Making Our Blogs Conversation Corners In One, Limitless Building

4002-4406703582_bdbdb51002_m.jpgI love our blog. We had a wonderful discussion this week about the reformation of this blog into “Scott Gould and Friends” as a place of collaboration, where comments and equal to blog posts, and where regular contributors can have a voice.

One of my thoughts around this is that this blog is only part of the conversation. If I’m on James Poulter’s blog, I’ll be discussing the recommendation economy, whereas if I’m on Jeff Hurt’s blog, I’m discussing event design. It’s one big conversation that I’m having with similar people, but the topics at Scott Gould and Friends are different to the topics elsewhere.

If I think like this, then I realise this is just one a many corners for conversation. But the best most blogs come to realising this fact is a blog roll or aggregating posts – neither of which are a particularly meaningful way to join conversations together.

In the comments on Tuesday, Robin said so truly that “the currently available blog templates are designed around the self-centric web-logging.” That means we need to address how our blogs work from a design standpoint if we want to adopt the idea that conversations are happening across multiple blogs, not just in one place.

What I Want

I want to provide every regular contributor here, every Friend, a profile on the WordPress installation. Then they could have a profile so you can find out about the main people adding to the conversation here. That would also mean that their posts are pulled into this site (but linking to their sites), meaning that the homepage on this blog is more about showing the best conversations across multiple places.

It would mean that these Friends can also write posts for this site and add to the conversation. This would go hand in hand with a new way to display comments, ideally, as just as important as posts themselves, with the ability to tag those posts.

This is just the beginning, but I think it gets in moving in the right direction towards the future of blogging – collaboration and sharing.

I then like the idea of having a digital book club, whereby we have conversations about a particular book say every Friday, where people can read up before hand and come to the conversation prepared. This could subsequently ooze into video interviews and such.

Your Leading Thoughts

  1. What do you want here on your blog? Speak up and be bold.
  2. Where do you think the future of blogging lies?

Photo credit

Archived Comments

  • Anonymous

    You’re welcome on http://JamesPoulter.co.uk anytime – whether it’s to chat Recommendation Economy or not!

  • Scott, love “our” new blog that you’ve built! As I consider this post, I’m thinking you’re describing what an e-community could bring to the table. Perhaps a blog solution is not the right tool for what you want to accomplish. Have you considered going down that road?

    Also appreciate the mention…you’re our champion spreader on the other side of the pond!

  • This would be baller:

    A forum + Blog integration. You write a post, and the excerpt forms the first post in a forum environment.

    You get the consumability of a blog with the in-depth community of a forum.

  • / Scott Gould

    I’ve got a lot to catch up on there actually – will be writing there more soon!

  • / Scott Gould

    Dave – apologies for being so slow with commenting at your blog. Been very busy with Like MInds and all that!

    Re: an e-commnity, I do wonder. I’m not one for those so much because you have to stay really involved to get what’s happening, and it’s hard for a newbie to get value. What I want is the ease of a blog, but also provide depth on the same platform…

    Scott

  • / Scott Gould

    Isn’t that what Disqus does really well with the comments section Stephen?

    Scott

  • Hi Scott… I like the idea!

    … would you get the right balance by using WordPress 3.0′s MultiUser setup:
    – everybody has their own blog, & can post independently
    – the top layer is collaborative, with content gathered by Category &/or Tag from individual blogs

    … anybody could start a topic: manually curate content to push interesting topics to the surface layer – and let the most read/ most commented content rise there automatically.

    Is that what you had in mind?

    Will

  • Maybe so. in my head a forum allows for fairly extended conversation around topics. I don’t see that happening as much in blog comments.

    That said I like Disqus and IntenseDebate a lot, and I think they add a lot of value to blogs.

  • The Automatic (WordPress) bbPress engine (http://bbpress.org) has a feature similar to this where you integrate the forums into your website and new blog posts spawn new forum entries and conversation can outflow from there.
    It’s not the easiest engine to work with though and it doesn’t have near the support as WordPress (or even BuddyPress) at the moment. But there’s potential there.
    And personally for me, comment sections on blogs do essentially the same thing as forums.

  • I wonder if something like Elgg (http://www.elgg.org/) or the forthcoming Facebook alternative – Diaspora (http://www.diaspora.com) would be what you’re looking for.

    I’ve played around with Elgg with a couple of their older versions and it’s a pretty powerful engine. It’s built around a lot of tagging features so it’s easy to group ideas and conversations together.

    Another idea might be to expand the membership permissions on a WordPress install. With author privileges folks could submit links and/or excerpts from popular posts on their own sites. The front page could then be built around something similar to a magazine theme with various categories for topics and themes. Or something simple like the P2 WordPress theme (which looks more like status updates than blog posts – http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/p2)

    I look forward to seeing how your idea develops and plays out.

  • / Scott Gould

    Hey Jonathan

    Thanks for bringing some direction. I’m not up for installing anything on the server really – I want to use a blog as the format is open and easy for people to passively participate in.

    I like you’re second idea – it’s something I’m thinking about. It means that others can join in with the curation here. I’m checking out the theme now

    Scott

  • / Scott Gould

    Hey Will

    I think that’s a bit too heavy. Many people who would contribute have blogs already that are far better and have more reach than this one.

    But having anyone being able to start a topic – I like that. See Jonathan’s comment above about the P2 theme – do you think that would work?

    Scott

  • Hi Scott

    Yes, P2 would do it…

    … & when I said ‘blog’, of course that creates the impression of a lot of overhead on the writer, before they even get to their first post.

    Which wasn’t what I was thinking of, at all!

    The key I think is to setup a contributor Template so that contributors need only SignUp & Write, without having to think about design/layout/content etc. P2 gives the same light / fast kickoff in a slightly different way.

    If contributors played along & Categorised + Tagged content accurately, then the context of *this conversation* is what gives it value, over & above any momentum that contributors have on their own blogs.

    [WP 3.0 has a custom taxonomy for Categories & Tags, so collaborators can find it easier to use a consistent vocabulary]

    Then you’ve only got the whole Splog issue to deal with…

    Will

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