What is the middle ground between real-time chat and blog posts? Between synchronous and asynchronous communication?
One way might be multi-user blogchains. Imagine if chat occurred on posts across blogs rather than messages. The chain would be the chatroom. But the informality of chat is sacrificed for the formality of a blog post. The formality of a chat room is sacrificed for the informality of a infrastructural kludge chaining these posts together. Could there be a better way to incorporate both the looseness and structure of real-time chat while incorporating the thoughtfulness of a blog post?
Kicks Condor came up with a fascinating technique – “Blog Chat.” He describes it in this post as publishing interviews he does over email onto his blog. This seemingly simple approach offers unique affordances:
One distinct advantage: asking questions and waiting over time to answer them. It’s not that one is constantly mulling over the question for months. The questions are free to go completely out of mind. But, time passes, and new experiences happen.
I think the best phase is after the initial round of questions is over. Once answers are given, the conversation is rolling and we return to life for a day or a week. When we return to converse again, the topic is quite fresh. The feeling that I am not reaching for questions.
As marvelous as podcasts are, conversations can be too slow. I don’t want to get too deeply into min/maxing this shit. It’s a respectfulness idea, as stodgy as that may sound. You can read a decent blogchat in five or ten minutes and possibly hear everything except the vocal camaraderie and perhaps some finer points. You can definitely more easily re-read and quote. This is essential to me—I never hear it all the first time.
A blogchat is an asynchronous conversation that appears as a synchronous conversation. It happens on a single post level rather than across multiple posts across multiple blogs. That allows a more focused reading experience as Kicks describes. And in fact, the conversation doesn't even happen on the single post. Blogchat conversation happens on another communication platform across a longer period of time. Less pressure to get it right that in-the-moment mediums like podcasts require. Towards the end of the post, Kicks brings up an intriguing idea about how to build upon the form of a blogchat:
I think the next thing is perhaps to see what it’s like if a blogchat can be posted as a draft over time, building periodically.
This to me is an exhilarating idea. What if an interview had the iterative powers of a wiki? Someone could answer a question one way but later, as Kicks describes, have new experiences that change their answer. What if the drafting system of the blogchat could allow them to go back and change the answer a bit? Maybe this answer would provoke something new out of the other person and have them change the follow up question. The chat would be a living, breathing thing, but in a way vastly different than a podcast – a living document rather than living people having a face-to-face conversation.