Fred Wilson started a discussion this weekend suggesting that comments on blogs are often more insightful than the blog post being commented on. He suggests that comments should be more prominent available in aggregating sites like TechMeme and Friendfeed. And people that don’t blog but do comment often should have a blog site with all of their comments aggregated.
Steven Hodson joins in the discussion and notes that the landscape of blogging is about to change.
The trick for many of us – especially the independent bloggers and smaller networks – is to be willing to take advantage of anyway that comes our way to communicate with our readers. We can’t be afraid of changes as they happen but instead embrace them and use them to our benefit.
I see the same phenomenon taking place, even on a small time blog I have over here. Some people are willing to spent a good deal of time to comment on something I have written. In general the comments are insightful and well worth the read. To me, not only the fact that the commenter is willing to take the time to read and grasp what I was trying to say and then provide his own thoughts, is important. It is the interaction that comes out of it that makes it worthwhile. In that sense I agree with Fred that comments should be getting a more prominent space in the blogosphere.
But at the same time I also feel that commenting is easy. Easy, not because the stuff that is written down is obvious in any way. But easy because the original blog writer triggered a commenter to think and react. And that is what Blogging is all about. Some are in it for the money, some are in it for the fun. But a great blog post, no matter what it is about, makes the reader think. And that is what is so hard about blogging. I always try to write posts in such a way that my thoughts trigger other people to think and respond. I don’t have to be right. But I love it if it starts a conversation with people. Because out if this conversation there is always something to learn.
And there lies the value of a great commenter. If done right, a commenter helps explore the issue at hand. Offering solutions, perspective. But also asking question, wondering. If the blog poster is the one that starts the chain of reactions, the commenter is the one that helps lead it to a result. There is value in both, but to trigger the chain reaction in my opinion is often much harder than to participate in it. A great commenter can’t live without a blogger willing to write down his thoughts and expose them to the greater conversation taking place. But there is an incredible value in them. I’m not sure if they should be centralised somewhere, because you will lose the conversation that they were in (unless that is captured entirely). It isn’t the comment itself, but the exploration that is most important to me.
I may be wrong on this, what do you think ?