To Import or Not Import: That is the Question. On Importing Facebook and Twitter Comments to Blog Posts

Rouge le Fou (93.365 5.07.08)

When I published my recommended reading post Sunday reactions to it on Facebook and Twitter brought home an issue I had noticed for a while now – more people responding on Facebook and Twitter and less on the blog. 99.9% of the time I am completely ok with this – I know comments are not a sign of success and I’m happy to have a conversation wherever it happens. But. In the case of the recommended reading list some of the responses were additional book recommendations and I really wanted those on the blog. That way more people could see them, and they’d be preserved on the post rather than floating past on Twitter or Facebook. This made me wonder about the collective/connected knowledge we’re losing. Don’t get me wrong I love the ephemeralness of Twitter and Facebook conversations and I don’t think everything needs to be preserved but in this case I do feel like it is a loss.

Which brings me to the question – do I import Facebook and Twitter comments about blog posts into the blog as comments?

WordPress makes it easy with some handy dandy plug-ins so that isn’t really a factor. I know several library blogs that I read and respect do this, so it’s not uncommon.

What I’m struggling with is first is it ok? Do people realize the comments they are making elsewhere are being imported to a blog? That what they see as a passing Twitter comment becomes more permanent? It is even less obvious on mobile devices that your Facebook comment is being posted elsewhere.

Second the aesthetics of the blog. A couple of years ago I did have Twitter comments imported but I ended up feeling like it makes the blog look cluttered. There were a lot of simple retweets that didn’t add commentary. Plus I felt like it took away from comments left on the actual blog (though this would be less of a problem these days).

So should I import comments? Why or why not? Should there be a disclaimer if I do?

 

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13 comments for “To Import or Not Import: That is the Question. On Importing Facebook and Twitter Comments to Blog Posts

  1. April 30, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    My thoughts are. Go ahead and import comments because they add value and make the discussion elsewhere visible.
    There could be a Disclaimer – But it should not surprise people that their comments on social media can be remixed in a respectful way – so could… Not should.

    • May 1, 2013 at 7:41 am

      Thanks for the input Jan. This is definitely something I’m struggling with. I can see pros and cons to both.

  2. Crazy Dave
    April 30, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    If you do this, you will definitely need a disclaimer. One on your Blogsite. On on your Facebook “About” section (and maybe elsewhere). And one in Twitter.
    Can you edit which FB and TW comments do and don’t make it to the blog? Or delete them after they have been added to the blog? That way you can weed out the ones that don’t add any commentary…

    • May 1, 2013 at 7:43 am

      Hi Dave
      I haven’t noticed a disclaimer for others who import comments. Any suggestions on wording?

      I can delete and edit comments, at least with the Twitter importer. I have deleted some in the past. I’m not sure about Facebook – that one I’m guessing requires the comment maker to delete him/herself because its in their Facebook account.

  3. hmm
    April 30, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    There’s also Google+, but I guess you don’t use it. Yet? :-)

    Anyway.. I absolutely hate fb, will not touch it with anything and won’t let it run on anywhere – it’s completely blocked by firewall at the edge just to be sure. Twitter is a read-only medium for me, via RSS.. and Google+ is the only “social” network I barely even use. Oh, there’s of course still IRC too..

    • May 1, 2013 at 7:44 am

      Actually I did try Google+ but I’ve deleted my account :-) I didn’t use and didn’t have time to keep up with it. So when Google announced they were getting rid of Reader, a service I actually use, I deleted my + account, a service I wasn’t using. :-)

  4. May 1, 2013 at 9:16 am

    I agree with Jan. Import comments that will add to the discussion. I don’t think you need to have a disclaimer.

  5. Ryan
    May 1, 2013 at 9:33 am

    I think importing the comments is probably the easiest and least time consuming way to bring in the outside comments. Since you didn’t like the cluttered look before, what if you used Storify, collecting the comments and adding the Storify link or image as an update to the post?

    • May 1, 2013 at 11:05 am

      Good suggestion Ryan. I may tinker and see if I can just have plain RT’s not post or show up separately somehow.

  6. Vic Nunez
    May 1, 2013 at 10:33 am

    +1 to Jan Holmquist’s comment. FB & Twitter are essentially public forums, anyone who posts/tweets to your public page/account should know that the comments are free for re-use. A disclaimer, perhaps “Posts to this page may be viewed by all; I may cite (use?) posts in my blog “Librarian by Day” (librarianbyday.net) where appropriate,” may help others understand that they are contributing to a public discussion and thus a useful disclosure. Similar disclosure for tweets.

    • May 1, 2013 at 11:06 am

      Thanks for the suggestions Vic. I’ll definitely do something like that if I decide to import.

  7. May 2, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    Good point colleen. I worried about that too. I think Facebook comments import regardless if the profile is public or private – all it takes is me to make my post public.

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