Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Gone to the Litblogs: Narrowcasting & More Notes Towards a Taxonomy

Dinner conversation this evening with my amiga K., a DC writer who works in a media organization, about blogging. K. says the successful ones are narrowcasting, i.e., aiming a highly specific blog at a highly specific audience. Indeed: in the litblog world, a good example would be Wendi Kaufman's The Happy Booker, which focuses on news in literary Washington DC and environs. Novelist Leslie Pietrzyk's Work in Progress focuses on, yes, work in progress. In the news world--- for example, for news on Iraq--- a blog I often check in on is Informed Comment, in which University of Michigan Professor of Middle Eastern History Juan Cole offers a daily summary of and commentary on the news in the Middle East. They may not be the end all of the All on this Subject, but between Juan Cole and Col Pat Lang's Sic Semper Tyrannis, I get a better sense of what's going on in Iraq than from reading, say, the Washington Post. For example, last week, when Turkish troops invaded Iraq, to get a sense of what this meant, I skipped the papers and went immediately to these two blogs because (1) both Juan Cole and Col Pat Lang are highly knowledgable about this subject and (2) their blogs often go into far more depth than scant newsprint can. (Though now and again, Col. Pat Lang dips into movie reviewing and showcasing excerpts of his civil war novel...) But back to the litblog world: for literary travel writing, another excellent example of narrowcasting would be World Hum. What of Madam Mayo? I'd put this blog in the category of a Individual Artist Blog. It's about my work and what interests me, as an artist. Some other blogs in said category: David Byrne (musician), Margaret Cho (comedian), Moorish Girl (writer Laila Lalami), Coffee with Ken (Kenneth Ackerman, the writer/ historian/ lawyer). Last thought: It occurs to me that few people over the age of 30 have heard the term "narrowcasting." K. said the under 30s in her office didn't recognize the phrase "Drink the Kool-Aid." Interesting juxtaposition. Possibly meaningless. More anon.

UPDATE: In Clusterfuck Nation--- a hybrid (as per my defintions) of Narrowcasting (comments on current events as related to his book The Long Emergency) and Individual Artist Blog--- Jim Kunstler writes, that this is "a society of envious slobs deluded into thinking that they could become the next Trump if only the Baby Jeezus would whack them over the head with a sock-full of silver dollars." That's pretty much the tone throughout. Post up, bingo, 193 comments.