There's a creeping infestation spreading its ugly way through the blogging world these days.
It's called Google+.
A few blogs I follow have switched over to using Google+ comments. And I have sadly stopped commenting on them.
I have two issues with Google+.
Firstly there's the way comments are shared.
Maybe I'm just out of step with the rest of the world, but if I wanted every one of my online acquaintances to know every time I speak, breath, or scratch my butt, I'd go on FaceBook.
I don't. So I don't like the way Google+ assumes you want to share everything with everyone who knows you.
When I comment on a blog, the implicit deal is that I'm sharing my comment with the blog owner and anyone else who visits that blog. In my mind, the connection and community is centred around the blog and its readership.
I might visit and comment on two entirely unrelated blogs, and to me those are two separate communities. A bit like separate conversations with different circles of people at work, at home, or in the gym.
But Google, in it's infinite wisdom, seems to have turned this on its head. The sharing of comments is now centred around me and my circles of friends. It's cut the blog and its community out of the picture, unless I want to share my comment with everyone who knows me - regardless of whether they care about the blog in question. It's as if instead of the blog being the centre of a community, the blog is now a subject of discussion about it amongst groups of strangers whispering secretively amongst themselves.
Sorry, but that to me has seriously eroded the point of blogging.
That might be tolerable, but then there's the question on online identity. I've spent years establishing myself as "Botanist" both here and in other forums. It's not that I'm strict about remaining anonymous - folks out there who know me know who I am - but I chose not to broadcast my real name everywhere I go.
Google+ has taken that choice away from me.
Sorry, but when I want to go online as my real self, I would rather it was on my terms and for reasons that make sense to me. It's not up to some faceless executive or gormless tech-head to make that choice for me.
So if I still visit you but have gone quiet on the commenting front, please know that it's not personal. It's not you, it's Google.