Stowe Boyd looks at Pullquote

Stowe Boyd, researcher-at-large for GigaOM, has been an active Pullquoter in recent weeks. Yesterday, Stowe published a long look at Pullquote and other genre-busting publishing tools. He reached this conclusion:

Companies alike Tumblr, Medium and Pullquote are redefining the ideas about commenting that we have almost taken for granted since the start of the century. Once again, the web is breaking what seemed solid and foundational, taking the concept of comments and going sideways with it.

My bet is that this set of innovations will mean that the canonical series of comments at the bottom of a post will seem totally out of date in a few years, just like grunge fonts, left margin navigation, and embedded flash shouts ‘old school’ today.

Stowe focused on Pullquote’s new quote-commenting feature, introduced last week, and was the first to notice the member stream of Pullquote texts and comments. (Here’s Stowe’s stream, for example.)

Stowe and I’ve known each other since long before “social media” was a common phrase. In his generous GigaOM post and a second post on his own blog, Stowe made a number of good suggestions for improving Pullquote. In short:

* Pullquote should tally and highlight comments for a Pullquote’s creator. [Coming in a day or two.]
* Pullquote should alert readers to when there are comments on a page’s content, creating a kind of “virtual graffiti.” [Definitely! We’re waiting for a critical mass of users to make such encounters likely.]
* Pullquote should show the inciting tweet on an individual Pullquote’s page. [Great point, will do.]
* “The only way to see the comments (if any) are by following the Pullquote URL.” In fact, people can burrow and find comments via clicking on quotes in the “member” page (again, here is Stowe’s) but clearly we need to improve the UX to make these more easily accessible.
* “And it appears that only those with the plugin can see or add to the comments. Bummer.” [In theory, anyone with Twitter can leave a comment — we’ll figure out what gave this appearance.]

Like Stowe, we sense that Pullquote and peers represent the tip of a giant iceberg of new web behavior that’s just waiting to surface. Some of our previous thoughts on that potential future are here.