Another weekend means another bitchmeme, and this weekend it was all about FriendFeed. Scoble has a good summary of the debate so I won’t rehash it all, but I did want to throw something into the mix:
Ultimately it’s all about the user.
Years ago I got into a debate with Scoble over full feeds vs part feed where I strongly argued in favor of part feeds on two grounds: one that it limited the ability of spammers to republish your content, secondly because a part feed drove traffic back to the main site if people wanted to read all the content. That last point worked on a premise that RSS Readers took viewers away from the site and therefore publishers missed out.
MobileJones on Twitter: “FriendFeed is like is not in the best interests of those who create the content.” Chris Saad on Twitter: “discussion should occur around the target object – if its a blog then in the comments – not on friendfeed.”
I can sympathize with both in this case, but when I look back at my argument in favor of part feeds I was blinded by being a publisher without looking at the argument from the viewpoint of the end user. End users always wanted to read full feeds in their RSS Readers, and that general debate has passed into history; full feeds won, and no sensible publisher today would only provide a part feed to readers.
The argument around services like FriendFeed is similar: from a publishers viewpoint you are giving up some control, you are losing some of the conversation away from the main destination. But what do your readers want? You can’t stop a conversation occurring on FriendFeed, but you can do things like including that conversation on your blog (as I have here at The Inquisitr). You can embrace that conversation by taking part in it, and FriendFeed doesn’t republish the full feed so ultimately a thread on FriendFeed with a lot of activity is actually driving additional (and often new) traffic back to your site.
It’s a similar case with Disqus, a service we’ve implemented here at The Inquisitr over the weekend. Control is the number one argument against Disqus, and yet the same question should be asked: what do your readers want? Fred Wilson claims that using Disqus has resulted in a huge increase in comments on his blog, supporting the notion that users want a common comment platform with centralized tracking. But better still: more people participate in conversations on your site (in theory) because of the additional feature set. Sure, you lose full control, but in return you get something back.
If blogging 1.0 was about enabling the conversation on each blog, blogging 2.0 is about enabling the conversation across many blogs and supporting sites and services. The conversation has matured and no longer is it acceptable to believe that as a content owner you hold exclusive domain over conversations you have started. Users/ readers today demand more than a conversation on one site, and blogging 2.0 facilitates this.
I’ll be the first to admit that accepting the new paradigm of blogging 2.0 isn’t easy. I started this site still firmly entrenched in the thoughts of blogging 1.0, having not run my own large blog in two years, but likewise having been schooled in blogging since it first came to prominence in 2002-2003. I’ve come to the conclusion that what is happening in blogging 2.0 is something that I can’t stop nor change, so it is something I’m going to fully embrace, for all the inherent risk part of me is telling me it represents. I accept that others will rally against this: it’s human nature to do so, but no amount of protest will change the evolving reality of blogging 2.0. My advice to others: embrace it, or miss out.