The best way to learn about the blogosphere is to be involved in the blogosphere, however much that will make you want to pull your hair out and bang your head against a wall. Whilst blogging can be a joy when writing down a few musings and reading a few comments, when those comments turn into a conversation it can be one of the most exasperating moments. It feels as though you are having a conversation at a party where everyone else has had a few drinks, and you are the only sober person. Whilst that is not to say that my opinions are necessarily more lucid than the next person’s, it is merely that they make more sense to me; equally other people’s opinions will feel more rational to them.
Blog conversations can be exasperating due to their unique combination of being asynchronous, public, personal, and providing room for long comments. Whilst other forms of communication may contain some of these factors (e.g., email-asynchronous and chatrooms-public), it is the combination of all these factors that make a blog conversation so potentially exasperating.
As blogs are both asynchronous and allow for the inclusion of long comments, people include long comments. Whilst this may seem a rational response, after all you would be conversing on the same subject for weeks if you limited yourself to one comment at a time and then waited for a response, it creates a debating environment that people try to ‘win’, rather than one where ideas are discussed rationally. Postings are not read rationally and responded to as a whole, in context of the whole conversation, but rather disingenuously with tactics that would make Eric Berne blush. The must-win mentality is only exaggerated by the public nature, whilst the personal nature of the blog to one party makes it very hard to leave a conversation whilst the other continues promoting opinions you disagree with.
Nonetheless there is a time where continued conversation makes no difference, opinions have hardened and an understanding of different perspectives is more distant than it ever was. It is at this point that you have to bite the bullet and walk away, it’s annoying, but if you don’t it becomes a slow walk to the mad house.