Welcome to Reality Check

G'day. My name is Paul Montgomery. I'm the latest addition to the ranks of ZDNet Australia bloggers, and the first one to not also be paid to write news stories for them.

G'day. My name is Paul Montgomery. I'm the latest addition to the ranks of ZDNet Australia bloggers, and the first one to not also be paid to write news stories for them.

This is not so much of a stretch though, since I used to be a journalist by trade and actually started my career in 1997 working at the company which launched the ZDNet Australia site, alongside Editorial Director Brian Haverty.

My current line of work is running my own Internet startup in Geelong but I have also been blogging for many months on the subject of the so-called phenomenon of "Web 2.0". This blog will largely explore the same areas with licence to roam. I'll leave it to a subsequent post to explain what I think Web 2.0 means.

There are the usual rules on ZDNet Australia about not spruiking your own company or sites, which is fair enough. I have had enough experience writing comment pieces for publications including PC Week Australia, Internet World Australia and IDM Magazine to know how to write opinion. However, I am conscious of not wanting to fall into the trap of writing just as if I was churning out a comment piece for a mainstream media (MSM) outlet. There's nothing wrong with comment pieces -- which in my experience are written to reinforce beliefs held by readers in order to define the community of readers that the publication's backers want to attract -- but blogs allow a greater range of expression than just pandering to existing norms. (One of the valid criticisms of blogs is that too many bloggers blog about blogging, but please bear with me for this initial entry.)

So if I'm not going to blog like I'm a MSM columnist, what other influences can I lean on? Some bloggers I enjoy blog like they're freestyle rappers, like Ben Barren. He's a hard act to follow, though. Others blog like they're collating product catalogues, like Richard McManus, Pete Cashmore and Mike Arrington. Some who I respect, but can't emulate in this blog, are outstanding self-promoters like Cameron Reilly, Phil Sim and Dave Winer.

There are a number of MSM stalwarts who are trying desperately to remain cool among the anti-MSM crowd, such as Mathew Ingram and Scott Karp.

Then there are those like Steve Gillmor, ex-editor of Infoworld magazine, who get other bloggers riled, with their "controversial" views or "interesting" metaphors. (Yes, he's a ZDNet.com blogger, but one of my defining characteristics so far as a blogger has been my willingness to say what I think no matter who the target is, even though it gets me into trouble sometimes.)

My blogging hero, not just for the purposes of this blog but in most other business thinking, is Paul Graham who is arguably the clearest thinker on Web 2.0 concepts and broader business issues who is regularly blogging at the moment. If I can be as far along a Gillmor-Graham continuum towards the Graham side as possible, I'd be happy and hopefully you'll get a decent blog to read.

In my next post I'll tackle the central issue of Web 2.0, which is: what is this Web 2.0 thing all about anyway, why should I care, and why do startups have such silly names?

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