If you’re ever feeling down on social software and blogs, you could do worse than to read Roger Ebert’s Confessions of a blogger:
I knew I wouldn’t have to interact at such depth with a blog, but, frankly, most of the blog comments I read online were not ones I was eager too receive.
Now I know I was wrong. I started this blog in May, and it has enriched my life. I have been astonished by the high quality of the comments received. I have also been educated, amused, moved, corrected, encouraged. I personally read all the comments that are submitted, and after four months I have received not one obscene message, not one illiterate message, not one hostile message. Those few comments I have not published were not dumb or offensive, but simply things like well-wishes that I didn’t think most readers would be interested in.
Your comments have provided me with the best idea of my readers that I have ever had, and you are the readers I have dreamed of. I was writing to you before I was sure you were there. You are thoughtful, engaged, fair, and often the authors of eloquent prose. You take the time to craft comments of hundreds of words. Frequently you are experts, and generous enough to share your knowledge.
Reading the comments, for example, on my entries about special effects and 3-D, I found people who make a living in those fields, speaking from direct knowledge. There have been comments from directors, producers, screenwriters, cinematographers, critics. I seem to hear from who I need to hear from.