11 January 2009

Gawker, we hardly knew ye.

By the time THE GAWKER GUIDE TO CONQUERING ALL MEDIA came out, it was already too late. The snarky New York media website side-stepped into dead-tree media in 2007, mocking itself for doing what many other bloggers, from the Washingtonienne to Tucker Max, had already done. When the book pulled down pitiful sales figures, people mocked by the site celebrated, but it didn't keep anyone from reading the site, which I studied like the Talmud long before I moved to New York.

Gawker itself has changed a lot in those years, I would say mostly for the worst, but that's not the matter at hand. I was pretty disappointed by the GAWKER GUIDE, which I understand was written not by its daily bloggers but mostly by freelancers. If that's true, I think it was a tactical error not to get the daily writers involved, even if it meant pulling them off blogging duty. It got off a few good jokes (anything at the expense of Radar magazine is still funny -- sorry, Radar, you still owe me for a subscription after all!) but the self-help parody has been done much better elsewhere.

Of course, I didn't exactly help sales figures by waiting for the book to hit BookMooch instead of buying it. But I take no joy in being disappointed by it. I only wonder if this book had been written and published in 2005, before Gawker's slow roll into being a general-interest news and pop culture site, if it would have captured that tone a little better.

No comments: