Power Your Comments: WordPress vs. Disqus vs. IntenseDebate vs. Facebook Comments

Everyone seems to argue the merits of social networking platforms these days. Everywhere you go, it is Twitter or Facebook, LinkedIn or Google Plus, whether or not to Tumblr. It has become the “Mac vs. PC” of the modern day.

But under the radar, a new war is brewing – the War of the Comment Formats. It might seem like a less interesting conflict, but if you think about your own use of commenting platforms, and how they have changed in just the last two years, it isn’t quite such a stretch to understand it.

To find a victor, we have to view the outcome of each comment style’s battle against their main competitor. Here is the breakdown:

Battle No. 1: WordPress vs. Disqus


WordPress is the primary blogging platform at this stage, given the free or low cost features it provides its users, and the ease of customization and updating. The comments are very basic, just posting as either a WP user or anonymously (based on the blog admin’s settings).

The downside is that is isn’t a format that works on other sites. So it is pretty much isolated to WP hosted sites, or those that have been activated to be compatible with the service. However, there are plenty of ways that it can be used, without additional and unnecessary frills.


Disqus, on the other hand, is like a multi-comment device. It lets you sign in to that single account, and then post on pretty much any major social media platform that has enabled it (which is most). This means Google Plus, Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, Tumblr and many others.

Another great feature is it keeps a log of all comments on each platform you have synced and used through Disqus. You even get automatic email notifications of replies, though you have to put that against frequent server crashes and problems that seem to be slowly smoothing out.

In the end, I would have to say the winner here is Disqus.

Battle No. 2 – IntenseDebate vs. Facebook


IntenseDebate means well. Certainly, they have their share of loyal followers that swear it is the best open source comment system you can find. So far, they are integrated with Facebook, Twitter, OpenID and Gravatar. You can add it to WP, Blogger, Tumblr or Typepad.

Facebook Connect has dominated the scene, as it is generally already enabled on most commenting systems, along with their Like buttons and easy sharing syncing. Not a lot has to be said as there is every chance you have used Facebook for this purpose more than once.

The award between these two has to go to Facebook, for its multi-purpose and wide availability.

The Final Battle: Disqus vs. Facebook


When it comes to these two, you have their usual pros that might make them seem fairly easily matched – especially if you find that you don’t want to connect all of your posts in one place like Disqus does, or if you do, like Facebook does not.

The bigger issue, however, is privacy, which can only be gained through one …

The Champion: Disqus


Unlike Facebook, you can still maintain some anonymity. It is all inclusive, easy to use and efficient. Between all commenting platforms, it is probably the best. Of course, this is a matter of opinion, but I feel confident in the proclamation.

Image Credits: 1, 2.

Guest Author is the SEO manager at PsPrint, an company specializing in online printing. PsPrint offers an array of free tools, for example it lets you make your own business cards online.

Are money and power the only value?

I want to talk about politics and human nature today, not tech.

I read a tweet from Liz Strauss about an article she read. I read  the article as well and responded. Here are the tweets,

The Business Insider article Liz and I read proclaims itself gossipy in the first sentence, attributes the gossip to Jennifer Van Grove at Venture Beat, but goes on to repeat the information. I have no idea if any of the story is true. But the idea of paranoia in the halls of money and power does ring true to many in the 99% in these days of occupy movements.

Is holding on to money and power is the only thing that matters to those who have it? Is that why millionaires and billionaires give themselves huge bonuses while taking away pension benefits from their workers?  Is that why companies that start out with intentions to be good and do good in the world turn into soulless machines with only profit in mind? Is there some dollar amount – say $2 million or maybe $10 million – beyond which you cease to care what happens to anyone else and only want to protect yourself?

Does this I only care about protecting my own attitude apply to companies but not to individuals? Why are corporations like CitiBank ruthless but individuals like Bill Gates or Oprah Winfrey philanthropic? What about corporations headed by women – do they exhibit the same greedy all the money flows to the top of the organization thinking as companies headed by men? Or are women led companies still making sure their employees have health insurance and paid vacations? (I’d really like to see some studies on this, if there are any.)

To get back to the point I made in my tweet, is there some point in life when holding on to what you have despite everything becomes your only thought? Because if there is, then there is no bandwidth left in your brain to explore new thoughts, new creativity, new directions. You don’t huddle in your bunker and think expansive thoughts.

Maybe it’s all ego. Emily Lewis wrote about how ego can damage progress at The Pastry Box Project. She said,

Egos don’t care about requirements, timelines, budgets, user needs, limited resources or legacy systems. They don’t care about other opinions or ideas. They are roadblocks to everything essential to making a project successful, especially compromise, collaboration and communication. And, worst of all, ego keeps you from growing. Your ego won’t let you learn something new. Or see a different perspective. Or even get inspired.

Is being rich and powerful an ego issue? Delusions of grandeur? God complex holding you in its greedy clutches?

