Notes on hypertext interviews.
People will hate this word. This is great because I can keep this page for
myself and keep notes here and only the truly intrepid will venture through the
tamarisk surrounding that word to be here.
Blogchat is a misnomer because I interview people over e-mail. But the actual
conversation comes alive when it is posted to the blog. But I don’t want to
call them ‘e-mail interviews’—I feel I can classify them blogchats and be
done. Much as people say ‘slide into my DMs’ but reality is nothing of the
kind—one stiltingly, jarringly skids into my DMs.
I don’t want them to happen live. My interview with Nadia Eghbal took many
months—and I’m so glad. The instinctive feeling arrives that, since the world
is connected, the signal should always be live. That one should chat and chat
and chat for many months. And the quicker one chats, the quicker one will come
to the conclusion, the quicker one will know someone, know things. I have to
resist wanting my ‘blogchat’ to happen across streaming blogs with advanced
One distinct advantage: asking questions and waiting over time to answer them.
It’s not that one is constantly mulling over the question for months. The
questions are free to go completely out of mind. But, time passes, and new
I think the best phase is after the initial round of questions is over. Once
answers are given, the conversation is rolling and we return to life for a day
or a week. When we return to converse again, the topic is quite fresh. The
feeling that I am not reaching for questions.
As marvelous as podcasts are, conversations can be too slow. I don’t want to get
too deeply into min/maxing this shit. It’s a respectfulness idea, as stodgy as
that may sound. You can read a decent blogchat in five or ten minutes and
possibly hear everything except the vocal camaraderie and perhaps some finer
points. You can definitely more easily re-read and quote. This is essential to
me—I never hear it all the first time.
I’ll stop there—it all just feels
polite. I don’t think I could talk for an hour and feel deserving of anyone’s
attention. It’s possible that some guests aren’t comfortable on a podcast. I
don’t know if that comes up ever.
I actually think that podcast hosts might get the benefit of the running
conversation, the dayslong mulling—the microphone is always looming. But the
guests can’t benefit from this. They have their one shot to say whatever might
emerge. They can’t improve or correct anything. Maybe this is why podcast hosts
can also be the best podcast guests—they are just delivering another batch of
thoughts that has emerged from the muse of constant podcasting.
Of course, blogchats are not some zenith of human communication. They lack the
sensations that a podcast can produce. I’m reveling in their brief, concentrated
way. Like a rollercoaster ride.
I think the next thing is perhaps to see what it’s like if a blogchat can be
posted as a draft over time, building periodically.