Decentralized moderation is the chat room savior

Warning: I wrote this post for my friends over on friendfeed. It’s a bit geeky and aimed at those who participate there so they can understand what I mean by decentralized moderation and why friendfeed has been building a really great community for discussing a variety of topics and why it is resistant to spam and trolls.


Over on friendfeed an interesting argument broke out. Neal Jansons said “couldn’t invisible comments be abused for search?”

My answer: no.

Why gets to what friendfeed has done that’s its most brilliant invention and one that very few people understand. It’s so good I wonder why they haven’t patented it.

I call it decentralized moderation.

First, what happens to traditional chat rooms and forums and why did they always get crappy after a while? I’ve been studying these for 25 years.

Forums and chats always start out interesting. A small group of people who are having fun and who are on the same wavelength. For instance, when Microsoft released NetMeeting (a pre-cursor to Skype) back in the mid-1990s there was a forum opened.

In the early days we were discovering a new technology together. There weren’t enough people there for the spammers or marketers to get interested. And it was a geeky topic, so the newbies and unwashed masses hadn’t yet come in.

It was the most fun I’ve ever had in a forum. Brian Sullivan was there too. The two of us had the best NetMeeting websites out there.

But soon newbies came in. At first that, too, was fun. We got to look smart and answer their questions. But after answering the same question 50 times things started getting old. We tried to help by writing FAQs and helpfully pointing people to the new search engine called Google so that they could find answers without us having to do the answer each time.

Even then it was still fun because we were having a ball with NetMeeting and we were all discovering cool new people all over the world (I remember talking with people, including a Russian General, for the first time on NetMeeting and sharing that with the group).

But eventually it got old. Part of that was Microsoft stopped development in the product, which made it not only boring, but doomed and I didn’t want to continue supporting a doomed product, but the community also saw more and more spammers and/or people pushing a business agenda that I didn’t find as fun to deal with.

I’ve seen this over and over as newbies coming in change a community and make it less fun to the older founders and also as spammers and commercial/marketers move in.

Regarding Chat I helped Leo Laporte run his chat room in the 1990s when he was on KGO Radio every Saturday night. I remember one evening we got so fed up with trolls and spammers that we blocked an entire country to try to deal with the problem. We had a centralized moderation system with several moderators and we were becoming overwhelmed in real time with dealing with this stuff.

Why did chat start falling apart? Two reasons:

1. As we got more successful a centralized moderation scheme fell apart. We couldn’t scale.
2. There was no way to really keep anonymous assholes out. There wasn’t a strong identity system. We could kick or ban people but they would just come in with another name or fake email address. Why did we block an entire country? Because that blocked an entire range of IP addresses which got rid of the problem, but also caused a new one, because now there was an entire country that was banned.

So, how does friendfeed deal with this problem?

1. Every item in friendfeed has only one owner: the person who wrote it.
2. An owner of an original item can delete comments underneath it.
3. Comment owners can edit or delete their own comments.
4. Everyone can block someone else. More on block in a second, because is like blowing someone away with a nuclear weapon. It creates an interesting social contract between the community on friendfeed.
5. Spammers can be deleted system wide, but also can be dealt with by blocking.

Why is blocking so effective on friendfeed?

Well, when you block you do a few things:

1. It keeps YOU from seeing the person you block.
2. It keeps the person you are blocking from seeing you. This takes away attack surface. They can no longer see your items and can no longer post spam to them (or anything else).

So, why is friendfeed resistant to trolling behavior where chat and older forums weren’t?

Well, for one, there’s social pressure on us all to behave. If I become a jerk there lots of people will block me and I’ll soon be left without anyone to talk with. So, there’s pressure on me (and everyone) to behave in a way that doesn’t get you blocked.

And, because my comments can be deleted if I just am a jerk in one person’s comments, there are two ways that my behavior can be modified.

Why wouldn’t I just delete comments from someone I don’t like?

