Jun 122006

Naked Talking

Naked Talking

Naked Conversations:  How Blogs Are Changing The Way Businesses Talk with Consumers, by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel, would have been mildly interesting had I never read, let alone written, a blog.  So chances are if youre reading this blog regularly, its not a great use of your time or money, but if you just ran across this post while trying to learn more about blogging or really about any form of post-2002 Internet marketing its probably worthwhile as a primer. But if youre knee-deep in internet marketing or blogging, it may be a bit of a snoozer.

I find it entertaining that leading bloggers like Scoble and Israel, who are part of the ultra-small group of hardcore bloggers, as they describe, that posts 50 times a day, mostly at 4 a.m., think blogs are really conversations.  Dont get me wrong, I believe that blogs are revolutionary in that they allow anyone to run his or her own printing press.  I also think its critical for companies to have corporate blogs (Return Path had one of the first), for CEOs and other executives to blog (obviously I do), for companies to allow their employees to blog relatively unencumbered by corporate policy, and, perhaps most important, for companies to track and listen to what others who blog are saying about them and their products.

But lets not get too caught up in our own euphoria as bloggers to think that whats happening is actually a conversation the way we humans think of conversations.  Blogging allows more people to have their voices heard, and it certainly allows for transparency and authenticity, as the authors say, but theres almost never dialog.  Many popular blogs dont have comments at all.  Those who do allow comments have few if any posted.  And those who have comments posted rarely have any other readers who actually see the comments, since the blog is a publishing forum and RSS is a publishing format, neither is a truly interactive medium like chat.

Im sure there are some blogs that have active commenters, particularly political ones, and hopefully someone, somewhere, reads and internalizes those comments when theyre relevant. And certainly, high circ bloggers who read and know each other participate in a dialog by talking AT each other via their blog postings, not via comments (meaning that for the dialog to make sense to the greater world, the greater world must read all blogs participating in a conversation.). But, please, lets not pretend there is really a 20-million-way conversation happening.

  • http://ben.casnocha.com Ben Casnocha

    I disagree that most popular blogs don’t allow comments, but I do agree on the more important point that “conversation” as it’s used regularly does not apply accurately to blogland. There are exceptions — there was a bona fide conversation on my blog about indie bookstores (40+ comments in total), but most are one way. One thing i learned through taht genuine blog conversation was that the technology really made it tough. If the tech infrastructure around “Commenting” got improved, it’d be much easier to truly have a two way dialogue.

  • New Visitor

    Hi!

    Of topic but…

    This is my first visit to your blog and it looks interresting. The problem is. The text is too small. Impossible to read.

    It would be (much more) readable if the font size was similar to the comment font size.

  • http://nursinghomeguy.blogspot.com/ Matt Maupin

    To add to Ben’s comments, often the “conversation” may not be in a traditional Q&A format, but rather guide readers to alternate forums where they can find more information or carry on the conversation somewhere else.

    I just finished “Naked Conversations” and while I agree that with you that blogs are turning into glorified web pages , it definitely changes the way we communicate, especially those of us using in-house blog tools.

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