If there is something inevitable in human nature that makes us become less caring about others’ well-being as our own excess reaches a certain point, then nothing can be done to change things. But if the situation is an artifact of our time, of capitalism, of corporate culture, of runaway power, then something can be done to change the situation. I don’t want to sound like a bumper sticker philosopher, but I’ll quote a bumper sticker: “The world changes at the speed of thought.”

Changing the way we think about money, power, governance, human rights, and the rule of law changes everything. Nobody with gazillions of dollars is going to listen to me, but if they did, I would suggest that more time spent thinking about how to do great things in the world would be better for the company and its users in the long run.


Useful links: Mobile NM, Creating a UI, Mobile Design, Retina Display

Mobile Friendly Sites of New Mexico is a great list of sites in the state that are mobile friendly.

Fast Company has an article about Facebook’s coming Timeline changes called 5 Keys to Creating a UI with Soul.

Stephanie Rieger wrote in More Please that we need to see more businesses posting about ROI involved in creating designs that work on all devices.

Speaking of Stephanie Rieger, she also weighed in on the question of the new iPad’s retina display and whether it’s good or bad in Not in my best interest.

Sharing from Kindle Reader app for iPhone to Facebook

share this

I don’t have an actual Kindle. I buy books from Amazon and read them on my iPhone with the Kindle app. I love it. I love the size, the line-length (makes for very speedy reading) and the fact that I don’t have to carry more than one device when I go awandering.

Theoretically, I should be able to highlight something in my Kindle Reader app, and send it to Facebook or Twitter. I’ve been reading Deanna Zandt’s book “Share This!” lately and have really wanted to share some of the great quotes from the book. The app goes through the motions, tells me it’s sharing, but nothing shows up on Facebook.

Have you made this work? Got any tips?

Learning from successful marketing gurus

Gaming, friending, marketing, social media, the Internet – it’s all part of a big mashup these days. Take Lady Gaga, for instance. Recently, Mashable ran Lady Gaga First to Hit 20 Million Twitter Followers. Justin Bieber–what a slacker–only has 18 million followers on Twitter. (I just looked at my own Twitter account, where I’m edging up on 1300 followers – kaPOW, Gaga.)

Part One of the Big Mashup: Social Media and Brand Tie-ins

The article at Mashable wasn’t just about Twitter. It went on to detail everything that Lady Gaga did in marketing “Born this Way.” The list includes:

  • A Farmville-like game from Zynga called Gaga-Ville
  • A two week long scavenger hunt with Starbucks
  • Lady Gaga appeared in a Google Chrome commercial, chatting with fans
  • A one-day deal with Amazon to download the whole album for $0.99.
  • A live feed from Best Buy of Lady Gaga staying up all night in a NYC store signing autographs
  • An interview with Google executive Marissa Mayer
  • A Facebook contest involving about how money should be divided up among 5 charities
  • Lady Gaga teamed up with Gilt Groupe to sell clothing – some for charity
  • An HBO concert special
  • Rdio had a contest related to the album release with the winner getting free music for life
  • Lady Gaga posts frequently on Facebook
  • Exclusive premiers on Vevo
  • iTunes offered bonus songs with preorders of the album
  • Previews and teasers in YouTube videos
  • TwitPic photos and Twitter activity
  • QR Codes for “Born this Way” ringtones scattered about the Internet
  • Apps
  • Permission for Weird Al Yankovic to include a parody of “Born This Way” called “Perform This Way” on his own album
  • and even more minor kinds of things

Are you stunned by that list? I am. I’m also thinking it’s a free tutorial from the geniuses who market Lady Gaga in how to do marketing.

Okay, so maybe you aren’t going to get Starbucks to team up with your little blog, or Marissa Mayer to interview you for an hour and then broadcast the interview, but you can do some of what you see in that list. You can use it to start your own thinking.

Rachel Andrew, writing at The Pastry Box Project, speaks directly to web designers when she says,

If you are good at what you do you might like to write articles and books, speak at conferences, be included in discussions on subjects. To get started all you need to do is start publishing your ideas somewhere, or offer to speak at small events, and other offers will start to come in.

In this industry we don’t have to wait until the “powers that be” recognize our talent, we can put ourselves out there, and we have the skills and tools to do it.

Part 2 of the Big Mashup: Add Games to the Mix

Gaming Angels recently wrote about The Hunger Games Innovative Social Media Campaign. Maybe the movie The Hunger Games isn’t as huge a phenomena as Lady Gaga, but I’ll bet you are aware of the hype around it.

As GamingAngel points out,

It all starts on the Hunger Games Facebook page. When you login with your Facebook account, you will immediately, get placed into a District. How’s that for fans?

In addition to Facebook, there are Hunger Games related sites at The Capitol and Capitol Couture. Both have all sorts of activities, games, ways to particpate and links to purchase movie tickets. Add to that the normal releases of Official Trailers, ads, and entertainment blog posts.

