So there’s an issue, right? Facebook and G+ and Twitter are all well and good, but as Anil pointed out a while ago (and hypocritically did so while forcing comments into his Facebook Comments setup) things get lost. The biggest loss, in my humble opinion, is engagement. SEO doesn’t work, never did, but we still push our blog posts as links into the networks. Which means, quite simply, that instead of one copy, the one here, there are now three. Each of the copies gets comments.
It baffles me, to be honest, why that is. Click a link to a post, read post, click back onto the link’s origin (Facebook, G+, etc.) and comment there – that’s three extra steps just to comment. Instead there’s a comment field right down here. Sure, it won’t get your Klout score up, but who cares about those guys anyways?
There’s an issue for restaurant websites in this as well. We have to be social, that’s the way we work. But we also don’t want our blog posts to look barren and unread. So we essentially stopped blogging and started entrusting all our data to the evil clowns on Facebook and Twitter – not a good idea.
So if the mountain doesn’t come to the prophet, the prophet will have to make the pilgrimage to the mountain. For Facebook and Twitter plugins exist, I am using Social by Mailchimp for those. But for G+ … not so much. So I spent an evening thinking about this, wrote a proof of concept, and showed it off. The result is visible, as a POC with warts and all, on this blog. Comment on this post on G+ and (eventually, I am doing the scanning manually via mouse-click, not cron) your comment will show up here.
Sure, there are things missing. Such as comment nesting for replies, avatars (I could overwrite the hook and trick the comment display below into using G+ avatars), and automatic detection of link posts is missing. Right now I have to manually scan my recent G+ posts, find the unique post ID, add that to a meta field in the post itself, trigger the scan, cross fingers, and so on.
I spent some time looking for someone to simply take the whole thing and turn it into a proper WordPress plugin. I could spend another hour or so polishing it up, but that’s almost more time than I have to spend on those things right now. One coder has come forward, he has my list of requirements, let’s see what his price is. If it all works out we’ll have one less mountain that won’t come to see the prophet and with that one less dagger in the heart of the web we’re losing.