Friday, December 17, 2004

A new version of an old story

The Blogger dashboard page has a link to an article in the New York Times, and for once you seem to be able to read it without having to register. Not, I hasten to add, that I would urge you to go read it.

The article is headed 'A New Forum (Blogging) Inspires the Old (Books)'. It is written by one Joshua Kurlantzick, of whom I know not.

The correct technical term for this article is, I think, tired. It includes, in one handy package, every story about bloggers being offered book contracts that you have read over the last few months: Salam Pax, Belle de Jour, wonkette, and a few others. The article even includes, for the Rip Van Winkles, a description of what a blog is. And, yawn, you can also find out what an assistant professor of new media studies thinks about the blog phenomenon.

It is perhaps worth pointing out, once again, that what we have here is another glorious instance of what Dr Taleb calls the drowned worshippers. In other words, Mr Kurlantzick seems to be ignoring all those bloggers who tap away, day after day, week after week, without any publisher showing the slightest interest in them.

According Kurlantzick, there will be 10 million blogs by the end of the year. So, if 7 of those 10 million have been offered book contracts, it means that there are 9,999,993 bloggers, give or take a few, who haven't yet received that phone call. Which means that the idea that the new forum (blogging) is inspiring the old (books) is stretching the facts a bit. Wouldn't you think?

Still, it fills up the space between the adverts, and that's what most newspaper stories are for.