Books or Blogs ?

* This is probably the most boring post ever written on this blog. So skip it, if you feel like *

The real change in the book market is not the big guy vs. the little guy, or chain vs. indie stores. Rather, it’s the reader’s greater impatience, a symptom of our amazing literary (and televisual) plenitude. In the modern world we are more pressed for time, and we face a greater diversity of cultural choices. It was easy to finish Tolstoy’s War and Peace when there were few other books around and it was hard to find them. Today, finishing it means forgoing many other options at our fingertips. As a result, we tend to consume ideas in smaller bits, a proposition that (in another context) economists labeled the “Alchian and Allen theorem.” Long, serious novels are less culturally central than they were 100 years ago. Blogs are on the rise, and most readers prefer the ones with the shorter posts. Our greater access to books also means that each book has less time to prove itself. A small percentage of the books published account for a large share of the profits, thus setting off a race to track reader demand. Many customers want very recent best-sellers, often so they can feel they are reading something trendy, something other people are talking about. Of course, that’s its own kind of affectationand not an entirely pleasing one.

Did you find yourself relaxed to read that entire paragraph ? Or did you skip few lines and went straight down.

The above paragraph was just a piece from a larger article. First, I wasn’t even comfortable to paste a huge quote because I felt no one would read this entire paragraph. Such is the speed of reading these days. The quote rightly says, how people are more and more interested in consuming smaller bits of information than larger ones.

This is due to the in-famous information overload, being discussed in this blog often. I’ve been munching my thoughts on this info overload for atleast 2 months now. Resistance if futile. I couldn’t resist the information overload. In this speedy world of internet and weblogs and podcasts, books are becoming a heavier by the day. The moment you shut-off from the world and go back to books, you tend to have withdrawal symptoms. By the time one completes half a book, there are a dozen novels to be read, a dozen Mission Impossibles to be watched, handful of blogposts to be written.

At the same time, here is another thought. To write a book, something thats published on wood pulp, takes a long time. The book has to be composed , edited and published. And it takes it’s own time to reach the hands of readers. Someone has to read the book and then write a piece of appraisal on it. Only after this, the author of the book gets the first comments from his readers. Until then, its like waiting political parties waiting for the vote count, a grave silence.

Blogs are from a different leaque. I’m now writing this blogpost. I will post this[even without editing] in the next few minutes. Most probably the first comments could be seen within the first two hours. Sometimes, when books are discussed here, there is a grave silence but that is a different issue. So I as a blogger know the comments for or against will reach this blogpost in the next 2 hours. Whereas imagine if someone wants to write this same stuff in a book. It would take weeks/months for him to get the bouquets or brickbats.

At the same time, Blogs are laudatory and ephemeral. Books stand over time. Sidin Vadakut had written the famous blogpost on single south indian men. That was probably the most famous blogpost ever written. Leave out the war cries on IIPM(which were again ephemeral), they just caused some hot air. Now do you think Sidin’s post will be remembered 5 years from now. But if only it was a book, it would reach out for years to come. That’s just my belief.

May be all the above is just trash. May be we are going through a transformation and blogs are probably the future books. We don’t know, atleast me. Neverthless, this urbanised world is rapidly moving towards something. And its causing a lot of information overload. I have no clue how I would survive the load but I wish I could sit tight and read Dickens’ Pickwick Papers. Donno if I could it. To hell with information.

Writing a book ? Stop blogging.

The blog was the perfect bluff for a self-conscious writer like me who yearned for the spotlight and then squinted in its glare.

Blogging had been the ideal run-up to a novel, but it had also become a major distraction. I would sit down to start on my novel only to come up with five different blog entries. I thought of them as a little something-something to whet the palatebecause it was easier, more immediately satisfying, because I could write it, and post it, and people would say nice things about it, and I could go to bed feeling satisfied.

Practically every blogger I know has taken their site down at some point-for personal reasons, for business reasons, for boredom reasons. It’s no different from the way we have to turn off our cell phones or stop checking e-mail so that we can actually focus on something.

Sarah Hepola‘s article on slate, This Is My Last Entry, is a very honest reflection of what goes on one’s mind while bringing down the blog. Needless to say, its a must read.

Can Bloggers make money ?

There was an interesting discussion[uid/pass] between Jason Calacanis of Weblogs Inc and Alan Meckler of Jupiter Media on today’s WSJ.

While Jason was quoting some amazing stats on how people can make money through blogging, Alan was shooting back with some nice theory. I tend to agree with Alan for the most part. Here is what he had to say –

Take MySpace — I read yesterday in the N.Y. Times that they have 50 million in the community. Every member can launch a blog with little or no difficulty. Blog growth is and will be huge. But again, while a very select few of the blogs will make significant money, most will never be worth anything because their information is worthless and therefore they will garner few monthly page views.

Blogs are fun for someone who wants a pulpit and does not care about making money. Blogs are really the “diaries” of yesteryear. Social historians of the future will have a field day mining blogs for nuggets of the mores of present day civilization. But in terms of making money from blogs, I doubt they will be anything more than an interesting subset of Internet ad revenue.

P.S. Interesting to note that my spell checker does not recognize “blog.”

Blogs are really diaries or microcosms of what is happening in millions of ways in daily life — ranging from special interests to business specialties to whatever. Obviously there is money to be made with blogs, but very, very few will bring in more than a few hundred dollars per year.

