July 26, 2005

an open-source "craigslist" for bloggers

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PART ONE:

Megan McArdle, one of my favorite bloggers told me recently that she got both her job and her boyfriend through blogging, which is a very cool story.

But I'm looking forward to the day when that kind of story gets a lot more common, and not just with bloggers with relatively high traffic, like Megan or myself.

And I'd also like to see bloggers not having to rely on their stories being pinged by "A-Listers", in order for the word to spread sufficiently.

Here's where I think a lot of bloggers would like to be:

1. Let's say you needed a job. So you post a "looking for work" post on your blog, and within days another blogger e-mails you and offers you an interview.

2. Or let's say you wanted to hire somebody for your business. So you'd post something on your blog, and some other bloggers would e-mail you, and the next thing you know you'd have a few interviews set up.

3. You're moving to a new town. So you blog about it, and the next thing you know a couple of bloggers from that town with apartments to rent send you some details.

4. Your girlfriend and you broke up a few months ago and you're looking to date again. So you blog about it and the next thing you know a woman blogger e-mails you, and you two go meet up for coffee the following week.

5. You're looking to buy a car. So you blog about it and the next thing you know a blogger looking to sell his 1999 Honda sends you an e-mail.

6. You've got a nice little freelance business which you regularly talk about on your blog. Once a month or so a blogger e-mails you, offering you good, solid work...

We'd like to be able to be more reliant on the blogger's market, and less reliant on other markets.

Because the blogosphere is a market that bloggers are comfortable with. And compared to dealing with the blogosphere (when it works), most other markets are anonymous and unpleasant.

PART TWO:

So what is the answer? How does an average blogger, someone who doesn't have a lot of readers, make it happen?

I was very pleased with what happend on the "Blog Designers Wanted" wiki page. I jut put up a simple, blank page on the wiki, and within 24 hours, about as comprehensive a list of good blog designers as you can find anywhere suddenly self-created, as if by magic.

But bloggers need more than just blog designers. We need all sorts: jobs, workers, furniture, love, sex, friendship, apartments, business opportunities, the information is endless.

But what we also need, when we scatter our pollen, is a place where our pollen can be seen easily by others. Just scattering it everywhere is no guarantee it will land where you want.

Ergo, "The Hughpage". An Open-Source "Craigslist" for Bloggers:

This wiki is designed to give bloggers a place where they can centrally collate their links for whatever reason: Work, jobs, love, sex, networking, friendship, apartments, furniture, cars, arranging geek dinners etc etc. Go ahead and build, design, improve and contribute to it as you see fit, in whatever manner works best for you. I'll pay for the bandwidth. -Hugh MacLeod
The Hughpage wiki is up and at your disposal.

Just blogged that you're looking for a job? Then go put the link in the jobs section.
Just blogged that you're looking for a date? Then go put your link in the dating section.
Just blogged about needing an apartment? The real estate section.

Just blogged about something that doesn't have a section? Then create a new section by yourself. No need to ask first. Exactly.

Feel free to go crazy. Thanks. [NB: You might want to go check out the Blog Designer's page just to give you an idea of how it generally works etc.]

[NOTE TO SELF:] This is either a totally great idea or a totally insane idea. Maybe a bit of both etc.

Posted by hugh macleod at July 26, 2005 5:43 AM | TrackBack
Comments

Brilliant.

Posted by: Daniel Nicolas at July 26, 2005 8:07 AM

insanely great idea! totally

Posted by: Dragos at July 26, 2005 9:20 AM

I shall try it out forthwith...

Posted by: davidcoe... at July 26, 2005 10:05 AM

Hugh, this sounds like a great place for a microformat or two. Tags let you collect similar things, and we have hReview, hCard and hResume too.
Lets see you drawing on the back of hCards...

http://microformats.org

Posted by: Kevin Marks at July 26, 2005 11:50 AM

I'm about to be made redundant and am looking for a job. But I'd never blog about it, and "advertise" the fact I'm looking for a job because it would look unseemly, desperate and needy and just about the last thing an employer would want... or am I wrong?

I did get laid via my blog though :D

Posted by: andrew at July 26, 2005 12:49 PM

Andrew, my blogging currently pays for 100% of my living, so I'm not sure if it's "desperate and unseemly" all the time. Depends on the individual.

But hey, like you said, at least you got laid.

I'm not here to tell you what information you should have on a blog. I'm just trying to create a space where it is more likely to be seen by the people you want it seen by. Or at least helped along the way.

But I can't build it all myself, obviously.

Posted by: hugh macleod at July 26, 2005 12:54 PM

Very handy, thanks Hugh, just on the day that I was going to blog about my earrings and update the price list..... Were you reading my mind?

I see you are still single. Me too, and I _think_ we are in the same continent. ;)

Posted by: Nia at July 26, 2005 3:25 PM

hugh, its already happening.

>>> You're moving to a new town. So you blog about it, and the next thing you know a couple of bloggers from that town with apartments to rent send you some details.

