Yesterday I went to this amazing pop culture conference, Imprint Life, which discussed Asia's and Asians' role in developing global pop culture. Got me thinking about a lot of things, which I'll probably elaborate more on my website at the beginning of October.

There was a session on blogging, and the panel moderator Josh Spear spoke about this ill-advised web banner campaign that McDonald's embarked on in 2005. It something related to its dollar meal and including the phrase, "I'd hit that!" Which to the younger generation pretty much means, "I'd shag that," or whatever alternative you want to use. So bloggers went crazy (in bad way) with that tagline and McDonald's did nothing and kept using the campaign. The morale of the illustration--the Internet age has allowed instant feedback from users and companies should take heed.

I got thinking about books, Internet book reviews, and my moratorium on reading reviews on Amazon, blogs, and related sites. Was I not allowing the user to give me feedback and thereby improve my product? And then I came to the conclusion that a book is not quite a product. At least to me. A book is going to end how it's going to end without reader interference. It's not a hamburger or gadget, which can be constantly modified and changed. A book would lose its magic if I operated like that.

What do you think? Should I be more open to the user/reader?

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Comment by I. J. Parker on September 18, 2007 at 8:14am
I absolutely agree with both Jon and Dana. Mind you, there are some very good reviewers on the web and some poor ones in print. But all in all, the web is so casual and so user-friendly that it encourages any idiot to express his/her opinion on anything. This is not feedback. It's a reaction. Reactions to novels are as varied as human beings. Only the writer knows what the book should convey. Sometimes readers get it. Often they don't. And sometimes they get something that wasn't there.
Comment by Dana King on September 15, 2007 at 3:18am
The problem with comment from unknown sources is there's no way to qualify them. Even within a writers group where I am well-acquanited with the skills and tastes of each member, there are member I listen to more, and members to whom I'll pay heed more on some matters than others.

I suppose if 80% of the comments are consistent, that's something to pay attention to, but, as Jon says above, look for the middle and stay well clear of the outliers.

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