Late Nite FDL: Jump Right On
Last night’s invitation to de-lurk and ask questions produced quite an interesting discussion. It also brought up a topic that people continue to debate, and which becomes a bigger issue for us as our readership grows — the use of blogospheric conventions. When we were writing for a handful of people who were blog regulars and knew those conventions, it wasn’t an issue. But now that we have some 70,000 people stopping by here on an average weekday, not everyone is going to know who "Tweety" is. How do we balance accessibility with the shared shorthand we use to communicate with the rest of the blogosphere?
Most people who show up here for the first time probably don’t know who "Steno Sue" is if they haven’t been hanging out in the blogosphere for a while. Yet it serves a purpose to refer to her as such. People might not recall who "Susan Schmidt" is either, but those who do remember her role in taking dictation from Ken Starr’s office and dragging the national debate into the gutter during the 90s will be instantly reminded of that fact by the words "Steno Sue." That has value. It quickly sets a context for anything she has to say in the future, most of which is equal junk. Which is no doubt why it bothers her so much. And as someone who deeply resented the shit shoveling she called reporting during Whitewater and all that resulted from it, I’ll be reminding people of that fact for the rest of my natural life.
Some people wanted us to dispense with these nicknames altogether, and that’s not going to happen. If that’s what you want, here’s a link to the New York Times, they never do it and they can be rather good. But I’m open to suggestion regarding rules for usage — I myself always try to use someone’s real name before I slip into nicknames, though I’m not always successful.
The conversation in the blogosphere is often a swift moving train that can be hard to catch. So tonight I’m interested in hearing your thoughts about ways to make it easier to jump on without slowing it down.