Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Why I love nuclear comment fragmentation

On Monday evening, Loren Feldman wrote an entry in FriendFeed that I read.

By Tuesday morning, I wrote a blog post that was based in part on Loren's FriendFeed entry. The post itself created its own FriendFeed entry. And the Odiogo audio version of the post created yet another FriendFeed entry.

Later Tuesday morning, Robert Scoble commented on my post via Disqus. Robert's Disqus comment appeared on FriendFeed, and sparked a rather robust discussion.

Meanwhile, several other comments were being entered in Disqus, and some of them also ended up on FriendFeed, sparking their own discussions in some cases.

Meanwhile, my blog post was being shared on Twitter. Loren shared it, which resulted in a FriendFeed entry. And I thought that someone else had tweeted a link, resulting in another FriendFeed entry, and I can't find it.

In fact, that's the problem - according to some people. Because of both automatic processes (incorporation of Disqus comments in FriendFeed) and manual processes (e.g., the fact that I created a blog post based upon Feldman's entry), we now have an example of comment fragmentation at the nuclear level. Robert Scoble doesn't know where all the comments are that resulted from his Disqus activity. I don't know where all the comments are that resulted from my Blogger activity. And Loren Feldman doesn't know where all the comments are that resulted from his FriendFeed activity.

And there's other stuff that I haven't even accounted for here. My original post resulted in a followup post that looked at employee terminations at the general level, and that resulted in its own FriendFeed and Odiogo entries. I may write more posts on the topic, which would again result in more opportunities for conversation. And Scoble's aforementioned Disqus comment was quoted in a comment on a FriendFeed entry that originated from a tweet.

Does your head spin around?

Theoretically I should be angry that people were commenting in FriendFeed or wherever, but I'm not. And, to be honest, Loren Feldman should be angry that people were commenting in five million places other than his FriendFeed entry. I don't know whether he's angry or not, but he shouldn't be. Here are the benefits of the nuclear fragmentation of conversations:

FIRST: Even though the conversation was fragmenting all over the place, I got the traffic anyway. Technically karma is outside of my religious philosophy, but the concept certainly applies. I linked to Loren and others who I sourced, and Loren and others linked to me. I'm not going to pull a Louis Gray here and open the entire kimono on my readership, other than to say that yesterday's traffic for this particular post is in no way reflective of the traffic that this blog usually gets. But yesterday's blog post got traffic from 19 different sources yesterday, according to Google Analytics. And I haven't even heard of some of these traffic sources:

2. (direct)
6. google
7. search

The very act of sharing was what caused these nineteen traffic sources to come back here. By way of contrast, an earlier post (which was not widely shared) only received traffic from three sources. (Note to self: visit

Now some will argue that every person who goes to FriendFeed instead of your blog is a person who isn't viewing the ads on your blog. While I don't have ads on this particular blog (I do have ads on two other blogs), I would argue that FriendFeed probably gave me more traffic than I gave to FriendFeed, so if I were monetizing this blog, I would have come out OK.

SECOND: The existence of multiple conversations allowed each conversation to flow in its own way. If all of the conversations had been confined to a single source, the discussion would have been pretty sterile. But by the time the conversation got from Feldman's FriendFeed entry to my Blogger entry to Scoble's Disqus entry and back to FriendFeed, there was room for differentiation in the conversations. By the time that all of the conversations were rolling, we were talking about SAP, Dennis Howlett, Allen Stern, FastCompany's terms of service, Microsoft's termination announcement policies, Disqus comment moderation techniques, and probably a dozen other topics besides. Oh, and we were talking about Tim Ferris, Matt Rissell, and Shel Israel also. (And we were talking about Shel Israel's anatomy, but I deleted that comment.)

So for those two reasons, I welcome nuclear comment fragmentation. Bring it on!

Sphere: Related Content
blog comments powered by Disqus