Blog Talk: Conversation Does NOT Need Comments

    May 11, 2005

I see blogs as tools for conversation and personality in enterprise communications. On an abstract level of discussion most bloggers probably agree…

… but what exactly is conversation? How do we do it? The most frequent answer is “comments”, but that’s a way too simplified and shallow answer. Links are the fundamental conversational tool.

First let me say, though, I like comments. I write two blogs and both are possible to comment on — you can trash this post totally right here and now. Or applaud it. But even if you couldn’t, this post would still be part of the conversation. I’m writing this, you see, because Naked Conversations the other day wrote this: If blogs are about open conversations, how can you turn off comments and claim its a blog?

Noticed that? I linked to their post. If Shel is interested in the conversation about what he wrote, he will find my views about it in an hour or so via both Technorati and Bloglines, for example.

That’s conversation too (that we really need better tools to track conversations is another story).

We could get all technical here, talking about TrackBack and Pingback perhaps. But that’s not my point. My point is that the basis of conversation is linking. Links are the primary tool for us to talk. We obviously don’t have to bother about tracking. If a blogger links to the major dailies (and they’re generally not interested in talking at all) with some remarks about the news, the blogger has added conversational content to the Web. And that’s blogging too — with or without comments, with or without tracking.

In summary: Blogging is about conversation. Comments is a very good tool to strenghten conversation, but the fundamental tool is linking. Defining blogs from a “comments or no comments”-perspective is nothing but a way of making blogs a less profound change of communication than they are.

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Fredrik Wacka is the author and founder of the popular CorporateBlogging.Info blog which is a guide to business and corporate blogging.

Visit Fredrik Wacka’s blog: CorporateBlogging.Info.