Tom McKenna’s response to my post yesterday about Web log portfolios jumped out at me because, among other things, of that phrase “silent conversation.” That’s such an apt description of what people who read Web logs do. And it’s not something that I find myself doing when I read other genres. I think it’s because when you read someone’s Web log on a regular basis, you do get a sense of the person behind the words, and it makes it that much easier to enter into the dialogue, in thinking or in writing. There was a thread going around a few weeks ago that echoes that idea that with Web logs, you know someone before you meet him (or her.) It’s like even though I don’t personally know Al Delgado and Tom Hoffman and Terry Elliot, I have a pretty good sense of who they are, and I’m really looking forward to meeting them at EdBlogger next month. (And I’m hoping there will be more of those types of introductions in SF as well.)

It also has something to do with what Jay Rosen said at BloggerCon about writing for readers who themselves are writers. (The exact quote was “I don’t think we know what journalism will be like when every reader is also a writer.”) It’s that second part that almost requires the conversation take place publicly or privately. It’s great when people decide to get actively engaged in the dialogue; I know I don’t take the time to comment on other people’s posts as much as I’d like. But the silent conversation with all of them is ongoing. And it’s what continually pushes my own thinking and my own writing. What I want, obviously, is that it do that for my students as well. I want them to find writers that they can tap into for ideas and inspiration and talk back to them in whatever form that might take. Definitely a goal I’ll be shooting for this upcoming quarter…