The community at large shares information about people who do that and items from people who too frequently delete comments get fewer comments. Less engagement means less distribution for your ideas. So that’s a third way the system keeps you behaving.

So, has friendfeed seen any spammers? Yes, a few, but they quickly disappear and never appear again. Why? Because everyone blocks them very quickly, taking away their attack surface. That also warns the owners over at friendfeed that someone is doing something unseemly and they can be globally removed. But the whole system on friendfeed is based on following/followers so it’s easy to see if someone actually has any reputation on friendfeed. Does anyone follow that person? Probably not a spammer. Same thing is over on Twitter, by the way. I can pick the spammers out a mile away because they don’t have anyone of any reputation who follows them, except for auto followers (on friendfeed there’s no such thing as autofollowing yet).

Why can’t this system be applied to blogs? It can be, once everyone is on a common identity system, like Facebook Connect. Until then, though, getting rid of someone who is disruptive is too difficult, which is why blog comments generally are sucking more and more lately in comparison with friendfeed’s comments and also why you need a really complex spam filtering system, like those that Akismet makes (such a system is not required on friendfeed, at least not yet because the spammers haven’t figured out how to get past the decentralized moderation system yet).

Back to newbies, because friendfeed doesn’t have a centralized topic the first thing you’ll need to do, if you want to join in an already existing conversation is do a search. For instance, here’s a search on Quilting. That solves the problem of teaching newbies to search. Second, because advanced users can start private rooms, which newbies can’t see, they can have their fun and also help newbies learn the ropes. That takes care of a lot of the problems of Usenet which was really destroyed, in part, by newbies who came from AOL when AOL added a bridge to Usenet.

Anyway, it’s getting late and I’m not making as much sense as I will in the morning so I’ll post this and see where it goes.

UPDATE: of course this caused an interesting discussion to start over on friendfeed. Behave yourself!

The newspaper industry just gave away another free meal, er Twitter: do they have any left?

I’m listening to Dave Winer and Jay Rosen “reboot the news.” Jay is a journalism professor and Dave is a geek that helped either birth or bootstrap all sorts of publishing technologies including blogging, RSS, OPML, XML-RPC, and more. So, hearing the two of them do an audio podcast every Sunday is very interesting.

I’ve been pretending in my head that I’m a newspaper exec. When I do that I keep beating myself around the face. Why? Because the newspaper industry keeps giving the geeks free meals. Let’s study the free meals:

Free meal #1. Giving away classified advertising to Craig’s List.
Free meal #2. Giving away photography to Flickr (look at the photos from the Chinese Earthquake, why didn’t this happen on a newspaper branded site?).
Free meal #3. Giving away front page news to blogs like Huffington Post.
Free meal #4. Giving away “small” community news like births, deaths, birthdays, etc to Facebook.
Free meal #5. Giving away real-time news to Twitter.
Free meal #6. Giving away news distribution to Google News and Amazon Kindle, among others. With new sites like Kosmix coming on strong (hundreds of percent of growth month over month).
Free meal #7. Giving away restaurant reviews to Yelp.
Free meal #8. Giving away traffic information to Google Maps.
Free meal #9. Giving away celebrity news to Facebook and Twitter. (Why is Oprah on both of those, and why didn’t the newspaper industry lock up Oprah and keep her on a newspaper brand?)
Free meal #10. Giving away local news to Topix (at least that was funded by a newspaper brand).
Free meal #11. Giving away business news to Yahoo Finance and Google Finance (and something new that will get announced tomorrow).
Free meal #12. Giving away news ranking to Memeorandum.
Free meal #13. Giving away astrology to
Free meal #14. Giving away comics to

What is their latest giveaway? Crowd-sourced news. I visit Twitter Search every day to find out what is “hot news.” That’s something I used to look at newspapers and older media for (radio, TV) but Twitter is just plain better at telling me what is trending.

OK, so now my face is bloody because I’m seeing all the things the newspaper industry gave away. Do they have anything left to give away?


