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Should It Be Blogging OR Commenting?

Today I’ve been thinking about the constant conflict between writing blog posts and commenting on blogs (or other types of sites). When is the line crossed from a simple comment to that of a full blown blog? When should we tell people that comment on our sites that they should take it to a blog? I’ve pondered these ideas in the past as I’ve faced Dave Winer‘s particular outlook on this topic.

Today there are many opportunities to write. We have extremely powerful commenting systems, blogs that allow not only free posting, but free access to things that used to be hard to get (mobile posts, media live streaming, custom domains). If you have something to say, there are countless outlets for that thing. I sense the biggest struggle many will have is really deciding the type (video, image), and length of the thing they want to post.

I think this is all great. The many outlets create all sorts of opportunities to get our distinct points across. This post isn’t about signal vs noise, but that surely is one of our greatest struggles in what you might consider this information age.

While thinking of this, I thought of the problem as a flowchart of requirements. In every case that we might have something to say online, it might make sense to pass it through this simple filter for quality purposes. As far as the different tools available, I only wanted to mention applicable options and not be an extensive list.

Blog-Or-Comment

Naturally, the highest priority is a conversation. Any sort of recent attention and build up of a back and forth between parties should be given the absolute attention. If you are engaged in this, stay where you are, use the tools you have and ride it out the best you can. My view is nothing supercedes this, not media type, length of post, nothing. The best systems in which to build conversations allow for all types and sizes of media.

Clear of conversation, the next step is to think of the post type. I’d split this up by length, format and information density. From there, your particular brand of posting tool will depend on currently available tools – those of which change on a near constant basis.

From this, most of the outcomes are some sort of blog. It could be a micro blog (Twitter) or a Link Blog (as is often the case on Facebook), or a not so classifiable Tumblr blog.

I realize this might seem like second nature to some, but as I see people come to, and embrace, new tools – they’re always struck with the challenge of understanding when (and what) they should post. I think many are still trying to figure out the Internet. So, when we have a kind of guidle about our content should be prioritized, it might help people embrace and understand these ideas.