You Can Stay Five Minutes, or for an Hour

Welcome to my resurrection. I first started writing at soon after registering the domain in December 1999. For years, I called the site “Chronicle of Technology, Culture and Stupidity.” In October 2009, I took offline, briefly bringing it back for a few weeks in May 2010.

I pulled the site to diminish branding conflict with technology writing done at Betanews and to launch Oddly Together. I’ve since struggled to find the right tone for my writing, and I’ve long questioned whether shutting down hurt my brand.

Three Blogs and a Brand
In a sense, the old blog lives on as three. I continue to write about technology at Betanews and to write about culture (as well as storytelling) at Oddly Together (well, after a brief hiatus). The stupidity belongs here. 🙂 Welcome to “5 Minutes with Joe!” Writing tone changes at all three blogs. Betanews writing shifts from commentary and New York Post-style headlines to harder news reporting and news analysis (I got tired of commenters there wrongly accusing me of gaming pageviews, when my purpose is to garner discussion—get readers to think). Oddly Together is very much about storytelling. Most of the old posts from before the October 2009 takedown reside at Oddly Together. But only for a short time longer. The entire archive for both sites consolidates here.

For 5 Minutes with Joe, I use news gathering skills and tools to offer perspective about most anything that I find interesting, disturbing or stupid. I  apply good Northern Maine common sense to daily life. Content is more varied, anchored by the “5 Minutes with Joe” podcast. The first recording, “Toilet Training,” publishes sometime the week of Nov. 7, 2010. Most text posts are much shorter and crankier than those from old, but there are plenty of long-form ones (I’m a habitual 1,000-plus word writer). I do most of my short writing at Twitter but often find 140 characters insufficient amount. There is concise, and there’s constrained. Here, I write concisely without being constrained. Many shorter posts start as tweets and then expand at 5 Minutes with Joe.

The rebranded blog was supposed to be a complete restart, with no archive of posts beyond this one. But after looking at the old stuff, I decided it would fit well with the new stuff and offer some historical perspective. For example, it was reported on October 4 that actor Tony Curtis was buried with his iPhone. I wrote about this phenom in March 2006 post “From (Docking) Cradle to the Grave“.

Shuttering and then reopening a blog is SEO (search-engine optimization) heresy, for which the great Google god surely will demand retribution. I’ve been struck by lightning before. I’m used to it. I don’t give a crap about SEO; I don’t write for Google, although it seems like most everyone else does. I write for you—flesh-and-blood beings, not some inert algorithm.

5 Minutes with Joe is a hosted WordPress blog. Oddly Together resides at Tumblr, a service I once adored for its style, subscribers and publishing platform. For a site increasingly shifting to storytelling, Tumblr’s audience and community should have been more appropriate for Oddly Together. But Tumblr’s success is ruining the community, particularly the explosion of old media blogs. Oddly Together is on hiatus while I build up 5 Minutes with Joe and ponder a blogging platform migration. WordPress better fits 5 Minutes with Joe, because of flexibility delivering varied content types, such as reader polls or recorded reader responses (via Google Voice) incorporated into podcasts.

As of Nov. 1, 2010, is a relaunch, with several design and other tweaks occurring during the week. Throughout the month, I will update every post with WordPress’ relatively new “Featured Image”, which this theme supports. I reviewed several thousand commercial WordPress themes before choosing the template you see here. The final design steps away from traditional blog or tumbleblog style to hybrid-CMS (content management system). Restored older posts are freshly updated, including HTML5-friendly embedded videos, rather than Adobe Flash. During the next day 30 days, posts from 2006-2007 that have been offline for years also will be restored.

Comments, Community and Crowdfunding
5 Minutes with Joe is a crowdfunded blog. I ask readers to donate what they will, and I encourage corporate sponsorships. Readers who pay get more say. Sponsors pay for audience and influence, not pageviews.

Pageviews are poor measure of most blogs’ value. Three metrics matter more:

  • Audience—That would be you. Before the Net shook the news industry, successful publications made readership and subscribers the priority. Hey, nothing has changed on the social Web. Rather, audience is more important.
  • Influence—How many readers isn’t as important as whom they be. Considering how much Google sites, like Finance and News, influence pageviews, there’s no guarantee of broad influence. Frak pageviews. Search engine obsession pollutes the Web with junk content.
  • Reading time—How long people spend on a site is perhaps the most meaningful measure of contents’ value, which should matter to advertisers if the industry wasn’t so pageview obsessed.’s “5 minutes” rebranding is about podcast length. I do want you to stay longer.

I ask you to express the contents’ value by voluntarily leaving some money. Your contribution allows me to continue producing content here. There is no display advertising at 5 Minutes with Joe.

Rebranded is a curated conversation. Identified commenters are encouraged, anonymous commenters are prohibited. I am clearly identified. There is nothing anonymous about my writing. Commenters here or those posting at other blogs will hold me accountable for my writing. I expect no less accountability from 5 Minutes with Joe commenters. Accountability requires identity. Additionally, as this blog is a curated conversation, some comments will be edited (with notation) or removed. However, readers donating $1,000 a year or more can gain comment freedom. For such a contribution, 5 Minutes with Joe should be your blog in some way, too; please sound off, so long as your comments don’t violate terms of service (which will be posted concurrently with the crowdfunding contribution option) and the post accepts comments. Some won’t.

5 Minutes with Joe is a soft launch during the first week of November 2010, two months later than originally planned. Starting fresh is opportunity to reevaluate design, tags, categories and other attributes. I did’t want to make those choices too quickly.. The first days’ posts leading up to the “Toilet Training” podcast will offer some sense of how you will spend 5 Minutes with Joe.

With that introduction, the blogging begins.

Photo Credit: Powerhouse Museum

Editors Note: This post published on Sept. 6, 2010, but was pulled offline a few weeks later. This version is revised from the original and reposted with new date.