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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

The blogosphere now has a Pulse

Tim Evans of the Centre for the New Europe has just emailed me to tell me about the blog which the CNE have been quietly running for the last few weeks, or at any rate quietly enough for me not to notice it until now. It’s called The Pulse, and looks well worth a regular read. And hello, what is this? Goodness me, a fulsomely admiring link to this. Coincidences will never cease. Of course what that actually shows is that Tim Evans is a man who knows how to get a blog noticed.

Rather more seriously, I think that The Pulse is part of the answer to that question we all ask from time to time: How Can I Get Paid To Blog? Because I get the definite feeling that The Pulse’s regulars, Tim himself, Helen Govett, Stephen Pollard, Helen Disney, Johan Hjertqvist (the last two being new names to me), are not exactly starving as a result of their association with this blog. The CNE is a real-world olde-world, meat-space institution – with secretaries, carpets, conferences, a website with swank pictures of the honchos shaking hands with swank politicians – in short with money, money that it is presumably willing to dole out in noticeable amounts to the right blogicians.

Interesting too that The Pulse follows the Samizdata example of having a team of bloggers, to make sure that it keeps fresh and keeps coming.

(PS: While checking the link to Stephen Pollard’s blog, I found myself reading his piece yesterday (Oct 22) on the impact of the Bali bomb on the thinking of the “Bali generation”, originally for the Wall Street Journal of Europe. I can’t make any sense of Stephen’s targetted links and I’m sure that’s just me, but this piece is most interesting.)

7 comments to The blogosphere now has a Pulse

  • Thank you for drawing attention to the Pulse. It is very new – the first posting is dated 30th September – and I hope the blog will demonstrate the stamina needed to make it in the blogosphere.

    My only question is why doesn’t it have any links to other blogs?

    I suspect that your enthusiastic praise has been swayed by Tim Evans’s post yesterday :

    I read nothing more thought provoking and impressive than a paper challenging the way most people think about medicine by Brian Micklethwait of the London based think tank the Libertarian Alliance. His How and How Not to Demonopolise Medicine is an intellectual masterpiece and I commend it to every official, policy advisor, journalist, student and corporate executive concerned with health care. Like or despise what it says – it is an outstandingly controversial, provocative and challenging read. And that alone is really unusual and welcome in health care. I love it!

    Oh well, Tim Evans is said to be an excellent spin doctor. Let’s hope he is at least as good a blogger…

  • David Carr

    Elevating news, sir.

    Looks like Comrade Evans et al have been somewhat influenced by the Samizdata after all

  • Frankly Brian, I don’t know what you are getting so excited about. The content will only have a narrow appeal and is hardly written in a manner to set ‘pulses’ racing. The whole lay out is confused, they link to zero other blogs (and so can expect the same in return) and worst of all, it is a royal pain in the arse to link to individual articles.

    They may have a blog but that does not mean they understand blogging. The fact is is so difficult to link to individual articles suggests Tim and Crew have not quite ‘got’ the whole blogging thing. Don’t they “want” people to be able to cite their ‘words of wisdom’?

    Just my opinion mind.

  • Brian Micklethwait


    They’ll get there. Well, they’ll get somewhere. I’ve know Tim for many years and he always gets somewhere. Sometimes slowly, but he gets there. (He hates to look like a fool. If and when he decides that he has, he corrects it with zero fuss and then forgets about it.)

    Okay so they aren’t linking smoothly to other blogs. yet. Chances are that one of them will read this, and hear that they “should” be linking better, and they’ll get it sorted. No doubt Pollard will be a part of that discussion. Remember that they are pretty busy doing other things also.

    In my opinion, though, specialist blogs like this one are uncharted waters, which “our rules” of blogging may prove to be somewhat irrelevant.

    I don’t think anyone truly “gets” blogging yet. The Pulse’s grip on it is very different from ours, and in some ways I dare say inferior, due to them not having immersed themselves in the existing blogosphere, Pollard maybe excepted. Their common background is the specialist medical press, and I think that shows. But I reckon that in five years time most of us first generationers will be just as surprised as people like The Pulse are about what blogging has turned into, and it will be very clear that most of us have also been making some pretty basic mistakes. (Blogger springs to mind as perhaps being one of them … you and Samizdata are unlikely both to be completely right about that.)

    Your reference to “narrow appeal”, and your heavily ironic queries as to whether they want to be linked to by existing blogdom may be a clue to one of the big differences between what one might call first generation bloggers and how blogging later develops. What if new entrants like The Pulse are indeed not that bothered merely with reaching the existing blogs and their readers? What if their big target readership is just medical folks with internet connections?

    And what if the traffic between them and us is mostly us occasionally tuning in to their specialist debates and explications, for our own ideological reasons, while they get on with their lives? That’s pretty much how the existing blogosphere relates to the mainstream media, whom we quote a lot despite them seldom noticing our existence. Most of the mainstream media hardly “set our pulses racing” either, except that sometimes they do.

    My guess is that soon there will be some links, once they get around to learning about it, and as and when any of us has something to say about healthcare and all that, and as and when they notice.

    Anyway, we’ll see.

    This is interesting isn’t it?

  • No, Brian, it isn’t very interesting. alas. And Andrew is very right, I am afraid. I also feel that the phrase “they didn’t quite get blogging” is an understatement. I imagine their in-house web designer being told “produce something like this” and a pseudo-blog was born.

    The point of blogging is that regardless of your target audience, the way you get to them is to get other bloggers to talk about it and link to your articles. Therefore, both linking to other bloggers and the ease of linking to individual articles is paramount. And that’s just the form, never mind the quality of writing…

    Your point about them not getting it right yet…I remember Alice Bacchini getting it right from the word go.

  • Brian Micklethwait

    Like I say, we’ll see.

    I hope one of them reads these comments.