I’m shouting here, I agree. I agree.

The I and the My – Part 2

With just 100 days of blogging[via], Guy Kawasaki could grasp and convey the I and the My feeling so well. Much much better than what was written here.

In his blogpost that celebrates the completion of 100 blogging days, Kawasaki shares his experience –

2. The more a blogger uses the pronoun “I,” the less he has to say. Many bloggers apparently believe that people not only give a shiitake about everything they say, but that these people are hanging on to every word.

And more –

9 a. I don’t get this “exchanging links” thing. IMHO, you should link to a blog if you believe it’s good for your readership. The other blogger should link to back your blog if she believes it’s good for her readership. In a perfect world, linking is about quality, not reciprocation, with all due respect to Dr. Cialdini. 🙂

Are u still thinking, who’s Kawasaki ? Go figure.

Blogging Chennai

cc stuff
[Clicked by Chandrachoodan]

Chennai Metroblogging went online last week. A quick read of this page would tell more on Metro Blogging. Chennai is the second city in India after Mumbai to have Metro Bloggers.

The idea to have a chennai metro blog was intially brought-up by Chandrachoodan and it had a warm welcome among Chennai bloggers. All of them applied for this concept, few got selected based on their location and now the metro blog for chennai is up-and-running. Other than ChandraChoodan there are other people like Kaps [whats your true name buddy ?], Keerthivasan, Kiruba, Lavanya, Nancy and Vatsan, who write blogposts on Chennai.

I have to say that I’m quite amused by the stuff that’s written there. If they are able to maintain this initial enthusiasm, I’m sure the audience base would grow in heaps. Take a spin and you would become nostalgic about Sambars and Buckets.

Blogrrrr…

A comment is a spontaneous response to a blogpost. In this given world of spambots and texas holdem spammers, the security around blogs have been tightened.

On an ideal blog, commenting has several steps than blogging itself. First you type the comment, the main thing and for that you’ve to rake your brains to come up with a comment that proves you know everything better than the blogger himself. Then you type in your blogger.com login/pwd and finally type in a word for the screwed-up word verification thingy. By this time your thought on the comment would have changed. After you do you all this, the comment box tells you that the comment will be moderated by the author.

Until the author wakes up in the morning and logs in, your comment is just waiting there, crying to be approved. Assume that the author approves your comment as it talks only good about him and his post. For all you might know, tomorrow the blogger might change his opinion on the post and would remove the post itself. Then, you start thinking philosophically about the need for a social commenting system called blogs. Thats what I’m doing now.

Why I will stop blogging !!

Dave Winer of Scripting.com, also known as the father of blogs is planning to stop blogging. He reasons it out very rationally.

Just loved every word of it, especially the last paragraph. Couldn’t resist quoting the entire blogpost here on the hope that the father of weblogs wouldn’t be angry on this fellow blogger. This decision is creating very interesting conversations in the blogosphere.

From Dave Winer’s Why I will stop blogging

I can do it, folks, I have already, in some sense, stopped one of my rivers, and soon, probably before the end of 2006, I will put this site in mothballs, in archive mode, and go on to other things, Murphy-willing of course.

It’s been a long time coming. When I started blogging, depending on how you look at it, either in 1994, 1996 or 1997, I had different goals, and happily the goals have been accomplished. Billions of Websites now no longer seems an outrageously ambitious goal. We’re pretty close to a billion, I suspect. The goal was also to create tools that would make it easy for everyone to have a site, and then more specifically a chronological one. That’s done.

I wanted programming to turn upside down, to have the Internet be the platform instead of Microsoft and Apple. That worked too. APIs on web apps are now commonplace, and a basis for comparison between offerings. While user interfaces have gotten better, of course, there’s been a steady flow of new ideas in how my work connects with yours, and vice versa, and we’re doing it without a platform vendor controlling it.

I wanted decentralized news. We can do for ourselves what the pros haven’t been doing. And politics — I don’t doubt that the House of Representatives will be filled with bloggers, if not in 2006, then surely in 2008. There’s no turning back on any of it. The 20th Century is fading and the new century is going strong. There really was a big shift as the calendar rolled over, and I’m totally glad to be a part of it.

So there’s the first part of my reason. Blogging doesn’t need me anymore. It’ll go on just as well, maybe even better, with some new space opened up for some new things. But more important to me, there will be new space for me. Blogging not only takes a lot of time (which I don’t begrudge it, I love writing) but it also limits what I can do, because it’s made me a public figure. I want some privacy, I want to matter less, so I can retool, and matter more, in different ways. What those ways are, however, are things I won’t be talking about here. That’s the point. That’s the big reason why.

Blogasm !!

Wrote a quick guest blogpost named, Blogasm for Gilli.

Kick-started recently by Boston Bala and Icarus Prakash, Gilli is a sort of manual aggregator for the Tamil Blogosphere just like Desi Pundit. This regional blogosphere has nearly more than enough blogs than most Indian regional blogospheres. The kind of variety it offers and rich writing it engulfs is so amazing that I’m following more than 30-40 blogs through Google Reader.

I am staying positive that Gilli powered by the passion of its contributors, Bala, Prakash and now Badri, would take Tamil Blogosphere to the next level by aggregating and spotlighting the best of the best. All the best.