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Conversational Blogging

For a week I've had "Conversational Blogging" as a point I've wanted to make.  Has it really caught on?  Posted. WIP.....

First problem is how we define conversational blogging.  A nice article in the Guardian Secret of their success said:

The best blogs are written with conversation in mind, writes Steve Bowbrick I've noticed that good blogging is a kind of conversation. Not the literal, verbal conversation of a face-to-face encounter, but the give-and-take of an unconditional and open dialogue.

There's certainly a good degree of truth in it.  My question is for myself as well.  If Conversation Blogging is humming why do I see so few comments on mine or other blogs (except for the real noted ones)? What the reason for the reticence?  Why don't we comment more?  Are we reading them all though newsreaders? 

There have been some wonderful postings recently about blogging by Ton Ziljstra, Lilia Efimova.  So far I think I've seen none about the design and layout of the "Professional Blog". 

Have you really thought about the blog format that you are using today?  Most of us started blogging with standard templates.  So we follow the crowd.  Adding search functions, blogrolling, etc.  There is usually a few site links to a profile or contact details.  Most of these blogs also allow comments.  I don't see them getting many.  For the most part it doesn't go much further.  A quick link to the top 100 will give you a sense of the design practices (layouts) that are most common. 

This seems to be the current "professional blogging" paradigm the design or layout emerging from a "personal publishing" paradigm. This seems in start contrast to blogs I've seen in Live Journal or Blurty where comments on a friends postings are numerous.  Similarly with youth their blogging space provides the capability to add additional comment, communication and guestbook features to a site. 

Examples are: 

Guestmap, SignMyGuestbook, Zonkboard (a blabber board). various Sitemeters, geo sites like Geobytes  and more playfully imood:  (keep in touch with others moods).

I'm really thinking we must look at the "professional blog" formats really demonstrated by the Radio / MT professionals that have taken it up versus the 18/24 year old who has a substantially richer feedback environment and are using them not just to "tell the world". They also have friends and profile components.

Similarly when we thing about Knowlege Innovation I think the concept of value and knowlege flows is very relevant, however, are blog-centric views limiting perspective? Blogs are only one item on the personal dashboard and current conversational instrumentation is too limited. If the publishing projects are part of a personal ecosystems repository then capture, feedback, related comments, conversations can be captured by even non-writers.

For example the CEO asks many questions, others blog answers into his blog.... the CEO is then comment centric, more conversational with perhaps only periodic briefings which are more likely to be performance, policy, people, planning related. Effectively making the organization more transparent. Categorizing the CEO blog eg project categories, promotional announcements etc, competitive activity... (not sure this is right!)

Why toy with this idea? Power people and knowledge people may be different. Both need conversational space. Do blogs focus too much on the object - the post and not enough on the broader environment. If it is the latter then "newsreaders" and feedback are actually more important.

Comments (3)


You raise many interesting points. My experience is 'blog' dialog is weak by all accounts:

* the record is fragmented not easy to follow or aggregated.
* Bloggers tend to retreat to their enclaves and then reply. This is a very different form of reciprocity to dialog within the same 'container'.
* Strong personal opinions do not encourage extended dialog - good questions are the key.
* Most posts are message orientated rather than open exploration - this does not encourage 'conversation' and turn-taking

I'm struck by low number of blog posts that have replies - and after something is offerred, not many bloggers take the trouble to reply so the emergent thread dies.

Denham and Ton,
Thanks for you comments. You'll see I've returned to it in Conversational Blogging II.


Stuart, i did a google search on Conversational Blogging - didn't come up with much of value apart from the Guardian article. This seems to be a relatively unexplored yet potentially high value area, with many many potential applications for individuals, communities and corporations. I'm going to follow closely the changes you make on your blog that encourage conversations .. and possibly 'steal' some ideas!

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