Instead of leaving a comment on the initial blog post (which may be sufficient), bloggers will talk about the post in question on their own blog, this way it can be more of just a reply, it can be incorporated into an authored piece…it will also have a chance for the 2nd blogs readers to be aware of the conversation (opening up the discussion).
Blog 1 – initial post.
Blog 2 – response post.
Blog 1 finds out about Blog 2 by trackback or incoming links.
Blog 1 also gets responses in comments of initial post.
Blog 1 can look at who commented on the initial post, and discover new blogs.
Blog 1 may also subscribe to Blog 2 (if they don’t already).
Blog 1 can look at who has commented on Blog 2’s post, and discover new blogs.
Blog 1 can see the incoming links of Blog 2’s post, and discover new blogs.
To further follow the conversation it is essential to subscribe to incoming links, and comments on both the initial post and response post.
Incoming links is easier enough, the hard part is comments…some blogs have RSS comments, some even have RSS comments per post, some have email notification of comments (but only if you make a comment first)
Blog 1 can subscribe to incoming links of it’s own initial post.
Blog 1 will be notified by email of comments on the initial post.
Blog 1 can subscribe to Blog 2 comments (the response post).
Blog 1 can subscribe to Blog 2’s incoming links (the response post).
…same goes for Blog 2 (vice versa)
As the decentralized discussion goes on you are not only following a distributed conversation, but you are discovering new blogs.
The conversation in the comments, is more similar to a forum, as it is more direct…but the conversation from incoming links can be less direct.
So it can be both direct and non-direct conversation, by non-direct you can be referencing a post, talking about it, but not to it necessarily…so in the end you have 2 things, a published post that is part of the authors material, but at the same time it is part of a conversation (a sometimes invisible conversation that is made visible by the power of RSS)
So by subscribing using RSS, Blog 1 can follow a conversation.
Blog 1 may find 5 more comments on the initial post.
Blog 1 may find 2 more comments on Blog 2’s post.
Blog 1 may find 4 more citations from incoming links from the initial post.
Blog 1 may find 3 more citations from incoming links from Blog 2’s post.
Now there are potentially 14 new blogs to check out (from the incoming links and comments from Blog 1, and Blog 2)…more discovery.
To follow, Blog 1 may subscribe to the RSS comments and incoming links of the 4 more citations on the initial post
…also Blog 1 may subscribe to the RSS comments and incoming links of the 3 more citations on Blog 2’s post
So now Blog 1 is subscribing to it’s own incoming links, Blog 2’s incoming links, and the new 7 incoming links (Blog’s 3-9)…as well as the comments in all 11 blogs.
NOTE: this is all considering that every new comment and every new incoming link is from a new blog (obviously this isn’t always the case)
So if these 11 blogs receive more citations from incoming links, there will be more posts to watch (ie. subscribe to incoming links and comments)….till the conversation ends or lays low for a while.
Blog 1, or whichever Blog, may choose to do a review post of the conversation (this helps new comers following the discussion)…then this post may have new comments and more incoming links to track
…and so on.
So blogs give you the power to publish, and RSS glues the blog conversation, but once the distributed discussion has ended how does it look?
In hindsight it is hard to re-track and follow the discussion, it’s much easier to do this as it’s happening.
How do you follow a blog conversation from 6 months ago, it’s not that easy….as mentioned sometimes someone will make a review post of the discussion, which helps, but this isn’t always the case.
If the conversation is resurrected later on (say in 3 months) we need to connect it to the earlier conversation for a complete perspective.
Also these 11 blogs may be unaware that there may be the same type of conversation happening in 3 or 4 areas elsewhere in the blogosphere, so these other blogversations, if discovered, can also be related to our conversation at hand.
Once the discussion has simmered down we need a place to store conversations, such as a Wiki, otherwise they will continuously need to be rediscovered.
The difference with forums is that besides the conversation taking place, it is automatically archiving the whole discussion for later viewing at the same time, whereas blogversations can be tracked, but aren’t being archived for later viewing.