It’s time for publishers to engage, the Facebook way

I hear similar sentences from bloggers and publishers all the time – “that was a great story but no-one saw it” or “you’ll a write somewhat decent post and bang… no-one comments”. No-one adds or pushes things further unless you really make it a ‘thing’ and then they begrudgingly put finger to keyboard. Not the way it should be. Whether it’s bible-fodder or twaddle you, as a writer/publisher, expect a reaction and an engaged “audience” for what you write.

We, as a species, aren’t that bad at letting others know when they are annoying, hurting or pleasing us. Yet when it comes to the internet we’re mainly leaving these activities (i.e. comments) to the oversharers and the overcarers (I’ll leave trolls for another time). Why? Technological understanding, lack of time and general laziness aside, publishers have been missing out on simple commenting systems for a while now. They don’t make it easy enough for people to comment, whine or offer an alternative opinion, let alone share with friends.

Now I’ll be the first to hold my hand up and say I too don’t comment enough on others’ work – it’s one of my New Year’s Resolutions. Still, I am failing pretty well which is why the recent updates to the comments social plug-in from Facebook caught my eye. The plug-in allows users login with their Facebook or Yahoo! credentials, and comments are published to a user’s wall by default, driving traffic to the website.

This is what the Publishing world has been waiting for – a simple, easily understood and fast procedure for people to comment and share content. Yet it’s been met with a decidedly quiet fanfare and of course, it seems the negatives outweigh the positives for publishers.

Damn right they do! Facebook isn’t a charity! They aren’t here for you, they don’t need you, people can fill Facebook themselves, but they are trying to help. Take the olive branch! I beg/urge the publishers of the world to implement the plug-in, and then tell people you’ve implemented it, then re-tell them a week later. Monkey see, monkey do.

Early signs from TechCrunch and pals are good so I feel pretty confident about guaranteeing that implementing the system will show you positive engagement results – it’s time to lose the ownership of comments argument from publishing’s playbooks. People want to engage with others and you – you’ve never had such powerful tools at your disposal – so use them.



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