Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Death of Blog Comments and the Rise of the Commentosphere (??)

Something strange has been happening in the blogosphere--lots of people have noticed that blog comments aren't as plentiful as they used to be. This lead Robert Scoble to declare blog comments dead and Duncan Riley to say "no they're not, they're just someplace else"....like on Disqus, FriendFeed, etc...

This is something a Aldon Hynes and I recently discussed both online and off--we'd noticed something quite similar...and it's something that other friends have commented on in phone conversations....as in "where have all the bloggers gone?"

So, no longer can we judge a blog by its comments section--because depending on the blogger's involvements, the comments may be aggregating in other places.

8 comments:

Bill Dusty said...

Tish,

True... nearly all the comments to my stuff comes on forums where I post links (masslive, Topix, Google groups).

Mary E.Carey said...

This is fascinating. I haven't made the leap to forums yet myself. Thanks for keeping us posted on trends.

mike of concrete said...

I'm seeing more people leaving their comments on FriendFeed (didn't know about the other site you mentioned). It's an interesting trend because instead of every blog visitor being able to read the comments, only one's friends see them. It's another step in the splintering of things.

A lot of blogs get tons and tons of comments, only a few of which are worthwhile. I wonder if that's what is driving people to comment in more "friend group" places like Twitter and FriendFeed.

Not that you can fit much of a comment into Twitter, restricted to 140 characters to fit into an SMS.

Tish Grier said...

hey Mike...

yeah, if I were to comment via Twitter, I'd be really restricted...

The splintering's annoying but interesting...as someone on a list I'm on pointed out, it seems to her that things like twitter and friendfeed are full of white guys (not a great deal of diversity there) so I sit back and wonder about the level of hype of all that stuff...

which brings up Bill's point--about comments on other forums. He's hyperlocal--and that aspect then splinters the hyperlocal conversation...

Seems like the more tools we hve to communicate out here, there's the possibility that we might be communicating less (or in more of an echo chamber than blogs.)

Tish Grier said...

Mary! thanks for stopping by :-)

Paul Conley said...

Hi Tish,
I may be wrong, but I tend to think that the shift to closed-world comments (Twitter, etc.) is related to the surge in comments last year or so.
It seemed to me that back when we all started blogging, the comments tended to be more frequent and more likely to come from people we knew (or would come to know.) But eventually, the comments of nearly ever blog I read became filled with nonsense -- anonymous hate from imbeciles or poor marketing efforts from the "I wrote about the same thing on my blog crowd."
So what happened...at least to me... was that I sort of stopped reading comments on other blogs. Heck, I don't even read comments now on my very favorite blogs. And I don't think I'm alone there.
But what I do tend to read are the "comments" that the people I follow post on Twitter. So I've been able to recreate that community of people whose opinion interests me. The downside, of course, is that I'm less likely to stumble on to someone new and interesting.

Tish Grier said...

Hi Paul...very good points--and I've noticed similar things, like the rise in the level of sycophantic and spam-disguised-as-compliment types of comments on some blogs. It's like the conversation seems to be missing....

And I worry about the kind of closed loop you mention, where we're following only those people we know. If there were concerns about "echo chambers" before, what about now? The landscape is changing for sure.

btw, where are you on Twitter so I can follow?

Shel Horowitz, author, Principled Profit said...

It does mean fewer spams disguised as comments, though it seems I still get a fair amount of those. I have my comments set to moderated so this crap doesn't clutter up--but there are gray areas. I do approve most trackbacks, but I wish they showed up as a different category than comments, because they add nothing to the discourse.

When I get a particularly cogent comment on one of my social media communities, I'll go to my main blog and comment on the comment there, so my blog looks more lively. I'll reference that the comment appeared on Facebook, Plaxo, or wherever. But I get relatively few genuine comments.

Shel Horowitz
Blogging on the intersections of ethics, marketing, media, sustainability, and politics:
http://www.principledprofit.com/good-business-blog/