Are there any forms of writing that you feel are inherent to the internet (as in blogs, social diaries, lists)? Do you try and work through these forms? Do you find them valuable?

The only thing I feel that is actually inherent to the net is the hyperlink. Which is useful in letting information, references, or otherwise sit closer to the text than a footnote; but then can be often used in the place of explanation, thought, or perspective.

Though as one tech writer said at a talk a few days ago, ‘clicking is through, it’s all about scrolling now.’ Which as a writer hasn’t impacted things much yet (I don’t think Triple Canopy’s sideways scroll constitutes much of a shift, though it’s good and more things like this should exist). This will keep changing, say with web design incorporating users’ movement into a pseudo-interactive proto-cinematic/animation motion: http://feature.rollingstone.com/feature/the-geeks-on-the-frontlines, but how that effects writing I’m not sure – part of me thinks it’s just like showy open credits animation, and the business of writing and reading will still requite stability for transmission.

Do you think the internet allows for a better sense of your public (because of social networks, discussion forums, etc.?) or do the few hours of flickering online attention following publication not c

I don’t ascribe any importance to social network spread; while it is certainly gratifying to see shared links, ‘likes’, re-tweets, or spiked visitor numbers on your blog, I don’t think it reflects people actually reading. Perhaps noticing, and maybe filing away mentally for another time. Which isn’t to say I’m cynical about readers, but simply that it seems to serve a more social (i.e. seen/being seen/showing public appreciation) function rather than a practical one (i.e. more people getting to read the piece).

It does allow it seems for a *slightly* larger amount of feedback, in that social networks allow a more porous sense of ‘access’ to the writer, but I’m not sure it gives any better picture of who actually makes up ‘my’ audience.

Does publishing online change your approach to any of the following: length of piece, breadth of research, images you include, references to online sources?

I think that the trope of online writing – essentially a form of public diaristic commentary, with added hyperlinks – is there, and that has come to be expected by writer and reader: shorter, less research, referencing only online sources. I consciously try to avoid this, and keep a tone and atmosphere that would sit in either. It my be delusional on my part.

That said, of several online articles, one was commissioned as a ‘Postcard From…’ on a blog, in which writers report from a location travelled to; the editor encouraged including how you got somewhere, and images taken while on the road, things I would never otherwise incorporate into my writing. So there has been cases where the publishing host has called on parts of the blog trope.