(Via JD)I think this is a pretty good question too:
Tony Perkins, creator and editor-in-chief of AlwaysOn and the event’s host, questioned whether newly emboldened readers will continue to be engaged by Web sites that don’t allow them to comment on stories, editorials or columns. What the blogging and social networking era has done for these readers, he said, was reveal “the power of participating in media… the average citizen out there has something to say.” As a result, he believes every Web site will eventually have to open itself up to readers’ comments, or risk losing their trust.
I know that I almost expect to be able to comment back to most of the writers I read. I keep wishing Josh Marshall would allow his readers to leave feedback because I’d love to see how his insights stand up to other interpretations. And as I’ve said previously, I think the power of comments in many ways defines and shapes what writing in Web logs is. Without that interaction, it’s primarily essay. With it, it’s something slightly different, I think. When your readers are “fact checking your ass,” you really have to pay attention to the accuracy and thoroughness of what you are writing about. That’s why I want to develop that Web logging style and voice in my students.
Kevin Brooks says
This entry calls out for comments, doesn’t it, Will? I was on the site the other day and meant to comment on weblogs as genre, but this space will do just as well to mention that most of contemporary genre theory in rhetoric, linguistics, even literature, sees genres as fluid rather than fixed, as signposts rather than formulas. I typically try to teach new media genres like weblogs by talking with my students about what elements of old genres are being retrieved or re-cycled in the new genres. Makes the new forms of writing/communicating a little bit more manageable, and never, in my experience, stifles student writers as some critics of genre-approaches suggests the “formulas” will.