Straight to the Comments

By Beacon Staff

When this Web thing first took off, it quickly made stars of those who previously didn’t have a platform to opine but certainly deserved one. Soon, many Web loggers, or bloggers, were household names. Now, in what The New York Times describes as a “particular wrinkle of Internet culture,” a few of those who comment on those Web sites have followed suit.

Profiled in the Times article is a 28-year-old photographer named Bob Hsiao, or DaShiv, if you frequent MetaFilter.com. He has gained notoriety by commenting on the Web site, often offering dating advice even though he is single and lives with a roommate. Strangers now want to have their photographs taken with him.

In Montana, by far, the Billings Gazette gets the most comments of any Web site. A story about student-led prayer had garnered 237 comments by late Wednesday morning. The state’s blogs, especially on controversial posts, often garner several responses. Bloggers are better at engaging their readers with more personal posts.

I once was leery of allowing comments on stories. Now I wonder what we would do without them. On FlatheadBeacon.com there’s Nick, Roark and anxious for options. I often wander over the Interlake site to read what’s on the minds of Woody and Tillie. At the very least, readers being allowed to instantly critique, praise or just add his or her knowledge to any given post has made media more personal.

You have to wonder how long it will take for someone like Hsiao to emerge in our vast state. Maybe it’s already happened.

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