I'm setting myself up for a series of snappy remarks here (ex. "We could have guessed!"), but since I skipped journalism school, I might have missed some rules and guidelines about decorum and how journalists are supposed to interact with readers.
I can probably blame my informal journalistic training, I suppose: I started my writing career at a music blog and there we were encouraged to interact with the commenters. After all, it was good for traffic; if the author of a post followed up on a question posed by a commenter, that commenter would be more likely to come back to the post for another hit. Plus, I generally enjoyed continuing the conversation. I still consider some of the people I met back then as friends, as weird as that seems. There were also some creeps, but hey, the Internet, am I right?
Back in those days was also when I developed the less-productive habit of answering criticisms when they were outside of the site I worked for. If I happened to see a blog post about my work somewhere, I'd likely leave a comment explaining my point-of-view, or whatever. Mostly, I just figured that if someone wanted to talk about me, I might as well respond. Again, less productive. I admit this.
Now that I've ascended to this gig as editor, you'd think I'd leave well enough alone, but once the Weekly shows up on the daily Google Alert or I happen to hear my name mentioned in negative way on conservative talk radio (this happens a lot lately, for some reason), I feel the draw to put in my two cents. Today, for example, I heard Jon Justice mocking me for saying that he (and his listeners) should try to "shop local," so off to Twitter I went to respond. Why? I have no idea.
I do this far too often, but I'd like to think it comes from a good place, but of course I do. Really, I got into this business to be part of a greater conversation about whatever topic is at hand, to communicate and to be understood. However, the next time someone tells me a local talk show host is saying I have "a face for print" on air, I'm going to try to keep from pointlessly retorting in tweet form. There has to be something better to do.