In my previous post I gave you a brief introduction on my experience with RealGM.com’s Knicks message forum. In today’s post, I will introduce the blog, TheKnicksBlog.com, and with my next post I will introduce the New York Knicks Facebook fan page. As previously mentioned, I’ve been a reader on TKB for probably over a year now, however I have never been an active member in the comments section.
TheKnicksBlog.com started up in April of 2008, lead by SNY writer Tommy Dee and including a number of different amateur journalists who mostly wrote for their schools’ sports outlets/majored in journalism, brought aboard by Tommy. Without a doubt TKB has become the most consistent source of information/discussion. I read a lot of sports blogs and none really give you the same experience, as TKB does a great job of utilizing all different types of media, including television, webcast, radio, and print. In fact, their radio show has really made a name for itself recently, as they’ve been able to get some premier interviewees on the show for sit-downs. This was not the case a year ago.
Following the blog everyday is always interesting, as we’re provided with new information/rumors/thoughts/analysis every day. It’s always fun to see which TKB articles make their way over to the message board at RealGM. The real community vibe with this blog, however, comes from the fact that the main blogger, Tommy Dee, seems to be a legitimately professional journalist, however he is not at the point yet where he is on the level of those many journalists of New York newspapers who have to carry a blog to supplement their work for print. In other words, he feels, to readers, like any other fan, while maintaining an aura of professionalism and many contacts that those higher up in stature might have. That fact also leaves us believing that he isn’t necessarily in the direct scope of mainstream media and therefore is less likely to fall victim to the corruption of the inner-workings of sports journalism in regards to false rumors and other strategical misinformation that runs rampant. Many professional sports bloggers try to remain a neutral party, and while Tommy does that to some extent, he allows the fan inside him to come across in his blogs as well, making readers and bloggers feel like peers and creating more of a community vibe.
The comments section themselves is really very interesting, as most comments sections anywhere on the internet are simply a random collection of anonymous people who are interested in the same things, independently commenting on material. However, the way this comments section is set up is quite unique, as you must log in and connect with a service called Disqus. This is a really cool service I just found out about, in which you are able to connect with the service by logging into either your own account on Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID, or Yahoo. Once logged into whichever you chose, you are connected to Disqus (along with all other commentors regardless of how they signed in) and able to comment/like. This is an awesome idea in my opinion, as you are able to connect people and create a community while maintaining the option of being as anonymous or identified as you want.
The most interesting aspect of the comments section that I just found is this button right above the comments section entitled “expand community box”. Once you expand the community box, you are able to see the total amount of comments made, the total amount of likes made, the total number of people, the most active members, the most liked members, and new faces. With this simple little box that encompasses all of the comments’/commentors’ information, a concrete community is created. This is certainly a new and unique addition to blogs, as before this, comments were very much anonymous and independent. Just the addition of the ability to like comments and like certain commentors is a huge step in turning the comments section of this blog into a full-blown community. It’s a shame the button to see these stats isn’t more visible, as I think the realization that the comments section is being presented as a community will aid in making the comments section more of a community in general. I’m definitely going to look to see if commentors start acting more like a community by seeing if they start identifying particular posters and their usual mindsets on subjects (usually a pretty good sign for sports discussion). I’ll also try to implement myself into the community and see how easy/difficult it really is. Until next time...