Sunday, May 06, 2007

Blogs to books, revisited

The second Lulu Blooker shortlist is out. Instituted by Print on Demand service provider, Lulu, the award carries a top prize of $10000, out of a total prize fund of $15000.

There is an interesting variety of material on the shortlist, including the cult hit “My War: Killing Time in Iraq” by Colby Buzell who fought in Iraq, a book even the great, late Kurt Vonnegut liked. There is a book from the Postsecret site and surprisingly, a collection of Seth Godin’s blog posts, ebooks, articles, etc. I thought Seth was a mainstream speaker cum author with a blog that does not allow comments.

The nature of blooks is the same as that blogs:
- As blog posts in print, only a few of the blooks are good enough for widespread reading and dissemination in all other forms.
- Many are plain rewritings of existing matter.
- Only a few bloggers/blookers break out into solid mainstream acceptance.

Critics of the blogging, user-generated content and citizen journalism ( and blooks, by implication) phenomenon, acting as defenders of the Gatekeepers are quick to dismiss them as ‘amateurist’, unedited, uncensored, often anonymous content that come along with the added danger of spreading disinformation.

To all those who fear that the end of newspaper & book editors, film and TV bigwigs, creative talent agents, and other ‘victims’, I can say only two things: Democracy and quality will out.

The democratic potential of user-generated content, blooks in this case, cannot be overlooked.

It has been said,
“The more people blog or write about something, the more sides to the story you get to know about.”

There is something quite Voltairish about this truth.
"I might disagree with you but I will defend to death your right to say it."

When you are talking about quality, I hope the critics do not want every blogger to achieve the hoary heights of New Yorker writers, among other things.

Quality is always rare and it eventually shines out. If it doesn't, perhaps it needs some serious Google love :-)
Quality bloggers have started writing for big papers, even here in India, I am sure things are same everywhere.

If you are worrying about the spread of disinformation, I suggest you worry about the reader who tends to make up his mind after reading just one article or two, in this age of information glut.

Google the topic, if you 'needed' to know more.

Why are critics afraid of anonymity?
You will have to live in countries like Iran and Egypt to find that out.

Maybe the critics are pure golden-hearted souls who have never blown the whistle, said what is right and true, disagreed with the boss and the organization, and have managed to keep the job and neck intact.

Things to expect from blookers in future

More exposes:
Where are the books about Gonzalez case, the Don Imus case, the IIPM scandal in India?
All these stories were raked up bloggers and I am sure there more issues and stories waiting for the adventurous citizen journalist in his neighborhood.

More experience reporting:
More Iraq war accounts from soldiers, accounts of jailed bloggers in Egypt, live accounts from political campaign trails, etc.

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