Tag Archives: blogs

Four Habs Fans … plus one

I have, in the past, been critical of amateur bloggers following pro sports teams. Particularly in the wake of the success of my employer’s Habs Inside/Out website, I just couldn’t fathom how people without access to the team and with daily jobs that might affect their posting schedule could ever really hope to compete for news. Even analysis, it seems, hasn’t been very convincing (though people talking out of their ass about what players the Canadiens should sign and what lines they should put them on is a problem in just about every medium).

But while many of these blogs are long gone from my RSS reader, one is proving me wrong. Four Habs Fans is reminding me that if you can’t be informative, you can at least be funny:


©FHF, or is it TFS? Or BGL or GMS or something...

It’s not perfect – they use acronyms for nicknames that makes it hard to follow if you’re new – and it’s rather sexist with the scantily-clad women (not that I … uhh … pay attention to the hotties or anything). But this Photoshop job alone has me singing its praises now.

Okay, maybe not singing. But I’ll offer them a lap dance.

Meanwhile, HIO’s Mike Boone – who also relies more on humour than original breaking news or analysis to create a following – is offering to liveblog Habs games from the home (or bar) of just about anyone with an HDTV and WiFi.

Maxime Bernier has new technologies

There’s no way I can make this better than it already is. (via @mediabeat)

It occured to me I’ve never actually heard Maxime Bernier speak in English before (my attention must have been focused elsewhere). Now the new Conservative minister of nothing is putting it in practice with a new blog.

Don’t expect him to be too honest or outrageous though, the Tories don’t like honesty on their members’ blogs.

Nothing like a blogger popularity contest

This morning on Christiane Charette’s show on Radio-Canada, three stars of the Quebec web were invited to compile a list of the most influential Quebec web celebrities.

Like most ideas, this one was stolen from a similar worldwide list created by Forbes magazine, which put celebrity gossipist Perez Hilton at the top (just to give you an idea of what criteria they use).

All three of them posted to their blogs asking readers to make suggestions: Bruno Guglielminetti, Michelle Blanc and Dominic Arpin. Their posts got a bunch of comments (some of them wanting to plug their own blogs), and also prompted other bloggers to offer their own lists:

But there were also a lot of comments, especially from other bloggers, about how such a list goes against the entire spirit of the web.

Martine Pagé has the best writeup about the problems with this process, so much so that I feel kind of silly going over the same points. Her comments were also echoed by other bloggers.

Like her, I’ll admit that I scanned the lists at least subconsciously to see if I was mentioned. (Blanc said it best: “on se rend vite compte que les listes, on s’en fou, mais qu’il faut être dedans.”) More consciously, though, I wanted to see what kind of people made each list, and what kind of criteria were used to select them. Did the lists include:

  • Anglophones?
  • Professional journalists (like Patrick Lagacé)?
  • People who are active on Twitter/Facebook/etc. but don’t have blogs?
  • People who are active bloggers but not on Twitter/Facebook/etc.?
  • Executives of web companies who don’t do anything personal online?

They seemed to agree that their lists should be confined to those whose popularity stems mainly from the Internet (so no Lagacé). They also included people like Patrick Boivin and Michel Beaudet of Têtes à claques who don’t blog. Blanc explains her reasoning.

The mutually-agreed-upon top 10 are listed on Charette’s site. Guglielminetti and Blanc also provide their top 25 (Arpin says to look at his blogroll). It’s very easy to see the influence of the three on the list: lots of representation from web video producers (five), and tech/social media/marketing bloggers (three). Renart L’éveillé points out that news/opinion/political bloggers are conspicuously absent from these lists (probably because many of them are professional journalists and were excluded for that reason).

As Pagé points out, the same names tend to come up in these kinds of lists. That’s not because these three experts didn’t do their jobs properly and focused on their friends, it’s because that’s the nature of the Web. Your Web is made up of your Facebook friends, who you follow on Twitter, which blogs you read and which YouTube channels you’re subscribed to. There’s an infinite supply out there, and they’re all of different types, so everyone’s web is going to be different, which makes this list all the more silly (in their defence, the panelists are fully aware of how silly this exercise is).

There’s already an outlet for self-obsessed bloggers who want to rank themselves: It’s called Tout le monde en blogue, and it judges strictly by traffic numbers (participating blogs place counters on their pages, which show their ranking to their readers). It’s stupid, it’s vain, it’s shallow and it’s pointless. But at least it’s objective.

Maybe we should leave the lists to them.

UPDATE: More after-the-fact commentary from Yves Williams, Mario Asselin and (briefly) Patrick Tanguay.

UPDATE (Feb. 11): One of my blog’s loyal readers totally blasts me on his for this post for having suggested that I’m above vanity (which I don’t think I’ve done).

YULblog relaunches tonight


Local bloggers (and their groupies) might recognize YULblog … yulblog … Yulblog … however you capitalize it … as a monthly meeting of local bloggers (and their groupies) for drinks, discussions and oggling iPhones.

But once upon a time it was also a website that republished Montreal-centric blog posts from its members. That part fell by the wayside because the people behind it (essentially Patrick Tanguay) didn’t have enough time to maintain it (see Patrick’s comment below).

