Something I find increasingly annoying is the tendency to have discussions across different media. Most noticeable in people responding to everything with twitter comments. If I post a blog post people comment on twitter. If I set up a wiki people comment on twitter. As such, discussions are scattered all over the web. However useful and interesting these comments are, they are invisible to most people.
Last week Jon Bounds asked whether the solution was technical or social:
To which my answer is ‘social’.
Although technical solutions have worked in the past for distributed conversations, e.g., trackbacks, when the conversation is distributed across different media there is a greater chance of inappropriate comments being tracked automatically as people use the different media differently. There is more chance that a blog post linking to a post is making a useful relevant contribution than a Twitter comment responding to a blog post.
A specific example: two comments from a Finnish colleague regarding my previous blog post:
One comment represents the ephemeral conversational nature of Twitter, whilst the other is more akin to the sort of comment that could be considered a contribution to the blog post. Whilst a technical solution may have been able to identify both comments, it couldn’t determine which was a contribution.
There is also an ethical dimension to take into consideration. When someone comments on your blog they are consenting to the contributions being seen on the site. When someone chats with you on Twitter, they don’t necessarily expect it to be permanently visible somewhere else.
Unfortunately, I fear the actual solution will have to be technical. This blog post will do little to hold back the tide of Twitter’s real-time conversation at the expense of useful long-term contributions. But maybe for this one post people will comment on here rather than on Twitter.