HuffPo Launches Technology Section — FCC Chair, Jimmy Wales, and Others to Blog

By on 09/21/2009 1:00 AM @beet_tv

The Huffington Post, the Web's most influential blog, is launching a technology section today edited by Jose Antonio Vargas, former Washington Post reporter. 

Signed-up to blog are a number technology innovators and wonks including FCC chairman Julius Genachowski who will write about net neutrality, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, and others.

Jose says in this interview that "technology is anthropology" and that the site will address how technology is used and how it affects society. 

It will be interesting to see how this page will be heard above the roar of  the mass of technology publications and blogs.  It surely has some advantages.  The site will have extremely high search optimization and traffic since the publication claims 20 million unique users per month.

I interviewed Jose at the Huffington Post headquarters in lower Manhattan last week.

Andy Plesser, Managing Editor

Editor's Note:  I am mighty pleased to say that Beet.TV clips will appear from time to time on the new Huffington Post technology page.  Great exposure for the purple channel and good for our video views, but like all Huffington Post contributing bloggers, there is no payment.

Video Transcript

Jose Antonio Vargas:  The
starting point, and kind of what I hope will make us distinct, is this
idea that technology is anthropology. You know, I'm not as interested,
I mean of course we're interested in the new gadgets, the new iPhone,
the new Nokia smartphone, the new Wii of course, all of that stuff, but
I'm kinda more interested in behavior. So it's not the gear, it's the
people. If there's a model that I think is gonna guide the aggregation
and the content that you see on page, on the new site, that's what I'm
going for. Because, you know, there's no shortage of tech sites out
there, you know, TechCrunch, Techmeme, Gizmoto, you know and I'm just
naming three and there's tons of them. Right now on my Google Reader I
have like 591 stories today that I have to read. So it's overwhelming.

So
the goal for us is to make sure that we're providing a very diverse
mix, kind of low-brow, high-brow, consumer oriented, psychologically
oriented. I'm waiting on a post right now, a blogger…so I've been
busily trying to recruit bloggers from all sides of tech. I contacted
somebody, actually she contacted us, who's the managing editor of Black
Web 2.0. On Twitter she's got 4,000 followers and she's going to talk
about, basically in my opinion is one of the least kind of covered
issues in the technology sphere–why is there such a lack of Hispanic
and African American, you know, not talking heads per se, but people
who lead the discussion and what are we missing because of that. So
she's going to blog for us. So when I see scope, I think about it, you
know I've been a journalist for eleven years, so scope to me is
something that is challenging and is something that is really exciting
and I think we have to think as broadly as possible about it.

I've
secured contributing blogs from the FCC chairman, Julius Genachowski,
you know the Obama administration and the FCC have introduced a new
broadband strategy, which is basically thinking about, you know, how do
we deploy internet access to all Americans. So he's going to blog about
that. Chris Hughes, the Facebook co-founder, who was a crucial part of
the Barack Obama campaign is going to blog about the future of the
progressive movement as it uses, kind of, the social web. What is the
future of that? Is it dead? How does it move forward? We also have John
Medea, who is the president of the Rhode Island School of Design, the
most prestigious design school in the country who is going to talk
about how Apple in many ways, through the iMac, the iPhone, iPod, has
basically kind of revolutionized the way we think about how gadgets are
designed. They're not just gadgets, they're a fashion statement,
they're iconography. So he's going to blog about that. We have somebody
from Rockstar games talking to us about the future of video games tied
to the release of Grand Theft Auto IV, the latest installment, I think
it's the fourth installment of Grand Theft Auto IV. So, as you can see,
these are pretty broad sets of bloggers talking about broad sets of
kind of how we think about technological innovation and how it affects
specific fields. I think it's exciting and I think frankly you know I'm
not sure where you're going to find a blog from Julius Genachowski and
Rockstar Games and Jimmy Wales from Wikipedia all in one page. I'm not
sure if any other tech site can say that.

I think balance is
going to be important here. We have to please…when you call somebody
"techie" I think…I grew up in Mountain View. That's where Google is,
right, I grew up in the Valley, went to San Francisco State, grew up in
San Francisco. Ten years ago when you said the word tech, the first
thing that came to mind for me was geek, you know. Tech is geek, right.
I made a very conscious effort to call this "Technology Section"
because to me, you know we had what, 1 trillion, trillion…1 trillion
text messages sent in America by Americans last year. Tech isn't geek,
technology is mainstream and so I think the content has to be
mainstream. We need to go high-brow, we need to go low-brow, we need to
go unexpected. As I've been telling the associate editor who's working
with me, we've gotta have broccoli, we've gotta have cheese cake. You
know, there are certain facts that we need to know about. What's going
on right now? It's all about the Zune HD, right. You go to Google,
that's what everybody's talking about. So we're going to have something
about that, but at the same time, there's a great post that Anil Dash
just put on about basically saying that the federal government is the
most interesting start-up of 2009. That's fascinating. So it's going to
be that kind of content. It's going to be mix and match and I think,
frankly, to me, that's the exciting part. I don't know how it's all
going to shape up on the page, but what I do know is that the focus is
on the users, not necessarily just on the gadget, but on behavior and
why we do, how we behave, how my iPhone is not just my iPhone. I
actually have given her a name, you know, so I like to think of it like
that.

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