“Was Pepys an early blogger?” ask LSE’s Tony Barnett in a recent ‘argument’ with the New Statesman’s Ben Davies!

But, most of all, the professor wanted to talk about blogs. “My son writes a blog – his latest entry talks about doing yoga and reading John Fowles’s The Magus. Now who’s going to be interested in that?”

“Mind you,” he answered himself, “my son has a female admirer called ML in Washington – perhaps it’s a new form of dating agency . . . or is it like those round robins you get at Christmas. We get one from a man in which he tells us about his hamster . . .”

“Perhaps,” I interjected, “blogs are a bit like diaries – at one end of the scale you get a daily record of a mundane life: ‘Got up, went to the toilet, made tea, read paper’, and at the other you have Pepys recording the fire of London?”

“Now that’s interesting,” he responded, “Was Pepys an early blogger? Did he write because he witnessed momentous things or were they momentous because he wrote about them?”

The journalist bought the chance to argue with Prof. Barnett for £90 in a charity auction.  See Spat’ll be ninety quid in the New Statesman for the full story. The recently revamped NS uses a blog format for most of it’s site now with RSS feeds, commenting and links to other social software (post to del.icio.us etc).