The new rules of communication for Internet conglomerates seem to be: if you have a great idea, host a press conference. If you aren’t really sure, bite your tongue, flip a switch, and see what hits the fan. BLOGGER!
Sure, it’s a tactic most people have come to expect from Facebook, but only because it needs a mom. We saw it when Yahoo! merged MyBlogLog accounts too, but that was just being a fast company. And now Google via Blogger has joined a new school of thought that suggests passive communication is best when you just aren’t sure if what you are doing is a good idea.
How passive? Here are a few ways a blogspot bloggger might have learned about the comment changes that affect their blogs:
1. You happened to click “Known Issues” on the dashboard help section of Blogger because it's something you like to do, um, just because.
2. A group member happened to open a case study discussion thread on BlogStraightTalk.
3. Maybe you stumbled onto the discussion at BlogCatalog, where many bloggers have vowed to migrate.
4. You happened to catch it on Twitter, either mine or Dave Delaney’s followup.
5. You happened to read one of several blogs or help groups that had less than flattering things to say.
6. Someone you know, maybe your mom, happens to know someone who knows someone who reads Blogger In Draft daily, on the off chance that it is updated, which is about every three months or so.
Okay, sure, right, communicating change is never easy. But what will it take before Internet companies come to the conclusion that viral marketing is not the best way to communicate change? Flipping the switch and seeing if anything hits the fan is nothing more than non-communication.
So what happened? Blogger removed the URL field for unauthenticated comments, which is their way of aggressively supporting OpenID. OpenID is a fine idea, which allows people to "sign" your comments with your own URL while “preventing others from impersonating you.”
The tradeoff in using the new OpenID comments seems to be the steep division between the choice of allowing anonymous posts without allowing any link backs or choosing OpenID to allow the link backs to other blogs but eliminating anonymous comments. Of course, the anonymous can always create an fake Blogger/Google ID that they’ll forget about a few weeks later, which is why I decided to flip the switch on this blog’s comments for now (use the pull down menu).
However, in the interim, Google/Blogger proves once again that most communication challenges occur from the inside out. But maybe that is part of the purpose of OpenID anyway. Migration becomes easier and exodus more likely when Internet companies fail to communicate change before springing it on their members. Hmmm … now that’s something Internet folks seem to get.