Thursday, September 18, 2008

Blogs 2.0: Merge Blogs and Discussions Forums ?

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For quite some time, I've been pondering about this. Should Blogs be completely eliminated in favor of Discussion Forums ? Now, before you go off to write me a nasty comment, hear me out.

Using Blogs as a Forum

I have seen many blogs used to ask questions to whoever stumbles upon the blog. In fact, I even do that sometimes. Sometimes, however, the amount of responses that I get in particular blog entry can be overwhelming (in a good way!!). Case in point, the blog entry where I asked socialites their opinion on business cards.

In other cases, I've participated in discussions as part of a blog. These discussions can get so long and after a certain point, it's hard to track what people are replying to. Other times, the conversation gets diverted and a whole new topic is born. At that point, it's up to the reader to figure out which blog comments are related to the original blog topic and which comments are related to the new topic that came up as part of the discussion in the comments.

This, I believe, is the biggest problems with Blogs today. Comments need to be threaded so it's easier to keep track of who's saying what and who's replying to what.

Using Forums as Blogs

Looking at the issue from another perspective, I've seen some people use forums as blog entries. They actually post entries in a forum to advertise something, point readers to a link, and even just posting documents. When you read these entries in the forums, you can clearly tell that the author is not expecting a response. And sometimes others would comment. Usually, though, no more than 2-5 comments are added to these types of entries. These authors could have accomplished the same thing by posting the content in a blog!

Why have 2 ?

My thing is, why have 2 things that work almost for the same purpose ?? If nobody responds to a question / issue posted in a forum, how is that different from somebody writing a blog entry and nobody commenting on it? At the same time, say someone posts a question in their blog and get a multitude of response. How is that different from posting it in a forum, which has the added advantage of providing a threaded view of the comments?

Therefore, I propose that we kill Blogs or Forums. Or perhaps merge them together and create a new concept: Blums or Forlogs or even Discussion Blogs . Although, adding the capability to have threaded comments in a blog would be a huge step forward, I would hate to have 2 different solutions that share 99% of the features.

Others have also brought this up before, so at least I know that I'm not alone.

What do you think?

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