CoComment – I want to be a good blogger

I confess, I am not a good blogizen – I don’t link enough, and I definitely don’t comment enough. The latter is partly based on maximum return on investment – I have so little to say, if I do have anything worth writing I need it for a blog post, not to be hidden away on someone’s comments. But I recognise how much I like getting comments (apart from the snarky ones – you know who you are;) so I should do more of it.

Alan Levine has an annual week of no-blogging, just commenting, in recognition of the value commenting adds. He used CoComment, which Sue Waters picked up on, but rates co.mments higher.

Cocomment

In my one man campaign to make technological determinism respectable, I installed CoComment because I think having a good tool will make me more likely to comment. First impressions are good – it installs on Firefox, and when you add a comment to a page it automatically adds it to the list of ‘conversations’ you are having. It has a social element so you can add people as friends or favourites, (not entirely sure of the difference). You can subscribe to the RSS feed of other’s comments, or to one conversation. You can even claim your own comments on Technorati.

All this leads to some interesting reflections on the nature of comments. They form one of the second order modes of dialogue that operate around blogs (blogs really are the glue that holds the web together – why did we even have a web before blogs?). Twitter is another example of this second order, but unlike comments it can exist on its own. It overlaps with blogs, but isn’t dependent on them.

Does it make sense to subscribe to someone’s comments? Kind of, in that it will alert you to their thoughts on other people’s postings. What CoComment adds for me is some stickability around comments – if I did post I wouldn’t revisit and thus the conversation would be lost. Now I’m much more inclined to get involved in a debate.

16 Comments

  1. christophe says:

    Hi,
    Thanks for using coComment.
    I like your thoughts on the nature of comments. My feeling is that what is important is what people write, not necessarily where and how, as far as your readers can follow you.
    Tracking you on coComment is a way to do it. Another way is to put a widget on your blog that will display your comments/conversations you are having elsewhere.
    Regarding the difference between friends and favorites: friends is intended to be a bi-directional relation and we will use it more in the future for community aspects.
    And, of course, we have RSS feeds to track all conversations from all your friends or favorites.

  2. Sue Waters says:

    I will await your review of CoComment in anticipation – however still finding co.mment better because the RSS feed into Google Reader is a lot better. You can still monitor people comments on co.mment and subscribe to their feed however the difference is you need to know their username to locate the feed.
    I’d be lost without having an application that allows me to effectively manage these comments.
    Still pondering my thoughts on your second modes of dialogue. PS don’t think my comment has made any sense tonight :)

  3. Christophe says:

    And I can confirm you that, after reading the very interesting post from Sue, we decided to implement a new RSS feed. This is now in our plan for our April release.
    And as we now have quite a lot of different RSS available, we will also create a summary page so you can easily find all the RSS feeds you need.

  4. AJ Cann says:

    Thanks for the heads-up martin. I’m very impressed so far, plays nicely with Flock (extension rather than bookmarklet, although the bookmarklet will be handy for UoL open access computers where we don’t have admin privileges to install extensions). Much better than Disqus:
    http://scienceoftheinvisible.blogspot.com/2008/01/is-disqus-evil.html

  5. Christophe says:

    @AJ Cann : I’m interested if you can elaborate on your comment “much better than Disqus”.
    The way I see it, Disqus is a commenting system that offer features across sites that uses Disqus. With our service, we first concentrate on offering features across all sites, including those were there is no commenting system.
    We of course also offer a commenting system, that can be integrated in a site, like Disqus, or used by our users on any page (our meta conversations).
    I’m not telling that we are better (although I like a lot our commenting system ;-)), just that we offer different features and target a somehow different audience, although we are both offering services in the commenting area.
    But there is so much to do in this space, and comments/remarks are always welcome πŸ˜‰

  6. Christophe says:

    And just for the fun on transforming commenting to conversations: thanks to coComment, I’m currently tracking this conversation and I see immediately from the browser extension that a conversation I’m tracking is updated so I can comment in “real time”. This make this conversation more dynamic: I like it πŸ˜‰

  7. AJ Cann says:

    @Christophe – this issues I had with Disqus are discussed in detail at the url I gave. coComment is far superior in that it solves these problems.