Now, organization of Yulblog‘s monthly meetings is being handed over to the new, less busy hands of Michael Boyle, and the website is being relaunched tonight to coincide with this month’s Yulblog meeting (8 p.m. at La Quincaillerie, 980 Rachel St. E., near Parc Lafontaine). It’s worth braving early January weather to go see.

I hope.

The Score unites really crappy sports blogs

The Score, that sports channel nobody gets because it doesn’t show anything, has launched what it calls the “thescore.com Sports Federation”, a network of independent sports blogs for the various Canadian NHL teams, the Jays and Raptors:

Toronto’s Score Media Inc. has launched theScore.com Sports Federation, connecting together a network of independent sports websites, and empowering them to reach a larger audience – with the help and support of a national multi-platform sports network.

Here are the blogs they list, not one of which (except maybe CISblog) I’d heard of before today:

Now, I don’t follow non-Montreal sports that closely, so I’m not in a position to judge most of these, but is Lions in Winter really the best Habs blog out there? Better than Fanatique, Habs Inside/Out or François Gagnon?

Yes, my three examples are blogs backed by Big Media, but that’s kind of the point. Without the access and resources of big media (whether conventional big-city newspapers like The Gazette or La Presse, or hip new media like Branchez-Vous), all you have is some guy talking out of his ass (with all due respect to my fellow ass-talkers).

Small, part-time do-it-for-the-fun sports blogs are much more likely to be successful covering niches that big media ignore: university sports, junior leagues, soccer/golf/tennis, etc. The audience is smaller, but it’s also much less fragmented.

UPDATE: Getting some awesome linkhate from Drunk Jays Fans and RaptorBlog, who I guess dilligently check their incoming links. I must admit, calling me “Guy Faguette” is a rock-solid argument and really shows me how much I erred in suggesting these blogs might not be the most professional.

News sites moving to full-text RSS

I just noticed something going through my blog reader: The Gazette’s upgraded blogging engine is now putting out full-text feeds.

It’s a trend (unfortunately too slow) of media outlets desperate for online attention giving their stuff away for free. Looking at other news media blogs, I notice that the majority now are full-text feeds.

Here’s the breakdown:

Full-text feeds

Computer-generated excerpts that cut off midsentence

  • Branchez-Vous (MovableType)
  • Voir (CommunityServer)
  • Globe and Mail (Internal CMS via FeedBurner)

Manual excerpt (written by the post author), or title-only when none is written


Le Devoir enters the blogosphere

Le Devoir, the black sheep of Quebec media online (the only major paper in Canada that still locks articles to subscribers) has joined the blogosphere with an election blog.

It’s hardly a big splash considering the vast number of election blogs out there, but it’s a start. Here’s hoping some of their journalists continue to inch closer to the big scary Internet out there.

(via Lagacé)

What are your favourite political blogs?

With the federal election under way, political blogs are heating up (and springing up) like never before. Every politician has an official blog (to say nothing about Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and other Web 2.0 silliness), and every media outlet has some form of an “on the campaign trail” blog. (The Globe alone has eight election blogs)

Here are some of the ones that have peaked piqued my interest so far:

  • La campagne vue par Marissal et Pratte (just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?), a strange blog in which La Presse columnist Vincent Marissal and “éditorialiste-en-chef” André Pratte discuss politics with each other. Each post is actually a dual post from each of them, asking each other questions and giving their thoughts on some issue. But it’s not a strict point-counterpoint.
  • Silver-Powers, from the Globe, however, is. A Liberal hack vs. a Tory hack. Both former assistants to politicians in their parties. But rather than just yell at each other or make fun of gaffes from the other’s leader, they inject some humour into their posts, and stick to debating the policy issues that set them apart.
  • Off the Fence from J. Kelly Nestruck (who went from the McGill Daily to the National Post to the Guardian to the Globe and Mail) has sentimental value for me. We go way back to that protest in 2001 against Canwest, a company we would both later work for.
  • Macleans’s Deux maudits anglais gets a mention here not just because it’s funny (and has provided me plenty of linklove), but because it’s one of the few anglo blogs focusing on Quebec.
  • Claude William Genest’s blog also gets a vote (he’s the Green candidate in Westmount), but only because his massive ego is so shameless it’s funny. (Though kudos on the website, it’s very well designed)
  • Ditto Garth Turner, whose blog essentially led to a party switch. Putting blog above party, that’s worth something. He continues the full, honest disclosure that got him in trouble in the first place, and separates his blog from other candidates’ press-release feeds. (Though every time he mentions Stéphane Dion I ask myself: Really? You’re really excited about this guy as prime minister?)
  • Liblogs.ca is a blog aggregator, which is pretty good at finding interesting blog posts from small blogs from a Liberal perspective.

I’m subscribed to quite a few more, and I’m sure I’ll discover more gems as the election goes along.

What are your favourite federal political blogs? Bonus points if they’re francophone and/or Quebec-based. Extra bonus points if they go beyond ultra-partisanship, actually discuss new ideas instead of linking to newspaper articles and popular posts on other blogs, and won’t put me into a coma.

(This is all for a super-duper-secret project that I’ll let you in on next week)