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Google Reader Now Hosts Conversations



pancake-instructionsGoogle is not not not building a social network. Really. They’re not. They’re just adding features to every product ever made to enable you to communicate and otherwise share information among your peer group and store all your information in a centralized place. That’s soooo not a social network, so I don’t need anybody telling me about how Google Reader’s new comment feature shows that they’re a social network.

So let’s see. Way back in December 2007, Google Reader add the socially option to share items from your RSS feeds with anyone in your Gmail contact list. These people are your so-called “friends,” though most of them you probably haven’t heard from in two years. Last May they premiered the ability to add a note to items you were sharing and share items from anywhere on the Internet. In August, they finally let us better control what friends we shared with.

list_view

Now, you can not just share with a note, but share with comments. And the people you’ve shared it with can comment back. In the lovely “Comment view,” found under the Friend’s Shared Items pane, you can browse and share in the shared conversations amongst your friends about items they’ve shared. It’s a lot of sharing.

As a Google Reader user, I guess this is kind of cool. I actually still don’t particularly care for letting my friends share stories with me (but I do it anyway), and it happens so rarely that I don’t know that I’ll be getting into any comment conversations on GReader any time soon. But that’s just me, and I’m sure there are plenty of avid users out there.

As a blog owner/editor, however, I’m not as enthused. I love that subscribers can use feed readers to gather all their favorite blogs’ new posts into one place. But maybe I’m just crazy, but the whole “social” part of blogging is in the comments to me.

By giving subscribers a different, possibly more convenient place to comment, I’ll miss out on that feedback and those conversations. For sad (really). Is there going to be a way to notify feed owners of comments—and if so, would we want to know what people don’t want to say on our sites?

multi_share

I can see how some things don’t really belong in the comments of a blog post (your friends’ inside joke about Henry Kissinger probably won’t add to a story about him, eh?) and of course, since you can share anything you want in GReader, not every page will have a place to comment. But most of the time, I do feel like the wider audience will be missing out on a lot of the conversation if we fragment things like this.

Whether you agree with the GReader-user-me or the blog-publisher-me, though, you have to admit this is a different direction for feed readers. What do you think? Will you use these features? Will you benefit from them?

  • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

    I’d comment on your entire post, but I’m still laughing hard at the opening paragraph! :-)

  • http://www.chris-moody.com Chris Moody

    I LOVE this feature. My Google Reader buddies and I have been using this like crazy today. It is much easier than resharing the same post with your own content.

    If you post interesting things on your Google Reader, add me: thechrismoody@gmail.com. :)

  • http://www.dietbrainery.com Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach

    Ditto on the first paragraph! :)

    I still click thru to popup another browser when using Google Reader. Some year, however, I will boldly use these new features as well.

    Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach’s last blog post..OMG NEWSFLASH!!! Slimshots, can you believe…

  • http://topdospods.com topdos

    nice info..can’t wait to do that…I want to upgrade my popularity…thnks for sharing

    topdos’s last blog post..TimeSheet : Management Software Review

  • http://www.directsaleswebmarketing.com/ Dennis Edell

    The only Google tool I use is Google itself. It does however seem like a good alternative for those too lazy – err – busy to click through.

    Dennis Edell’s last blog post..798 Views & 5 Comments – Are You Doing All You Can To Engage Them?

  • http://yourpersonalgrowthsite.com/wordpress/ bp

    I agree with that point – the point of blogs is freely commenting and conversing. Doesn’t make much sense to remove that from the equation!

    bp’s last blog post..Secrets To Success Part 1

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