Following a trail of digital breadcrumbs today, I started at Rafat Ali's aggregated PaidContent.org newsletter and wended my way to an article (annoyingly not dated) called TV News in a Postmodern World. The premise is that News Is A Conversation, a notion with which I became instantly smitten. As an editor, letters from readers are few and far between and the lag time in any sort of exchange can be excruciating. With email, at least now I can interact with my readers more frequently and more interactively, though other readers are left out of the loop until I can get the printing press in gear. Readers who take the time to write usually have a commitment to what they are reading that is worth considering, if for no other reason than to bring them back for more.
But the article really got me thinking about the necessity of interactive feedback mechanisms for Web content. These days, readers have an expectation that they can interact with and even influence the nature of Web content. This does not solely apply to traditional media outlets. The expectation of today's consumer is that they will not just be confronted with content, but rather be able to do something--at least, give feedback, but at best, to work with the content in some way to better make it meet their needs, be that through post your thoughts links or interactive tool. An engaged user is one who will stick around and come back for more.