Hey Seth, Comment THIS!
2 min read

Hey Seth, Comment THIS!

So much for blogging as conversation, at least according to Seth Godin:

I think comments are terrific, and they are the key attraction for some blogs and some bloggers. Not for me, though. First, I feel compelled to clarify or to answer every objection or to point out every flaw in reasoning. Second, it takes way too much of my time to even think about them, never mind curate them. And finally, and most important for you, it permanently changes the way I write. Instead of writing for everyone, I find myself writing in anticipation of the commenters.

Didn’t Seth get the memo on Web 2.0, two-way media, the audience is in control, yadda, yadda?

Really, this is so utterly arrogant. He writes better when he ignores what his readers think? How did this guy make it into the top 100?

Maybe by following rule #57, which Seth left out of his dopey list of how to get traffic for your blog (a dead horse beating topic, if ever there was one).

  1. Refuse to allow comments on your blog so people are forced to link to your posts to tell you how irritatingly arrogant they are, which is a great way to artificially inflate your Technorati ranking and make people think your blog is worth reading — write more arrogant posts and repeat.

One of the principal reasons why I blog is to throw ideas out there and see what other people think — that’s how I learn, especially when people disagree with me. Sometimes it helps me sharpen my argument — other times it helps me realize that I’ve be guilty of sloppy thinking or worse. Regardless, I like to think that reading comments makes me smarter and creates value for my readers — they respond to each other (sometimes heatedly). I don’t always respond to every comment, but I think I respond enough to make it all worthwhile.

Perhaps this is my personal preference, but I find it difficult to respect a writer who discounts the learning cycle of putting ideas out there and learning from the response — and who doesn’t have the intellectual fortitude to put ideas out without worrying about what comments will say. Sure Seth allows trackbacks, but that significantly increases the barriers to response. And his responsiveness to email is an entirely separate issue.

And yes there’s tons of hype over how media is now a “conversation” — but I think the increase in interactivity is undeniably a net positive.

If Seth wants to use his blog as a closed publishing platform, that is certainly his prerogative. If he doesn’t want to care what his readers think, that’s his call too — but for goodness sake, don’t rub your readers’ nose in it. And don’t go running around telling other people how to blog when you reject one its widely accepted conventions.

I’d guess Seth’s biggest concern is making sure he operates in a Bush-like bubble where he doesn’t have to confront people who disagree with him — which is probably why he deleted the trackback from this post.

Thank goodness for techmeme.