As I was reviewing some out-of-date, faded-into-the-past style websites and blogs recently, I ran across some guest books. Are you still using a guest book on your blog?
In my mind, a guest book is a place where people can sign in and say hello. Right? Like you would have at a wedding, funeral, or special event. It’s a glorified sign up list. A formal sign up list. It keeps a record of all the attendees to a special event.
Thirty years from now you will pull the guest book out from under the bed, wipe off the dust bunnies breeding on it, and open it up and think back. “Oh, wow! Uncle Robert was there. You know he died ten years ago. Sad. And Aunt Bertha! She’s in the nursing home now. I need to go visit her. Where did the time go?”
Do you still have your autograph album? The youngest in my family just got back from their first trip to Disneyland. The two kids were so thrilled to show off their autograph album with all the signatures they had worked so hard to get from Snow White, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Winnie the Poo, and Buzz Lightyear. While I cheered for their numerous and hard won successes (tracking down Winnie the Poo behind a building), in a way, this is their guest book. A book of memory moments meeting these “people” who figure so greatly in their childhood stories.
The desire to preserve the moment with a signature has been around for a very long time in modern cultures. How does this need translate to the web? And to your blog?
I have never seen the need for a guest book on a blog. I barely saw the need for one on a website, but at the time, there were few ways to comment. If you wanted to leave a message, that was the only way.
Today, there are blog comments, contact forms, and various methods to get your message across to the blogger. I don’t see a guest book as useful in any way. Do you?
Today’s guest books are the comments. When you leave a comment on a blog you are acknowledging your presence at the blogger’s party. You are recording for all history that you read what they wrote and had something to to say. And you certainly had more to say than “Robert Knapp was here.” Didn’t you?
Does your blog have a guest book? Why? What good does it do for you?
If it doesn’t, have you considered adding one? Why?
People can now Twitter, and new communication technologies are coming out very fast, changing the very way we communicate and share information. I’m not sad that the guest book has faded into uselessness on the web, but what other methods of communication has also been lost to time and technology? Is there still some value to these? Or is newer better?
Lorelle VanFossen blogs about blogging and WordPress on Lorelle on WordPress.
The author of Lorelle on WordPress and the fast-selling book, Blogging Tips: What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging, as well as several other blogs, Lorelle VanFossen has been blogging for over 15 years, covering blogging, WordPress, travel, nature and travel photography, web design, web theory and development extensively as web technologies developed.