‘What makes a blog a blog’?


I have often wondered about why some blogs (and I wonder all the more about the more popular blogs) do not have a comments feature… Came across this post on ‘what makes a blog a blog’ on Naked Conversations.

If blogs are about open conversations, how can you turn off comments and claim its a blog?

I got there through a post on corporateblogging blog titled Conversation does NOT need comments – if blogging is all about conversations, then the answer is not ‘comments’ but hyperlinks – Links are the fundamental conversational tool.

For instance, I linked to these two posts – someone else reading this and having thoughts on this may blog about it and link back to this post (hopefully!) – and a conversation is created… this is the basis on which the ‘web’ works.

In fact, it often occurs to me that I have started thinking in hyperlinks

But is this truly conversation? It seems to me more like one of those plays where each character comes in and delivers his or her own lines (monologue?) and disappears – (in this case, attributing the lines to the original author – say Shakespeare! would be the equivalent of a link?) – or a ‘serial’ conversation between two people – from which something is carried on to another conversation where atleast one of these two people is present…

How can then these conversations be traced? And carried on?

I liken the ‘comments’ feature in a blog to a focus group discussion – why is that better than a personal interview – many-to-many as opposed to one-to-one? For one, a comment (either in a blog or in a group discussion) triggers off a response not just from the original questioner / blogger – but also from another person in the group – in other words, the flow is not at one level or uni-directional – that to me is conversation – a comment might even prompt a series of posts on other blogs – that is taking the conversation forward…

Without such conversations then, what makes a blog a blog – how is it different from a website ?

At the end of this rather long post, I am not saying comments and not links – I am saying links for sure – collaborative blogging wich creates conversations aross blogs and even countries sometimes – in fact, this is how social networking sites work…

But how complete is the conversation without the comments feature. I have non blogging friends who read my blog – and sometimes leave a comment. Or email me about it later. Why exclude them from conversations?

(As I wrote this, I was searching for Dina’s earlier posts on blogging as conversations – and as jazz… do read it)


– Dina has picked up this thread and taken this conversation further here.

– Also do have a look at this on BlogTyme on more views on what maks a blog a blog – and not a website…. (for a really candid view of some of the ‘top blogs’, as Dina says)… also do definitely read the comments to the post!

– When I think about it, this whole thing is not about the failure of links as a conversational tool in blogging, but the inadequacy of existing trackback systems. If someone else has picked up a post from my blog and has carried it forward, often I do not know about it….


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