Blogging is text oriented, but imagine a site that allows visitors to easily identify and discuss selected portions of posted texts.  The comments are visible when other visitors select the text portions commented on. My AP students are using it to analyze rhetorical strategies of short passages, such as the Gettysburg Address and my favorite “I went to the woods” paragraph in the second chapter of Thoreau’s Walden.

Want to try it?  I’ve created a Gettysburg Address page just for us.  You can see my sample comments by clicking “dedicated” and “Now we are engaged” in the address.  Highlight some text and click the comment button to the left of the text to record your own responses to that text.  The comments are threaded, too, so discussions can develop around a single word or phrase in the posted text. It’s like Google Docs, but more like blogging meets Google Docs.

(If you’re reading this on my blog’s home page, you may want to click this post’s title to experience a wider version of the field.)

Try mousing over the embed’s buttons — a nice selection. And the people are very friendly. They responded to (and solved) a technical issue I emailed them about within an hour on a weekend.

A friend of mine and I opened another account for an online writers’ group we started.  It just feels extra stupid to say, “Nice post.  You writing here changed my life.  Keep up the good writing!” and the like.  You almost have to get specific.