Sometimes, making a single change to a long held practice will completely renew your interest and commitment to that practice. One of those times was this week.
I am renewed in my fascination and commitment to blog comments.
For years, I have thought that along with PDF’s (as Will Richardson puts it), they were where ideas went to die. They only lived as tiny little attachments on the end of a post, an asterisk on an idea. While they may spark a lot of debate or be the most interesting part of a blog, I could never help but feeling as though they were a waste because of how little they were incorporated into everything else I was doing. Sure, you have been able to subscribe in e-mail to comments on blogs, but it never felt like a cohesive conversation. Sure, people have had threaded comments for a couple years, but it always worked more like just an extension of the regular commenting structure than a real debate of ideas. The threads never really went anywhere besides what the original blog post had envisioned.
So, why this renewal?
The switch to Disqus comments has fueled my new outlook on comments. The simple ability to respond to a comment directly in e-mail and then see all of the threads as a conversation in gmail has made me think that there really could be a commenting renaissance in our future. Because each comment now has its own short link, I can send it out on Twitter or Buzz and continue the conversation.
I am now looking at my comments as ways of forming relationships and beginning/continuing conversations that were impossible to do previously. And, all from one simple switch to a different commenting system.
So, this has gotten me thinking about whether or not the entire process of renewal can be made more accessible to others. It makes me want to figure out which feature of a process could be changed in our every day lives that would cause us to buy-in anew and want to create something.
Which aspect of collaboration can I change to incite renewal for others?
Which part of meetings can I shift in order to renew interest in talking with one another?
What can I change in the writing process to allow people to see it as a renewing force in their life?
And there is the crux. In order to make renewal available to everyone, there is a level of investment required. All of these things do require someone to DO something. So, by focusing on things that people are already doing, we may be able to shift them one or two degrees in order to bring about real change.
In essence, what I need to figure out is not so much what are the changes I can make for others, but to really figure out what people are doing and go from there. Unless I have a good understanding of exactly how people are using a given tool, protocol, or idea; I will have no chance of making a lasting change that brings about renewal. I need to hear more stories about how people are meeting and collaborating, about how they are asking questions and about how they are leveraging the people that they know in order to find answers.
Until I listen, I can’t renew or reinvent anything.
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