In light of this guest blog entry, by Elizabeth Spitz and Cristina Sadurni, two teenaged interns over at O’Reilly, expostulating to publishers the necessity of considering the new ways and reasons people, especially younger people, already carry on literacy in ways other than through reading books, I find the release of CommentPress 1.0 an interesting development in the future of content generation.
Ben Vershbow notes in his entry about the release of the new tool, “Placing the comments next to rather than below the text turned out to be a powerful subversion of the discussion hierarchy of blogs, transforming the page into a visual representation of dialog, and re-imagining the book itself as a conversation. Several readers remarked that it was no longer solely the author speaking, but the book as a whole (author and reader, in concert).”
And hasn’t that always been the dream for books, and authors specifically? To provide a conversation between the author and her audience? We finally have the opportunity to link readers together for peer-discussions with more immediacy than ever before—that is, directly alongside the dialogue about which we wish to initiate discourse. Considering Elizabeth and Cristina’s agreement that teenagers, at least, are reading less for entertainment and more for informational purposes, I can see many applications for this kind of tool. Not to say that discourses about fiction won’t occur—I just think they will probably be a bit less pervasive.
It’s great to see the whining about people reading less is slowing down, and that new approaches and tools that will open up opportunity to the adaptable of the lovers, creators and disseminators of content are taking its place.