my web visits are triggered by a link sent to me in email, and most of the interesting pages I discover I send to people (such as my editors) via email rather than via a public blog. I get a lot of interesting mail, both from personal and business correspondents, and from mailing lists, and pass a lot of it along to other people or lists. I wish it were as easy to forward an email message to a blog as it is to send a link from the web out to an email recipient.

Every once in a while, I do take the time to blog things from mailing lists. For example, just this afternoon, I blogged an item from Dave Farber's excellent Interesting People mailing list -- a list that effectively acts as a kind of email blog for technology and policy issues, and was "blogging" before the web even existed.

I also took the time to recreate in my own blog a long posting that I sent to the Free Software Business mailing list. Both of these great lists have web-facing archives, which at least makes it possible to blog them. But I sure wish it were easier. I was back and forth with cut and paste. It would be so nice to have an email to blog gateway, so I could just put my blog as an email recipient, and have some way of generating the appropriate links to the web archive of the mailing list so that people could follow the thread, and not just see the text of the message. Part of the problem is that the various mailing list archive tools create truly unreadable URLs, like "http://www.crynwr.com/cgi-bin/ezmlm-cgi?mss:8151:200210:hlpdhbfgkkkhjgnapmgj".

But apart from the technical challenge, there's an interesting social challenge. The blogging community likes to congratulate itself on "blogrolling", and its power to link to other interesting blogs in near real-time, but the fact is that there are an awful lot of interesting conversations going on outside blogspace. And it would be great to see more people doing what I wish I did more often, cross-linking between email-space and blogspace.

Tim O'Reilly is the founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media Inc. Considered by many to be the best computer book publisher in the world, O'Reilly Media also hosts conferences on technology topics, including the O'Reilly Open Source Convention, Strata: The Business of Data, the Velocity Conference on Web Performance and Operations, and many others. Tim's blog, the O'Reilly Radar "watches the alpha geeks" to determine emerging technology trends, and serves as a platform for advocacy about issues of importance to the technical community. Tim is also a partner at O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, O'Reilly's early stage venture firm, and is on the board of Safari Books Online, PeerJ, Code for America, and Maker Media, which was recently spun out from O'Reilly Media. Maker Media's Maker Faire has been compared to the West Coast Computer Faire, which launched the personal computer revolution.

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