Innovation in business blog commenting is something I've long discussed; I believe there are still opportunities to improve the existing blog commenting systems. So Fred Wilson's post on the topic of whether commenting is dead had me thinking about the topic of comment innovation again.
Fred's post "Comments Are Dead, Long Live Comments," discussed how Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher have turned off comments on the re/code blog . Fred described how comments are active on his site, and that comments are active across the web, and he is committed to keeping comments on his site.
Walt and Kara's removal of comments means conversation will happen elsewhere in social media. And I think that has been the trend in commenting in the last 8-10 years.
As social networks have grown, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc., then more commenting is happening in those social networks. I think the reason for that is that people have a sense of ownership for those technologies, especially because they are involved in them every day, while commenting on a media site or blog may mean you are disconnected from the comment stream. That's one reason Disqus is such a good system for both publishers and visitors, you are more connected to the comments because you can see them across your Disqus account, and for publishers it brings in visitors who are prepared to comment because you are using a system they are familiar with.
Instead of thinking of commenting systems as just that, rather I think we should consider them as community management systems. Where we can identify top commenters that allow us to analyze who is active, what people write, how many posts and how much volume of content they write in a business blog comments system. I'd propose the following comment innovations for comment systems.
1. Allow management of your comments by author.
2. Provide metrics on what is written in comments, not just the number of comments, but show the amount of content per author, and what keywords are relevant to each author.
3. Set up a response management system so that you can manage your engagement with visitors.
Thanks to Chip Griffin and Jen Phillips for discussing this on their MediaBullseye podcast and inspiring me to write this post.