There is no question that as activity on social networks has broadened, conversations have become decentralized and distributed. Only a short few years ago, bloggers could anticipate their posts would rile up deep conversations on their blogs, through comments below each post. But for many people, the trends have been for conversations to happen elsewhere - on Twitter, FriendFeed, Facebook or practically anywhere people wish them to be.
As a result, new tools have cropped up to monitor the conversations, or to unify them, regardless of their source. Among the most visible has been BackType, which offers comment search, as well as a tool called BackType Connect, which centralizes reactions for Wordpress-powered blogs.
Today, one of the most popular comment engines, JS-Kit, says they too are moving to this model, and not just halfway. Their old platform is dead. Period. Starting today, users will be presented with a new platform called Echo that integrates reactions from around the Web, including those from these diversified, decentralized conversations, alongside standard comments. Existing users of JS-Kit will be upgraded to the Echo platform.
"We are here to announce the death of comments," said Khris Loux. "What's interesting about these new forms of communication is that they are parallel channels away from your blog. We are discontinuing JS-Kit comments because it no longer reflects the conversation around the blog."
Echo is a drop-in comment replacement platfom. Now, they say, references to your original content will be automatically displayed in real-time.
"Echo-enabled content is now the richest source of the conversation. They can go to your blog and see the entire live stream," Loux said.
Loux and Chris Saad, also of JS-Kit, said that bloggers who are using alternative platforms, like Disqus, could use the tool for future conversations, and they could import and export comments from platforms like Blogger.