December 27, 2004

I FINISHED HUGH HEWITT’S NEW BOOK ON BLOGS LAST NIGHT, and I definitely recommend it to anyone who’s interested in blogs, new media, or public relations.

There’s a history of blogs, an analogy between the changes blogs are bringing to the media priesthood and the Reformation (with which I heartily agree) and — most significantly — a lot of good advice to businesses, of both the media and non-media varieties, on how they can use blogs to help themselves, and how to avoid becoming, like Trent Lott or Dan Rather, the focus of a damaging “opinion storm.” He also catches on (actually, I think Hugh was one of the first to make this point, in a post on his blog) to the importance of what Chris Anderson is calling the Long Tail — that in the aggregate, the vast hordes of small blogs with a few dozen readers are more important than the small number of big blogs with hundreds of thousands of readers. (Here’s an article on that topic by Anderson, from Wired.) I think that’s absolutely right, and Hugh has some interesting things to say about it. (And journalists mostly don’t get this point at all — every time I get interviewed it seems that they want firsts, mosts, and biggests, when I keep telling them that the real story of the blogosphere is the day-to-day interaction and writing of a whole lot of blogs).

Cutting to the chase (which is what blogs do, right?): This is the best book on blogs yet, which isn’t surprising since it’s by a successful blogger who also knows a lot about communications and the world in general. I’m sure it will get a lot of attention within the blogosphere, but I hope that it will get a lot of attention elsewhere, because the people who really need to read it are the people who won’t find out about it from blogs. Best quote: “Blogs are built on speed and trust, and the MSM is very slow and very distrusted.”