currency exchange: let’s pay in comments

With the British Pound being at a pitiful low rate against the Euro – it’s near parity – I think it’s a good moment to bridge finance and blogging. Comments count as currency in the blogosphere. Given the comments are useful and the reader has taken the time to read through the post, beyond the first two sentences.
In a world where time is a very scarce good, it seems commenting on someone else’s blogpost is not exactly the most rewarding thing to do. So why bother? Why engage in the tiresome – and often also emotional – labour of producing content?
Chrysten Dybenko argued in June this year that only 1% of the active population would ever produce content, no matter if blog, wiki or comments on a site. Now, in January 2008 there were 59 million Facebook users which have more than doubled within the year: according to Facebook there are currently 140 million active users. All these people (individual or collective agents) produce content and demand attention. In my online sphere I see more than 1 in 100 Facebook users commenting on each others’ activities with status updates being the easiest to spot. On Twitter the rate is certainly even higher – but on blogs? That’s indeed a different story. Because the content and comment production is also more time consuming and less spontaneous?

Comments are the one core ingredient that make blogging a lot more of a dialogical activity. There is no point in telling the invisible or imagined audiences what wonderful things you think without getting any feedback. Yet, it’s exactly what many corporations still do on their top-down style websites but if you are not one of the anxious producers you are keen on hearing what readers think.

Or what your readers ‘out there’ produce on their sites. That’s what trackbacks and pingbacks are good for. That’s what produces social capital. But the one thing I am truly keen on is cultural capital. It’s the critical question that indicates someone has thought through and beyond the stuff you offered. And spotted the weaknesses. Or the strengths. And gave you food for thought. Something to come back to and make it better. That’s the material that you take with you from your online world into the offline world. That makes you post something like an answer. Online. Or talk back, offline – and to someone who does not even know you are a blogger. Bring the thoughts and comments back into different contexts. Generate new ideas.

The hybrid places where online and offline merge and we notice that what we give and get online may have an impact on our identities much bigger than many are willing to admit. And it seems, our identities are rather merged phenomenon than fragmentations…

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About Britta Bohlinger, CFE

Founder and Director of RisikoKlár in Iceland. Native German, global perspective - previously in London and Berlin.

3 responses to “currency exchange: let’s pay in comments”

  1. Kenny O'Neil says :

    I thought i was seeing starts till i guessed you had a snow falling script on this page. Yes we had some glorious swing trends in the GBPUSD and the GBPJPY. They key is knowing exactly where to enter for the high probability swing trend break and continuation while keeping risk managable.

  2. Lina Zigelyte says :

    A bit off the topic (still a currency…) The possibly related posts: (automatically generated) that you have on your blog – they include some quite unrelated posts… 🙂 Do they ever come across matching posts?
    As for comments on blogs…. I think it took me two months of blogging to get the first comment. I still wonder about those bloggers who continue to blog without a single comment for months and months… As a blogger I must say that there is a group of commentators who’s comments are more a PR of their own blogs: ‘great post! you should check my blog’. And various more successful blogs encourage to leave comments as a way to draw traffic and comments become one of the tools in gaining power relations within the blogosphere.
    I’ve never blogged on LiveJournal, but from what I have read (danah boyd mainly) it seems that they started off as a community from the very beginning. On blogger I’m noticing that blogging is rather a solitary practice.
    I would also say that both on Facebook and my blogs a group of regular commentators develops over time. One of the reasons why the status updates on Facebook or notes might not be commentated as often could be their content – they mostly consist of haptic, to use M.De Certeau’s word, communication. Consequently, the content of the comments on blog posts and Facebook becomes different. And then the question becomes what sort of comments does one as a blogger aspire to draw?

  3. cdybenko says :

    I think you are right on track with commenting currency. What is the difference between social capital and cultural capital?

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