Were you gearing up for the upcoming Facebook page updates for 10th March? Well, hang on for a bit as there is more surprise in store for you before that happens. The latest comes in the form of Facebook’s newly launched comments plug-in, a powerful system that is bound to re-define how users comment on Blogs and other social media sites.
Let’s look at this all new plug-in and what makes it vastly different from already available commenting systems like Disqus, Intense Debate etc.
How and where do you install Facebook plug-in?
The comments box can be installed on any third party website where an interaction like comments is functional. You can grab the code for comments box from Facebook’s social plugin section here.
As shown in the screen below, the following details need to be entered before you can get the code for comments box. For example, you need to enter the URL of the website where the comments system will be integrated. The number of posts means the number of comment threads that should be displayed in a single instance. Lastly, you can set the width of the box and click on the “Get Code” button to grab the relevant code.
Please note, this plugin can only be used if your website has an application ID. Obtaining an application ID is simple and it can be easily done by registering the site.
What’s so Unique about FB Comments?
Authentication takes a backseat: We all know how tiring it can be to enter your username, website link and email address everytime you comment on a blog-post. Under the new comments system, if you are already logged on Facebook you don’t need to go through further authentication and can instead just focus on the comment. Not only that, your real picture will be displayed alongside the comment which negates the possibility of spam comments.
Choose how do you want to Post Comments
The new comments system also gives you the flexibility of choosing the profile/page from where you want to post comments. If you click on the “Change” link next to the Comment button, you can select from all the pages you administer and accordingly post your comment.
Cross-post Your Comments on Facebook Profile
Now let us move to the left-area of the comment window where you have another option which says “Post to Facebook”. This cross-posting feature ensures that any comment you make on a blog/website also goes to your Facebook profile thereby allowing your friends to see your comment in their activity stream. The “Post to Facebook” option is checked by default.
Synchronization of Your Friend’s Comments on Facebook & Website
Now once you post a comment and it goes to your Facebook profile, it is also reflected in the activity stream of your friends. The beauty is that everytime your friend’s comment on your post, it is also reflected on the original website where the discussion is taking place.
Here is one example that we tested in the case of Techcrunch. We had commented on a post by Techcrunch from the Facebook page of Iffort.
Any follow-up comment that was made for this post on our company page, also went back to Techcrunch. In other-words, the new comments system establishes a seamless connection between comments made on the website and Facebook page. As you see in the screenshot above, the normal comment button on Facebook has now changed to “Comment on TechCrunch”.
Organization & Display of Comments
Coming back to the website, the organization of comments is governed by a social algorithm. This social algorithm displays comments that are made by friends in your network and also the ones that have generated more discussion. I think there is still some flaw in this feature as the sorting of comments seemed to be working differently when observed from two distinct profiles.
Administration Options for Comments
The Facebook comments system is also powered with a comment administration system for easy management of user-comments in the backend. This works well like any of the commenting plugins and enables readers/administrator to filter spam comments.
What is the Good Part?
- Reduction in Spam Comments: Since the comments plugin requires posting from your Facebook profile or a page that you manage, it will immensly cut down the volume of spam comments.
- Unification of All Comments: Site owners and blog authors can now aggregate all of their comments in one single place, as comments made via Facebook are also displayed on their website.
- Simplification of Commenting Process: The new comments system now takes away the pain of entering URL, Email and Name as it simply authenticates via the user’s Facebook account.
- Promotion Opportunities for Facebook Pages: This is perhaps the best feature of the new comments system. You can now post comments on third party websites as Facebook pages thereby providing more visibility to the fan pages.
- Easy Sharing with Friends: As users who post comments, the tedious task of sharing your comments with Facebook friends is now gone. With the “Post to Facebook” option checked by default, the comment sharing on Facebook platform becomes single click.
- Synchronized Deletion of Comments: Just like posting of comments, the deletion of comments is easy as deleting a comment from either Facebook or third-party website removes the respective comment from both the places.
What needs to be improved?
- A Strong Social Algorithm: While the algorithm that aggregates and displays user comments is good, there is still lot of scope for improvement. It is still not clear as to how the user comments are displayed on a third-party website. In my case, when I clicked on the techcrunch link I was able to see the most popular comments along with a couple of comments made by friends in my network. Surprisingly, I couldn’t locate the original comment that was made from the Iffort Facebook page.
- Be Prepared for Scrolling: Irrespective of how the comments work, prepare yourself for some good amount of scrolling to locate the comments you want.
- Slow Loading Time of Comment Box : Something that I specifically observed in atleast 2-3 websites where the new comment system was installed. The entire comment box was taking a fair amount of time to load and the page had to be refreshed a couple of times before the comments could load.
- No Facebook, No Comments: If Facebook is blocked in your workplace, there is no way you comment on an article.
- Integration with other Social Channels: The current comments system is heavily dependent on Facebook. What remains to be seen is how integration of other social accounts like Twitter etc. will work with this comments system.
- Privacy Issues: Since the comments made by user profiles will now be displayed outside Facebook, it can create privacy issues as some of the users might have problems in sharing their data outside the Social network.
and the vote goes to..
If you own a blog and are looking to improve its visibility, the new Facebook comments system is just the thing that you’d want to install on your site. The functionality of this system is far more superior and widespread than all the currently available plugins, so there is a big thumbs-up from our side.
These are still very early days for the comments system. Are you a site/blog owner and planning to integrate the Comments box on your website? What are you thoughts about the new system?