Robert Scoble and Shel Israel Talk About Blogging

Levensohn Venture Partners and August Capital hosted a gathering of over 60 VC’s and entrepreneurs, many of them active or incipient bloggers, at the Four Seasons in Palo Alto this evening to hear from the Naked Conversations authors about the state of the blogosphere and life after Microsoft for the Scobleizer.

The lively discussion featured co-moderator Dave Hornik accusing all bloggers of being "full of shit" — pointing to a thinly disguised innate pandering instinct behind the search for blogging fame in Silicon Valley in particular.  As I reflect on this, self-acknowledged self-promoter Guy Kawasaki comes to mind, though he was not in attendance this evening.

Keith Benjamin tried in vain to maintain order on the panel as the discussion continued to get hotter.  The issue of blogging credibility (are all bloggers really full of shit and who can you believe?) surfaced repeatedly.

To this point, Scoble asserted that video blogs and podcasts can go a long way to foster trust and build credibility for a blogger. Scoble’s bottom line on the subject of credible blogging is that it takes time to build credibility as a blogger– similar to building a credible brand– and that, as your following grows, your own loyal readers will call you on the carpet for misstatements– this was certainly his experience at Microsoft.

There is certainly truth to Hornik’s assertion, as self promotion is innate to all bloggers– otherwise we wouldn’t go through the effort of crafting posts meant to attract readers.

I questioned the asymmetry between the nearly 50 million acrtive bloggers and the primitive state of the blogging infrastructure–  there was agreement that the tools for measuring blog popularity and, again, credibility, are sorely in need of further development.

While executives from Six Apart, which hosts this blog, were in the room, our friends from Technorati cancelled at the last minute due to urgent out of town business– where did you go, Peter Hirshberg?  We missed you.

Another interesting fact that surfaced is that most people who use RSS and many people who read blogs don’t necessarily know it.  Shel Israel told the recent anecdote of a woman who said she liked his website but couldn’t find his blog– Shel took his website down eighteen months ago…

Yahoo! statistics show that, while 31% of Internet users do use RSS, only 4% do so knowingly.

Now that Rob Scoble is leaving Microsoft to join Podtech, he will be moving to the Bay Area–  Scoble and Gates anounce that they are leavingMicrosoft the same week– what does that tell you? Will there be more real estate for sale in Seattle? 

On that note, good night, as I fly out to Israel tomorrow to participate in the Israel Venture Association conference next week……



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