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Social Dynamics of the Web
Just saw this post: Many-to-Many: The Tragedy of the Comments

Clay's essay on the difference between the social dynamics of mailing lists and blogs expresses well something I've been trying to say for a while - that blogs work better for discussion than mailing lists, because the blogs are owned.

Clay discusses flame wars rather than spam, but the issues are similar - people taking advantage of others' resources without recompense. When comments are turned on on blogs, they eventually fill up with flames and spam too, unless they are carefully maintained.

If instead of commenting, you write a response on your blog, you are standing behind your words, and associating them with the rest of your writing. The social dynamics are very different; you think more before responding instead of posting a quick flame. You can't really spam, as you are only soiling your own garden.

I can't say I fully understand how a conversation can take place on more than one blog, nor do I understand trackback, but I immediately thought of emailing the link to Phil Cubeta and Michael Herman. They've both been talking a lot about how blogging helps friends get visibility and attention by virtue of being linked to friends. This could be because I blog about generosity, giving or philanthropy and link to Gifthub, or because I blog about the kind of world I'm building and what I need to make that happen and link to the Small Change News Network, or whatever it is.

Then I stopped and posted this here instead. Michael just moved to London so he won't see it right away, but I know he's subscribed to this blog with bloglines so will catch up eventually. What about Phil? Will he see it? With a few exceptions (Chris, Ashley and Steve), I'm still not sure who's reading my blog, so I have no idea. Maybe I'll have to email him the link. :-)