Phil Sim

Web, media, PR and… footy

Who owns the conversation?

Stowe Boyd would have to be peeved wouldn’t he? The blog press fawns over Edgio but gives 3Bubbles which Stowe is an advisor to the big thumbs down. Matthew Ingram, Peter Cashmore and others all say that blogs don’t generate enough traffic to sustain a chat board.

These bloody, narky bloggers…

They’re not wrong, but it’s also worth considering that maybe blogs don’t have enough traffic because they don’t have these kinds of capabilities. The issue with RSS and particularly aggregators is that they cruel your returning traffic. You no longer go through the front door like you used to, you enter via which ever side door might take your fancy on that day, if indeed, any does.

When you don’t have a steady stream of returning traffic it means that the only way you get hits is with appealing content. And as Scott Karp pointed out this last week, that’s actually a really, really difficult thing to maintain.

What the blogosphere needs to do is try and build micro-communities. That is you’ll find a blog that very minutely reflects your particular sense of humour, philosophical outlooks, interests and so you’ll visit the blog regularly to participate in that community.
The problem is aggregators are increasingly owning the conversation as well being the gatekeeper. If you have a look at Digg, many posts will receive dozens, even hundreds of comments when the original post barely receives any.

So, it was notable that the 3Bubbles doubtcasters both opined that the service could work on a big site like TechCrunch or memeorandum, which would be another move towards centralising the conversation. That’s kind of ironic on a day where Edgio is making headlines and we’re all supposed to be moving towards the edge.

I can’t see why 3Bubbles can’t work on any blog that has any sort of community behind it. It doesn’t have to be big, it just has to be a stimulating, valuable community of people whose interactions add value to the community member’s existence. What I really hope to see is more tools like 3Bubbles that make blogs more participatory in themselves. Then you’ll start to see some true micromedia sites and you’ll open up far greater potential for bloggers to monetise their activities.

Filed under: Blogs

2 Responses

  1. I actually think you might be right, Phil — in the sense that 3bubbles could help to build community around a blog. I’m just not sure there are that many opportunities in that department — and more than anything, I’m not sure how you build a viable business on that. But then, I guess you could say the same about a lot of Web 2.0 companies. Anyway, I suppose we’ll have to wait and see — I could still be convinced 🙂

  2. Brent Ashley says:

    It’s not for everyone, but there are plenty of people who use their blogs in such a way that having a chat attached to it works for them.

    After first experimenting with blog-based chat in 2002, I’ve been running BlogChat for four years now and during that time many users have come and gone. Most keep it up for a week or a month and then move on, some have used it regularly for years.

    I suspect it will be somewhat like my experience with Remote Scripting (precursor to Ajax), which despite its merit and long history caused very little stir for years until the Ajax juggernaut came along to leverage a particular tipping-point.

    Some day, arrival of a 3Bubbles or a Campfire will push the collective psyche over the edge and everyone will be clamouring for blog-based chat in some form or another.

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