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Vikas Kamat
 Vikas Kamat is a programmer- entrepreneur living in Birmingham AL. This blog is a complex mix of Indian culture, life in southern USA, computer sciences, and sports. Opinions are his own.
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Blog Analogies Durable Link to this BLOG
While the luminaries are engaged in defining what are Weblogs, I want to provide a context/horizon for the weblogs, and compare them to analogous entities I know.

Weblogs and Karaoke

The Karaoke (Japanese slang for bogus orchestra) system let people behave like rock stars and fulfill their secret dreams of stardom.

Weblogs have done the same for the people who dreamt of becoming great writers.

Blogger and TeX

When Donald Knuth wrote the revolutionary software TeX, he wanted to cut the middlemen (typesetters, copy editors, proof readers) and let authors directly communicate with their readers. TeX (and later LaTeX) transformed the publishing industry.

Since Pyra created Blogger, it has had the same profound impact on web publishing as TeX did on traditional publishing. The idea is still the same -- no barriers between the writer and the reader, with the former assuming all the intermediately roles (producer, publisher, editor etc.)

Amway and Weblogs

One of the most important ideas of MLM that Amway propagates is that every distributor is also a consumer.

This is especially applicable to webloggers who not only write, but read other weblogs faithfully.

Weblogs and Communities of Practice

Consider the research publications industry. Who but another heart surgeon reads The Journal of Congestive Heart Failure and Circulatory Support? Who but another heart specialist can contribute to this publication ? and finally, who do you think buys this periodical?

Weblogs provide a great way for like-minded people to work together. While creating a Scholar Exchange to facilitate peer-review, criticism, and publication of research papers seems logical -- it would eliminate the middlemen completely, IMO in the long run it would work against the goals of the community. This is party because this idea is pitted against the capitalist fundametals of our society ("How will I make money?"), and because automated exchanges are no replacements for the rigorous peer-review process the prestigious publications use to select the articles.

I still believe that the idea of Scholar Exchange (called Communities of Practice in the industry), has a role to play in the coming years. Big publishers like Elsevier, Kluwer, and Blackwell are especially positioned well to exploit these Scholar Exchanges, but so far have shown no leadership.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Friday, December 7, 2001
Last Modified: 1/29/2003
Tags: metablog

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