Thursday, February 25, 2010

Entering the Fray

by Jessica

I didn’t actually make it to the O’Reilly Tools of Change Conference, which took place here in New York earlier this week, but between assorted bloggers, tweets and handy You Tube posts, plus the actual eyewitness reports of colleagues and friends, I was something of a virtual attendee. No doubt actual conference-goers will say that I missed the frisson of excitement coursing through the event (so many smart people assembled to discuss the publishing’s digital future must mean that there is money to be made!), but I feel I’ve gained reasonable insight into the discussion, and if you are so inclined, said insight can be yours as well. For a handy overview have a look at this PW article.

You might then check out social media guru Chris Brogan discussing on-line audience building for authors, or Ariana Huffington, delivering a keynote address entitled “Publishing is Dead, Long Live Publishing.” She makes a good, albeit not entirely new, point that the digital space allows readers a heretofore-unimaginable degree of engagement with the written word. Thanks to the magic of the Internet, readers are now able to join the conversation, to participate in the greater cultural discourse in a direct, visible and sometimes influential way. All to the good, I say, though I must admit that for all the reading I do online, I rarely comment on articles, even those that move me to paroxysms of delight or fits of fury. (Theoretically, these fits should no longer happen, as my on-line reading choices should, as studies indicate, lead me into an echo chamber of like-minded thinkers. I must be following the wrong links, because I still find plenty to infuriate.)

And while I know this question is necessarily self-selecting for its respondents, I wonder how often you weigh in on your favorite sites? Where? I’ve no shortage of opinions, but somehow, aside from this blog, I’ve not developed the habit of expressing them in any google-able format. I suppose I’m a reader/lurker, but in keeping with the exhortations of the Tools of Change cheerleaders, I plan to make a more concerted effort to enter the fray.


  1. The amount I comment is very low to the amount I read. If I only find a chance once or twice a day to catch up on all the blogs, news sites, etc., that I follow, I'm mostly focusing on getting them read than participating, and often find that someone (or many someones) has made the same point I would have already. I don't often comment unless I have something to contribute beyond "I agree" or "That's awesome" (although on occasion I do, if I feel that's all a post warrants).

  2. To add to your anec-data, I read a lot more than I comment too. :)

  3. I comment, but I do try and keep some sanity about it. I don't think I'm going to change the world, probably not even anyone's mind. The golden rule has got to be that you don't let it get to the stage where you're thinking about your next comment when you're nowhere near a computer.

    From a reader point of view, I might see link to something interesting, or learn some new fact or something. I don't know if it's ironic or not, but I find that happens much more often at music or movie fansites than any politics board.

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