Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Irrational Exuberance

Coming home last night after a hard day at the social media coalface (as described by LC), I had this conversation with my cousin, who'd come to stay for the night after attending the London Book Fair:

ME: So what are you up to these days?

COUSIN: Well, I've just moved into a new flat in Edinburgh, and I'm still doing some freelance editing, but really I'm working on this project with a couple of friends.

ME: What sort of project?

COUSIN: It's a sort of MySpace for unpublished authors.

ME: Cool.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Second Dotcom Boom. I like it.


Sylvia said...

why is everyone else's life so effing better than mine? Where have I gone wrong? I've had to deliver a forgotten lunch bag, stock up on loo paper in sainsburys, and now I'm about to redate a load of offering envelopes for church. Thank goodness for the blogs for keeping me sane..... wishing your cousin every success with her project - it sounds fab.

Sean McManus said...

It's interesting how many of these ideas have tried and failed, perhaps because they were ahead of their time. There was a site, which I'm sure was at current spam site, which offered pretty much the same thing around 2001. Orkut is pretty similar to how I remember Six Degrees, with just changes in the UI.

It would be great if there were a myspace for authors. It would probably have the same problem that myspace has, though - that you can't actually find anything of quality within the site. You have to be sent there from outside. I thought there was a role for a site that reviews Lulu books to help people find the good stuff, but again that's something that would operate outside the content community and bring people to the good stuff inside it.

I'm on a couple of writing forums, and there are massive differences in the quality of stuff posted there. Quite a bit of it would need a *lot* of work before it was readable purely for pleasure. Which isn't to deny anyone their right to express themselves - just that there might not be the readership for a lot of stuff that is written.

There is also an argument that more people want to write than read today (at least for fiction), so there's probably more of a role for a self-help authors' community modelled on social networking, than there is on a community where authors give away their books. The difference between books and music is you can hear a song in three minutes, and get the gist of it in 30 seconds. You can't do much with a book in that timeframe.

patroclus said...

Sylvia: I got up at 5am to write three pieces of junk mail about automated business processes. I'm not entirely sure how enviable this is.

But I do like it when the tech industry booms, because everyone suddenly gets very enthusiastic, people get the confidence to develop their own pet projects, and loads of crazy schemes fly about. Very few of them ever become successful, but lots of interesting new ideas and technologies emerge, which often only come to fruition much later when all the excitement has died down and everyone has gone back to their boring old jobs.

Sean: This is interesting stuff, thanks. My cousin's currently researching the competition, so this will be very useful info. Ooh, I could document her progress here, like a fly-on-the-wall - *ahem* - 'blogumentary'.

Er, she probably wouldn't let me, though.

Arabella said...

Drool....London Book Fair. Did your cousin get anything nice, or was she flogging?

Billy said...

Hurrah for the dotcom boom. I do like the sound of a myspace for books.

Sylvia said...

P, ouch - 5am! Hope you don't have to do that too often! Isn't it funny how the grass is never actually greener on the other side.......

How do these sites make money? Is it the advertising?

Spinsterella said...

oooooo i just love surfing this zeitgeisty boom nothing like this has ever happened before ever ever has it and yeah we don't even need punctuation do we


What's my Space again?

patroclus said...

Arabella: I think she was just researching.

Billy: It sounds like it's going to be an online community for unpublished authors, with some sort of tie-up with a publish-on-demand service, but I'm probably getting this all wrong. I'll link to it when it launches, though.

Sylvia: Usually advertising, sometimes also subscriptions, although subscriptions don't go down terribly well on the internet.

Spin: I loved the dotcom boom, because the tech industry (or at least the bit of it I work in) tends to be very lumbering and corporate most of the time, and then suddenly out of nowhere came this burst of unpunctuated, lower-case craziness. After the crash it went back to being lumbering and dull for six years, and now it's going mental again. A lot of the ideas are stupid and the 'entrepreneurs' laughable, but it's fun to watch.

I don't go near MySpace; all those colours and oddly-sized pictures make my head hurt. I'm happy just sticking with Blogger.

LC said...

This cartoon pretty much sums up MySpaz.