"I certainly never write a review about a book I don't think worth reviewing, a flat-out bad book, unless it's an enormously fashionable bad book." --
says, John Gardner in Conversations with John Gardner
Quoted from 'Dictionary of Library and Information Science Quotations'     Edited by Mohamed Taher & L S Ramaiah. ISBN: 8185689423 (New Delhi , Aditya, 1994) p.150. Available @ Amazon.com

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

An Army of Davids - It is All About Blogs and Infostructure

Blogs, blogging, bloggers, blogosphere, etc., has received a great attention from the print media. There are many books that talk about blogs, and this is an encouraging approach to look at a new Web genre.* Interestingly, the Library of Congress has 28 books under the subject heading, viz., Blogs.

The book, reviewed here then is: First about blogs as used by humans (aka human bandwidth) in the cyberspace; and Second, about the infostructure (i.e., human bandwidth, message, messenger, etc.,)--not infrastructure (i.e., medium, tools, hardware, etc.)--used for the transfer of ideas on the Web. Incidentally, mine is not the first blogpost (or comment) on this book; it is nearly the 300th. And, Amazon.com has 27 reviews (with 27 topic tags for this book).

So, what is my contribution? The answer is, I aggregate (as a linker to the deep Web) and add my comment, which together enables in decision making (for thinkers who are at the surface of the Web).

About the Book:
An army of Davids : how markets and technology empower ordinary people to beat big media, big government, and other Goliaths by Glenn Reynolds. (Nashville, Tenn. : Nelson Current, c2006). 289 p. ISBN: 1595550542; 9781595550545 [Read more about the book, at the publisher's Web site]

CONTENTS: Introduction: Do it yourself -- The change -- Small is the new big -- The comfy chair revolution -- Making beautiful music, together -- A pack, not a herd -- From media to we-dia -- Interlude: Good blogging -- Horizontal knowledge -- How the game is played -- Empowering the really little guys -- Live long--and prosper! -- Space, it’s not just for governments anymore -- The approaching singularity -- Conclusion: the future

The best comment I think comes from Publisher's Weekly [see Amazon.com]

"And while Reynolds may seem na├»ve in ignoring any potential negatives that could arise from widespread, unmitigated, technology-enabled empowerment and does little to touch upon the ethical implications of the everyman becoming a superman, he brings a contagious sense of optimism to this "new reality." Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

My comment:
The strength of the book is it gives you an excellent outlook of the physics and chemistry that which makes blogging a good social activity - and illustrates the growing nexus between the Web bandwidth and the human bandwidth.

The weakness of the book is it leaves you, on your own, to get a feeling about: a) precisely know how muany Davids are around; b) how strong are the Goliaths; c) how strong or how weak is the human bandwidth and d) whether blogging is a movement, or not a movement of any type.

In addition, I have not found any reference to the following outlook about a type of movement taking place in the blogosphere:
For decades, perhaps for as long as independent newspapers have existed, political operatives have used "spin" to shape the way the news media respond to candidates and their policies. Spin can be understood as a kind of top-down power that depends on the social network linking political leaders and the news media. Some have argued that weblogs or blogs have emerged in recent years to disrupt this culture of spin. They see blogging as a grassroots movement that also tries to shape or control public perceptions of important events and issues. Others have claimed that the blogosphere has merely enhanced the influence of traditional interest groups, giving ideologues of the left and the right even more power to “spin” the world as they wish to see it. How can we understand the interplay between spin and blogs? [See: "Spinners and bloggers: political communications in the digital age," M.I.T communications forum

While, An Army of Davids, does give you overall structure (as in physics) and ingredients (as in chemistry), it, however, lets you to form your own conclusions. This limits our understanding the nature, structure and contribution of the blogs. For instance, you need to look elsewhere for the actual numbers of this army. See Blogalysis=Blog+Analysis; and Are blog comments important?

Goliaths are masters of numbers and they have, neither the stamina nor patience to read 289 pages. Nevertheless, I will recommend this book, since it lets you visualize About the world of Blogs.

Some metadata:

LC Classification: HM846 .R48 2006
Dewey Class No.: 303.48/33 22

LC Subject Headings:
Technology - Social aspects.
Digital media - Social aspects.
Internet - Social aspects.
Freedom of expression.
Knowledge, Sociology of.
Creation (Literary, artistic, etc.) - Social aspects.

Technocrati Tags: Army of Davids; Goliaths.  Blogs on Davids Army
*more on the debate of what is blogging upto ...:
  • Blog - A Common Tool of Interaction
  • Is Blog A Rapid Mechanism of Interaction
  • New Medium or New Genre?
  • "Blogging is a format, not a genre"
    Former blogger Steven den Beste made the distinction between "thinkers," who post primarily their own thoughts, and "linkers," who mostly direct readers to other sources. If thinkers are sources, linkers are what journalists call "editors." ...
    Reading ABOUT blogs -- as opposed to reading blogs -- has become a yawner. They're out there, and they're being heard. I am blogger, hear me roar.

  • Blogging as Literature/Genre of Blogging
  • Mrs. Giggles on Blogging and the Genre
  • Frontloading genre before blogging
  • Pseudonymity, Blogging as a Genre, Etc.
  • Blogging Genre: CitJ
  • The Genre of Blogging

    A "genre" is a style or type of work or text within a particular category, one that (as Price and Price define it in Hot Text) works with "a familiar pattern, a way of organizing information that has become so common that readers will probably recognize each new instance as belonging to the genre..." (272). Keeping this defintion and the various nuances of genre that we will discuss in class, write a web-based essay that identifies and analyzes a particular genre of web sites. Be sure to explain how the genre "works" by explaining the various aspects of the web sites that characterize the genre. source: Web Genre Analysis Assignment

  • Blogging & Bandwidth
  • Republicans and the Gandhi Walkback
  • The Harvard Bloggership Conference in a Nutshell
  • More on Social Media Monitoring

    See also:
  • Web Genre Visualization (2002). by Maya Dimitrova, Aidan Finn, Nicholas Kushmerick, Barry Smyth. CiteSeer
  • The Blog: A Lively New Web Genre in (Meme)X Marks the Spot: Theorizing Metablogging via "Meme" and "Conduit" Dennis G. Jerz. Details
    My related posts:
  • Visualizing Comments on Blogs
  • Blog As A Teaching Tool
  • Infostructure / infrastructure: Categories
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