Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Monday, June 23, 2003

Conversational Blogs Feature Request List

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Killer features and facilities for upcoming Weblog/CMS online personal publishing systems

I have been thinking and collecting a list of highly desirable features that need to be integrated by major weblog/CMS developer companies if they are to continue to ride the high interest and positive acceptance of their technology across a large and diverse number of users.

Since Weblogs/CMS have been originally born out of the need to build a simple online personal diary, much of the focus and features built around most Weblogging/CMS tools is still centered around that type of application.

On the other hand, as I have attempted to point out before, Weblogs/CMS have a much broader spectrum of useful applications than the ones we are normally accustomed to think of.

If you stretch a little bit your imagination you can clearly see how the Weblogging technology can be very effectively used for many other online publishing applications including:

- Professional company Web sites
- Product catalogs
- Directory of resources, tools, pictures
- Online magazines
- News hubs
- Association Web sites
- Outlet for publishing research results
- e-Learning tool

More than any of the traditional Web sites publishers and authors have been maintaining until now, these new Weblog/CMS powered Web sites open a real dialogue between the publisher and the readers. So much so that in several instances the audience contributes and provides the best part of this "public" discourse.

The integration of a standardized "Comment posting" facility and the ability for Weblogs to signal each other the presence of relevant content (trackback pings feature) opens up a new open road for conversation-type communication exchange replacing the top-down distribute and disseminate approach of most publishing media we have been using until now (newspapers, magazines, books, radio, TV, film, etc.).

It is wise therefore to leverage the infrastructural proclivity for conversational dialogue of these new media publishing and communication tools to effectively embed and seed more conversational components into our writing and public communication efforts.

These are the components that each communicator in hir right mind would want to use to increase the effectiveness, reach and impact of hir online communication site:

a) The invitation to comment and critique.

b) The reply, humble and kind, to all of the online posts received.

b) The option to vote on an issue.

c) Links to related discussion forum in which the topic can be discussed at length.

d) Users subscribe to specific discussions and follow them by email.

e) Opportunity for readers to submit their own editorials.

f) Publication of email content exchanges as relevant parts of the public discourse.

g) Rating and recommendation facilities. Ability to send post/article to somebody else.

These are just a few of the "conversational" enzymes to be integrated in the communication strategy of any online information source that wants to effectively reach its audience, while increasing awareness on specific key issues and affecting tangible change.

Conversational components like the ones outlined above allow the natural formation of small communities of interest around specific issues to be solved.

If there is opportunity to interact and the organization provides the means and the tools to interact, exchange, expose, organize, focus and design collaborative solutions, small groups of individuals will certainly take the challenge and will take back long lost initiative and capability to design and implement in a self-organizing way from the bottom up.

This is why I see most gaps and opportunities for growth in the areas that strictly connect and complement my above described issues.

Finally, here is my preferred list of highly desirable features and facilities I would like to see adopted by popular Weblog/CMS systems:

Notification features
Readers auto notification
I need to allow readers of my Web site to subscribe to a notification service that notifies them of my new posts in any category of interest they may like, or even according to other more specific criteria they may like to choose (keywords or keyphrases used in my post, presence of links to certain domains/sites, multiple mentions of one or more keywords, presence of keywords combinations, specific dates, etc.)

Notification to multiple lists
I want to be able to send via email content of new posts and articles to selected list of contacts I have. I need to have multiple lists and I need to be able to easily select which lists are to be notified for any new article I publish.

Newsletter management
The production of so much valuable content on a Weblog/CMS publishing system creates the perfect ground on which to breed and maintain a rich and avaluable newsletter. While many may have started the other way, it is now time to switch this over on its head. Publish a little quantity of good, timely content every day. Then autoassemble, group and re-distribute via multiple targeted newsletters all of your best work to those who prefer to receive the cream in their Inbox.

Related content
Interconnecting, bridging and aggregating content that relates and refers to itself is a most critical task to achieve if one is to effectively leverage the potential referring and building upon threads and ideas rather than talking individually as if separate from evident influence and cross-fertilization patterns. The tools needed (some primitive ones are already out there) will allow me to be offered as I write this piece, relevant articles I have prepared before selected on the basis of the "keyphrases" I am using here. The list will be dynamic and growing next to my typing cursor. Whenever I want I can select the text that I am writing and link it back to a related article I wrote before.

I like to see this one extended to the networked blogosphere of other Communication Agents (independent publishers working at a shared psotive-change goal) whereby, if I want, the articles and references suggested in the pop-up window next to my cursos are not only mine but all the ones of my elected blogosphere, limited action network or even of one or two speficically selected authors who I find to be the best possible complements for writing my essay.

As provided by Radio Userland I need to be able to search not just the whole Internet, but more specific and relevant domains of information, which even Google News does not (yet) cull as much as it could. I want to search content on a set of self-elected web sites of my choosing as I am now enabled to elect my own media sources and trusted feeds.

I want to be able to search my own resources, the ones of my site compLemented by the ones of other independent Communication Agents in my network, or a selected combination of what I feel being most appropriate for my goal at hand. The same should be offered obviously to the readers on my site.

I must be able to leverage more of the instrinsic capability of the network to bring to me like-minded people and others committed to complementary efforts and projects.

I must not only be able to reach them with ever increasing precision, timeliness and discreteness but I must also be able to provide the right environment for each one of them resonating to my one of my ideas or eforts to easily open up an exchange channel and a fair amount of personal information allowing me and hir to easily list each other as key resources in that area or venue. The use of FOAF models and protocols as well as the adoption of ASN-inspired concepts would also seem to greatly enhance the effectiveness and speed at which networked communications toward action can take place. I heartily agree that this is probably the hottest area of all.

A humble start, to be further expanded and refined.

Please contribute your harsh critique or inspired reference in the Comments area here below.

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posted by Robin Good on Monday, June 23 2003, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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