Facebook has taken a big step today in defining the future direction of social media.
By using the Facebook Comment Plugin, websites can use the Facebook commenting system on their own website. As of today, when a user comments on the site, the user is also presented a choice on whether they would also like the comment posted to their Facebook feed.
If the user does allow the comment to be posted on their feed and someone responds on Facebook, the response will also show up in the comments section of the original webpage.
For example, I posted a comment on TechCrunch.com, a website using the new Facebook comment plugin. The comment was also posted to my Facebook:
When someone submits a reply to the comment, the submit button tells the user where the comment will be posted. In this case, any replies will be posted on the TechCrunch website.
Other changes included in this update:
- Comments by users’ friends on non-facebook websites using the Facebook Comment Plugin will be displayed more prominently
- Users will be able to see information of other commenters if the information is publicly displayed on Facebook
- Webmasters now have more administrative control over comments, who can see the comments and what order the comments are in
This has a number of implications for Facebook and social media as a whole:
- Facebook can collect a large amount of user information from outside of Facebook
- Facebook will become more of a social bookmarking tool as users will share sites on Facebook simply by commenting on them instead of having to consciously share a link to a site
- Facebook services will begin to become an integral part of some websites. Previous to this update, sharing an article on Facebook or “liking” an article was more transparent. With the addition of this plugin there will be a lot more of activity on Facebook relating to outside websites.
- Other social media services (Twitter, Google Buzz, LinkedIn, etc.) will try to compete with Facebook in the social bookmarking arena by implementing similar services or by releasing new innovative tools that integrate social media with the everyday browsing preferences of their users.
- Search engines like Google and Bing will begin to partner with social media sites in order to get more information about users. Facebook and Bing created a partnership in October of 2010 and you can read more about the effects it will have on Google and online searching as a whole in my article, Google May Be Bowing Down to Bing in the Near Future
- Comments on websites that use the Facebook comment plugin will increase as users can now comment on a site without actually visiting the site. Could this also reduce the validity of comments on websites that are using the plugin?
The actual effectiveness of the new Facebook comment plugin is still yet to be seen. One thing is very clear though:
Social media sites are going to begin to spread throughout the web and interface with as many other services as possible.
We are going to see a lot of competition between social media sites and online searching services in the coming years. Facebook, Twitter, Google and Bing will all try to leverage their resources to get as much information from their users as possible.
Some people seem to think that we’re in the golden age of the internet and there isn’t that much more innovation that can be achieved online. I believe that we’re actually in the very beginning stages of the evolution of the internet and competition among social media sites will spur online companies to improve their integration with other websites and to be more innovative and creative.
What effect do you think social media will have on the future of the internet?