Thanks to a well-developed plugin that’s been getting some rave reviews, many top bloggers have been installing the Google+ commenting system on their WordPress powered blogs. The roster includes online heavy-hitters, such as Anna Hoffman of Traffic Generation Cafe, Michael Stelzner of Social Media Examiner, and more recently, Ileane Smith of Basic Blog Tips.
As more bloggers try out the new system, many have questioned the merits of making the switch and whether it’s really worth the cost. The points that are being brought up are good ones. But, in the midst of the debate over whether not G+ commenting on a WordPress blog is a good idea, many people are missing the big picture and that’s the key that puts this whole issue into perspective.
Just Who is On Google+?
I once saw a question on Quora that went something like: What is one thing that everyone has, but no one uses? One person shot back: A Google+ account!
All statistics aside, if you are not part of the G+ circles for probloggers, Internet marketers, webmasters and the like, you may not realize that there has been a very active community of people on G+ ever since Google threw open the doors to the platform.
What’s the attraction? Mostly, it’s that Google+ is built for discussion and the seamless exchange of information across mediums in a way that isn’t happening on other platforms. Even though there are other networks out there that can technically do this, G+ nails the functionality. The platform has a certain utilitarian feel. There’s little distraction. It’s all about the social exchange of information.
You have to understand that for the people in these spaces, in particular, they have massive G+ community to draw on. This is where the discussion is already happening, and in a way that is more vibrant, more real-time than the exchange that happens on their blogs. It’s a free-flowing, unmoderated dialogue- the essence of the social web.
Blogs by comparison are static, and though you may think that a new blog post on a current trending topic is “fresh content,”in the social web, it’s like day old muffins. So what do you do when you are trying to build vibrant community that’s increasingly relying on the real-time, “organic” exchange of information, but your home-base is a more static blog (especially if you don’t post everyday)?
Aside from the obvious SEO benefits, this move melds the two platforms, and to a certain extent, ushers in a new era for the social web. For those whose online business model revolves around an engaged audience, bringing G+ comments on to their blogs is primarily about tapping into the energy of that active, integrated community, and that is more important than all the current drawbacks.
This is an extremely important point that underscores the actual debate over whether or not G+ commenting is a good thing. This is the new, New Media, and it’s where the web is heading. Anyone who will be doing content creation online needs to be aware of this trend, because it won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.
Should You Jump on the Bandwagon With G+ Commenting on Your Blog?
So given all this should you be making the switch? Whether or not it’s appropriate for you really depends on the kind of audience you are building. Obviously, if few of your connections are actively on Google+, then you’d do better with the regular commenting systems and the CommentLuv plugin. But, if you are involved in any active G+ communities, then going with Google will be a plus (no pun intended) especially over the long-run. With the plugin mentioned above, you can actually host both the standard commenting system and G+ comments simultaneously.
That plugin offers many other really cool features. Make sure you check out Chris Lang’s G+ tutorial video for more details.
In closing, success online today means building a real, engaged following. I know you’ve been hearing this ad nauseum. But the power of the tribe is where it’s at, and in the future it will only factor more heavily in how people find and exchange information online. So, if it applies to you, you really don’t want to miss this boat.
I really like this, the video barely touches on what can be done with this. I see it as “Google+ on my blog, not my blog lost on Google+’s new 3 column busy feed.”
Soon this will be all over every blog in one form or another. I added it as a test and as you can see Susan, in it’s earliest iteration, it is wildly popular. Not to mention the coolest thing is I can just go to my blog and interact with people who commented at the blog, commented on posts sharing my blog post ON G+, without getting lost in my very active G+ feed.
And thank you very much for the link Susan!
I totally agree with you… It’s only a matter of time before this will be gracing blogs all over the Internet; it’s a very powerful and exciting change for active bloggers and content providers.
This is just a transition period. Once people get over their initial discomfort, that’s when this will really take off and the whole content creation model is going to look very different then what it does today.
Thanks for stopping by 🙂
All in all, the addition of GooglePlus commenting is another wonderful way to aggregate the various discussions we participate in.
The good thing about plugins like these, as you mentioned, is that they work alongside the native WordPress commenting system. I guess I would caution bloggers not to remove their WP comments in favor of G+ commenting because Google is known to switch out the rowboat for their rendition of the yacht, rendering current systems somewhat useless. (Think GTalk, GChat, GBuzz, GFeedReader.)
I like how you put it, that Google may choose to “switch out the rowboat for their rendition of the yacht.” It’s very true, and from what I’ve seen it’s one of the biggest reasons why bloggers are hesitant to switch over. It could mean losing all of the comments made through Google+ commenting, and that’s not a pleasant thought.
I didn’t realized you’d replied to my comment. (You should have a comment reply notification plugin installed.)
You’re right and I’m seeing a mixed set of reviews on whether or not to install G+ commenting.
About a month or so ago, I spoke to Brandon Holtsclaw about his Google+ Comments for WordPress plugin (the one with tabs for G+, native WP comments, FB and Disqus) and installed it my personal server to see how it behaved. I’ve since added it to my main blog because I like having all the comments there together (in tabs) instead of G+ dominating the page, at least on the pages where I actually have some G+ interaction. 🙂
What about yourself? Are you considering adding G+ commenting, definitely against it, waiting to see real results?
I’ve seen Brandon Holtsclaw’s Google+ Comments plugin on a few sites. It’s definitely the way to go for blog owners who want the option for G+ commenting, yet don’t have so much action there.
For me personally, I’m not making any moves to G+ so fast. It’s not because I’m waiting to see what happens. It’s just that G+ is not a platform I’m so active on- though I do have a presence there- and this blog is also too new for such a thing. Once I’ve built up more of an engaged following, then it will definitely be added to the site.
This was the point I was trying to make above: What makes G+ commenting so attractive is that it supports the dynamic discussion already happening around a piece of content and brings it closer to the actual content itself. If you aren’t already having this kind of interaction and engagement when you share new content, and don’t see it happening in the near future, then this plugin is not really for you.
BTW, thanks for mentioning the comment reply plugin; I actually had the plugin installed, and forgot to activate it 😛
Ahh, now I totally see where you’re coming from! “Already engaged” on G+ vs. waiting for or seeking engagement.
One last point I’d like to make is about a sort of revelation for me when thinking about G+ comments. At first, other than the fact that Brandon asked me to install it and see what I thought, I didn’t see a need for it. That is, relative to my WHOLE blog. But then I remembered … there were a very few posts where some conversation had ensued around them on G+.
Even though I don’t have control over those comments on G+, and although I don’t have a lot of engagement on G+ on the posts I write, it is at least *somewhat* satisfying to have those comments represented on my blog (on those few posts). 🙂
I prematurely made the jump to G+ with their commenting system, however I’ve still maintained CommentLuv. Completely agree that if you’re active on G+, especially within the communities (where there is an abundance of high octane content), there is merit to their commenting system. You’d have to think more business users will transition over to G+ once they figure the ins and outs. Well written post Susan 🙂
I think it may be a while before most business owners transition to G+ commenting. In fact, they’ll probably be the last group on board. It’s going to be a while before G+ becomes more mainstream and its ability to help run and grow a business becomes more apparent. There’s a lot of potential, though. So, we’ll have to wait and see how things play out.
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