CoComment allows you to keep track of all your comments on various weblogs by using a simple bookmarklet. I have no doubt that CoComment will succeed on that premise, such as del.icio.us has for bookmarks, and flickr has for photos. But CoComment goes one step further to state that it will “Turn your comments into conversations, no blog needed, just participate!”
It doesn’t deliver. Conversation is not helped in the slightest by CoComment. In fact, it makes it worse. If one relies only on CoComment comments for a blog posting, they miss out on those that are not utilizing the service. The only way to read 100 percent of the comments is to visit the blog directly.
The only thing CoComment actually does well is let you keep track of your own and other people’s comments. Clearly, this is not related to the conversation on the web. Distributed conversations are much more complicated than simply tracking comments.
I came across this post by Rishi on Memeorandum (Which seems to be the current market leader in distributed conversations, though I dislike the fact that it is powered by an algorithm. This is web 2.0 people, harness the power of the collective!) and at the end, he implores anyone interested in his thoughts on an implementation of real distributed discussion to email him. So I did.
I basically said I have been mulling over an idea involving pulling together blog posts to form conversation in a different way than is currently being done. He responded with a post about the issue of attention versus conversation. This is a very big issue.
We ended up coming to the conclusion that there has to be a point at which bloggers would be willing to compromise their traffic in order to facilitate conversation from blog to blog. The trick is finding that point. And CoComment doesn’t have anything to do with conversation on the web, so claiming to simply doesn’t make sense.