Blogs as conversations or as performances?

Blogs are less and less conversations these days, danah boyd argues.

danah boyd [1] in mourning and public-ness voices her interrogations:

When I (we) started blogging, people who commented on blogs were bloggers. It felt like a conversation because it was possible to keep tabs on what our broader network of friends and colleagues were talking about. And even if we had nothing to say to that particular point, there was a strange sense of conversation in the air. It was a different kind of conversation because of the affordances. Asynchronous, not always directly targeted or directly responded to. But as blogs got larger audiences (circa ?2004?) and social media spiked, blogging started feeling more siloed. I was blogging to my audience; you were blogging to yours. The audience wasn’t necessarily other bloggers. And it became a performance, not a community. Hell, I barely keep tabs on what some of my favorite people write about because all of the tools for managing the dynamic broke when it became big. And my blogging practice changed a lot as a result. For better and for worse. So I’m not sure that it is a conversation anymore, as much as a performance that serves as an opening for a conversation in some instances.

True, in a way. Blogging in the Twitter era does that, too. Comments have reduced drastically, replaced most of the time by very hasty, 140-character, cut-sharp-and-don’t-take-the-time-to-explain tweets.

Yet, at the same time, when you read her blog post, you see that people have taken the time to write long-winded comments.

So, maybe it’s only partly true and depends on whether your blog post is stating something, or asking people to react. And, let’s face it, less comments does mean less mee-tooism and less linkspam. Which is not such a bad thing.


[1Capitalisation for “danah boyd” is without any upper case. This is danah’s choice. Read What’s in a name to understand.


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