“OK, Scoble, you’ve lost it now, there isn’t anything left.”

Oh, you are wrong. There are still some tasty meals left. The rest of this post will be a plea to the newspaper industry to NOT give away the last things they have left.

Meal left #1: their distribution. About half of the houses in Washington D.C., for instance, still receive the Washington Post.
Meal left #2 (partially eaten): their understanding of the local community, although this is disappearing very quickly in many communities. I’d still rather read a New York Times review of Broadway Plays or restaurants than a Yelp review, but that is changing fast too.
Meal left #3: they still have journalists who can be paid to chew on something for a while (like go to Iraq to cover the war), although this is disappearing too. Sorry, I’ve watched the blog world and we aren’t willing to self fund longer term projects. We chase the fun short stories, or things that will get a quick hit on Memeorandum or Techmeme, but doing the longer stories that require doing real reporting with hundreds of sources, say, about what a politician is doing, just isn’t there.
Meal left #4: objectivity and accountability. I can argue that lots of journalists aren’t objective, but the truth is they are part of a system that adds objectivity and accountability as a system BEFORE publishing. Blogging and Twittering, I have noticed, can be objective and accountable, but it sometimes takes time to figure that out, especially when bloggers and twitterers don’t disclose their conflicts of interests up front.
Meal left #5: Systems for aggregating and archiving information. Far beyond what I’ve seen on most blogs or on Twitter. Here, find quickly the first four Tweets about the Chinese Earthquake. Now, why does the New York Times make it easier to find the front page of the paper the day they reported the Titanic sank?. Hint: they have this figured out in a way that Twitter and others just don’t.
Meal left #6 (partially eaten): they have brands that many people who are older, and therefore understand politics, business, sports, news, influence, wealth, and many other topics, love a lot more than Facebook or Twitter.
Meal left #7: They have news systems that are very robust. Do you have the Associated Press warning you about news events coming up? Newspaper editors do. Do you have a scanner and a team of people listening to the police full time? Newspapers do (or did).
Meal left #8: They have a room of curators. People who understand the news. Understand their communities. Who pick the top stories and who add understanding onto them with photos, graphics, headlines, etc. Believe me, I’ve been watching most bloggers and most of them suck at packaging their stories.
Meal left #9: Sources. The San Jose Mercury News can get into the Mayor’s Office. I can’t. Well, I probably could, but it would take a while to figure out who to call, what the stories are, who the gatekeepers are, etc. When I visited the Capital I had a journalist as a guide. If I didn’t have someone who was familiar with the Capital I would never have gotten past all the gatekeepers and I would not have been as effective.
Meal left #10: Relationships and an understanding of same. Most of us haven’t really thought about how the Mayor of our town is related to other people. Journalists study that in depth.
Meal left #11: a newsroom. I’ve been in a few newsrooms, including the New York Times. Being there gives you access to other people who care about the news. People who’ve been around a long time and understand how to get to the bottom of a story and how to tell it in the best possible way. You also have access to all the machinery of creating news. Can you afford a 300 mm F2.8 lens? I can’t. That costs $8,000, but the local newsroom probably has several. The New York Times even has a TV studio to shoot HD interviews that I can’t yet do.
Meal left #12: great opinion writers who understand the news system a lot better than most Twitter users. The New York Times even ran a post about that today, which is causing interesting conversation.

So, what is the next meal to be given away and, how could I, as self-appointed head of journalism, keep our industry from giving it away to yet another San Francisco geek with his or her hand out?

We are in the middle of moving to a real-time system for EVERYTHING. Tomorrow afternoon at about 4 p.m. Pacific Time a company called SkyGrid will show off just how this is true. But you already have plenty of taste in Twitter, Facebook, and especially, friendfeed. But those systems are still VERY UNSATISFYING.

That is where we could work together. Why don’t the geeks and the last remaining news organizations create something new?

Let’s start with Facebook and Twitter. They are onto something, but they have NOT nailed the monetization system. Mark Zuckerberg and his team at Facebook knows they are very close. Let me explain a little of how close they are.

