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I’m Bringing Comments Back…

Alright, so I’m not bring comments back, but Mailchimp sure is with their new WordPress plug-in for improving comments. If you’re a blogger, you’ll probably agree that receiving comments can be a wonderful thing. Personally, I enjoy the engagement, the dialog, the understanding of how people are interpreting my content. The problem is that comments themselves have evolved. They don’t just take place on the blog; they take place on social media sites across the net. The challenge has become how to accurately represent that widespread conversation at the post level?

Introducing Social WordPress Plug-In

Social is a new WordPress Plugin that’s bringing comments back! Social is designed to aggregate the conversation happening on your blog posts with the conversation happening in networks like Twitter and Facebook. Not only that, but it brings new meaning to the hub and spoke approach to social media marketing. Let’s take a look at how social works.

A little background to the Social Plug-In setup

Social is compatible with both single author and multi-author blogs. At the time of setup each author will visit their profile and link up their Facebook and Twitter accounts. Then similarly, visit the Settings area of Social and add your Facebook and Twitter account there too. You’ll also be asked for a Twitter Consumer key, which is really simple to setup. For that, go here and login with your Twitter account and complete the application details and agree to the terms. Twitter then will return OAuth settings; in those settings you’ll now have the consumer key.

While in settings, you can also build a standard message to be shared to Twitter and Facebook using the following tokens:

  • {url}: Includes your post permalink
  • {title}: Includes the post title
  • {content}: Includes the post content
  • {date}: Includes the post date
  • {author}: Includes the post author name

Now that Social is setup, how does it work?

At the time of post creation you can set the “social broadcasting” rules—allowing you to turn on or off the automatic Facebook post or Tweet.

Once your newly created content has been published, Social will aggregate new comments via Twitter or Facebook automatically using built in cron job. You’ll see the newly found content is nicely integrated with your WordPress comments. See all comments in aggregate, or use the tabs to filter out comments, Tweets, Facebook mentions, and even pingbacks. If the published post has not received replies via Twitter and Facebook the continued aggregation for that post will stop.

MyTechOpinion

I’ve seen many different comment plug-ins come on the scene over the years. Some completely take over the native comments feature in WordPress and you loose control as a result. Social is different, you stay in control of your comments and get the added benefit of integrating the conversation of your content from other networks. I appreciate the clean layout and ability to filter out the channel that’s most interesting to you. Also really like the Twitter hover cards that appear as you hover over a users Twitter handle.

I’m also happy to report that the plugin creators have stated they are actively developing the ability for Facebook pages to connect via the plugin not just Facebook profiles. I’m also eager to hear when they’ll integrate Google+ into the mix.

About Reggie

Reggie Nicolay is founder of the real estate technology blog MyTechOpinion.com, and is the Vice President of Marketing and Social Media for the Realtors Property Resource “RPR”, a property database for REALTORS®. Reggie was named one of the 100 Most Influential Leaders in Real Estate for 2010 by Inman News.