July 08, 2002
I FINISHED REBECCA BLOOD'S new book, The Weblog Handbook: Practical Advice on Creating and Maintaining Your Blog. I liked it very much, and recommend it to anyone interested in the subject: bloggers, blog-readers, and journalists writing about weblogs. (Full disclosure: I have a book with the same publisher -- Perseus. At some places this would disqualify me from writing a review. But not here at InstaPundit, where we don't need no stinkin' codes of ethics! And trust me, Perseus won't be paying me off for this good review; they barely pay me off for my book.)
"Rebecca's Pocket" isn't much like InstaPundit, in conception, execution, or politics. But I've always liked it, and I like her book even more: somehow, to me, her voice comes through more clearly in longer increments.
Her comments on weblog etiquette, self-promotion (and the excesses thereof), flamewars, etc., are likely to be useful to just about everyone, and the history of the early days of weblogging (you know, like, three years ago) is very interesting. There's also a lot of practical advice (even basic HTML and domain-management stuff) in the appendices. So go buy it!
I can't help but feel that the publication of a how-to book about blogging marks an important milestone in the Blogosphere's development, though I'm not sure exactly what it means, for good or ill. What do you think?
UPDATE: Wow. The book was ranked 5,209 on Amazon last night; now it's up to 734. Did I do that? Regardless, it's pretty damned impressive. You go, girl!
I don't think there is anything to worry about--at least not until "Blogging for Dummies" is released.
Posted by: D. Betterton at July 8, 2002 10:36 PM
No, wait for Time and Newsweek to have simultaneous cover stories on blogging. Then we'll all know it's completely past.
Posted by: Steve Skubinna at July 8, 2002 10:49 PM
I'd say the "milestone" marks the passage of blogging beyond "fad" status. How-to manuals generally are an initiation into the fraternity of mainstream hobbies. Woohoooo!
I haven't read Rebecca's book, but I hope she made clear early on that the Web is already choked with blogs, and that anyone taking one up shouldn't expect to become one of the Uberbloggers who are routinely quoted by mainstream Web media outlets and linked to by an enormous blog following. As long as they take up blogging with that in mind, they will probably feel free to post what they like, on their own terms, in which case they're likely to keep it up. This way blogging, as a non-faddish hobby fit for how-to manuals, will probably have some staying power (which is indubitably a good thing).
The only prospect I dread is the Blogosphere's approach of another milestone down the road: the "pro" milestone. I predict blogging would lose a lot of its charm should investors decide to take up hiring people to blog for a living. I mean, something like "The Corner" on NRO is an exception, since it carries an undertone that it's something the regular NRO staff does for fun rather than as part of the job, as does AndrewSullivan.com,which is a hobby of his that he supplements through joint deals with outfits like Amazon.com (only by a combination of monumental talent and sheer luck does he manage to eke out an actual profit sometimes).
But oh God, can you imagine a subscription-based webzine devoted to a series of topical blogs, posted by paid bloggers?
Not only would it be disjointed and hard to follow, but it would take away the whole underdoggish thrill of hobbyists "fact-checking the asses" of the pros who chafe at the slightest indication of non-pros intruding on their monopoly turf.
Here's hoping that we veer off and "take the road less traveled by" before hitting the "pro" milestone. Forgive me for saying so, but my gut tells me you can't blog for a boss.
Posted by: Charlie at July 8, 2002 11:23 PM
Why do we need the publication of a book as a milestone to verify the coolness of what we do? I plan on reading Blood's book, but even if it had never been written, there are plenty of how-to sites on the web--information here and there--to help bloggers get started, build bigger and better sites, conduct themselves ethically, etc. Heck, one of the greatest things about blogging (since it's still just a website) is you can right-click, get the source code, and learn from that--even if you're a novice HTMLer like myself. I think we've really hit mainstream, though, when bloggers start appearing on Rush Limbaugh, The Today Show, and at congressional hearings to give testimony. Not that I ever expect somebody to come knocking for my opinions, but it'd be cool to hear Volokh or Welch get interviewed on, say, Larry Elder.
Posted by: Andrew at July 8, 2002 11:40 PM
Hey Glenn--I think you need to fix the link to Devon's site in your post above this one....
Posted by: Andrew at July 8, 2002 11:43 PM
I just started my new blog!!! Oh my goodness, I am so stoaked!! Everyone soon will link to me and I will make the blogroll's of all the old school bloggers like the ones that were doing blogging before there was even an internet...or al gore. I guess the old schoolers want to draw a line and/or put a lid on new blog creations, since they have a) made it in under the cap themselves and b)pretty much taken it as far as it can ever go and now all that is left is to accuse eachother of selling out to the mainstream media (kinda like metallica before the radio stations caught on). Oh well, that's always been my problem--alwasy just a touch off the mark-- a dollar late and a day short...or something like that--I thought of hte movie StarChamber after I realized it had already been made and I thought of green ketchup about a week before I saw it on the shelf meaning it had been in production before it ever occured to me. One of these days...
Posted by: peat at July 9, 2002 01:11 AM
I thought the InstaPundit Store! was a bigger milestone.
Posted by: db at July 9, 2002 03:01 AM
It will be over when we see something like this:
"Microsoft Personal Publisher" ...
Posted by: Jon Meltzer at July 9, 2002 07:39 AM
This is odd. I think the "left" may be trying to catch up in the blog world. Amazon says that people who bought Blood's book also bought "Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative by David Brock."
Posted by: Natalie Drest at July 9, 2002 09:45 AM
Sorry for being so incredibly ignorant, but how does one initiate a comment when there are no other comments posted?
Posted by: EcoDude at July 9, 2002 09:58 AM
Glenn, the link is still broken up there. I'd email you but I get an automatic reply saying you're on vacation and not checking all your email.
Posted by: Andrew at July 9, 2002 10:15 AM
EcoDude: Glenn only opens up comments on certain posts (since he doesn't have the time or inclination to play moderator). If you don't see the blue link, it's not a post you can comment on.
Note that while Rebecca's book certainly doesn't concentrate on politics, she certainly takes liberal positions on her blog. Most people who read her site are probably also liberal. That may account for some of the people buying her book also having bought Brock's book.
And Charlie: There's more to blogging than Fisking. Trust me.
Posted by: Dan Hartung at July 9, 2002 08:22 PM
Dan--Thank you for the input. I guess Glenn might need an FAQ at some point!
Posted by: EcoDude at July 10, 2002 09:20 AM
I was fortunate to get a copy of Rebecca's book before it came out (my review is here). Get ready for the deluge of blog books, but I really have to say I liked Rebecca's better than one of the other recent all-about-blogs books I read (also published by Perseus).
Everyone's writing about blogs - so what? If you're publishing quality content and it happens to reach a wider audience, who cares if it's only because blogging is today's 'hot topic'? Quality content will bring those new readers back. Crying that blogging is no longer "cool" because it's been covered to death in the mainstream press is useless.
Posted by: Shannon at July 12, 2002 12:31 PM
Mishka rules the bozo roost!
Posted by: Mishka at September 23, 2003 12:06 PM
Posted by: Boris at October 1, 2003 02:57 PM