To do that, first let’s go back to how people buy things. I’m in the middle of buying a mountain bike, so am studying this process very closely. Here’s the buying process:

1. Something created the need in my head to buy a mountain bike. In this case it was a doctor who told me I should exercise more. I have a great trail near my house. I don’t like swimming. I don’t like running anymore (did too much running in high school when I ran four marathons). I don’t like going to the gym. So, I’ve been looking for something more fun that will help me in my goal. My friend Luke wants me to surf, and that might play into it, but I like riding a bike and I like photography, so I want to carry a camera while mountain biking.
2. Now I’m researching. That means visiting stores. That means asking my friends. Talking about it on Twitter and friendfeed. Just a few minutes ago (while writing this post) I did just that and already have dozens of replies, all in live time!
3. Soon, this week, I’ll be buying. That’ll be the only time you can really monetize me.

So, let’s look at Facebook, Twitter, friendfeed.

Can they create the need? Absolutely!
Can they help you research? Yes!
But can they monetize? No!

That’s the opportunity Mark Zuckerberg has left open and it’s only open for a little while.

So, what can we do?

How about we create our own social network? One that is a meritocracy. Best participants get recommended. Not like Twitter where celebrities get recommended above people who are actually participating. Oprah, for instance, already is on Twitter’s recommended follower list despite only being on Twitter for three days. Huh? Twitter will come to understand why that’s a pretty stupid idea. Celebrities rarely will tell you where to buy a great mountain bike and even rarer will they answer your questions in live time. Come on, do you really hold delusions that Oprah will answer your questions? I don’t.

First, let’s start with cloning Twitter. It’s the simplest to clone. Heck, there’s already an open source system that did just that. It’s called Laconica.

But remember, what we really need is a search engine to pull interesting things out.

Here’s some use cases we’ll need to design that search engine to do:

1. Local establishments. When I am walking down University Ave (or any ave) I want to be able to say “show me sushi restaurants within walking distance.” Now, imagine if Facebook did that? Well, it could tell you “four sushi restaurants have been liked by 10 or more of your friends.” But it doesn’t store location information. Friendfeed? It can give you the real time metadata, but we need more to be able to really pull back just restaurants. Relying on comments and titles, the way its engine does now, will lead to lots of noise. And Twitter? Twitter doesn’t give us enough metadata to do much of anything except to know that a few sushi restaurants were retweeted a lot or that there’s one with a popular metatag.
2. Movie feedback in real time. I remember seeing movies with my team at 7 a.m. on release day when I worked at Microsoft (they bought tickets for lots of us and made us go early in the morning so that we’d be at work on time). The email lists would tell everyone else whether the movie was any good or not. So, why can’t we do that? And rate theaters at the same time?
3. News sharing. Already Twitter does THAT pretty well. I knew about the Chinese Earthquake while it was happening thanks to just watching Twitter. But months later? Try to pull out the important Tweets. I can’t. Over on friendfeed I can. Over on Facebook? Nope, because my friends started yelling at me when I pulled Tweets in there. They like baby photos and personal information, meant for close friends, but not a lot of news. Facebook is going to have a tough time getting over that.
4. Product feedback. I need a way to look for good feedback about all sorts of stuff. Dave Winer just bought a toaster oven that he has been raving about. Now go to Twitter Search and tell me about his toaster oven. I couldn’t find his info. Over on friendfeed I was able to find his info, but it’s unstatisfying, because I can’t see who else liked that particular toaster oven.

So, how do we build what I need?

I have some ideas. First, let’s assume we can match friendfeed. That’s already a tall order. That company was started by four superstars from Google. I’m not a superstar from Google.

But, I know that there are a few technology superstars at, say, the New York Times. I’ve met a few of them on my travels and there are a few others out there, too, and if we pool our efforts we could convince others to join us. There’s lots of engineers on the streets right now.

