Phil Sim

Web, media, PR and… footy

I’ve had better conversations with corpses

Look, I’m partially converted. When I started this blog, I was 70% sceptic, 30% enthusiast in regard to the potential and power of the blogosphere. These days, I’d just about flip those percentages.

Still, every now and again, I like to stand back and then run headlong into a brick wall (metaphorically speaking, of course) just to knock some perspective back into me. Tonight, I thought you’d like to join me. No helmets allowed though, it defeats the purpose.

OK, let’s back right up. Probably about 20 metres or so will do. Most of you probably aren’t as fit as you used to be. So let’s take a look at what’s out there in memeworld tonight.

Stowe Boyd invents the “Conversation Index“, basically divide the number of posts by the number of comments and trackbacks. He reckons the index has to show up at less than one for a blog to thrive. Everyone reckons it’s all about the conversation.
Over to our right there, there’s a bit of talk about this new aggregator, no sorry, apparently we’ve not used up our new Web 2.0 buzzword quota this month and it’s now a “memetracker“. Sorry, about that. Anyway, it’s called Megite and it’s ok, but not as good as memeorandum. But more to the point, all these new memetrackers are top stuff because the assist in the flow of conversation.

That’s enough looking around. If you stand back and look for too long, you just get dizzy and then nausea sets in and you don’t feel like running. So let’s just run with these two snippets, ok?

Right, this next part is simple. Just run. Pin your ears back and put the pedal down.

You see when you run, you get your blood circulating. If you sit around in the blogosphere for too long, your blood is slowly diluted by the all the Kool Aid you’re forced to drink. So go on, run. You’ll feel your mind start to clear.

For example, you might start to think. Hey, one post per blog. That’s not much of a conversation. You ever got on to the phone to your mate said “Hey dude, how you going?”. Then your mate says “Cool, righteous brother, life’s a blast”. And then you both hang up. Because apparently, that’s enough of a conversation. Are we delusional here. You try and tell me it’s all about the “conversation” and at one comment per blog post, we’re doing just fine!

Next thing you might notice now that your mind if working again, is that you start to remember the days before the Web got an upgrade. Remember, those things called forums. I bet they didn’t say one reply per thread made a great forum site. Pffft. In terms, of “conversation”, blogs don’t even come close to the consistent cut and thrust you generate on a really good Forum.

Okay, you’re starting to sweat now as the wall begins to loom large. That’s good. You’re breathing, things are starting to make sense. You think about the traffic you’ve been getting from memeorandum lately. Remember, that day your post made it to the top of memeorandum. Hundreds of hits. But then yesterday, you got listed as being part of the conversation of the top meme and a grand total of six hits flowed through. Why? Because even on memeorandum, nobody’s got time or the inclination to click on all those bloody links. So the part of the conversation, that most anybody generally listens to, is the one post that memeorandum has decided is top of the pops. And my wife thinks that I’m bad at conversation!
Oh and as for the traffic that flows through from other blogs. Pffft. Barely, a ripple. And half the time that anyone does actually join in the conversation, it’s more like chinese whispers, because noone really took the time to properly understand what you wanted to say.

You’re about to hit the wall now. I find it’s good to shut your eyes just before impact and just let your mind go. Insights will tend to rush in and fill the void. You might for example, muse over how the top post on this new Megite site is Interview with Gabe Rivera, founder of Memeorandum . That meme runs all the way down the page and then we get a couple of deviations that lead us to the Stowe Boyd post I referred to earlier.

Ever notice how all the best conversations are about how great the conversations are?


Hey, I didn’t say it wouldn’t hurt. You’re heads probably pounding as you face up to the fact that this “conversation” that all of us bloggers are so fond of latching onto, is barely a whisper. It’s staccato and fragmented. Inaudible to almost all but those with their ears pinned almost permantently to the door. But don’t worry. Throw back an aspirin and wash it down with another cup of Kool Aid. The bruising will dissapear in a couple of days and all will be right with the blogosphere again.

BTW, Squash’ Conversation Index is running at about .32. Not as good as Go Flock Yourself, of course, but according to Stowe, that must mean this blog has legs. Yee-haw, give me some more of that Kool Aid.

Filed under: Blogs

6 Responses

  1. Zoli's Blog says:

    Tracking the COMPLETE CONVERSATION – Part 3

    (Updated)Stowe Boyd introduces the concept of the Conversational Index:“…successful blogs — ones that were currently viable and vibrant, and those that were on a growth trajectory from their start — shared a common characteristic: The ratio betwe…

  2. bobmorris says:

    Hmmm, Talking Points Memo,, a major liberal blog doesn’t even have comments, and they do fine.

    Other blogs, like mine, Politics in the Zeros,, are activist-oriented. Yapping is good, doing is better.

  3. […] * Note: There’s a bit of talk about this new aggregator, no sorry, apparently we’ve not used up our new Web 2.0 buzzword quota this month Squash […]

  4. Thanks for that catharsis! I needed that.

    When somebody says “It’s about conversations!” I always want to barf. It’s more of a battle cry than a reality. You’re right, forums are about conversations, and do it much better.

    The worst part is that by saying “It’s about conversations” the bloggers are doing themelves a disservice. Conversations are so ordinary compared to the educated, highly-scrutinized debate we see on blogs. Bloggers are a self-aware, highly critical crowd. That means if you make a post, and you yearn to have it read, you need to be prepared for the bullets. You need to check your facts.

    Instead of “It’s about convesations!”, they should be saying “It’s about high-quality elitist journalistic forensics!”

    OK, um. Maybe that lacks spark.

  5. […] Squash has clearly spent too long repeatedly clicking on his WordPress blog stats. But wait – we think there’s some good can actually come of this. You’ll just have to excuse us, while we go out and run into a brick wall again. […]

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