View Full Version : Never discount the value of using your real name in blog posts

09-13-2007, 07:32 AM
Yesterday I replied to a blog post using my real name about how the Internet is being used to search for missing aviator Steve Fossett. I made some comments about my experience in participating in the online search via Amazon's Mechanical Turk that has a project dedicated to searching for him using updated satellite photos. Well last night, just from my name, a newspaper reporter from the Chicago Sun Times tracked me down and gave me a call to interview me on this novel way of assisting with search and rescue. This morning the article was published at http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/555559,CST-NWS-fossett13.article.

Later in the evening another newspaper reporter from a different newspaper called me and also interviewed me, but I haven't seen their article yet.

My advice from this is to never discount the value of using your real name in blog posts. You never know who will be reading, it might just be a newspaper reporter doing a story.

Now I just have to figure out how to get a copy of today's Chicago Sun Times for a keepsake. :confused:

09-13-2007, 11:21 AM
Wow, that's great! I always use my real name (even for my forum name) but nothing like that has ever happened.

09-13-2007, 11:38 AM
In the past six months to one year I have been called and interviewed by the NY Times (on two different occasions but was mentioned in only one article), the Chicago Tribune (didn't make get mentioned), the Chicago Sun Times (the article I just mentioned) and the San Fransisco Chronicle (yesterday, also on the Fossett search but no article yet). All of these interviews were the direct result of my normal participation in forums and blogs and the fact that I use my real name (which is pretty unique).

While getting interviewed for stuff like my participation in the Fossett search is pretty cool, I particularly like being interviewed about stuff related to my website (as was the case with the NY Times article).

Traditionally I am not been very comfortable with self promotion, which I'm sure Chris would say is pretty important in web publishing, so I'm pretty thrilled when reporters come to me because of my normal forum/blog participation.

BTW: Sizemore is your real last name? This never occurred to me. Silly me.

09-13-2007, 01:31 PM
Todays paper? I'm in Chicago.

09-13-2007, 01:35 PM
Yes it is in today's paper. The reporter promised to mail me a copy, but if you could grab a copy of the Sun Times, I'd be really appreciative (just in case he doesn't follow through).

Oh because of the Chicago Sun Times article, my local paper, the Portland Press Herald, just called me wanting to set up an interview for tomorrow morning. All of this because of a comment I posted on a blog. Go figure.

09-13-2007, 01:39 PM
U must speaka english gud.

09-13-2007, 01:41 PM
Yes it is in today's paper. The reporter promised to mail me a copy, but if you could grab a copy of the Sun Times, I'd be really appreciative (just in case he doesn't follow through).

Also, you're forcing me to have to shower hours before I usually do. :flare:

Todd W
09-13-2007, 05:36 PM
Also, you're forcing me to have to shower days before I usually do. :flare:


09-13-2007, 06:18 PM
Clever Todd, lawl.

Picked up the paper, found the article right away Ken.

09-16-2007, 05:29 AM
I appreciate the early shower to get me a paper. PM me and I'll give you my mailing address.

As I said in my last post, a reporter from my local paper came over to interview me and that article could be found at http://pressherald.mainetoday.com/story.php?id=134262&ac=PHnws. I posted a comment there with a few trivial clarifications, but the writer did an good job overall explaining the overall story, he even plugged my website for me (sadly no link). Helping with searches for down planes via the Internet could really revolutionize search and rescue and is really one of the great promises of the Internet to serve the greater good.

09-16-2007, 12:58 PM
Okay this is totally crazy. I did a Google search for the words "Fossett" and Barbalace and have discovered a crazy daisy chain of articles about my participating in the Fossett search. The San Fransisco Chronicle did publish their article that they called and interviewed me for on Wed., I just missed it the first go around. That article is at: http://0-www.sfgate.com.mill1.sjlibrary.org/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/09/13/MN4IS4OF1.DTL

As a result of the Portland Press Herald article, an AP article was apparently written, which was picked up by the Boston Globe (http://www.boston.com/news/local/maine/articles/2007/09/15/search_for_steve_fossett_spreads_to_the_internet/) and the Montpelier VT paper The Times Argus (http://www.timesargus.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070916/NEWS01/709160346/1002/NEWS01).

All because of some simple comments to a blog post. This is all pretty amazing when you think about it.

09-16-2007, 11:12 PM
Shows how many journalists just piggyback on other writer's ideas ;)

On topic of the search, there was a big article in July's Wired about the search for Jim Gray. They were making use of Mechanical Turk to scour satellite photos on that one too. Has this been used in any other searches?

Odd relation to web publishing, but its the "mechanical turk" factor which also renders all captchas useless.

09-17-2007, 12:31 AM
Wow that is pretty crazy. It really is an interesting story for the general public to see people searching at home from their arm chairs.

I can't help but feel it could be even more automated somehow, rather than using a look and compare routine (If I understood the process correctly.)

Nice shirt btw ken :p

09-17-2007, 05:38 AM
Cutter, in the case of the San Francisco and Chicago papers, they contacted me because they were looking for someone who was participating in the search and my fairly unique name made me easy to find. When doing a Google search for my name the first three results lead to my websites with my contact information and all other results on the first page of search results lead to a page that links to or references to my website.

I agree that the mechanical turk factor is going to be and probably already is being exploited by spammers.

I think the Jim Gray and Steve Fossett searches are the only searches to try conducting this type of search. One big drawback to these searches right now is that the resolution of the photos are too low. Current photos only have about a one square meter resolution, which means 1 sq/m = 1 pixel. This is way too low to discern the difference between a geologic formation and mangled pieces of wreckage. If someone actually does find Steve Fossett's plane it will be extremely lucky.

There is a new generation of commercial satellites getting ready to be launched, including one launch this week, which will improve photo resolution by almost an order of magnitude. These new satellites will give us the resolution needed to successfully find a downed aircraft.

ZigE, it is the general interest nature of the story that makes papers so interested in it. For the three papers in New England that picked up this story, what made it interesting was being able to make a "local" connection to a national story taking place so far away.

In time I think these searches via satellite photos will be able to be assisted by artificial intelligence. At the very least computers could be used to do cursory review of photos for really obvious leads. All of the photos would still need to be reviewed by human eyes.

I'm glad you liked the shirts, it is one of my favorites. I have several of these types of shirts. It is really hard to find ones that look good and not tacky.