Conversation Fragmentation: Bloggers Have Duties

Comment Fragmentation There’s been a lot of controversy surrounding conversation fragmentation, these are my thoughts on the duties that we as bloggers have to ensure that we give others their due respect.

What is Conversation Fragmentation?

Sarah Perez of both the Grand Effect blogging network and Read/WriteWeb wrote an article on her blog Sarah In Tampa entitled “The Conversation Has Left the Blogosphere.” Perez talks about all the various ways the new lifestreaming and aggregating services have moved the conversation off of blogs and onto other services that allow for commentary within a reader’s social circle. This about sums up what conversation fragmentation is all about: the movement of conversation from the original article to other services.

If you want to know a few reasons why it’s so controversial see my article entitled “@Social Aggregators: Give Me My Comments Back“, Frederic of The Last Podcast’s articled, “The Next Frontier: Comments“, or Allen Stern of CenterNetwork’s article, “There. Everywhere. But Here.”

A Blogger’s Duty

As a blogger, I will be making a conscious effort to post my thoughts on the original article before I post my thoughts on FriendFeed. I think bloggers have a duty to do this out of simple respect for other bloggers. It’s something we’d very much appreciate someone else doing for us and if we’re to stick to the “Golden Rule”, we need to do it too. I am not all that concerned about the number of comments I get, but those that are valuable, I wish I didn’t have to go digging through FriendFeed or piece together in Twitter. I would want those comments here, where I think they belong the most.

I will still contribute to conversations on FriendFeed and Twitter, but the origin of whatever the topic may be will be the first place that I speak my mind and I hope my peers and those within my field will make an effort to do the same.

This is in no way, shape, form, or fashion, a call for the stop of comments within your own personal circle on a network. Keep those conversations going! It’s a great way to get more feedback and also keep up to date on the conversation in a way that’s a bit of a hassle to do on a blog. It’s also a great way to find new people with similar interests.

Consequently, it’s just as beneficial as it is inconvenient. It’s making a lot of us lazy and not allowing the most valuable person of the conversation to hear your thoughts: the author.

Do We Need To Be In Every Conversation?

In response to Larry Dignan’s post on ZDNet,”Do you have to be in every conversation?”:

No, we don’t. We don’t because we can’t be. However, I would like to be in every conversation that pertains to ME! Call it selfish, arrogant, narcissistic; call it what you want. I want to know what’s being said about things that are relevant to me and I do want to participate in it.

Answers to Larry Dignan’s Questions

1. When do you have a conversation for real?
– Whenever you open your mouth and the other person replies.

2. When do you play with your kids?
– I don’t have any, but I play with my friends whenever I feel like it. I’m not obligated to do so, unlike a parent. Though, I’m sure those who are parents on Twitter make time for their kids. All the mommy bloggers on Twitter talk about their kids all the time! Not that I have a problem with this. Just pointing out that parents do make time for their kids and I’m sure they’re their number one priority, not commenting on everything.

3. Is everyone so busy Twittering and tracking 140 character ramblings that you forget it’s sunny outside?
– I get weather updates all the time from the people who I’m following that stay in Atlanta. In fact, I didn’t know about the Tornado that hit Atlanta until I got on Twitter. Plus, I set up my laptop at the kitchen table which is right next to the back doors. There’s also a window to my left. I like sunlight, so I open the blinds before I even touch my laptop. Plus, I take smoke breaks, so I’m well aware of the weather.

4. If you boiled down the comments on all of these services how many are truly valuable?
– All and none. Everyone has their two cents, whether it’s wrong or right. YOU assign the value to these comments.

5. What exactly are we striving to keep up with?
– Conversations about things that are relevant to us.

6. What’s wrong with the sound of silence?
– Nothing, but then my own thoughts will begin to intrude. I’m working on that. This is the internet, there’s nothing silent about it otherwise we probably wouldn’t get on it.

7. What’s the threshold between “neat service” and “waste of my time?”
– See the last sentence in question #4 and twist it to fit this question.

8. Would a better filter be to just decline the latest newfangled Web 2.0 service and be a lackadaisical follower?
– Hardly. You can follow the crowd or have it follow you. Plus, you’ll never know the value of certain things until you try them. You could counter this with the last sentence in question #4, but then I’d say, how can you assign value without taking a peek at the service? You need to see those comments or whatever it may be in order to assign a value.

Corvida Raven

A natural pioneer at grasping the rapidly changing landscape of technology, Corvida Raven talks tech in plain English on