I would never have guessed that the next battle in the social networking arena, and more specifically between Facebook and Google+, will occur not at the social networks turf but at a whole different battlefield. At my own playground (and maybe yours)…
I am talking about blog commenting platforms. Surprised? After reading the following post you might understand better.
Let’s go back to February 2009. Facebook just announced the social network’s first version of its Comments Box. It presented it as an easier way to allow communications between the site and the users with a simple installation of a few lines of code.
After a short hesitation on the web, some websites and blogs began adopting this new commenting platform. However, it still didn’t took off as Mark Zuckerberg would have wanted. Most of the most popular sites remained using their default commenting system (WordPress, Blogger).
But on late 2010 or the beginning of 2011, something has changed. More and more sites and blogs have switched into social commenting platform.
I don’t think that it was the improvements made to the social commenting platforms themselves what made the difference, but more of a combination of the social networks rise and the overload of a never ending war with comment spammers/trolls.
Social blog commenting platforms like Facebook’s or Disqus (which allows commenting by somewhat verified users) became enormously widespread. All major sites switched to social commenting systems. I think that TechCrunch’s announcement of switching to Facebook Comments said it all:
“First, you’ll notice that if you’re already logged into Facebook, you won’t have to click though any authentication options. More important, you’ll notice that any comments you write are being left under your real name, which spells bad news for you trolls and spammers.”
This statement is essentially emphasizing two important reasons why switching: One, most people are always logged into their social network(s) account (in this case, Facebook’s). Two, by using real identities the amount of comment spamming and trolling reduces drastically.
The other reason (and maybe the best one) for using a social commenting platform is that the comments are also being posted on the social network AS WELL (if the user allows it obviously). It creates a powerful and significant self-promotion mechanism on the social media channels!
When a user posting a comment when using Facebook Comments, it is also getting published on the user’s Facebook account (unless the user uncheck the post to Facebook box). Meaning that the user’s friends will be also exposed to the discussion and to the website’s contents.
From the social networks side, it increases the engagement with the social network and encourages users to join those social networks in order to participate in these websites and blogs different discussions. Now you understand why blog commenting platforms are so valuable?
Google Rumored To Launch Comment System, Facebook Improves Its Own
If you know or not, Google+ seems to have little problem of user engagement. Therefore launching its own social commenting platform (as rumored) just to improve this issue alone seems logical, justified and maybe even long overdue.
Facebook, as a reaction or on a very coincidental timing, presented couple of improvements to its own commenting platform:
- The first is allowing site owners better way to manage low-quality and spammy comments (well, spam didn’t disappeared completely).
- The second is adding permalinks (unique URLs) to comments. This will allow directing users (linking) to exact individual comments.
This battle is just beginning and I’m already enjoying it.