Tuesday, August 07, 2007

What If They Threw A Web Chat With Joel Stein, And No One Showed Up?



L.A. Times columnist Joel Stein recently ran a tongue-in-cheek contest to see whether the unpaid blogging masses could come up with a column just as decent or even better than the ones he pens under the paper's dime.

He found a few -- and in honor of the competish, the L.A. Times' website decided to hold a web chat with Stein to talk about the winners.

One problem: pretty much no one showed up.

Guess web chats are just too 1997 for LATimes.com readers. Or maybe Joel Stein's too 2001. (I'm still at least grateful he brought "Battle of the Network Stars" back to TV, on Trio, for one weekend.)

A few excerpts from the web chat, chronicled here:

Moderator1: This must mean the silent masses were in total agreement with Stein. They have nothing to add...

Moderator1: I knew I should have arranged a few ringers ahead of time.

Joel Stein: I knew we shouldn't have done this. Bail or run out the clock? I'm going with JetBlue either way.

Moderator1: We've got 14 minutes. Let's run out the clock.

Moderator1: Maybe the people don't actually want interactivity.

Joel Stein: Didn't I write a column saying that?

...

troll: was the experiment a success or failure, or is this not applicable

Moderator1: I had a physics teacher who said no experiment is a failure because you always learn something.

Moderator1: Still, I like to think of this one as a failure.

troll: i failed physics this summer

Joel Stein: I had a physics teacher that said to never agree to do a chat.

troll: seriously is the LA times still investing in doing more of these things

Moderator1: Yeah, they've had chats on a bunch of topics since we started doing them.

Moderator1: I don't know if they're all fiascos...

troll: heh

They kept the chat going for 15 minutes... but all was not lost for Stein, who used the time wisely: Checking Jet Blue flights in another browser window.

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