Yesterday, Mitch Joel and I recorded a podcast (forthcoming) to talk about social media crises, blog comments, media pitching, and Spin Sucks.
During the conversation about blog comments (in which Mitch said, “See! I was right!”), we discussed whether blogs should keep their comments open for readers and how they add to the conversation.
As readers of Spin Sucks know, I stand very firmly on the side that the blog post is just the beginning of the conversation.
You cannot have discourse, see other points of view, or build community without allowing comments.
The goals, of course, are different for each blog, but this blog wants to encourage debate, conversation, and even disagreements.
That’s why I’m super excited we are part of the launch of the new Sidenotes from Livefyre.
Sidenotes is actually just as it is described: A way for you to write notes on the side of a blog post.
If you’re a Kindle user, you already know how this works.
You read something that inspires you or something you want to remember and you highlight it. You save it in your library with a note or two so you can always refer back to it.
Sidenotes works in the same way…except now those notes live on the blog post and other readers can see – and respond to – them.
You read something on this blog and think, “Wow. Not sure I agree with that, but it’s interesting.”
You highlight it, click the little balloon that pops up and a comment box appears.
You then write your comment and hit “post,” just like you would with regular comments at the bottom of the page.
Now other readers can see what you’ve highlighted, your comment, and the conversation you’ve started. You can even share those specific notes on the social networks.
Try it Out
You can try it out for yourself on today’s blog post.
Either scroll back to the top and write a sidenote about your thoughts on blog comments remaining open or being closed or come back down here and write a love note to someone in the community.
For today only, the sidenotes don’t have to be intelligent or thoughtful…they can be funny or witty.
Try it out by clicking the thought bubble you’ll see at the end of every paragraph.
How Do I Get it?
And then get it for your own site.
It is available (as of yesterday) to every publisher that uses Livefyre (learn more here or download the plugin directly from WordPress).
We’ve seen a weird trend this year that readership continues to increase, but comments are decreasing.
I’ve attributed it to content exhaustion and blog commenting not being a top priority for many anymore, but Livefyre thinks Sidenotes will result in more comments.
They think readers are more comfortable responding to an individual sentence or paragraph than to an entire page.
I guess we’ll see!