During the past couple of weeks, there have been a number of articles discussing the aspect of comment fragmentation. The problem being described is that, instead of commenting on the blog where the blog post resides, people are conversing on their favorite social platforms such as Twitter or FriendFeed. This has lead to an increasing problem which doesn’t appear to be getting better any time soon.
In my own experience, I’ve always left a comment on the actual blog post rather than on a social web service. I have a Twitter account, but 140 characters is usually not enough for me when I leave a comment. However, how many times have to visited the actual blog post, only to go back to Reddit or Digg or some other service and discuss what you just read?
Third Party commenting services such as Disqus or IntenseDebate plan on implementing features which will pull comments made on specific services and place them back on the blog. But until that happens, there is going to be bits and pieces of the overall conversation here, there and everywhere.
When I presented this topic within the Performancing Hive Forums, I received a number of interesting responses. They ranged from, could care less about community building as they have developed their sites around search traffic acquisition to being happy that anyone would leave a comment on their blog at all. Someone also mentioned the fact that they appeared on the front page of Reddit. The article on Reddit received 180+ comments while the blog only received 53. Whats interesting is that, you have to actually click through a link on Reddit and visit the actual page. After doing so, people are going back to Reddit to leave their comment.
I think Steven Hodson of WinExtra.com hit the nail on the head when he proposed that comment fragmentation was not the bloggers fault. As bloggers, we can not control where the conversation takes place. Readers will decide when and where they will participate in the conversation.
I now propose a few questions to the Performancing audience. First, do you believe that conversation fragmentation is an issue? Secondly, are you happy with the fact that your articles are being discussed at all, wherever that might be?