I just had a peruse around the Huffington Post, and I have to say, I was disappointed by the lack of a search engine (which is just bad usability) and no ability to post comments or trackbacks. In my mind, a blog without comments is not a real blog. Real bloggers accept and encourage feedback; they engage in a two-way conversation with their readers. Otherwise, the bloggers are in their ivory tower – fingers firmly plugged in their ears as they sing loudly “nah nah nah, I’m not listening”. The NY Times proclaims in its review of the Huffington Post to “Get ready for the next level in the blogosphere.” But it’s a step backward in the inevitable evolution towards a more conversational Internet if comments are disabled and discouraged. As Hugh McLeod so adeptly illustrated, the conversation within your company (or, in Arianna Huffington’s case, within her clique) is separated from the conversation taking place in your market by a “membrane.” Blogs poke holes in that membrane by facilitating a dialogue between your company and your market. Disabling comments and trackbacks in effect stifles that dialogue and makes the membrane impermeable.
Peter Cooper says
I respect what you’re saying, but I would argue that these things make a blog a blog. Blogs existed long before Trackback, and nearly all the early ones had no comment features either. I agree that omitting comments is not really a step forward, but also argue that a lack of them does not mean it’s not a blog. I’ve been blogging six years and still have a very low level of comments. That doesn’t mean I’m not blogging, however.
Trackback is a different matter. Many major bloggers are ditching it. I seem to recall an article talking about this a few weeks back..
I agree with Peter here to some degree. GoogleBlog similarly doesn’t allow comments on their blog. I wonder what the hell they would do with all the comments they would get if they were to allow them. It wouldn’t be a conversation at all. It’d be a very loud roar, everyone trying to speak over everyone else.
The fact it’s more marketing than blog, and probably too “try hard” makes it (GoogleBlog) less of a blog than the missing comments or trackback.
However, they are still blogging and they are still giving a little insight into the company. Does it need to be a conversation?
Kathy Shaidle says
You’re kidding, right? I started blogging 5 years ago, before comments were invented. A brief list of blogs without comments: Instapundit, the Corner at NRO, Kausfiles, TVTattle.com, Volokh Conspiracy, ColbyCosh.com.
I could go on, and have:
I don’t want to have a “conversation” with anybody. Blech.