That’s a lot of big movie hype. But you aren’t a movie. What can you do to generate some hype?

You could read a helpful book where you’d find some good ideas.

In the book Designing for Emotion by Aarron Walter, there is a chapter called “Emotional Engagement.” He cites several elements that can elicit emotion engagement from your users. These techniques can build excitement and stimulate lots of tweets and conversation.

  1. Surprise
  2. Anticipation, the velvet rope, and status (yeah, have you been invited to Pinterest yet?)
  3. Priming

I recommend this book if you are struggling with hanging on to your users and making them return visitors. You can read a more complete review of the book: Web Teacher Review of Designing for Emotion.

Back to Gamers, Please

With 68.7 million gamers running around the marketplace, according to Why 5 Big Brand Marketing Campaigns are Betting Big on Social Gaming, it’s inevitable that businesses are working out ideas for how to market products with games. I don’t mean market the game – I mean market something else with a game.

Examples of big brands and games mentioned in that article include the WeCity game from Century 21 that lets players build cities and the New York City Public Library’s game, Find the Future.

Games and gamers can be used to market more than products. They can also be used to market ideas and behavior. I’ll close with a mention of this 20 minute TED Talk by Jane McGonigal, in which she explains how we could harness gamer power to solve real-world problems. What could you do with a game? Or, could you give a TED Talk to promote some idea? There are many local TEDx events where someone with something to say can deliver a talk.

Big phenomenal ideas were discussed here – can you bring them to bear at the scale of your marketing project?

Note: This article was cross-posted at BlogHer in a slightly different form.

Pew Study on Privacy Management on Social Media Sites

Sometimes it feels like most of the privacy issues on the Internet are women’s issues. The stalkers, the sexual wannabes, the trolls — they seem to prey mainly on women. But men have privacy issues, too. The most recent Pew Internet Study takes a look at privacy management practices among both sexes.

According to Pew, 63% of adults have some sort of online profile. That’s up about 20% from 2006. Of those online profiles, only about 20% are completely public. Most people (58%) have their profiles set to friends only. There’s also a percentage (19%) who use a setting that allows friends and friends of friends to see profiles. Out of that 19% who allow friends and friends of friends to see what they post, about 26% say they set privacy for individual posts that will bar some from seeing posts. Turn that around, it means 74% of that minority of users are allowing friends to spread around anything they want to share.

Women, however, are more careful. Pew identifies the habits of women as more “conservative in basic settings.” The following chart by Pew is labeled as privacy gender gap.

Image: Pew Research Center Internet and American Life Project

As you can see, the majority of women (67%) restrict access to information to friends only.

Women are also the most likely to delete friends, remove comments, and–on sites where photos can be tagged–women are most likely to remove their name from tagged photos. The number of people who report culling friends, deleting comments, and removing a name from tagged photos is up in the last few years, but it still not a majority behavior in most age groups. However, in the 18-29 demographic, this kind of profile control is prevalent.

For the 18-29 demographic, the Pew study says,

Deleting social media comments is part of the reputation management work of being a young adult.

Removing comments and tags on photos is a way of managing what other people are posting. As for management of one’s own content, only 11% of the people in the study say they have posted something they regret. The percent of people posting things they regret are most often men or young adults, again supporting the idea that women are more careful and thoughtful about what they are putting on social media sites.

If these results seem Facebook-centric in terminology, that’s because Facebook remains huge. Fully 93% of people who do have an online profile are on Facebook. MySpace continues to lose, with only 23% of the surveyed users being there. Twitter users are up, but still only account for 11% of online profiles. Google+ wasn’t mentioned in the study that I could find.

Also interesting, many users (55%) maintain a profile on only one site.

Personal Reflections

I don’t fit anybody’s idea of demographics. My age, my gender, and my occupation are all way off the charts in terms of normal demographics. Nevertheless, I think a few personal reflections are in order, because I think I at least represent how women act online.

First, I have never deleted a friend on any social media site I belong to. That’s because I’m very picky about who I friend. If I don’t know you personally or have a good reason to want to friend you for professional purposes, you don’t make the cut. Does this describe you, too?

Secondly, I have multiple online profiles: Facebook, Twitter, Google +, BlogHer, and more at smaller and more specialized sites. Are you a single profile person, or a multiple profile person?

Finally, I think we all (but especially women) need to be vigilant about online profiles and behavior because the landscape changes constantly. New information about privacy violations appear in the news regularly. It falls to us, the users, to take frequent tours through the account settings of the sites we use to ensure good privacy control. We cannot depend on online sites to be careful for us.


Pew linked to some very interesting resources that are worth a look.

  1. The Evolution of Privacy on Facebook
  2. How Different are Young Adults from Older Adults When it Comes to Information Privacy Attitudes and Policies?

Another resource, not mentioned by the Pew study, is danah boyd on Teen Privacy Strategies in Networked Publics.

Note: This article is cross-posted at BlogHer.