This Time, They’ve Gone Too Far

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Interactivity, two-way communication, community building…it’s all good stuff. But sometimes, you have to wonder if the ability to do something means you should.

My first impression of the new blog tool Mobber was favorable, mainly because the fact that it does what it does is cool. There are two parts to the Mobber equation. As a blogger, you add a bit of javascript to your blog’s template. As a reader of blogs, you create a profile and upload a picture of yourself. Now, whenever you visit a Mobber-enabled blog (one that has that bit of javascript), your picture will appear along with those of any other readers with Mobber profiles who happen to be reading the same blog at the same time.

Now, you can view the profiles of those other readers and click to chat with them. I’m just not sure I’d want to be interrupted for a chat while I’m reading blog posts. And can you imagine what might happen to an A-lister who happens to be perusing a blog with his picture showing? How many chats would readers initiate with Robert Scoble or Michael Arrington? And, given that A-listers probably wouldn’t make themselves available for such chats, who’s left? Anybody you’d want to chat with? Maybe, if you viewed a profile and found someone interesting. But looking for conversation or making new friends just isn’t part of my agenda when I’m reading blog posts.

Besides, blogs already come with a way to engage with the blogger and other readers. It’s called “comments,” and it’s asynchronous, a characteristic I appreciate. I can engage when it’s convenient for me, which is preferable to an interruption while trying to read a post.

You do have to login to appear on a Mobber slider, so if you don’t have to be available for chats if you don’t want to be. But since I’d probably never log in, I don’t see the point in creating a profile. And I just don’t care who else is reading a blog at the same moment I am. Maybe others do, and if so, I wish the folks behind Mobber all the success in the world. It is cool, as you’ll see when you visit the Mobber site (which also lists the top 10 “mobbed” site).

What do you think? Should blogs double as platforms for real-time chats?

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Shel Holtz is principal of Holtz Communication + Technology which focuses on helping organizations apply online communication capabilities to their strategic organizational communications.

As a professional communicator, Shel also writes the blog a shel of my former self.

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