I’m with Louis

April 13, 2008

There has been a lot of talk lately about the “fractured feed reader” which can be summed up as from Dave Winers post here (and since he kind of started this whole thing I think his point of view matters):

This week’s Bitchmeme is about comments on blogs and where they belong, on the blog, or on an aggregator. For example, when this item is viewed through FriendFeed they will allow comments on it over there and I’ll probably miss them unless I go look for them. I will certainly miss the comments on Shyftr which I have never heard of until today and have never used, but from what I hear it does the same thing. Is this a good or bad thing? Well if you like to know what people think it’s bad. If you ask a question in a post, as I often do, you might miss some good info.

While I can understand how someone would prefer conversation about a piece of content they wrote remain in the context of the content (in this case a blog post) I think that there is one fundamental problem. The medium for “conversation” around a blog post is poor.  Mikull and I have been discussing this off line recently and we feel that there is a significant difference in the way people use tools to have a conversation.

He has had a raging battle with his site visitors about the potential removal of his forums.  For various reasons the forums have become a bit too much work and present a road block with future growth for his site.  However, as you can see here they are an important part of many peoples lives.

The main focus here is that the blog is just not a good way to follow a conversation.  Additionally, it is difficult to find a blog that doesn’t turn into a flame war fairly quickly.  That is why places like Twitter and FriendFeed are so important.  It is where the conversation is happening.  It has become the new medium and it makes sense.

If I read a post on a blog that I think is important and I want my friends and I to have a discussion about this – I don’t post a response to the blog.  First I can’t guarantee that my friends will go there and follow me in the discussion and Second – who sits on a blog page all day hitting refresh waiting for someone to make a new post.  At least with the message board I can get an e-mail notification when there is an update.

With twitter I can post the link – make my short and concise comments (who has time to read fifty 400 line responses to a blog) and then let twitter notify me when my friends have something to say.  The difficult part of this (and where I feel there is a tremendous amount of opportunity) – and why I think Eric Berlin may be irked is how do we capture this conversation.  We can’t force the conversation to remain on the blog site simply because that is the easiset way to “archive” the conversation.  We need a meta-sphere application that follows the conversation or connects the dots.

Any python developers out there =)

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3 Responses to “I’m with Louis”

  1. Louis Gray Says:

    I’m also with Louis. He and I agree often. 🙂

    I hadn’t considered the options for flame wars. In my opinion, most flame wars are best triggered by anonymous posters on topics with two clear, competing sides. The blog is the author’s brand. It can be the starting point for the topic at hand, and the starting point for the conversation, but it clearly is no longer the end point. I still follow the “old” metrics of unique visitors/page views/comments per month, and track that, but it’s just as important now to track FriendFeed or Twitter followers, and to monitor or engage with new sites that offer new ways to communicate with our peers.

  2. notronwest Says:

    Louis,

    I am sure that it is a lot of work to follow all of that conversation. An additional issue here (and why I feel there needs to be a connection here) is history. When we look back and a topic is being researched for discussion – how will they find the true reaction to someone’s statement. Especially because many of the services may not be around.

  3. mikull Says:

    Community through conversational interest and relevance – even moderated – is an amazing idea.

    Take the wordpress posts and replies, the tweets – maybe some facebook posts or popular blog conversations, and create a social conversation every time people start talking. a community people are a part of, automatically, simply by having expressed ideas on the web, from a board like mine to replies on 9 rules or AICN.

    This is a golden idea!


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