January 04, 2006

Phlogging it

Proving for the zillionth time the masturbatory impulse behind many of the new trends shaping web-based interaction, my favorite local blog, mnspeak, has unveiled a new feature.

A banal question is posed, and anonymous people phone in their response. Who cares why strangers are sticking around Minnesota? People only do it to go back later and listen to themselves talk, knowing that other strangers are also listening to them talk.

Like most things on the internet, it's only chance at being interesting rests on whether the feature's creators let it get dirty and salacious. like group hug.

Speaking of flogging things, like books, the New York Times had an article up recently on a new feature Amazon is currently rolling out--author blogs! According to the article, most authors are using their amazon blogs to raise the alarms about the war against Christmas or respond to the bane of their existence--anonymous, negative amazon reviews.

But rather than herald this as the Age of the Conversational Artist, as Boing Boing has, the only thing new about this is the medium. Publishers have always, on occasion, used the personality of their authors as a marketing ploy (see: Oscar Wilde in America) and its always been rumored, and is probably true, that an author's good looks, amiability, or speaking ability can play a role in book contract negotiations. Luckily for some presses, relying on the personality of their authors would spell doom to their bottom line. Given what I know of how things work behind the scenes at amazon, I betcha anything that authors/publishers have to pay to have their blogs up on the site. Can anyone confirm this?

porn spam is so out; someone buy me a subscription to this magazine; let ikea babysit your kids; muslims and gays in britain

Posted by jason at January 4, 2006 03:24 PM

I think this type of thing will only be viable when there is real-time capability. Leaving what ammounts to a voicemail on your friend's blog is cute once or twice, but quickly fades. If there was real interaction maybe this kind of idea would be worth more than a good sex joke or two. How 'bout streaming video comments from you $25 webcam?

Posted by: Mcmcmcly at January 5, 2006 06:22 PM
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