They said this day would never come.
Perhaps the biggest fight I’ve ever picked in the blogosphere was when I wrote an opinion piece while a writing intern at Editor & Publisher in 2005 arguing that newspapers should get over blogging and put more energy into innovation. It ran under the provocative headline “Forget Blogs,” and declared, “Blogs are a horrible way to deliver journalism. Forget them.” You can imagine the kind of reception this got from bloggers.
The argument was a bit more subtle, and I think it has stood the test of two and a half years. I was trying to convince editors and publishers to put more resources into non-blog online content. And many newspapers have. Many people know about innovations made by The New York Times, but fewer keep track of the minor successes of hundreds of smaller newspapers using non-blog online media to do journalism. Bravo!
I was a blogger then, and obviously am now. I just thought big media companies should be able to put together more engaging media than I can in my spare time. This doesn’t entirely eliminate the irony that now, as a freelance writer and freelance student living in Beijing, I’m launching a blog that will be my most consistent work. In a real sense, a guy who argued that blogs aren’t all that has become a professional blogger.
So here it is. As part of the CNET Blog Network, I am now the author of Sinobyte, which will follow technology in China and Asia from my perspective as a student of media, politics, and society. All I have there so far is an introductory page, but check back later this week for an account of an impending trip to a mobile phone market and several other interesting developments that have been churning in early 2008. Subscribe to Sinobyte’s RSS feed here.
What does this mean for Transpacifica? Not much. I’ll still be writing here on transpacific relations and political and social issues in Asia. But I won’t be writing so much about the Chinese internet here. That work, and much more, will from now on show up on Sinobyte. Enjoy!
Today I’m introducing Transpacifica’s third banner image. This wall near the Moganshan Lu (莫干山路) art district in Shanghai caught my eye. That placard advertising English tutoring is hanging several yards off the ground.
We’re also saying goodbye to the previous image. Here it is full-frame below, in a wallpaper-worthy high resolution version.
I’m going to be bouncing around China a bit after more than four months in Beijing. I am flying tomorrow (Tuesday) from Beijing to Nanjing, where I will be doing some reporting and research. I’ll be heading to Shanghai around Friday for a week or so, and may keep moving to some other destinations as plans get settled. (Possibilities: Hong Kong, Shenzhen, others.)
I’d be interested to meet with anyone in Nanjing or Shanghai, whether you live there or are passing through as well. The same goes for when I’m in Beijing, actually, but please do e-mail g7 at gwbstr dot com if you’ll be around.
Expect decreased posting and perhaps some photos for the next few weeks.
China Economics Blog finds that it’s reading level is quite high. In fact, according to this automated rating site, you’d have to be a “genius” to understand their work. I don’t know how these ratings are generated, but I did get a little curious about how bright (or educated) someone’s algorithm thinks you should be to read Transpacifica.
This site is written with the goal of being useful both for casual readers with little Asia background and for people with Ph.D.’s and careers in Asia scholarship. This means that sometimes I consciously use simple language where longer words could do the job. It also means I identify people like Fukuda Yasuo in every post, in case a reader doesn’t know he’s Japan’s prime minister. That said, I suppose I’m glad if this blog is at a lower reading level.
The writer of China Economics Blog considers what that blog’s genius rating means.
The implications are as follows:1. Only clever people read this blog (is that so bad?)2. I could get more readers if I simplified the language (is that so good?)
My take: If only clever people read your blog, that’s not so bad, but if you can write more simply and make your material helpful to more readers, that’s great! Of course the ratings are just for fun. I don’t think CEB is especially tough to read, and I’m pretty sure I’d have noticed by now if I were a genius.
We’ve re-introduced the link feed. Unlike before, when link posts crowded out the writing, when you visit transpacifica.net, there is now a (nearly) live feed of the links direct from the Transpacifica del.icio.us page (right). In order to keep the links searchable here, and to make sure RSS readers get the daily links as well, the daily postings will still be entered into the archive and feed. (If you’re especially excited about what we’re posting on del.icio.us, there is a direct RSS feed here.)
You may also have noticed we shuffled some things around. The blogroll has been updated, enlarged, and now appears on the far right under the heading “Surf the Pacific.” I and the other collaborators here (some of whom will hopefully be contributing entries soon) are going to be working on some site profiles so you can get an idea of what resources and blogs will be most useful for you.
If you think there’s an article or site we should see, you can tag it “for:transpacifica” on del.icio.us, or just give us a shout.