(UPDATED) The library has, at long last, delivered Scott Rosenberg’s book on the history of blogging, Say Everything. It figures that a corporate publisher (Crown) would entrust the writing of such history to a corporate blogger (from Salon). History is written not by the victors but by people you meet at convivial Upper East Side Pacific Heights dinner parties.

I am quoted and dismissed on pp. 212–213. “Deconstructing ‘You’ve Got Blog’ ” is, almost predictably, the topic.

“There is pretty much no way to breach the velvet rope,” Clark declared. “If you’re not an A-list blogger, you will stay off that list forever.”

On the face of it, this last claim, at least, was plainly wrong. Boing Boing was one good counterexample. It wouldn’t have made anyone’s A-list at the time Clark wrote; two years later, it was near the top of everyone’s.

Rosenberg also mentions TechCrunch, worsening his error. The early-Aughties A-list was made up exclusively of personal blogs, not group or corporate blogs. I was addressing A-list personal blogs, not anything else. Here Rosenberg does something worse than comparing apples to oranges.

Throughout his book, Rosenberg refuses to contact bloggers he disagrees with. He spends an entire chapter on Jorn Barger, for example, ending with the sanctimonious admission he had debookmarked Barger for rampant anti-Semitism. (Rosenberg later told me the notes to the book clearly show he conducted an E-interview with Barger.) Yet Rosenberg quotes bloggers he treats favourably, including Mark Frauenfelder, Jesse James Garrett, and (inexplicably) Dave Winer. Either Rosenberg never contacted me or his mail was eaten by my spam filters.

I believe few experienced journalists would disagree that it is unethical to run your ideas past only the sources you agree with.

Rosenberg does document how the A-list-blogger phenomenon was later diagnosed by Clay Shirky as a power-law effect independent of human motive. Shirky was right. And wasn’t it just the other week that I uttered the term “power law” to Shirky’s face?

On the face of it, who’s been plainly wrong all along?

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2009.10.29 16:05. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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None. I quit.

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