How many people who blog know that many blogs automatically send trackbacks or send pings to pingers sites like weblogs.com? How many bloggers know that these pings trigger services like Technorati to include their posts in an index and that any mention of my blog in their private diary cause a link to their diary to show up in my sidebar within minutes? One of the things that some of us forget is that it's not all about attention. Most people want a little more attention than they get, but they usually want it from the right people and only when they feel like it. One of the problems of using the "big time bloggers" to design the technology is that we often forget that many people would rather NOT have their contexts collapsed.
I've recently had the experience of receiving inbound links from people who write very personal diaries. I struggled when trying to decide whether I should comment, link to them or otherwise shed attention on a conversation or monologue that appeared to be directed at someone other than me or my audience. A lot of people will say at this point that posting on the "world wide web" is publishing to the public and information wants to be free, yada yada... I would disagree. The tools are just not good enough yet. Live Journal has a feature that allows you to post entries that only your friends can see. I would love to be able to add special comments interspersed in my blog posts for only my close friends.
I know the point is to keep it as simple as possible, and I can already hear the arguments, but wouldn't it be useful if there was a way to manage your audience better on a blog by blog or a post by post basis? It might also make sense to be a bit more explicit to new bloggers/journalers about what the consequences of pinging/trackbacking is.
I remember a message board where activists were preparing to march in protest against the wiretap law in Japan. This message board showed up in search engine results. A well-meaning policeman dropped into the message board and mentioned that they might want to get a permit. The community was in flames about being "wiretapped". So this isn't a new problem. Just bigger. What technology actually does and what people expect it to do are very different so the "technically speaking" answer is not always the real answer. Also, the tensions caused by the technologies should be viewed as opportunities for the innovators.