  8. Doug Clow says:

    Interesting – last time I thought about this I came down firmly on the side of posting rather than commenting:
    http://dougclow.wordpress.com/2008/02/12/blog-comments/
    Which is not to say there’s no role for comments, but posting-and-linking seems better all round for substantial discussion: it makes the conversation more visible and more discoverable to more people in a way they can control.
    As an illustration …. I remembered I’d written something in response to a blog post about this fairly recently, but not where. If it was in a comment, I probably wouldn’t have found it again without a lot of futzing around. It was in my own blog, so it was very easy indeed to find.
    OTOH, maybe tools like CoComment will make the difference less stark. Be interesting to see.

  9. AJ Cann says:

    If it ‘aint got comments, it’s not a blog. Yes, I know you can make technical arguments that it is. My point is that a monolithic single author publication is far removed from the Web 2.0 collaborative model. Why not just write a book?

  10. Christophe says:

    I think this post is a good example on how commenting can also bring value to a post by getting different opinion on the subject. Now, I find more and more annoying sites were I cannot comment πŸ˜‰ Especially on media sites when after reading an article, I want to react or get more opinion on it.
    @Doug Clow : I think coComment can definitely help you here:
    – Track all your conversations: you can find your comments but also know when someone else post an answer.
    – Display the last comments you entered elsewhere on your website using our widget, or using our RSS feeds to auto generate posts.
    – Use coComment groups to store the conversations you find interesting and want to find easily. As we also have RSS feeds for groups, you can then also choose to track/display those conversations specifically. Adding a conversation in a group can be done very easily directly from the blog conversation page, using the share action from the coComment toolbar.
    As you see, you can increase the value of your comments by being able to access it and make it visible to your readers.

  11. Martin says:

    So the post that gets the most comments is the one about commenting. Maybe I’ll do a post on linking…
    @Christophe – while I have your attention – any chance of an iGoogle widget for cocomment?
    I’ll chalk this up as another victory for technological determinism.

  12. Christophe says:

    I would recommend a post about money then :-)
    To get my attention is very easy: christophe_AT_cocomment.com πŸ˜‰
    You mean a widget that display your conversations, right ?
    I will check what we can do but I guess that you can already display it using an RSS reader widget. But a more dedicated widget might be a better option.

  13. Sue Waters says:

    @Doug I subscribe to my comments from co.mment using RSS into my Google Reader which means if I wanted to locate a particular conversation I just use the search function within Google Reader. Effective management of comments allows you to manage and carry on conversations across different blogs. For example I once was involved with comment conversation between 3 blogs; subscribing to the comments allowed us to each respond back promptly and the conversations were eventually distilled into blog posts.
    @Christophe I’m looking forward to the RSS feeds in April but in the meantime I need some help with the basics of the site. I’m sure I’ve looked everywhere but I can’t work out how people on Cocomment get followers and how do you add friends?

  14. Christophe says:

    Actually, you do not get followers yourself. Your followers are people who bookmarked you as a favorites (the people who follow what you say). So follower is the reverse relation of favorite.
    Re friends: when you go to someone conversation page (like http://www.cocomment.com/comments/lec is my page: you can get there by clicking on the icon or the nickname of a user), you have the option in the right sidebar to add this person as a friend. The user must then confirm (he will receive an email) for the bi-directional relation to be validated. To favorite someone, it is a second button on the same page.
    An alternative for favorites is: if you mouse over a user icon, you get a profile information popup: you can add this person to your favorites from this popup.

  15. Christophe says:

    Martin: could you please send me an email: I will reply with a proto of a widget for igoogle so you can test it and tell me if it is what you expect.
    Thanks

  16. jdimond says:

    Thanks for the info on cocomment. Looks like a great tool.

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