Thursday, October 27, 2005

Comment Hurdles, Zipless Fucks, and the Extended Conversation

At the end of a great review of Zvents (Thanks!!), Zoli Erdos points to my blog and says,

"the last link happens to be Ethan Stock, Zvent CEO’s blog. Hmm… I don’t see any way to leave a comment or trackback – what happened to the “conversation”, Ethan?"

I thought about posting a snarky comment on his blog, but this is what faced me:

comments obstacle course


Zoli, it was easier to come here and write this post than it was to face that. You're linked to me, I'm linked to you. That's a conversation.

What's going on here, is the empirical demonstration that anonymity and conversation are inimical to each other; and that in order to participate in a community, you must commit and invest resources. In the classic phrase of Erica Jong, there is no 'zipless fuck' in the Extended Conversation.

Zoli has a blog, and I read it. I have a blog, and he reads it. We can converse through links and references. Each of us has put some time and effort (commitment and resources) into building up this presence in the community, and cautiously, bit by bit, each of us is willing to invest time and energy and possibly a RSS subscription or a delicious bookmark to the other.

Comments on blogs were conceived in a simpler time, or with a simpler mindset, that said that anyone should be able to drop in and speak their mind - the zipless chat. But spammers infected that ideal, as sure as hepatitis and AIDS ended Erica Jong's free-love early 70s.

This isn't a sad story -- community and relationships and investment still yield great results, and if we want unexected, serendipitious conversations with each other, the best way to do that works even better in this era of the Internet -- face-to-face,Zbutton the old-fashioned kind of communal commitment.

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