How about making a platform that would enable everyone to build their own little Twitter? You know, have a community of people that they could draw out of Twitter and over to your private community? Friendfeed is very close to that. Watch how I’m using Twitter to get my Twitter followers to answer questions over on friendfeed. But that means you’ve gotta have something that adds functionality onto Twitter over on our own site.

Look at my question on Twitter and friendfeed about mountain bikes again. What do you notice is missing?

1. Price data.
2. Comparison charts.
3. Separation of very credible and uncredible answers. Let’s say someone from Nike’s adventure team, who I believe is the winningest mountain bike team, comes over and answers my question. Why is his or her answer the same as everyone else’s? Doesn’t he or she have more credibility and authority?
4. Other metadata that shouldn’t be visible, like metatags. Maybe someone wants to connect my answers to another answer on, say, bike components. But why should that connection be visible? Today building such a connection in Twitter, Facebook, and friendfeed is not possible. So, how would we do it? Invisible comments and a command line interface. More on that in a minute.
5. My ability to mark different people as credible for different reasons. Let’s say the CEO of Specialized came over and commented on that thread. He would be credible, but he would be biased toward pushing Specialized. So, he’s not as credible as, say, someone from the Nike adventure team, at least when it came to bikes. He might be VERY credible when it comes to other biking topics, though, and even in bikes he’s more credible, than, say, me, who has no expertise in the industry.
6. Connection with existing resources. I like how Mahalo does this. If they don’t have a human-built connection they add algorithmic ones from Google.
7. Links to places to buy. Anytime I mention “mountain bikes” why doesn’t Twitter and friendfeed bring up a link to different mountain bike stores? Heck, even Amazon ships Mountain Bikes and if I included my affiliate link (I have not here) I would get paid some cash everytime someone bought a bike.
8. Comprehensive links to all the reviews that already have been done about the products that are getting mentioned in there. I have to manually put each one of them into Google to find more info. Why is that?

Here’s what I meant by “invisible comments.” Look at friendfeed. Each comment is a piece of metadata that can be used by the search engine. For instance, I can put “greattoasteroven” into a comment, like I did underneath Dave Winer’s toaster oven post, and now you can use friendfeed’s search engine to find it. But why does that “metatag” have to be visible? Here, let’s design an invisible commenting engine.

First, let’s invoke the invisible commenting engine. We could pick something like %%0, which is a string that would never get used. So, let’s design an invisble comment:

%%0 metatag=”greattoasteroven” This one could do metatags.
%%0 location=”25 Pinehurst Lane, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019″ This one could do location.
%%0 price=”$1,499″ This one could do price.
%%0 language=”german” this could tell the search engine to pull this entry up only if the speaker wanted german results
%%0 invisible=”Dave Winer is a nice guy.” This could be used to leave a comment for you, or for the search engine, but that wouldn’t be visible for the outside world. You could even use that to make things only visible to certain people, so you could have private conversations INSIDE the comment thread.
%%0 administrator=davew This one could make Dave Winer an administrator of the item, which would give his comments a different color, and would enable him to delete or edit comments on that thread.
%%0 post comment at 12:01 p.m. Pacific Time April 29, 2009: “this comment will appear on April 29th at 12:01”
%%0 credibility=10:davew This would mark Dave Winer as “highly credible” on this topic, and because everyone else has a default credibility of 5, would give him a different color and a star icon. You could then do the next invisible comment:
%%0 display credibility of >8 only (this would make only comments of people with credibility of 8 or above visible, once the user had invoked this).

Anyway, I could keep going all night long. In the real-time web having such a console would be important to be able to talk to the search engine. We could brainstorm such things all night long.

Now, isn’t that “geeky?” Yes. Would the celebrities that now are moving into Twitter get it? No AND yes!

See, while the geeks might be stuck with such a command-line interface, I expect that very quickly developers of applications like Tweetie, Twhirl, and TweetDeck would add on UIs to take advantage of the invisible functionality. You could click a “price” button in TweetDeck, for instance, which would show you the price of the bike you are now looking at (or allow you to input it as a Tweet-like message, if you knew the price).

