These days, writers invite personal involvement and intensity from their readers. In direct proportion to the way in which they share their personalities (or for-consumption personalities), their everyday lives, their football teams and word counts, their partners and children and cats, it encourages in readers a sense of personal connection and access, and thus an entitlement to comment, complain, recommend cat food, feel betrayed, shriek invective, issue demands: "George, lose weight, dammit!"And sometimes, the authors or their fans sic fans on other people, such as harsh critics or negative reviewers (such as when Stephen King made cutting remarks about Twilight author Stephenie Meyer).
Kay concludes that authors may simply have to put up with this kind of backlash as a price of building a blogging community, and they may in the end have no choice but to build a community—blogging is addictive, and it may be the only form of promotion authors with little marketing support from their publishers have available.
Another point Kay did not bring up is that even as community-building brings authors and readers together, their geographical separation via the Internet and relative anonymity can lead people to behave on-line in ways that they never would in person. I doubt many of the fans who complained about Martin’s age and weight would dare do so to his face.
This kind of thing always takes me back to that line from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: “To summarize the summary of the summary: people are a problem.”