Interesting. As a consumer rather than a producer I have a slightly different take I suppose. What I would like is a way to aggregate the conversation. You’ve mentioned both Beth and Lorianne’s posts, both of which I’ve read, but not the comments. Some blogs have feeds for the comments on individual posts. I’d like the ability for posters to have a shared comment space. So instead of travelling between individual seminar rooms with a speaker and small audience in each it would be more like a meeting with a couple of speakers or more and an integrated audience responding to each other as well as the speaker they’re not best acquainted with. This wouldn’t be timezone dependent in the way that the google “hangout” is. And raises, I would hope, the possibility of broadening conversations and discussions rather than closing them down or seeing them take place in an echo chamber. What I dislike (and fear) most about much use of the Internet is the drive to serve up more of the same. If you like this… etc. The homogenisation of polarization, the gated communities of the mind. Which can be, and often are, driven by desire for gain or bigotry. I don’t want the same, I want new, exciting, challenging, thought-provoking. Different. Broadened out of my comfort zone, not stroked in it or stomped on. Oh, and I want this facility to be cross platform non-sign-up.

And I think by definition Google+ couldn’t do that because of the necessity to have an account. You can only “follow” blogspot blogs if you have a blogspot or google account you want to tie to it. I can’t be a “me” I choose, I have to be a me defined by software.

Which brings me to my social programme/s of choice – an rss feed reader and a browser. I’ve 0nly recently come to this realisation as a result of Flipbook on the iPad. It’s a feed reader into which you can stick any bunch or collection of feeds in groups of your choice as well as offering its own aggregates (UK News and Tech are the ones I follow). It presents the posts like pages in a magazine through which you can flip in various ways. Or open individual posts in a browser. There’s no desktop equivalent that I know of yet but when there is the business of reading feeds will be revolutionised and, I would guess and hope, revitalised. This is a selection process which is entirely under my control – I don’t have to sign up to join anything, and nor does anyone who I choose to “follow”, nor do they have to be aware of my interest. I can group them in ways to my taste under names I have chosen. And for certain blogs where discussion is of a livelyness and informativeness to my taste I also subscribe to the comments.

And so it was, sitting at the breakfast table with a cup of coffee flipping through the morning’s news and thinking how comfortingly familiar and how like having a non-hand-griming newspaper it was, that I read your post and had these collaborative comment rss thoughts.

I also had other thoughts about the use of the word “display” on Google+, about marketing, promotion, the machismo of speed, the nature of “information” and identity. But they were only half formed and not really relevant.

So what do you think? Is it a good idea? If so, does such a nifty little “let’s make a widget to share comments across blogs which updates on each in real time via rss” widget already exist? And if not do we know anyone who could make it? Think how it could aid conversation at something like the Festival of the Trees. And reduce the necessity to go to the hideous Facebook.

Oh, and if it existed I would already know whether someone had already recommended to Beth that she get a browser add-on which zaps ads for a better browsing experience almost everywhere, not just on FB.