Thursday, October 02, 2008


Blogs vs books

I visit Tom Peters' blog on a regular basis. He has a caffeine-like effect on my nervous system, and provides a necessary jolt out of whatever comfort zone I'm in. At least, he used to. Now I am not so sure. The change, I think, comes from the blog format, which has the unfortunate effect of down-scaling everything. Because it is immediate and regular, the effect is diffused by familiarity and a sort of pub-chat level of response to everyday events. And above all, it is unsynthesised - lots of relatively small pieces poured out more or less as they occur. Instead of the shock of a bucket of ice-cold water in the face it's more like a dripping tap.

A Tom Peters book, on the other hand, has a (usually provocative) proposition and assembles the case to back it up. It has substance, it has impact. It is deliberate and thoughtful. It is usually something that forces one to re-evaluate and re-invent. It's a big jolting event. An effect of the infrequent big thing as opposed to the frequent small thing.

The blog universe is sort of like being in the middle of a steady relationship, things ebb and flow but rarely dramatically reframe themselves. I don't know if anyone knows how many blogs have entirely shifted a reader's perspective. I suspect not many if any at all, ever. Comments on them seem to be of only two kinds, complete I've-always-said agreement or froth-flecked vitriolic disagreement. Can't think of a single one that has thanked the blogger for changing their point of view. So I don't think it's the ideal medium for Tom P, who thrives in/on the Shock Of The New. I hope he doesn't give up on the books.


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