The Worldwide Weblog of Donald Pincher

by Joshua Gaskell

Tag: Blogosphere

Monday, 1st December 2014

I have no knowledge of weblogs. But I have done what I could to form a correct estimate of their value. I have read some of the most celebrated blogged works. I have conversed, both here and abroad, with men distinguished by their proficiency in the blogosphere. I am quite ready to take it at the valuation of the webliographers themselves. I have never found one among them who could deny that a single shelf of a good European library was worth the whole blogged literature of the world. The intrinsic superiority of edited books is, indeed, fully admitted by digital evangelists.

It will hardly be disputed, I suppose, that the department of literature in which the blogger stands highest is self-confession. And I certainly never met with any critic who ventured to maintain that blogged autobiography could be compared to that of the great diarists and memoirists. But when we pass from self-confession to works in which facts are recorded, and general principles investigated, the superiority of edited books becomes absolutely immeasurable. It is, I believe, no exaggeration to say that all the historical information which has been collected from all the weblogs ever written is less valuable than what may be found in the most paltry abridgements used at preparatory schools in England.


Wednesday, 16th April 2014

The OED’s earliest recorded use of the phrase newspaper of record comes from the New York Times of 26th October 1924:

The New York Times is the newspaper of record. There is no newspaper in the United States that is preserved in so many places.

Where a source is preserved is one way of viewing the revolutionary effect of the Internet: no single publication can claim the authority of being de recordo when everything is essentially preserved in the same virtual “place”. (I assume this is why I have never heard the phrase blog of record.) And as to the actual places – data centres – on the whole we neither know nor care where they are.

Thursday, 16th January 2014

[No] man, as a member of the [blogosphere], ought to be content with the possession of his own opinion in private, without perplexing his neighbour or disturbing the public.

– Jonathan Swift, “Thoughts on Religion”

Monday, 23rd December 2013

As well as conformity, it occurs to me that – in the pursuit of originality – the Internet probably does encourage idiosyncrasy. Because unless you’re really left field, someone else will probably have got there first. The Nelson Mandela joke, for example, which I typed up in this journal the other day; if I looked that up on the worldwide weblogosphere, it’s likely that a hundred other people would have thought of it too. The whole Internet is one big Plagiarists’ Corner. Maybe the best way to write a blog would be to use an algorithm to generate a random code, and then work backwards from that.

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