Follow-up to Commenting Is Dead…

Here are just some extra thoughts about my post from yesterday about commenting being dead:


What do you think about the future of commenting?

What do you think about the financial impact of comment fragmentation?

In what ways will services like FriendFeed capitalize on commenting?

Will ownership of comments become a revisited issue?

I’m interested inĀ  your ideas a lot more than my own. I’m curious to see where all the comments go.


Commenting is Dead. Long Live Commenting!

Is commenting dead? Or is it more alive than ever before? No and Yes. And Yes.

Here are some thoughts on why.


Just when Corporate America was catching up on blogging and other social media, Twitter and FriendFeed swoosh out of the blue, grab comments out of blogs and sprinkle them all over the interwebs.

Comment fragmentation, as it is called, has a lot of people talking on blogs and Twitter and FriendFeed. The fear is that commenting on blogs is dead or at least 2/3 dead.

Is this true? Are comments really dead or dying?


The rumor of the death of the blog comment may have been over-exaggerated, but there’s actually a poignant truth to it. Evolution via natural selection suggests that change is almost always inevitable.

Rather than the extinction of an entire means of dialogue, mutations are spawning new species of commenting tools (think FriendFeed). As these tools proliferate across the interwebs, comment fragmentation becomes increasingly more common in spite of tools to fold them back into original blogs.

As comment fragmentation grows, a critical mass of comment fragmentation builds (see the red line pictured above). This critical mass creates a bottleneck in the flow of information across the web which traditional blog commenting may eventually face.

Think of a population bottleneck as a horizontal version of Seth Godin’s Dip, except a lot crueler. Population size is the number of traditional blog comments, assuming services like FriendFeed do what Robert Scoble expects them to do in the coming years or even months.

The Recovery line would be the new species of commenting that will evolve over time. Extinction is possible, of course, but not inevitable. There are tons of businesses on the web which have yet to adopt blogging. And when they do, blog comments won’t necessarily be their primary purpose of the blog. Rather original content would be.

I believe that these bottlenecks will not extinct comments per se, but they will help to evolve new forms. In fact, that’s just what population bottlenecks can do: they help spur novel changes that lead to new ways of doing things.


Remarking will become an almost standard feature of future web-based socializing (personal and professional). Those vectors of remarking which are easiest to use and to help spread messages, will be the ones increasingly adopted.

Right now FriendFeed, Twitter, Disqus,, etc. don’t hold a substantial share of the interwebs. But eventually, such services will go mainstream. When that critical mass hits, traditional commenting will likely reach its bottleneck.


So I don’t think this a time to mourn the death of comments. Rather there’s a rebirth of the original spirit of blogging which is now taking place. That spirit was in part was to establish a place on the web to have a *conversation*.

Blogging also evolved into a sort of financial instrument. That also will see change. Comment fragmentation will have positive and negative financial impacts on many blogs.

Yes, as services like FriendFeed and its ilk evolve and grow in web presence, the traditional dynamic of leaving comments on a blog’s post will likely erode. Bloggers will still be a vast source of content, but the comment-genie is now out of the blog.

Even with WordPress plugins and other tools to loop web-wide comments back into posts comments are now going to be everywhere.

Commenting is an important link between people online. There’s tons of revenue in comments. Tons. You can strip-mine them of course and hope that you have control over the selective pressures of the web. Or you can accept the fact that our world is now getting asymptotically closer to a perfect word-of-mouth paradigm of information flow.

If the brains over at FriendFeed are smart (and I think they are), they will launch an algorithmic revenue-sensing model that will tap into the commenting–not exactly in the way AdSense works, but by exploiting all of the social data being generated between and among people.


If you’re worried about the evaporation of comments on your blog, remember: your commentary is now being published without much effort on your part. If you play it right and get involved in the new ways of communicating then you just might figure out a way to make good returns from those small efforts.

So keep talking. Keep blogging. Keep commenting. Commenting is content and content is still king. It always will be.

Commenting is dead. Long live commenting!

Image source: Wikipedia, markup via Skitch

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A Model for Real-Time Medical Mircroblogging

Peviously, I expounded shortly on the utility of using a Twitter-like service for medical and other healthcare professionals. Right now, Twitter’s reliability, feature-limitations, spam susceptibility and other problems make the Twitter platform shaky for more professional use in healthcare.

But the basic concept is one that aught to inspire an easy-to-use system for the healthcare industry.

Enter Enterprise Social Messaging Experiement (ESME), tweeted by @dahowlett. ESME is a SAP-backed project supported by Siemens IT Solutions and Services (a division of Siemens) that was developed to help clients to communicate with other members of a professional team. ESME includes a service architecture that can allow business users to dynamically communicate, collaborate and solve collective problems. Furthermore it can allow for knowledge mining and microblogging.

The clip below illustrates how ESME can provide the tools to integrate real-time solutions to disparate problems:


What if there were a similar service for the healthcare industry? How more effecitve could problem-sovling get with such a tool?

There are some features in ESME which would be desirable in a medical environment. Additionally, medical social messaging should include:

  • Security
  • HIPAA-compliance
  • Reliability
  • Scalability
  • Real-time networking
  • Dynamic integration
  • Searchable content
  • Role and group filtering
  • Tagging (including priority statuses)

A properly engineered medical social messaging system would naturally be a hefty investment; but the ROI could be worthy of the effort. Of course in its place we have IM, Twitter, Plurk, FriendFeed and countless other services which localized groups of physicians, nurses, and other healthcare providers could exploit rather effectively.

But the the openness of these current services pose problems which a customized enterprise solution could overcome. The public timeline feature is a blessing and a curse. A blessing because it opens users up to potentially millions of of helathcare professionals. A curse because that number could be overwhelming without the proper filters and logins, which if breeched, could harm a patient’s dignity and privacy.

ESME is being developed for use in manufacturing in the example provided in the video. But a similar thought experiement should be conducted for the medical industry.

A tag cloud with terms related to Web 2.Image via Wikipedia

A scalable system could be developed for use within a closed-off network or a within a global network.

Imagine the implications for clinical research, treatment advancement, learning, and the spreading of critically important memes. The list of applications is virtually limitless. An ESME like app could dig deeply into knowledge mines.

The tag cloud and group filtering features are ingenious user-friendly solutions to the problem of data over-abundance. They would go a long way toward intelligent and effective collaborative problem-solving.

There’s a lot of inspiration offered here with ESME. I plan on future posts to discuss the possibilities.

Learn a bit more (and find out what esme also means) here.

Youtube Link

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