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BlogThreads: A Request for Product

BlogThreads: A Request for Product

Peterme blogs today about the nature of cross-blogging — what Peter usefully calls “bloghopping” — using an interchange between Tom and me that was kicked off by my saying that on the Web we’re writing ourselves into existence. He also points to entries from Jeneane and Halley. Peter comments:

Now, I’ve attempted to codify these threads because they expose one of the things I’m currently loving about blogs… free-ranging discussions hopping from page to page, with little structure apart from the hyperlink… Such discussions can be hard to ‘follow,’ but I think attempting to ‘follow’ them misses part of the point. … [T]he anarchic nature of web hyperlinking is part of the reason we can have these kinds of discussions… There’s a free-for-all quality that lets the thoughts roam in all manner of directions, spiralling tendrils across the hypersphere… Standard discussion forums would only constrain this.

Much as I like threaded discussion forums, it is certainly the case that blogs serve a different need. By their nature, blog entries tend to be more self-contained, more fully developed, and less hectically composed. (Of course there are exceptions.) But, precisely one of their weaknesses is that the thread itself isn’t apparent the way it is on a discussion board. That is, I know that Tom counter-blogged because I check Tom’s magnificent weblog just about every day. Besides, he sent me the link. Besides, it shows up when I ego-surf daypop. But, not only might I easily miss someone’s counter-blog, it can be difficult to reconstruct the sequence of blogs. What we need is precisely what Peter has provided in his blog entry: a “codifying” of threads, a mechanism by which the trail of linked blogs can be easily discovered and followed.

Wouldn’t it be cool and useful at the end of a blog to have a link that takes us to a list of all the blog entries that refer to this one? This should be automatically and dynamically updated. Does such a thing exist? Am I just missing it? Daypop, are you listening?

One of the commentators on this blog entry of Peterme’s writes: “…if David and Tom keep at it, they just might eventually figure out everything that Rebecca articulated over a year ago,” pointing to Rebecca Blood’s history of blogging. Rebecca’s piece is seminal (yeah, yeah, I testify it’s a sexist word) but, with all due respect, it doesn’t really get at what Tom and I have been on about. Nevertheless, it’s brilliant, it’s clarifying, she anticipates many topics that we all keep talking about, and it was good to be prodded to reread it.

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