Of all the wacky experiments that The Verge has conducted (Hack Week, On The Verge, and 60 Seconds), this is probably its best work yet. What I'm referring to is the conversation format that the site has decided to try in lieu of its traditional Best Of listicles. You can read what I can only hope is the first batch of many below:
- Why is the media so afraid of Facebook?
- Silicon Valley is confusing pseudo-science with innovation
- Streaming is making the music industry more unequal
Here's the thing about them, though. They read like transcripts of a podcast, and it's wonderful. We get hearsay all the time through articles and the Vergecast about these "conversations" and "heated discussions" that The Verge staff has about certain topics and issues, but they're always only alluded to. I can count on one hand the number of times that the site has posted a purely reactionary article directly from the editors mouths. While I don't think that something like the ever-expanding cast of the Vergecast will work well as a format, we have seen a user-acclaimed version of this before. It's the debate format:
There have been other great debate articles on this site before, but they are exceedingly difficult to find. Seriously, Verge, can we get a Debate or Conversation Piece identifier for these types of articles?
Both of these types of articles demonstrate a kind of critical thinking that I don't believe the single author articles necessarily force readers to do (rhetorical questions only go so far). Regardless of whether or not the other author takes an adversarial stance, even agreement forces a deeper understanding (and not just for the reader) of the article subject. Even though podcasts like What's Tech come across as more of an interview style, other podcasts like Control + Walt + Delete are so good (and thus so popular) because that interaction is there. It makes the content more identifiable to the audience, more personal. It's like listening to a really interesting conversation.
And I simply cannot stand waiting for more of them.