Comments and trackbacks supposedly turn one-way blogging into a conversation, but it doesn't seem to me that it works very well. People post comments, but does anybody read the comments? Most bloggers seem to have trackbacks turned off.
There needs to be a better way. Maybe I'll build one. A global conversation should be just that: democratic, yet moderated. Usenet's moderated groups aren't a bad model, except that the topics are too many and yet too stringent (i.e. posting to a newsgroup is already categorized too finely before you start, whereas blogs can vary topics within the same "group").
I think the idea of threaded discussions needs to be brought to blogging, so conversations can be followed.
Robert Scoble just blogged about a problem for which we have the precise solution. It is in fact designed specifically to answer the question he (and Adam Curry) pose:
That's precisely why I no longer turn on my IM client. Well, that and that I have filled up my buddy list and can't add anymore people to it.
His solution? Let him advertise different status to different groups of people.
Oh, that is a killer feature! Does any IM have that? For instance, can I advertise to my family and boss that I'm online, but tell everyone else that I'm offline?
But since Scoble and Curry are A-List bloggers, paradoxically I have no good way to reach them and tell them about our IM that has groups and visibility control so you can be offline for weeks with one set of people and online constantly with 3 others. Oh well. Maybe they'll read this post. Yeah, right :)
[Later] It occurred to me that I could just email Robert, so I did. Sorry about the whining. I still think we need a better mechanism than trackbacks, though!