"I continue to be amazed at the evolvement of Huckleberries Online and the local blog community. HBO Blogfest '08 is another example of something happenin' different here. A wonderful mix of personalities and pseudonyms. It didn't start out that way. But I'm delighted that we've gotten to a place where we can set aside ideologies, religious doctrine, politics, disparate backgrounds, etc., to enjoy one another's company." - Dave Oliveria.
After reading Dave's comment above I got to thinking about what is happening that is different on the HBO blog. I think its the immediacy, the spontaneity of many of the threads that makes the blog special. I've always thought the commenters are the driving force and indeed they are.
Those of us who just blog spend a lot of time crafting what we want to says as concisely as possible. If we get comments they come from random readers over a random period of time. On HBO, if a thread gets going, it is in real time. The thought process has to be nimble. The result is a conversation. Sometimes its funny, sometimes acrimonious, sometimes edgy. At times they have been mean spirited and sometimes just plain boring.
The most active threads usually revolve around local issues. That's a no brainer. The people who get into the spirit of the exchange are people within the community who have a lot of knowledge about the players, the issues and how things work in the body politic. It is one reason I usually don't jump in. I don't have the background. I'm more an asker of questions.
I'm thinking that a lot of the more volatile exchanges have been toned down. From that we're getting better information in a more reasoned format. Think about how valuable this is!
I was thinking about the folks who attended blog fest. The exchanges between many of them have been legend. Yet here they were being photographed together, tipping a brew together, chatting about who knows what - all together. They'll all go at it again to be sure. But because of the chance to meet and mingle, I have a better feel for the people behind the words and what level of credibility should be assigned.
This is a different type of information than one would get from the newspaper. It's not objective reporting; sometimes it's anything but factual. Sometimes the facts stare us in the face and for what ever reason we don't recognize them, or don't want to. What it is, is energetic discourse. It's what people are thinking as they think it - no matter who they may be. It isn't a canned speech. It isn't "spin". It's real.
This, to me, is what's different - what's happenin' on HBO!