I started blogging three years ago this month. It was a fantastic environment where you had your own “bully pulpit” … a place where you were in charge, you had the mic, and you could say whatever you wanted.
I soon learned that bloggers had quite the ego. They used their bully pulpit to talk about boring stuff (that we were supposed to be interested in) as well as though leadership or subject matter expert stuff. Bloggers had enough rope to hang themselves with – and some did. Others became fantastically popular (Seth, Guy, Michael, Chris Brogan), and even internet celebrities.
One of the most empowering, ego-feeding things for a blogger is the comments – or, NUMBER of comments. When someone leaves a comment on your blog it means (a) you have readers (aside from your momma), and (b) you touched someone intellectually to the point they wanted to weigh in.
Getting comments on a blog fed a blogger’s ego like Golden Coral feeds a hungry boy scout. There are even bragging rights associated with getting comments.
Read a blog that doesn’t get comments? You might just be the only reader of that blog. Obviously, a blog with a few comments (if there are consistently a few), or dozens, or hundreds, or even tens of thousands, really validated the blogger.
And fed their ego.
Fast forward a bit and we come to the evolution, or perhaps the problem (if your ego is tied to your comments): the introduction of other social platforms where discussion can happen.
For example, three years ago I might have written a thought-provoking post and gotten 15 comments on the blog post – my ego is fed, I’m validated, and everyone knows I’m a force to be reckoned with.
Today, however, it’s different. I write a blog post, and tweet a link to my Twitter followers. I get NO comments on the blog.
But my tweet gets RT’d 6 times.
And 4 people reply to my tweet with their thoughts.
And 7 people comment on my “status” on Facebook, since my Tweets become my Facebook Status.
There are two problems with this scenerio:
The first problem is artificial… it isn’t really a problem, although it crushes the blogger’s ego. If you get no comments on the blog, you start to look like a chump… right? What happened to all of those validating comments? Maybe you should QUIT BLOGGING?
You might have heard that blogs are dying (they aren’t!)… I think people who see the conversation go elsewhere wonder why they still blog and are somehow convincing themselves they should follow the discussion (as it travels through various platforms), as opposed to continue to initiate the discussion (on their blog). I think this is a shortsighted mistake.
The second problem is what really irks me. It is that someone who reads my blog post WILL NOT get the benefit of the wisdom of the crowd.
I try and write my blog posts from my perspective, and always wonder what other smarter folks would say – either agreeing or disagreeing – I don’t care their position, but I do want to get a well-rounded discussion.
It’s no one’s fault, but when people respond a little bit here (Twitter) and a little bit there (Facebook), and even in Facebook they respond on the Wall and/or the Notes section, the conversation is fragmented, and NO ONE can follow it, except me.
It makes me sad that the wisdom of the crowd gets lost amongst the platforms, and no one else can get the value of the conversation.
Are blogs dying? No. But there is an interesting evolution of where and how the conversation happens…. and this is an evolution that hasn’t been fun to watch 🙁