Sunday, September 17, 2006

Civilizing your blogs

I want to commend to your attention the first two comments appended to the Big Question post below. They are from a civilian reader named Anna, and she offers some thoughtful notions and many useful links to other discussions.

Any of you who are thinking about how to manage the new interactive relationship with readers -- and that should be ALL of you, of course -- will be interested.
–Howard Weaver

1 comment:

  1. I should note that Eric does invest some time in keeping the discussions on point and civil. But less than many people might think. Instead, Eric has used his contributions to set the tone.

    We began this experiment knowing full well that we couldn't expect to exert rigid control over the discussion and still achieve the kind of interactivity and transparency we were hoping for. Instead, our aim was to get Eric out from behind the curtain that separates our readers from our newsrooms. We wanted the BQ to be a vehicle for him to interact with readers as a reporter but as a real person, too. And we trusted that readers would respect that and would be more inclined to engage in an honest basis.

    Eric has taken pains to be even-handed in his approach, but he as avoided trying to create a false impression by keeping a running tab of how many misstatements and inflated claims each side is making. He has called the contest as he has seen it, and readers have embraced that. More importantly, with some exceptions, readers have taken a similar approach in commenting.

    This is scary territory for many of us. We are used to determining exactly what appears in our publications. But those expectations can't reasonably be applied as we begin layering more interactive applications on top of our publications. Those interactive applications are empty shells without the readers, so we can't allow our reflexive desire for control to override the expectations and values the readers bring.