Visions Of Grantland: Bill Simmons’ Lost Opportunity To Do Something New
Bill Simmons has been posting at Grantland in a prolific nature we haven’t seen from the Sports Guy in years – lengthy articles, two of which involved a classic, “Yes, I’m from Boston” point of view on the Bruins and one that was a vintage-Simmons “Retro Diary” – along with a bunch of new “BS Report” podcasts. If the value of Grantland is lighting Simmons with fire to write a lot again, I’m all for it. But it’s still nothing more than a static webpage with written columns, minimal interaction and an “I’m talking to you, not with you” mentality.
One thing I don’t quite get about the different nomenclatures on Grantland is the name of different components of the site. There’s “The Triangle” blog alongside other posts that come in throughout the day that don’t get the “Blog Preview” heading. When you click through, except for the header image, I don’t know if there’s a difference.
Maybe this is a rant for a different forum, but what makes a blog different than a featured post? If something is updated regularly throughout the day and outside a traditional print or broadcast schedule, who cares what you call it? I’ve always tried to designate the line as the how the author views the relationship after the post is up. What I consider the biggest benchmark: a comment section where the author engages in further discussions along with the readers. Shying away from it protects the author from two things: asinine, aggressive, name-calling criticism and thoughtful, insightful engagement within the audience.
It isn’t there yet, but Simmons mentioned in his first post that a comment section is coming, and I’m sure it’ll be slightly more productive than the [Team Name][Year of Last Championship][Rival Team Sucks] screen names who populate article comment sections on ESPN.com. The telling point, to me, will be if and how the authors engage within those comments, because that’s what is supposed to be after the period of the last sentence. A place where you can get in touch with the person who started the conversation, a place where they may engage back and keep it going.
I wonder if Grantland can capture the idea that the author is not talking at you, but completely a part of the story and willing to continue it. That’s the difference between a blog and a traditional media news site or column: the idea that the byline isn’t the last time you’ll see the author engage in this discussion he or she started.
This isn’t even new media, either.