Saturday, January 13, 2007



I customized my profile for this blog a little more today. Adding books I liked, music I liked, led to two thoughts.

  1. The blogger interface asked me for my favorite books; that is a hard thing for me to say, but not because I don't like to read. Instead, it is difficult for me to say because my tastes, my preferences can change. Depending on my mood, I could pick anything from very technical, jargon-heavy scholarly works (for example, earlier today I was reading Texts and Transmission:A Survey of the Latin Classics, a collection of scholarly essays about the texts the ancient classics were written on -- which manuscripts were read and copied, how they came to be lost and found, who copied them, and so on) to poetry to fiction as juicy and pulpy as it comes (I own several Mike Hammer paperbacks). Even the question "Which 10 books would you want to have on a desert island?" limits me too much. Am I to understand that I will be cast away for a fixed period -- or forever? Depending on the scenario, I would make a much different selection. Picking which books are my favorite, I fear might limit me to only those works.

  2. Anyway, when it came to music, I picked the first six bands I could think of. Which led me to the discovery that these bands created links that would lead me to other people and their blogs. Many of these blogs had only a very few entries: some less than ten, some only three, in some cases none. It reminded me of the long tail, and all of the theorizing around that phenomenon: I had truly found an example of the lang tail in these blogs with so few posts. Which led to my question of which came first? Do these blogs have so few entries because no one reads them, or because they have so few entries, no one will bother to read them? Sometimes the tiny niches that create a long tail are tiny niches for a reason, and that will determine whether there is money -- or a community -- to be found there.


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