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Dispatches from Blogistan: A travel guide…

Dispatches from Blogistan: A travel guide for the modern blogger (edition 2006)

by Suzanne Stefanac

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Noted technology journalist Suzanne Stefanac's detailed guidebook provides practical insight, and advice about the blogging phenomenon.
Title:Dispatches from Blogistan: A travel guide for the modern blogger
Authors:Suzanne Stefanac
Info:New Riders Press (2006), Edition: 1, Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library

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Dispatches from Blogistan: A travel guide for the modern blogger by Suzanne Stefanac



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Described in the subtitle as "a travel guide for the modern blogger," Suzanne Stefanac's book is worth reading whether you are a blogger or not. This is not so much a how-to book as it is a why-to-blog book.

The first two chapters offer a new take on the history of communications. And the book really begins with the introduction of the internet as radicalizing the way communications occur. Instead of pushing messages (from advertising to propaganda), the shift is to pull the audience to the message. Instead of one-to-many or one-to-one channels of communication, the shift is toward many-to-many channels. The blogosphere is the heart of the many-to-many messages.

Stefanac provides a layout of the landscape in her explanation of the blogosphere. Even though the book was published in 2006 and some things have changed, her insights into the culture still ring true. Technorati is no longer the only major search engine for blogs, for example. Google, Yahoo, Bing, and most others now include blogs in their search engine results. Such changes confirm how spot-on Stefanac is about the democratization of media. With a common sensical approach she addresses issues of trust, privacy, security, and legal safeguards. Yet its reading about the power of collaborative discourse -- many-to-many conversations -- that gets to the heart of blogging.

There are so many basics to blogging covered in this book I can highly recommend it to anyone who wants to understand this new social media phenomena. People all over the world upload more than a million new blog posts every day. Every day. News blogs are written by citizen journalists and professional reporters. Food blogs by farmers, grocery stores, chefs, home cooks, foodies, gardeners, upscale food magazines, food manufacturers, product advertisers, etc.

Blogs as diaries. Blogs as clubhouses. Blogs as news feeds. Blogs as soapboxes.

Stefanac takes the blogger on a road tour. She gives the reader driving instructions but most importantly takes them under the hood of the car to explain how the search engines work. And how to check our own fluids, tire pressure and lights. It's a handy desk reference for a seasoned blogger and a wonderful place to start for someone who is new to blogging. ( )
  SwensonBooks | Jul 13, 2011 |
As a basic guide to readers who are unfamiliar with the blogosphere this book is useful. It provides the uninitiated reader with a clear and lively discussion of what weblogs are, and what is necessary to launch and maintain a successful blog -- recognizing that there can be many different defintions of success. I read the book as a preparation to enter the blogging world and found that it gave me some ability to choose between the various blogging platforms available, and how to use some of the basic tools in the blogging kit like permalink, trackbacks etc. Particularly interesting is her discussion of what can be done to make a blog more visible to search engines.

But as a discussion of the social and political significance of the blogosphere, which it aspires to do in the first two chapters, I thought it bland and uninteresting. The first two chapters try to set the emergence of blogging into the long history of communications and freedom of speech. To say the least, this is too ambitious a task for a book of this scale. This "history" of blogging is at best a superfical gloss, and her discussion of blogging echoes much of the vapid hyperbole she wants to get past. ( )
  JFBallenger | Jan 24, 2007 |
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