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Rather than wax poetic about how useful this book was for me as a historical guide to the world of blogs, I’ll let the author speak for himself.  Here are a handful of my favorite moments from Scott Rosenberg’s latest book “Say Everything.”

Even better than moderation is the enforcement of conversational norms by the [blog’s] participants themselves, which for a moderator or host demands a skill closer to gardening than police work. Mostly, however, the social tenor of a website is simply going to mirror that of the real-world community from which it draws its participants. (p. 250)

Every group of bloggers progresses through its own natural life cycle: childish excitement, teenage angst, midlife crisis, elderly fatigue. In a 2005 post titled “The Blog Cycle,” [an early blogger] anatomized the gestational phases that most blog communities pass through as they recapitulate the formative experiences of their predecessors: from asking “what is blogging” to claiming “our community invented blogging!’ to recycling the old Blogging-versus-Journalism debate through all the other common discussions that seem to arise whenever bloggers begin to see themselves as a distinct group. Far from complaining that the repetition of these conversations was a problem to be solved, [the blogger] suggested that they were inevitable milestones on the path of each community’s development. (pg. 331)

Historically, the succession of media forms and technologies follows a predictable pattern: every innovation arrives with a fanfare announcing that it will replace its predecessor. But when the dust settles, the new-comer almost always winds up having redefined that predecessor rather than eliminated it. (pg. 335)

…the rise of the social networks clarifies exactly what characteristics made blogging lat. They are the same traits that once excited its earliest pioneers. A blog lets you raise your voice without asking anyone’s permission, and no one is in a position to tell you to shut up. … Blogging uniquely straddles the acts of writing and  reading; it can be private and public, solitary and gregarious, in ratios that each practitioner sets for himself. It is hardly the only way to project yourself onto the Web, and today it is no longer the easiest way. But it remains the most interesting way. Nothing else so richly combines the invitation to speak your mind with the opportunity to mix it up with other minds. (pg. 336)

Writing for public consumption is not a simple matter of typing up polished views or ideas that already exist; the difficult act of writing precipitates the even more difficult act of thinking. (pg. 356)

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