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