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Talk Nerdy to Me: Commenting on Facebook Commenting

Posted Apr 06 2011 9:41am

You may have heard that Facebook recently announced a new web-wide commenting system. Simply put, you will now be able to comment across the Internet with your Facebook login.

The downside? When websites use this system, people can pretty much only comment with their Facebook login. (As of right now, you can also comment with a Yahoo or AOL e-mail address, so you could always unearth your old-school Yahoo account to comment. No one is quite sure whether the Yahoo thing is a permanent feature of Facebook comments or if that will eventually change.)

I have no plans to put Facebook comments into my blog right now, but I’m not writing it off entirely. We are also planning to use it on Beckinfield, and because it’s such a new system, we’re not sure how people feel about it. So today I want your comments on commenting.

how it would look speech bubble

If you are logged into Facebook, this is what you’ll see if you go to a site that has Facebook enabled comments:

Facebook comments

(Not gonna lie — first time I saw my name and face appear on a site that I’d never even been to before, I was pretty shocked!)

If you aren’t logged into FB or if you choose to log out, this is what you’ll see:

Facebook comment

After you comment, if you check the “post to Facebook” box, this is what you’ll see in your Facebook feed and on your Facebook profile:

Facebook comments

Now, here’s what’s sort of the big deal about all of this. If one of my friends reads my comment on my Facebook profile, they’ll see the link to the post I commented on and they can Like or comment directly in my Facebook stream — and it will post their actions back to the original blog or web site.

So then the comments section starts to look like this:

Some of those comments were posted right on the blog post…but the Like on the first comment very well could have been done on Facebook.

Now, like I said, I have no plans to put this into my blog right now, but I’ve thought about it. Before I do something that big, I wanted to talk about why I (or any blogger or website) would start using Facebook comments.

  • It takes a huge swipe at anonymous comments and trolling. If the blogger or website decides against allowing Yahoo or AOL comments, then this system will go pretty far in eliminating anonymous comments. While I don’t mind anonymous comments, I must say that nearly all of the anonymous comments I get are negative ones, which pisses me off. This is a blog about owning it , so I hate when people don’t own when they disagree with me. I hate it even more when it’s someone who has commented here before (which I can often tell quickly by looking at the IP address — did you know that?) and now is refusing to put the name/identity that I or other readers have come to recognize. When a commenter doesn’t want me to know who they are (or when, quite frankly, another blogger doesn’t want my/their readers to know that they are trolling) I get a little cranky. I’ve thought about disallowing all anonymous comments on my blog altogether because I don’t believe in hiding. I’ve read that Facebook, which required users to use their real name, was a big step toward making people want authenticity and transparency on the Internet.
  • It’s free promotion. I’m not going to BS you guys. The most appealing part of this comes from the marketing point of view. As a blogger, people sharing me with their friends is the highest compliment, and, honestly, the best way people can say thanks if they really like something I’ve written. Getting my blog to reach more people is a big deal for me, and if making it easier for you to post my blog to Facebook would help with that, well…it’s really tempting. And you do have the ability to opt-out, which means if you don’t want to promote a particular comment (because maybe you don’t want the comment you left me about your boyfriend’s hideous comforter to show up in your feed), you don’t have to.
  • It makes it easier to monitor conversations. The thing is, right now anyone could post a link to my blog on Facebook right now and leave a comment. And all her friends could see it and leave comments too. And if we aren’t friends, or if I just don’t see the link, I would have no idea. And I’d like to have an idea. I love reading your comments. I read every single one and I read a lot of them out loud, since I’m laughing out loud and have to explain myself to those around me. And I use your comments — they help me through certain situations and inspire posts. And I’m not the only one who monitors the conversation — you guys read the comments too.  I’d hate for any of us to miss out on really great conversations taking place somewhere other than my blog.
  • It builds community. You guys know by now that I think you all are awesome. And you know that you all are awesome. I see you telling each other that in the comments, where there is generally quite often a love-fest going on, and I love it. I also love it when you find ways to help each other or share tips through the comments. And then I see you commenting on each other’s blogs. And…sometimes it shows up in my Facebook feed when you two become friends. And I will take some credit for that — sorry I’m not sorry! I love it! My point is, the social part of social media is a huge part of why I do what I do. I love the idea that someone could comment about something and someone else, a total stranger, could click on their name and then go to Facebook to send them a private message relating to that comment. I know that commenters who have blogs already have this luxury, but not all of you do, so using your Facebook login would give you a little more identity within this community. (On a semi-related note — you don’t have to have a blog to get a picture to show up with your comment. If you’ve always wondered how to get one, read my tech tutorial on Hollaback about how to get a Gravatar .)

That said, this isn’t a perfect system.

  • There is a difference between anonymity and privacy. I don’t like anonymous comments…but I’m OK when people use an online persona. (I know some of you just use an initial to comment, but if you always use the same initial and e-mail address, you still do have an identity here.) I like having a name to put with someone who comments regularly, but I understand why people want their privacy and security. I think the privacy issue is the biggest one with this system, and I respect people’s
  • Not everyone uses Facebook. I know it seems like everyone is on Facebook, but there are plenty of reasons why people don’t use it and I’m fine with that.

Like I said, I’m not changing to Facebook comments any time soon and I’m not necessarily pro Facebook commenting, but it’s going to start happening on more and more blogs and websites and I really wanted to know what you all think about it! So please…comment on Facebook commenting in the comments below!

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