Posted March 4, 2011
Facebook has created some waves this week when they announced their new plugin that enables users to leave comments on websites using their Facebook profile. TechCrunch not only jumped on the story, but they have also decided to give this new plugin a spin. The comments they got on their article are just as mixed, as my feelings about this new tool.
When you leave a comment on a website using this new plugin, you can decide to also post your comment on your wall, this way sharing the story and the comment with your friends. This is amazing news for smaller blogs that badly need more visibility, because just a single comment could potentially bring hundreds of clicks and the whole thing could go viral. I can see many websites jumping on this, especially once there will be an easy WordPress solution developed to just plug it in.
Promoting your blog will be harder
It is a basic rule of thumb for every blogger, that apart from writing their own blog to go and comment on other blogs. Some specialists even come up with magic formulas, about what the proportion should be between commenting and writing blog posts. The idea behind this was that if you would leave a smart comment on another blog, preferably in your own niche, than you could raise the interest of others to come and visit your blog, by clicking your name. Now, with this new plugin, your name is actually linking to your Facebook profile and not your blog.
Often comments add a lot of value to a post, they bring a new perspective, add more pertinent information, while adding a bunch of yummy key-words for Google to chew on.
The impact this new plugin will have on SEO, is hard to predict, but clearly it is a risk that if I would be a huge website, I’m not sure I would take.
A friend of mine (website in Romanian), who is a popular blogger in Romania wrote a post about censoring comments. His blog was blessed with a troll, who was leaving really nasty comments, some of them being plain swearing, addressed at the members of his family. Of course he would delete the offensive messages, after all it’s his blog and he can decide about where is the limit that a commenter can’t pass.
I wonder, if would have he had access to use the Facebook commenting plugin, if that would had avoided the problem he run into?
Trolls are everywhere and behave the same way, no matter the language, they hide behind an anonymous username, with a picture that has nothing to do with them and spill their poison, because they have no better way of dealing with their person issues.
With this plugin it’s harder to have anonymity; commenters have to use their real name or information that could easily be traced back to them. Spamming and trolling blogs that use this plugin will be a lot harder.
It’s far from being a finished product
I left a couple of comments on the TechCrunch story, but they are buried somewhere among the more than 1300 comments. There is no way find them and see reactions to my comment.
It’s also missing the functionality to subscribe to the answers by email or RSS.
You like or you hate Facebook, you have to deal with the idea that they are big, very big and if you want to tap into the advantages their 600+ million users can bring to you, than you have to learn to compromise, in this case by giving up the ownership of your comments.
I tried to present here some of the advantages and disadvantages this commenting plugin would bring. Is it really a game changer or not, well, you tell me. Will you use it on your blog/website? Will you leave comments on websites that use it?