Do not comment on another website, when you can write on your own

29 April 2024

The more things change, the more they stay the same, perhaps? Manuel Moreale writing the other week about blog post comments:

I’m not a fan of comments in general and I think commenting on something should be done in one of two ways: 1. Privately via email or via direct messaging. 2. Publicly by posting a reply on your own website.

Back in the day, when the first inceptions of disassociated came online in the late 90’s, these were just about the only options for communicating with a personal website owner. There were of course guestbooks, which, contrary to popular belief, are still alive and well. Maybe I’ll bring one back here.

But if you wanted to respond to something someone had written in their online journal, writing a post in reply, on your own website, was the way to go. Blog post comments were unheard of in the nineties, as indeed, for the most part, was the term blog. But posts-in-response were a great way to build rapport with other website owners, network, and even collaborate.

You never knew what might come of some of these ongoing reply-to-something-someone-had-written-on-their-personal-websites confabs.

For a group of mainly Sydney based web creatives, including me, Jen Leheny, and Justin Fox, (sorry, I can’t find websites for the others), the result was the formation of the Australian INfront. And for almost twenty years from 1999, INfront brought Australian web design front and centre globally.

Blog comments were also a great way to build rapport and network, but I almost think the case can be made that they spelt the end of the personal website. Now that readers of a website/blog could respond to a post in the same place, many people no longer needed their own website to do so.

The likes of Twitter, when it arrived, a microblogging platform, where users only needed to create an account to get posting, hastened the decline of the personal website. But, thankfully, nothing resulted, so far, in their extinction.

Post comments are not unheard of here, but I rarely enable them. And that’s because I’ve long believed the best way to comment on something you’ve seen here is to either contact me, or, preferably, write a post on your own website.


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