Weblogs as a conversational tool
Another piece of thinking aloud for the paper (triggered by Denham's comment:)
Weblogs make a very funny conversational tool:
Bloggers say they write for themselves, but they also care about their audience. Or, they write for an audience without really knowing for sure if there someone reading. In other words, they write for a change to be read.
Weblogs can provide immediacy of instant messaging (e.g. sometimes people comment on your post within minutes), but usually communication is asynchronous. (Sidenote. Would be interesting to study the timeframe of links/comments to a post: earliest comment time, longest comment time, average. Something like: "most of comments to a post are written within 1-15 days interval, so if you really want a feedback to your idea and waiting for a two weeks already, rephrase it and post again" ;)
Weblog conversations can be very intensive and develop fast much like mailing list or forum discussion (see the paper for an example).
Unlike mailing lists or forums, which require membership for participation, weblogs are open for everyone to comment. But not all commenters are equal: those with their own weblogs can make "global" contribution and engage their own audience in a discussion, but "blogless" people have to comment in the original weblog, where comments are secondary. (Of course, everyone can use e-mail to comment, but it's another story :)
Weblog conversations are public, but they are still hidden in a sense: it's too difficult to find all the pieces and it's even more difficult to get an overview (e.g. comparing to forum discussion). I would say that weblog conversations are like books in the library: only well-trained people can find them ;)
(One more sidenote: Don't know why I'm getting into writing mode when I should be sleeping. Hope I will not be sleepy in the morning ;)