[lit-ideas] Re: Long Tail (book review)

  • From: "Andreas Ramos" <andreas@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 10 Aug 2006 21:39:01 -0700

Judith is right: my second point (lack of editorial review) undermined the first point (logrithmic distribution). The power law explanation is the stronger argument.

I deleted the second point.


----- Original Message ----- From: "Judith Evans" <judithevans1@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Monday, August 07, 2006 11:18 AM
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Long Tail (book review)

I had read about the Long Tail, Andreas, yes.  Your review
interests me, I hadn't thought of various of the points you

I do want to raise a possible objection to one of your points, I
quote, perhaps too fully, here:

This sounds nice, but it isn't true.
It's a dream of populism
that everyone can make meaningful choices. The US
population is 300 million people. If it were true that
everyone is equal, then we would have 300 million
authors or 300 million musicians. However, society
isn't "flat" (where everyone is equal). Human societies
form into several dozen clusters with experts at the top
of each cluster. The 100,000 new books every year in
the USA are produced by less than 0.03% of the US
population. Only one person in every ten thousand
writes a book. This isn't because it's difficult to write
books. Blogs require very little work, yet only a few
hundred thousand people write the blogs that everyone else reads.

There's a reason for this. Content produced without selection
and filtering by editors and reviewers is generally trivial,
uninformed, incorrect, or repetitive. From the Pew study on
blogs, we find that the average blogger is a 14-year old girl
who writes about her cat. For those of you who know me, I am
quite in favor of this

(So am I: Fridays, I hit the web for Friday Cat Blogging)

Isn't the Power Law explanation of the dominance of relatively
few bloggers equally plausible, if not more so?  (I'm a bit
sceptical about the Power Law people in that I think they've
reinvented a wheel -- "iron law of oligarchy" -- without
looking at its complexities and underpinnings; but they have
a point and one that stands independently of the merit
of Superbloggers and others.)


----- Original Message ----- From: "Andreas Ramos" <andreas@xxxxxxxxxxx>
To: "Lit-Ideas" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Monday, August 07, 2006 3:30 PM
Subject: [lit-ideas] Long Tail (book review)

Some of you may have heard of Chris Anderson's The Long Tail, a
book about online business.

I wrote a review of it a few days ago.

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