Conversation is making a comeback in a big way. While this doesn't mean more people are getting cozy over coffee, it does mean the tech-savvy are demanding faster and faster ways to get their thoughts out to both relevant audiences and those less so.
With Blog Flux's new Commentful, one-liners and whole discourses left on comments pages can be brought to an owner's attention in real-time, increasing rates of response so it's almost like having a real discussion -- almost.Perhaps inspired by the Facebook Newsfeed and Twitter, Commentful takes the notion of updating friends and associates on your running streams-of-thought, and puts it to good use. Why not inform users in real-time of comments left on their own blog posts, Digg submissions and Flickr galleries? Voila: whenever a subscriber receives a comment on his or her own content, Commentful conveys that information almost instantly. To be exact, it will check your watchlist for updates every 15 minutes. Lifehacker notes that solutions like Yahoo Pipes can help users build similar comments tracking function that operates out of an RSS feed. But the beauty of Commentful is encompassed in something called a "lightbulb" feature, which is similar to Twitterific, an IconFactory-written API that parks on toolbars and makes little pop-ups when Twitter contacts create new posts.
Instead of flooding your browser with bubbly pop-ups full of unsolicited streams-of-thought, Commentful's lightbulb extension sits quietly on the Firefox/Flock status bar and informs you of updates with an informative but unoppressive green light. If you do not use Firefox or Flock, Commentful is also available via RSS. (Hey, it's still way simpler than trying to coordinate the same function via Yahoo Pipes!)
At present Commentful supports all major blog platforms, including MovableType, Blogger and WordPress. It would be unimaginative, however, for them to stop there. They also support the majority of social networking sites, including MySpace, Digg, Youtube and Flickr, as well as popular forum software like phpBB, vBulletin and others. And while there is no limit to the number of items you can track at one time, pages that do not receive a comment after 90 days get shelved neatly into your archive.
Last February Gerry McGovern noted that the difference between content, like blogs, and conversations is that content leaves a record. While this is true, we are witnessing the beginning of a merge: short, rapidly-moving pieces of content that perhaps replace the purpose of conversation between both nearby friends and distant colleagues.
What makes this rapidly-moving information different from the average instant messenger chat? It may be the "officializing" element of publication. Before Commentful can inform users of a comment, a comment first has to be written and published somewhere. The "status" function on Facebook Newsfeed leaves its mark on the front pages of all your friends, and even the flitty Twitter looks at itself as a "tumblelog" or social mini-blog.
In related news, Central Desktop adds a Twitter-style dynamic-update function to its latest ECM solution, which somehow adds legitimacy to this sudden interest in stream-of-thought publishing. (Anything that gets carte blanche as an actual enterprise offering can be considered a relevant networking tool, right?)
Blog Flux, the "spiritual successor" to the Eatonweb Portal, takes on the mantle of making life as a blogger more convenient. Their aim is to act as the ultimate portal for blogging needs. In addition to Commentful, they also have directories and button makers. Read more about them or start using Commentful post-haste.