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 wouldn’t say that an online post does not an audience make, but I always find that the greatest responses to my writing (whether online or in print) come in person or via e-mail – through private channels of communication. Part of it owes to the intimacy of those channels, which can limit the performative dimension of hashing out a topic on a comment thread or in a discussion forum.

This observation isn’t categorical, but personal. I’m a fairly private, reserved guy and keep a minimal online footprint, so haven’t done enough fieldwork to learn about all of the publics that are generating online discourse.

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

Absolutely. My best example has less to do with publishing than pedagogy. I’m teaching my first online course this semester (for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Low-Residency MFA), and we have bi-weekly, written discussions about the readings. These play out as a series of lengthy comments, written by the students and me, which attempt (with varying degrees of success) to simulate a classroom conversation.

In general, my writing leans quite heavily on citations, which mainly reflects my academic training. There’s something passive in how I’ve inculcated this training: I don’t just acknowledge sources, but all too often defer to them. With online teaching, however, the citation becomes the hyperlink, and deference becomes implicitly (or ideally) dialogical, as if a given link can start a conversation or enter into an existing one. This has had a real effect on how I write online, inspiring me to pull more links into the bodies of my text – to accept that a post may be looser in form, but all the richer for it.