Sunday, January 18, 2009

Comments: Acorns of the Blog Post Tree

One of the blog's most definitive features is that it allows for its readers to leave immediate comments to the original text. While any piece of writing can--and does--inspire reaction, that reaction often stays private in the reader's mind. Sometimes, it finds it way into public conversations (in the classroom, over dinner, at city council meetings, in letters to the editor), but the blog allows for, enourages--thrives on--immediate feedback to complicate the original text and further the conversation. Beware the blog that diasbles the Comments function; by denying others participation in the discussion, the blogger is far too concerned authorship ans authority to realize the full potential of online writing.

This is not to say that all comments to blogs are gems. Indeed, one of the drawbacks of blogs--of any text, for that matter--is that we as readers often seek out what we already favor. Thus, the comments section can turn into an echo chamber, many different different simply assenting to the original idea. Likewise, like the blog posts themselves, the comments can fall short in areas of knowledge, reason, vivacity, or respect. Nonetheless, reading beyond the original post, clicking the links and reading the comments, gives the reader a deeper perspective on the the issue at hand. And, often, people in the comments section prove themselves knowledgeable and witty. Most importantly, the comments section promotes a sense of community on your blog, one that anyone who can be respectful in sharing their opinion is invited to join.

As far as the 109.02 class goes, I'm already heartened by some of the conversation going on in the comments section (see Ethan and Paige's comments for a couple of strong examples).

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