The Heart of a Conversation

You have perhaps noticed the recent template back-forthing at Gaizabonts. And if you are reading the blog at the site, then you have perhaps noticed that it has reverted to its original. Well, the second original. Or something like it.

In the times of reading blogs off RSS readers, how does it matter – the skin and the template? Unless you choose to comment, you hardly ever visit a blog. (Unless you use RSSBandit, which allows you to even comment from your reader!) Only a half-feed forces you to go to the blog, if at all, to read the other half.

How does appearance matter then? You are on the chat, you are on a blog, on Facebook, or Twittering away or using some such Web 2.0 contraption. No one sees the appearance. The presentation layer is missing. Is that (also) the reason most Web 2.0 sites are bereft of visual design elements?

I don’t visit many blogs at their blog address – this has been the pattern for sometime. However, I read more blogs now, than I did before. Only since I have moved to the Mac, I have started visiting blogs, if I have to comment, i.e. (RSS Bandit folks, you listening? We need a Mac version!)

It is almost easy to believe that people don’t read your blog anymore. Almost easy to believe that your readership index is lesser than before.

I doubt, if that’s the case.

The comments, you say, the comments must be indicators of readership. Yes, to an extent. But most of the times there isn’t much to be said. After a while, you get used to a person’s writing (or get bored with the sameness and such). Either way, there isn’t enough motivation to comment, especially if you know that a comment like, “wow, wonderfully written!” won’t be quite appreciated. Obviously, I am not talking of topical blogs where every other person wants to be heard and has a right to express with gay abandon.

Recently, Amit confessed that his Fine Imbalance needed a balancing act, he called it “TLC for the blog”. Then there is the dilemma that most bloggers go through which was well captured by EU, when delirium struck! The last three comments on the post by Abaniko, Jolvin and The Phish are very interesting in this context. Phish suggests a theory that boredom is the one that breaks the backbone of the better bloggers. In a way, lower readership and lesser comments are a good sign for a better blogger – they are perhaps tidings of the good times that once were?

Elsewhere, motivated by the thoughts of some bright folks, I went down the route of extending the thought of enabling conversations, through technology. Wishful-technology-thinking, you might call it. While the technology itself may be made available to ensure tracking conversations, human will is at the centre of it all. How often you visit a blog, how well you read a post and therefore how well you respond is key.

Most of us think we don’t know how and what to respond – a factor of how well we read and relate to what we read. If we know the blogger well, we might take comprehension for granted – that we understand what the blogger is saying. Like EU says:

I like people visiting my blog. Making blog friends is killing the interaction on my blog. I don’t like that.

Attention spans are shrinking, and though it shouldn’t be the case, our ability to ponder over a thought and respond well, is diminishing even further.

Here’s to better conversations, whether in a coffee shop or a cyber cafe!

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7 thoughts on “The Heart of a Conversation

  1. 1. I am going to take credit, in making me come to your blog. Getting a glimpse of EU linked at that caught my attention. I have been making ” I have to come back to this” a bad habit for long. So here it is to my actually visiting your blog and reading this post. Cheers!

    2. I am glad you don’t think I am being rude in my observation that just cause some chats with me I no longer care for what they think of what I write. I can do with a lower count of ‘friends’ at facebook orkut or some such thing, I cannot do without an adequate exchange of ideas.

    3. Thanks for breaking my habit of not visiting most blogs and reminding me that this medium is one of give and take.

    4. I apologise for having missed the in-between template version or what ever you were talking of.

    5. Thanks for consistently being one of the most thought provoking and intriguing blog writer.

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  2. Atul,

    Very interesting concept, that “tracking conversations”. So far, tho, I’ve been using my reader just as a notice-board. If a blog seems interesting, I still go and read it at the source. That’s where I feel the personality of the blog. In a reader, the blog seems to be dehumanized.

    I’m one crazy guy, I guess.

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  3. ==EU:
    @1: Credit is all yours, in fact – it was your post that triggered this one – so double credit to you! And welcome back, Cheers!

    @2: I know what you mean – and I have seen that happen with me – in fact I often feel that sometimes people just pick the most applicable concept and apply it to the thought in the post. No, I don’t think you are being rude.

    @3: Like I said, you are most welcome 😀 !

    @4: That’s all right, I can assure you didn’t quite miss much. Basically using some of the new templates. You may have looked at them too!

    @5: You are welcome and thank you. The feeling is mutual.

    *takes a bow*

    ==Asuph:
    Thank ye! More is coming on that track – feel free to join in. I recently read about your post on Flock (Mine’s coming soon)

    I know what you mean @ personality, that is one of the things that made me revert to the template I have been standing with. In fact, your current template is one of the longest running that I have seen in my blog circle! I changed because of the need to put in visuals, and this one does do good justice.

    Yet, blog readers do what they do best – they are really invitations to visit the blog at the address. Somehow, we tend to mistake the invitation for the event!

    🙂

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  4. There is a conversation I remember having with you in the early periods of knowing you. You had mentioned that now that we chat, I don’t see the need for the formality of comments. Being a novice at blogging I felt; that is what Blog nirvana was all about. One didn’t care about comments. I felt otherwise but then I don’t always voice what I feel. I have always wanted to remind you of what you said every time I see posts such as these. Not for any malice, but just that there is a time you felt comments were just a formality. I am only too happy to realise you have shed that attitude. I like ’em comments. 🙂

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  5. ==EU:
    There was a context to that conversation that, I think, you are missing. Still,I agree, I don’t deny that comments make me feel good. Perhaps a post will be a better response to this comment…in good time. 🙂

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  6. Possibly..I know it was part of a conversation most of which I miss immensely..Been a while since we went on one of our tangent chatting trips. Nevertheless I am only telling you what I have held on to for a long time as I for one felt that you didn’t want to come to my blog and that was your nice way of saying that you would not be bothered. I know better hence never made a mention but I wanted to get rid of the pent up piece of inconsequential information.

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  7. ==EU:
    Won’t deny it, miss them too; i like the term: tangent-chatting-trips!

    Well, for the record (while we are at it) – no it wasn’t like that @ your nice way of saying that you would not be bothered. Glad you got it out and it now stands straight!

    Happy New Year!

    Like

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