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Crowd-Sourcing a Book From Blogs

Date/Time Permalink: 04/08/08 12:51:34 pm
Category: Geek Culture

Somehow, the idea of generating whole books from the social web just intrigues me. Last year, I got interested in the Wikinovel project, which actually does seemed to have produced a fairly palatable, if disjointed, piece. I guess it interests me for the same reason that watching an artificial life simulator is fun. Will it be gibberish, or will the thousand monkeys at typewriters produce "Inflexible Logic" this time?

Now there's a new experiment which I've just stumbled upon, this time with the possibility of having a more marketable outcome. Meet the Yearblook project. The idea here, as far as I can parse it, is to have the crowd (you're soaking in it) submit and vote up blog posts, and at the end of the year publish a book of blogs - a "blook"? I guess they'll do it through either a vanity press or a Lulu.com account or something.

The voting mechanism reminds me of Digg, which makes me shudder in dread, because you only have to see Digg's front page to grasp what that crowd finds worthy of attention. But I'll put those fears out of my mind. Obviously, these guys aren't going to try to make a book out of 365 LOLCATZ pictures and YouTube videos of somebody's sister farting, so they're obviously looking for text. Oh, yeah, I remember text! It's that stuff people used to make for other people to read, before keyboards were outlawed by the Illiteracy Coalition!

Anyway, they're just starting up, and so far they have some standard stuff in. Not to knock fellow bloggers, but I think the crowd can do better than that. Maybe over time if this project got some momentum, you'd have a real yearbook worthy of historic research - imagine being able to pull up a year of blog posts from 20 years ago to find out what was on people's minds day-by-day. Yes, I know we have microfish, but all it preserved was the paid journalist's point of view.

By the way, I'm not posting this to encourage anybody to submit material from my site - my focus is too narrow and there's few posts of mine that make sense out of context. I think they're looking more for news-type blogs. But who am I to boss a crowd around? Do watcha like - that's why you're a crowd!

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