are blog readers the new literocracy?

Friday, December 23, 2011

A lot of discussion in the early years of blogging revolved around the “death” of print media, the increasing “irrelevance” of old guard writers and critics, and the seemingly valuable access, for both bloggers and blog readers, that the internet provided.

Well, print media has not died, and some of the best bloggers are those who still maintain ties to print. But the issue of access has another side to it that I have not seen discussed. It is the type of person who chooses to wade through the vast ocean of online content, select the content that matters most to their particular life and interests, and to comment on what they are reading.

Here is where blog readers have really separated themselves from the mewling pack of ax-grinding meatheads who seem to dominate the comment boards of many print publications’ online sites.

Taking my own experience as an example, I have seen repeatedly that when I put up very similar content in a newspaper column and on this blog, the responses to that content are often completely different. Blog readers may not always agree with me, and they are certainly eager to correct mistakes and express conflicting opinions. But their comments are almost always thoughtful and on point, and intended to further and stimulate discussion.

Reading the comments on a print publication website, on the other hand, leads down a meandering path of complaints, personal attacks on both the writer and the other commenters, and completely off-the-point vendettas that have no bearing on the original article.

I am drawing conclusions from personal experience, not any scientific survey, but I see this over and over in the fairly limited universe of wine blogs that I regularly enjoy. And it’s not too great a leap to assume it applies to other subjects as well. Where a blogger is knowledgeable, entertaining and thought-provoking, their blog will attract those with the interest and intelligence to reply in kind. Where a publication is simply aimed at a broad band readership, the nutballs emerge.

1 comment:

Art said...

Well, I'll tell you this much, Paul: I'm sick to death of all you wine bloggers using clever, amusing, provocative, and sometimes even appropriate photos, illustrations, and cartoons to enhance your posts. Do you really think you can successfully distract us from the eternal verities embedded therein? Sorry, pal - we intelligent blog readers are just not that gullible. Clean up your act . . . and have a happy new year!

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