Using Facebook Comments For Your Business or Blog
I can certainly see the appeal of using Facebook comments – I think that given the number of people that are on Facebook as well as the number of people that use Facebook as their digital/ online identity – certainly makes a case for inclusion. However a decision to move exclusively to Facebook comments and Yahoo is extremely limiting.
In a nutshell, Facebook Comments does not solve the problem of anonymity.
For example, I like to have a bit of control over what people perceive my online identity or image to be. Facebook is not my primary persona. Neither do I want it to be. I have all of 63 friends on Facebook. A majority of them are very close friends and family living in different parts of the world – people that I don’t get to see too often and people that know me since childhood i.e. strong ties, not just casual connections. In a nutshell: Facebook is not my primary way of connecting or identifying myself online. This holds true for many people.
So for sites like TechCrunch, to limit commenting by people in order to ‘reduce or all-together eliminate anonymous comments’ is bogus. If anything, it makes people more anonymous, simply because Facebook is not a good system to establish what this person really stands for. There is no way for the business (in this case TechCrunch) or other users of the site, to perceive the commenting user’s preferences, opinions, biases etc. What good is a comment like that?!
In fact, I firmly believe that negative comments by trolls or otherwise is part of the business and if you can’t take people – anonymous or otherwise – disagreeing with you, then maybe you shouldn’t be in business. Alternatively, you could just put better moderation in place!
Unlike many other embedded commenting systems (including Disqus which I personally LOVE), when you comment using the new Facebook comment plugin, your comments can show up in your Facebook news feed for all of your friends to see. Moreover, if one of your friends then responds on Facebook to your comment, then their response will also show up on the website or blog.
As much as this feature has major viral implications, I really don’t think my mom cares (or understands) why the iPad 2 is such a big deal. Nor do I want comments from my friends in other industries on why I think some sites have crappy UX. Their thoughts may or may not be relevant, but more importantly, that is not a conversation I want to have with them! The missing link here is the fact that there no way I can target or filter these updates and that in itself will dilute the value of my comment. Not to mention losing the implicit privacy that we currently enjoy.
Do I really want all my friends on Facebook being aware of my other internet activity?
However one thing I will admit – Facebook integration does give businesses and website owners a chance to get a lot more detailed information about who is seeing their content on Facebook. That is powerful and hence I agree that there is some value. But I don’t believe there is value in limiting comments through using Facebook and only Facebook, much like what TechCrunch has done, especially since it does not currently support any Twitter or Google integration.
In this case, I believe that most of the benefits of the commenting system will be reaped by Facebook; not the website, blog or end user. Facebook wants to grow its empire by any means necessary and this is simply more fuel in their kitty to further collect more data about their user’s activities on the internet. Facebook’s motives with this whole commenting system are underestimated to say the least.
For more reactions on why TechCrunch has decided to move towards Facebook comments, check out this post by MG Siegler on Quora. But before you do, take a moment to tell me what your thoughts are on the matter. Would you use Facebook comments for your blog or business?