Keep Trying

Monday, June 06, 2005

Counterfeit Conversations in the Blogosphere

Seth Finkelstein has a good recap of last week's discussion on mediation, authority and converation in the blogosphere. It seems like Doc and David have exited the discussion, but I have some more thoughts that I'd like to share.

Both Cluetrain and Covey discuss the feeling of alienation and loss of voice many people feel in today's corporate and societal structures. The Cluetrain folks noted that there was some new types of discussions occuring on the Internet and gave them a nice marketing-type metaphorical twist by calling them "conversations". These discussions were definitely an improvement, but clearly they're not conversations.

One of the problems with bringing forth emotion through metaphor, is that at the end of the day, the customer might feel cheated when the real experience is not delivered. Most people realize there is a significant difference between a real live conversation and a cross blog discussion, and although the latter is certainly a worthwhile endeavor, in the long run people probably won't be fooled.

From a business point of view, I think customers primarily want the product they've been promised. Substituting the warm fuzzy metaphor of "blogging conversation" will fool some of the people, but if a company like Technorati continues to ignore the "it's broken" refrain of their users, all the "conversations" in the world may be of no avail.

Let me once again note that I do not feel that Cluetrain adherents (or Technorati) are out to fool people. But the problem with marketing and metaphors is that things are often not the way they feel.

Tomorrow: More thoughts on authority.