There are times when I think that blogging challenges us in ways we don’t realize. There is an underlying current that is moving and often, many bloggers aren’t moving with it. I think it is often attributable to poor blog hosting services. Blogging is part of the social interaction that is Web 2.0 (duh, no kidding…), however, I think that some blogs are clinging to styles of traditional print media and certain blog hosts aren’t helping the matter.
Maybe I should be more specific.
A print article is material presented somewhat conclusively. Once the article goes to print, the writer is, in a sense, virtually dead. Granted, he/she can write another article, but there is no real guarantee that all of the users/readers are going to make the connection between one article and another. Likewise, any additional commentary (by the writer or anyone else), clarification, changes, etc. made are not naturally (hmmm… perhaps I should say… organically?) connected. Regretfully, we can’t string print articles together using the hyperlink technology we enjoy on the Web.
Now, take the blog post…
A blog post is material presented in a fluid & organic manner. Granted, the blog writer can look at what he/she writes in a post as “conclusive,” but he/she shouldn’t continue to fool himself/herself (that is, unless the blogger has a rather heavy hand in the obstruction of comments). In the hypertext world, with the addition of comments, the narrative of the original post is no longer the “artifact.” The post and all comments made to the post are part of the artifact… and, as long as the blog writer (or someone else in the absence of the initial blog writer) continues the blog, a post continues to thrive indefinitely, almost like a living organism, but in a time-collapsed bubble. Trackbacks/pingbacks and other things also contribute to the lifespan of the blog post. The blog writer, in new posts or in comments in his/her blog or in another blog, can continue to link back (whether that be hyperlinks, pingbacks/trackbacks) to the original post, feeding the old post with new information and perspectives as well as infusing new posts, etc. with the information from the old post.
Ok, let me get to the point…
Many of us have WordPress and, by far, it’s leaving many other blog hosts in the dust. Blogger is a fine example of where there is a failure with respect to hypertext theory and the dynamics (and organic-type/natural informational linkage) of Web 2.0. This seems rather weird since Blogger was among the first to jump into the world of blog hosting. Nevertheless, well… let me give an example… WordPress’ers can make a comment on a blog hosted by Blogger, but there is no nifty box at the end of a comment box in the Blogger hosted blogs that helps to keep us updated on additional comments made to the post. That’s just lame. The blogger’s “trail” is not in his/her blog posts alone, but in comments made on his/her site and on other sites. Whatever a blogger writes is part of the blogger’s explanation of positions, and, for the most part, all relates back to something a blogger wrote in his/her own blog.
Yet, when we make a comment to a post in a Blogger blog, we have no idea when there are any responses unless we continue to visit the post on a regular basis. Frankly, for one, this gives Blogger bloggers a poor sense on visitation to their blog, but that’s probably worth another post. Another issue with Blogger is that there are no trackbacks/pingbacks and that stinks because we, in WordPress-land, have no idea when someone in Blogger land creates a hyperlink from their world to ours. There are more issues, but these are just a couple of the most basic that continue to fail the theories behind hypertext.
On the other hand, when we use WordPress as bloggers and make a comment on another WordPress blog, we have several affordances that keep our blog and our comments alive. We make comments, click the correct box, and we are notified via email when someone else has commented on the same blog post. Trackbacks/pingbacks are also in effect (if we click the appropriate button) and nurture the commentary we and others make in the bigger world that is the Web.
The only issue I have with WordPress right now is that it should develop something where we can keep track, on our blog, of our comments elsewhere. After all, it’s all part of our trail of thoughts as bloggers.
Bottom line… the Web is about linking, some blog hosts have made this a more natural act… and some are failing… still stuck in the traditional practice of print…