Saturday, June 13, 2009

New Media/ Old Media: My Reading List

I have just finished Bringing Nothing to Party: Confessions of A New Media Whore, a rather brilliant story of the author's venturing into the new media/ web 2.0 business scene. Yes, despite its title, which may put off many people. But, then, it is true to the spirit of the people it talks about, and talks to, and I guess those new media types will still want to read it.

Including me, of course. One rare book which I managed to read from start to end. Primarily because of Mr. Carr's caustic, very British sense of humour. Mr. Carr starts from his law school days of Nottingham, first book deals, his time with the Guardian and finally into his projects like Friday Projects and Fridaycities, which will finally become Kudocities. On the way, he talks about the new media business scene in London, its people, its rituals and its hopes and disappointments. Most of it is very real and other parts very enlightening.

On my part, I have some experiences of raising funds in London, though what I tried to do was for a very old business - training - and for a distant land - India - without much experience or exposure. That was indeed a very long shot, as I know now. However, I tried - from lunches in Brick Lane and pubs in Clarkenwell. I must say that I was way, way off, otherwise no one should have failed to raise money in London in 2004. But then this was useful learning and I hope I shall get there some point of time again in future.

But back to Mr. Carr, who tried, and finally failed to raise money. It is a good story. Partly about business, partly about himself, partly about the city and its culture and partly about new media. I am currently reading The Cult of The Amateur, Andrew Keen's rather vicious polemic against the New Media types. It is also an interesting read, committed against the types of Mr. Carr, coming out of a part outmoded elitist thinking about culture and part jealousy. However, Bringing Nothing to Party, despite the project's apparent failure in the end, shows no bitterness, which is the beauty of the book. This makes it thousand times more readable than the Cult.

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"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."

- Theodore Roosevelt

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We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

- T S Eliot

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