This would build a very rich microblogging service and I think everyone else would want to build invisible comments into their system and interroperate with the ones we designed.

But, no, I suspect this whole post is for naught. I suspect that the newspaper industry will give away their last few meals to the geeks in San Francisco yet again.

Why is that?

The best SEO/SEM info (crowd sourced)

I’m rebuilding my blog from scratch so wondered what other geeks thought was the best information about SEO/SEM. You know, the techniques you can use to make sure your blog or website appears as high up in Google as absolutely possible? So, I asked on Twitter and friendfeed and this is what happened. Funny that a Google employee answered the question within seconds of me posting it. Thanks to everyone for the help, does anyone else have any other sites/sources to add?

Thanks Sheryl for a fun interview

I’ve been getting compliments on this podcast interview all week. Turns out Sheryl is a great interviewer and I had just been to the dentist (I was sitting in my car in front of my dentist’s office when she called). Anyway, thanks Sheryl for a fun interview. In it I tell you where Facebook or Twitter or friendfeed is going to make a ton of money.

We start off by talking about privacy and security of our families when we’re so public. Then we talk about whether I have a thick enough skin and from there the conversation turns better and more toward the future of social networking.

Chasing the magical experience

Pierre's chalet (view from the hot tub)

In all the hype about celebrities over on Twitter and Facebook we’ve forgotten something: experiences you have with crowds of other people are rarely magical unless it’s a concert and, even then, I’ve seen musicians give concerts to four of my closest friends and then go out and give concerts to thousands of people. I would rather have the small experience EVERY TIME. Which is one reason I like Peter Himmelman’s Furious World so much.

I’ve been around the world. I’ve met some of the smartest people in the world. Just this week I shared a Guinness with the deputy prime minister of Ireland.

But as I get around the world I find I’m not chasing the crowds. I’m chasing the magical experience.

What are some of the magical experiences in your life? Bringing a kid into the world is one of mine. Two people. And a doctor and nurse. The power of four again.

Getting married? When done best there are only a few participants: two people, a minister, and a witness. Four people.

A great dinner out? I’ve found that if there’s four people at the table that you love it always is magical. Five or more? Introduces noise and reduces the magic.

Laurent Haug, founder of LIFT conference

This is something I’ve discovered thanks to Laurent Haug, founder of the LIFT Conference in Geneva, Switzerland. He invited me to spend time after the conference at his friend’s Swiss Chalet.

It is still the most magical experience I’ve had with someone I’ve met online.

Just a small group hanging out over a weekend, skiing, eating food that’s not good for us, taking photos, hanging out in the hot tub drinking Laurent’s friend’s expensive brandy. You can see the photo of the hot tub on this post.

Laurent shows us CoComment

It even turned into one of those product launches that really sticks with me, when Laurent (pictured here) showed us something he was working on called CoComment. I no longer use that service, but laid the groundwork for a variety of others, including Disqus who I’m headed to see today.

The point is, that magical experiences in life are — for me at least — those that are small and done with four or so other people.

So, why don’t our social networks try to get us to split up into smaller groups? Facebook and friendfeed do, in their various ways. Yesterday I signed into Facebook for the first time in a while. I tried importing my Tweets and instantly got complaints. Why? Because the usage model there is all about talking with small groups of friends.

While Twitter gets the hype and chases the big crowd experience I’m left noticing that Facebook might run away with the real monetization prize: because Facebook is better setup for having magical experiences online with small groups of friends.

How magical? For the past few weeks Maryam has been showing me some of the conversations she’s been having with old school friends from around the world. She’s giddy that she’s finding cousins and old friends she hasn’t seen for decades.


I look at my friendfeed experiences, too. I’m starting to put people into separate lists. Four at a time. I imagine having dinner with them and having a conversation about something.

