Marc Andreessen has been posting some very thoughtful and helpful blog stuff since his recent blogmeistering debut, and today’s post about his lessons from five weeks of blogging is no exception – it’s a great article about why blogging matters a lot more than most people realize, and why we have a lot of work to do to improve the sport.
The most provocative idea is something I’ve been puzzling over for some time – how can blogging evolve from the current form to one where the conversations are more interactive and equal, and can more actively include non-bloggers? I don’t mean equal in the sense everybody gets equal space or attention or time, rather in the sense that great comments on blogs are now relegated to far too low a status. Many “A list” bloggers hardly comment at all unless they are attacked or challenged, making it too difficult to get a spirited conversation going about many of the most important topics.
Marc has even stopped the comments at his blog due to junk comments and spam. Understandable but unfortunate because I’m less likely to read posts when I can’t get in my 2 cents in the comments. Trackbacks are good for people like me with blogs, but unless the topic is something I’m really interested in I won’t want to do a whole post about Marc’s interest du jour.
So, what is the solution to creating better blog engagement for all? I still think it’s some form of hybrid between blogging and forums where topics evolve through participation and then all participants have simple ways to engage in the conversation, and if necessary to disengage from spurious comments.
Gabe at Techmeme solves some of these problems by having his routine choose “newsworthy” items and then showing other blogs that have linked to the main posts. This allows ‘second tier’ blogs to be featured along with the ‘top tiers’, helping to showcase the value of the topic and the conversation that surrounds it.
Technorati, the brilliant blog search engine, brings a lot to the table but to my way of thinking has not really solved the key challenge of blog conversational engagement. Technorati APIs may have created the groundwork for the perfect application and perhaps Dave himself will develop the “golden mean” approach to navigate the blogs and the conversations that surround them.