May 22, 2007 |
Rather long time ago we used to visit numerous websites only to get some information. Later we had forums for discussions and special guest book sections to leave feedback to a particular site's owner. Now it is absolutely normal that we rarely visit website just to read something useful. To be more precise, when we find something actually useful we tend to contribute: post our comments, submit to Digg, Netscape or StumbleUpon, bookmark in Del.icio.us for further reading and share it with our friends (and even the term "friends" can now relate to a person you have never seen in person or even talked to on the phone – a "friend" is now almost anyone you have met online provided that this person shares similar interests). Besides, it looks like everyone is blogging these days – it is much more difficult to find a person who does not have any single blog than a person who has at least 5 of them.
Sure, you have your own blog. You want your readers to comment on your posts (with trackbacks being the most valuable comments). But what about letting your visitors blog on your site themselves? Here is what BackwardBlog is intended for.
Giving your readers an opportunity to post to your private blog just for your reading is really simple: BackwardBlog provides you with a widget, form or link code to paste into your blog or website, you install it (the widget resembles the usual Meebo me chat widgets we see on many blogs). After the widget or the form is live on your website, you will be able to read the feedback from your visitors (or their "blog posts") in any RSS reader you use.
For me the idea itself actually sounds strange: it looks like an old guest book evolved into a multi-author blog written by a website visitors and not moderated by the website owner. Sure, there is a matter of spam as one would expect but the developers of BackwardBlog promise all the posts will be filtered through Akismet so it may prove safer than it seems.
Basically the service provides you with a small "Contact us" form for your website but while the traditional forms have all your messages sent to your email inbox this is processed as an RSS feed. At the moment the project is obviously in its early stage – it is visible both from the website interface and lack of features. For instance, the widget and the forms as they are provided now are… just ugly and even if I wanted to use such a widget on my website, I would never have installed what they have to offer. Besides, they do not permit you to customize the widget at all (at least the way we all customize Google AdSense blocks). Of course, you can develop your own form to use BackwardBlog but this requires at least some basic knowledge of HTML while many bloggers are only accustomed to using WYSIWYG editors and have no knowledge of HTML at all.
But anyway it looks like whenever a new widget for blogs is launched, there are at least some bloggers willing to try out and give their readers an additional way to contact author. So after some customization is added this widget may find its own fans, that's for sure. The only thing I don't understand is why this is actually named "blog". Do you?