This is a technique I learned from Linda Stone. When she invited me over for dinner she sat me next to a famous author and a famous Microsoft researcher to see if magic would happen.

This is something that many PR people and big company employees never get. Read Tara Hunt’s experience of trying to find book reviewers. She’s chasing the magical experience. Her PR company is chasing “bloggers with reach.”

Hint: Tara is right. The magic is with people who care. The magic is in small numbers. The magic is in creating an experience that has nothing to do with a committee. That post is something every PR and big company employee should read and understand at a deep level. She wants to create magic (she calls it Whuffie) and she knows that if she has a small number of people who are fanatical about what she’s doing that that’s how it’ll get done.

Anyway, just one of my thoughts as I am working today on Building43 — we’re looking to find people who are fanatical about the Internet and create a magical experience. I wonder who I should invite to dinner?

Here’s another example. Tomorrow at 3 p.m. I’m getting a tour of the Monterey Bay Aquarium from the guy who does their friendfeed/Twitter communities. I can get three other people into the tour. The first ones who email me at get in.

What kind of magical experiences are you trying to create?

What are the tech bloggers missing? Your business!

I’ve been watching the tech bloggers quite closely for some time now. Here’s a database of more than 17,000 of my favorite posts, Tweets, and videos from them. But I’ve noticed a few things.

1. They are AWESOME at covering news. For instance, watch how TechCrunch, VentureBeat, Steve Gillmor, Louis Gray, Hutch Carpenter, and a variety of others ask questions at the friendfeed press conference (part I, part II, part III, part IV, part v).
2. They are pretty good at explaining how to use a particular technology. For instance, here’s Marshall Kirkpatrick explaining how to use Yahoo Pipes to build an RSS and news site for your project.
3. They are really good at aggregating attention. Louis Gray even noticed that TechCrunch is making sure its headlines work well on Twitter. Why? Because lots of people hang out on Twitter and click on links.

But what don’t the tech bloggers do well?

Bring home all these new shiny objects and explain why they matter to a mainstreet business.

Yes, there are a few that are trying, like this blog that focuses on social media and your business, but notice the difference between that one and, say, TechCrunch. The headlines are boring. The text is uninteresting. There aren’t very many videos or graphics. And very little engagement on comments.

Or, on the other side, are “pro” sites like that also try, but notice how bad their layout is and how much color and advertising there is surrounding their content.

It’s to the point where I’m wondering if I’m missing something. Is anyone doing a good job of explaining how to bring a business into the modern age?

Last week I was talking with Graham Weston, chairman of Rackspace (I now work for Rackspace) and I asked him whether he knew of anyone looking out for regular everyday businesses. I showed him the Web site of KSCO, a small radio station in Santa Cruz, and noted that it sucked, but that it is emblematic of a whole raft of businesses. Most of whom really don’t get the Web and understand how their customers are using it.

Heck, just yards from Facebook’s main building on University Ave is a great restaurant, Junoon. Do you think they get the modern Web? Absolutely not.

They have tons of Facebook employees as clients. Do they have Facebook Connect built into their Website? No. Do they have any real people on their website? No. Do they have any real interactivity? No. Do they have a mobile client? No. Do they have a community, er, forum? No. Do they have Twitter integration? No. Do they have a way to get people into the restaurant during dead times? No. Did they have any SEO help so people can find them easier? No (their site is largely Flash).

Now, if the business right by the front door of Facebook isn’t getting it right, what are the chances that any of the other millions of businesses around the world are getting it right?

And why aren’t the tech bloggers helping them?

On the other hand, this shows the opportunity open to Twitter, friendfeed, Google, and Microsoft.

Facebook has NOT sewn up the business market yet. Heck, they haven’t even gotten the business right by their front door to use its Connect technology yet.

This market is wide open for anyone to snatch it away from Mark Zuckerberg.

Is anyone showing businesses like Junoon or KSCO why they should use social media and how to do it? I keep thinking I’m not following the right bloggers.

Who should I be following that’s helping out real businesses figure this stuff out?