Sidin, a popular Indian blogger had asked for renting a house in Mumbai & had other bloggers/blog readers helping him. refer the below posts :

http://sidin.blogspot.com/2005/05/help.html
http://sidin.blogspot.com/2005/05/home-with-view.html

Posted by: arvind at July 26, 2005 5:39 PM

I love this idea! Thanks for putting it together.

Posted by: Joe at July 26, 2005 6:31 PM

Hello, came across your blog after seeing the photo of Gia's t-shirt. I comment as a blogger who is blissfully happy with another blogger, and we met through our blogs. And since moving up to Edinburgh I've become good friends with a couple of other bloggers, it's lovely to have an almost instant social network, although I was lucky to move to a city where I knew bloggers anyway, rather than seeking anyone out.

Think the wiki is a great idea.

Posted by: Katherine at July 26, 2005 8:15 PM

Hugh

In the software I'm designing this has two parts. First, the blogger initiates a conversation. Say, Moving to Chicago. Then any posts about moving to Chicago are aggregated under the title of that conversation, and a feed is created.

Then their is static information attached to it. Tags, if you will, or other formats that can be exchanged, like resumes, job requirements, locations, and whatnot.

This last part can be free form, like a wiki entry, or it can evolve into new meta-data formats. ApartmentML, JobML, RomanceML.

It is important, I think that the entries get packaged, in their own feed, since I'm not going to spend the rest of my life blogging about going to Chicago. The conversation about Chicago might interest people who find my prattling about XML and software boring.

And I'd like to feed my conversation into existing conversations. Something like USENET, but groups form and dissolve as people address and resolve problems.

Posted by: Alan Gutierrez at July 27, 2005 12:58 AM

You know, it can be even simpler than all that. Use del.icio.us. I posited using del.icio.us as a dating service several months ago. What you'd do is create your post looking for a job, a girlfriend, a toaster.. whatever.. then post it to del.icio.us with a certain tag, like "suchandsuch-wanted" .. then people would subscribe to the relevant RSS feed. del.icio.us makes such a great central repository of many-to-many links, that it seems a waste not to use it to its full extent.. and, well.. tagging is hot.

Posted by: Peter Cooper at July 27, 2005 1:52 AM

wowzers! AWESOME idea Hugh! Can't wait to see what comes of it!

Posted by: Emily Mann at July 27, 2005 3:45 AM

Peter

Cool blog. You're a Ruby on Rails developer I see.

I think you can cobble together some things with tagging, but I think it is a matter of the user interface and data presentation.

Posted by: Alan Gutierrez at July 27, 2005 6:46 AM

Thank you Hugh, for this gift to all us small bloggers out there. When this really gets going, it will open up a whole new world of possibility for those of us in the blogosphere.

You are a genius!

Posted by: Jay at July 27, 2005 4:09 PM

I'm still a bit of a "blogger-virgin", if you will. First, I found your paper about "How to Be Creative" through beedigital.net/blog, loved it. I'm also very interested in the wiki pages you mentioned, so I'll try it out soon. Of course, I will be quoting you on my own personal blog. Lastly, I wish I could be paid for blogging, something I'm passionate about (more of a blogaholic really). Thanks for sharing.

Posted by: sMhyla at July 27, 2005 7:19 PM

In any case, I'd like to see something like this used to assemble software. Use Sig's objects and workflow to assemble components, the long tail is used to find the components missing from the workflow.

Posted by: Alan Gutierrez at July 27, 2005 10:57 PM

Alan, you are right. Clearly most people would need a proper system to enable the social contract to work. I was coming from a theoretical direction and a "bloggers only" one. del.icio.us is already very popular in the blogosphere, and such an idea could work if everyone knew what the tags were ;-) A radical idea, but I've found radical ideas often lead to less radical, but more profitable, ones :)

Posted by: Peter Cooper at July 28, 2005 9:34 AM

I love it. I am truly hooked on blogging and couldn't think of a better way to make a living than being totally creative all day. I currently work as a trainer for a small software company. Its a great job, but my creative juices are somewhat restricted.

Posted by: Dawn (aka Pink Lady) at July 28, 2005 7:39 PM

Peter - I think a proper system is only a few quick hacks away though. I've discussed the need for more blog entry routing tools. Making the forward button available to the blogsphere, so that you have have a combination of publish/subscribe, and send.

Posted by: Alan Gutierrez at July 28, 2005 8:50 PM

Hugh

I'm going to try to use this to move to Chicago. Thanks.

Posted by: Alan Gutierrez at August 1, 2005 4:24 PM

not to be unduly contrarian, or to troll, but I would be surprised if all of you were to re-read this post in say 5 years, and not be embarassed by the odd insularity and myopia expressed here. This will go nowhere. It's silly. I can not wait for everyone to get over the blogosphere. Can't happen fast enough; but it will happen.

Posted by: anonymous coward at August 9, 2005 2:41 AM