Welcome to The Silver Spike

Alan's picture
| 26th April 2007
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Hello, world! Welcome to the Silver Spike, the "Official SilverDisc Blog".

If you don't know who or what SilverDisc is, then check out www.silverdisc.co.uk, our main Web site.

I've always been slightly sceptical about a SilverDisc blog. I was finally persuaded it might be a good idea while reading "Naked Conversations" (by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel) on holiday recently. While there is much in the book that I disagree with (Scoble and Israel admit to being biased and evangelical), in the end I was forced to agree that they had a point – reading blogs without writing a blog is like owning a telephone where only the receiver works. And the name of this blog, “The Silver Spike”, comes from the concluding chapter of Naked Conversations:

But if blogging is truly part of a revolution, will it be bloodless? We see a clear and present danger for practitioners of traditional, one-direction advertising, marketing. We see its champions in a change or die situation. Blogging and the social media are steadily pounding a silver spike into the heart of it.

So, it's not called The Silver Spike because it will be the spiteful, vehement outpourings of SilverDisc - we're not like that :). It's called The Silver Spike because it's got the word "silver" in it, which was important to us, and because we like the quote - although to me it seems that Scoble and Israel have mixed up their vampire and werewolf metaphors.

While I'm on the topic of Naked Conversations, I'll cover off the main things I disagreed with in the book. The first was the Six Pillars of Blogging, the fact that blogs are:

  1. Publishable
  2. Findable
  3. Social
  4. Viral
  5. Syndicatable
  6. Linkable

The problem I have with that list is that many other Web sites, or types of Web site, meet most if not all of those criteria. For example, forums are very similar to blogs - better in some ways since they provide many-to-many communication rather than one-to-many. I really needed some convincing of the difference between a blog and a Web site, and the authors failed to deliver it with these six pillars. The main conclusion I came to is that blogging is particularly powerful in the "Syndicatable" sense, in that it makes syndication very easy, and this in combination with the other pillars was arguably blogging's unique strength. The other conclusion I came to is that unless I gave it a try, I might never truly understand it.

Another thing that really annoyed me in Naked Conversations were the constant references to "Google Juice", i.e. the power of blogs to influence your rankings in search engines, particularly Google. A couple of examples:

Every time you post, Google notices the update and that boosts your ratings. Google also pays attention to links—other sites that connect to you. Bloggers who find what you write interesting, will post on their own sites and link back to you. Those links also boost your “Google juice.” In fact, nothing will boost your search engine standing better.

I told him that because he didn’t have a real blog, he had no Google juice.

I wonder if the authors cringe that they actually published that. IMO, far too much emphasis was placed throughout the book, naively, on the influence that blogs have on search engines.

A third thing that troubled me was the implication that because people are switching off to advertisements and push marketing, blogs were a good way of marketing to those people in a less obvious way. I was left with the impression that blogs were a good means of advertising to people without letting them know you were advertising. That's very dangerous ground, but the authors seemed to think it was a Good Thing.

Anyway, despite all of that I thought the book was a good read and I'd recommend it to you. And it forced me into doing what I've been thinking I ought to do for a long time, but never quite got around to - starting a SilverDisc blog. Take the second star to the right and straight on 'til morning. ;)

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