Say Everything: How Blogging Began… (Book Review)

Since beginning “The Dustus Blog,” I’ve become obsessed with learning everything I can about blogging and it’s history (see Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging, Bloggers on the Bus, Problogger, etc…). My studies emerge from an initial curiosity and deep respect for what I consider a technological gift (my free WordPress blog). Without a doubt, blogs have changed many lives—including my own.

That being said, I’d like to share with you some thoughts about the new book Say Everything: How Blogging Began, What It’s Becoming, And Why It Matters by Scott Rosenberg. In my opinion, this detailed work paints a comprehensive portrait of what blogging was, is, and how user-generated content and frequent posting transforms our world. Say Everything also explains current tensions between bloggers and other writers.

Say Everything recounts how the Web’s first inventors welcomed creative contributions from all over the world. Scott Rosenberg defines the technological evolution of blogs, including early precursors of Web interaction and cursory reporting of 911, as well as political reporting that led news-seekers to flock online. Rosenberg then focuses on many notable blogging personalities that emerged from this social movement. For instance, the exhibitionist blogs of Justin Hall, the written and technological contributions of Dave Winer, stories about Evan Williams and the rise of Blogger and Twitter, political blogging, etc… (The scope of topics covered is “mindblogglingly” extensive.

After reading Say Everything, I remain fascinated by how bloggers are perceived by the traditional media and esteemed literary circles. Aside from Noble Prize winning author Dorris Lessing’s outright dissing of blogging (which can be read online), Rosenberg discusses the “journalistic beef” bloggers have inherited. In sparking debate over literary quality of posts, journalistic jeering points fingers (perhaps the middle ones) at bloggers’ lack of reporting acumen and experience. Prominent bloggers, quick to respond, have questioned the authenticity of an “unbiased” press, major coverage errors, and instances of uninspired writing.

Rosenberg considers the motivations of both sides in the Blogger/Journalist arguments, presenting an overall clash between the verities of tradition and an expanding open source world. In Rosenberg’s promotion of blogging over its criticisms, he concludes (quite eloquently I might add), “Links beat walls and gates… the wisdom of experience, might actually represent the resentment of a dying order. Finally I concluded that it did.”

My recommendation = Say Everything… It is in the best interest of every new and serious blogger to read this.
________________________________________________________________________
Scott Rosenberg
is an American journalist, editor, blogger and non-fiction author. He was a co-founder of Salon Media Group and Salon.com and a relatively early participant in The WELL. Rosenberg’s first book, Dreaming in Code appeared in 2007.

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