Robert Scoble has an interesting post up today suggesting that blog comments are dead. Robert comes to the conclusion based on a post he wrote about buying a Tesla only receiving (at the time) 2 comments, where as the same post had a lot more interest on FriendFeed.
While I don’t disagree with the notion that a lot of the conversation is now occurring on FriendFeed, my practical experience is quite the opposite: blog comments are alive, well and kicking, but with a proviso. Old fashioned local to the site commenting is without doubt declining. I’m not saying that in this context they are dead, there’s still a lot of life there. However smart folk are using 2.0 blog commenting services, and are actually seeing increased commenting.
A shout out, and credit for my prompt on this post: Steven Hodson’s newly reborn Off the Cuff podcast. In it he makes the point that since he switched to Disqus he has seen an increase in commenting.
Here’s the situation on The Inquisitr. I switched to Disqus around late in the second, or early in the third week of this blog being launched (it’s coming up to 2 months July 5). Although you won’t see all the comments on every post (we had issues when the URL structure changed, so they might not always be showing on older posts) the total number of comments on The Inquisitr at roughly 7 weeks is 914 comments. Despite not having Disqus from day one, we have roughly 1.5x more comments than posts. If we strip the first two weeks out that goes out to 2x. I am absolutely convinced that using Disqus has played a vital role in creating a vibrant discussion here at The Inquisitr, as I’m sure other 2.0 commenting services, such as Intense Debate and Sezwho would provide as well.
Ultimately people are becoming more savvy with how they manage their time. 2.0 commenting services provide an easy to follow, manageable value add that keeps the discussion going.
To be fair to Scoble’s point: yes, some of that discussion is on FriendFeed as well, but this can also be included as part of blog as well, as they are here on The Inquisitr. It would be better long term if they were merged and not separate to the original comment stream, but this will happen.
To summize: Scoble noticed a change, but I believe he called it incorrectly. Commenting isn’t dead, it’s just happening on different tools which many bloggers are now adopting.