Podcamp Pittsburgh 4 was this weekend.
As you can tell from my previous post, I was excited to go. Thrilled, in fact. But by now, you also know that I did not, in fact, get to go back to Pittsburgh for this year’s sold out PCPGH4. Without going in to the gory details, let’s just say that digestive distress in cats is no joking matter, and it’s one hell of an expensive problem to have. Couple that with the fact that symptoms usually show up too late for any intervention and the need to visit Vet Emergency Hospitals, and you have a very hysterical Dawn worried about her cat and graduate school companion dying because they wanted to hospitalize him for $2500. At least. Long story short, we took him home, and complied with the required monitoring of him for 48 hours, and made him as comfortable as possible. Hell, Jack even went out and bought him a water fountain in the hopes that it would make him feel better and help his water consumption. ~*sniffle*~
So yeah. No Podcamp for us. I’m sad. I miss YinzTeam as it is, and the opportunity to meet new folks and have discussions that open doors on so many levels come so infrequently anymore that it was just heartbreaking to be sidelined. Because the crew organizing Podcamp this year was on the ball, I was able to watch a good number of sessions remotely. But one thing that I noticed almost immediately on Saturday, was that the comments and chat system for the live streaming video stopped working. I was struck with a whole new level of frustration. The sessions are inspiring and informative, sure, but Podcamp happens (most innovation and idea hatching, for that matter) during the conversations. The questions and answers. The discussions. The panels and debates. I’ve said it before, and I firmly believe, that Podcamp happens in the hallways. And here I was completely shut off from the hallway conversations and even from the conversations in the actual sessions!
This all has a point.
Trust me. See, one of the things I planned on talking about at PCPGH4 was the culture of commenting. It’s disappearing. It’s no longer dwindling; it’s flat out dying. It ages me to say this, I know, but I remember a time when blogs didn’t come with comment functions (~*gasp*~ I knnnnooowww!!). And when some coder started passing out free code to insert comment features it exploded the entire notion of what websites and “blogs” were, and of the potential they had. Suddenly people had interaction on a whole new level! Suddenly, you could rant about just about anything and have your friends and random passers by leave notes of agreement or rebuttal. You could have a dialogue.
But that’s going the way of the Dodo now, and I think that’s a terrible mistake. As blogs become more common place, and more and more people post whatever they want whenever they want, they’ve taken the dialogue out of the conversation, and when you do that you no longer have a blog. You have a basement printed broadside that no one can discuss with you.**
What happens when no one comments? Comments and discussion fuel the conversation and development of ideas. It becomes a tidal wave of thought! So you may have tons of email responses, or comments on your site. That’s grand. But how many comments do you leave on other sites? Are you closing off your fishbowl by only fostering the culture of commenting on your own site? Look, I’m as guilty as the rest of you. I have, sitting in my Google Reader, the dreaded (1000+) unread blog posts. Some are from news feeds, but a good many of them are blogs just like this one. I read daily, or weekly, and rarely leave a comment. Why?
You tell me.
Why do you read (and I know you do. I see you….) and not leave comments? Not just here, but elsewhere?
I’ll make a deal with you. For one week, starting today, see if you can leave a comment on each blog you read. It doesn’t have to be every post, but at least leave a thoughtful response indicating that you engaged the post. Can you do that? For a week?
I know @BurghBaby is in over at TheBurghBaby.com, and if a working mommy blogger who posts at least once a day, takes care of a zoo, a new house, and a family can do it, can’t you?
Let me know how it goes. Remember, we’re all watching.
** I’ve never agreed with closing off comments on blogs. That’s what makes a blog a blog. I’ve also never agreed with News sites opening comments on fact based articles. The news is the news. It’s not up for debate. Editorials are for debate. Letters to the Editor are for debate. Once you make factual articles something to debate, you undermine their validity and turn your entire news organization into a blog of editorial opinion by the masses and moderated by journalists. News sites are not for discussing ideas and hashing out positions and opinions. Leave that job to the blogs and message boards.
Tags: Bloggers, Culture of Commenting, PCPGH4, social media