1. Computing

The Splintering of Social Web Discussions

By April 14, 2008

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There was some talk over the weekend about how discussions on the social web, particularly discussions on blogs, are becoming more and more splintered. Services such as FriendFeed and Shyftr allow people to post comments, which means comments on a particular blog entry are happening on places other than the original blog post. This causes a splintering of the discussions across the web.

This is nothing new. Digg, Reddit and other social news websites allow comments, which is one of the reasons why they are popular. They give us a place to discuss popular news stories. They are also good for blogs because they invite more traffic.

In fact, blogs splinter the discussion all the time, which is one of the driving points of the blogosphere. One blog will discuss an issue, and another blog will link to the first and expand on the issue.

But when do we hit critical mass? At some point, this splintering of the discussion will start to do more harm than good. The discussions will get smaller and smaller, and the original post will be viewed less and less as everything is spread too thin across dozens of other sites.

And, more importantly, is there anything bloggers can do about it?

One thing that can be done is for bloggers to take more control over their content and have tighter restrictions on when it can and cannot be used. Many bloggers are loathe to take such action because the share-and-share-alike mentality has been great for the growth of the social web and also been a boon for the individual bloggers.

But is there anything else that can be done? Is there any other way to exert come control over these new sites? Should bloggers even be attempting to exert any control?

Here are some of the discussions that happened over the weekend:

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