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twitter whoring – or why “bugger off and search for yourself” is not good usability

posted on
Aug 29, 2011 @ 18:10
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There’s a massive trend of bloggers to switch off comments and ask people to comment on their articles via twitter, Google+ or Facebook. Their argument is “discussions happen there mainly anyway”.

This is an utterly user-unfriendly move just in order to stroke your ego for more hits on your site. It disturbs me even more to see usability/UX bloggers do this. You are so not eating your own dogfood!

Let’s just recap the situation as it used to be:

There’s a blog. People who’d like to give their own opinion about an article can do so right at the place where the article has been published. Other people can now read the article and follow a lively discussion at the same place. This is what we had. Sounds like a good solution.

Now let’s look at what we’re getting:

There’s blog. People who would like to give their own opinion about an article can do so somewhere else (at least three different sites with considerably different user interfaces) without knowing whether their comment will ever be read by anybody else visiting said blog entry.

If they happen to be using Twitter, they even have to keep their comment within 140 characters. Follow-up comments or discussions between more than two people are almost impossible to follow.

I also wonder what deep discussion beyond “yay” or “meh” are really possible within 140 letters. Also are we now supposed to scratch together other people’s opinions about an article, from all possible SNS ourselves? What does anybody gain by this? What arrogant and user-ignoring stance is that?

To me this sounds like taking a fairly useful and working system and replacing it with something hip-sounding yet completely inadequate, inconsistent and broken.

Yes, for the blogger it makes sense, because by detaching comments from his blog (single location) and having people throw random blurbs about his site onto several SNS sites he’s tapping into the potential snowball or network effect of those sites. So yes for him it’s a great solution, but it leaves his users in the dust.

Essentially the blog becomes simply a publishing platform, and stops being a real blog without comments. As an end user who enjoys reading the discussion as much as the actual article I am effectively told to fuck off and search for comments all around the web myself.

Maybe you can help me here, but I fail to see what anybody except the blogger gains by doing this. Anyone?

I’m not against SNS sites at all

As you can see from my own links to twitter, Faceborg and others, I do appreciate those services. I think it’s a nice way to share articles you’ve found on the web with your friends and followers, but I really believe it makes more sense to discuss the articles in depth at the source, where the author can read other people’s opinions himself, answer questions directly and where people can find most of the discussion going on about the article in one consistent place.

Yes if you just want to say “meh”, I think twitter is the place to post that, because I don’t want to see 500 comments saying just that on any blog either, but if you want to take part in any substantial discussion about an article, I think there’s no place like home ;-)

comments

from monologue to dialogue

  • August 30, 2011 @ 18:30

    You’ve totally got a point there.
    There are currently some plugins coming up that try to integrate comments from various sources.
    For example: Social Plugin for Wordpress

    I think that this is the best approach: Discussion can happen anywhere, but in the end you will be able to find all of it on the blog post which started it.

  • August 30, 2011 @ 20:19

    If you happen to run WordPress that is.

    Again, this still raises the question: why would I have to bother to install a plugin to pull comments from all around the web if I can have them just right where it’s at, at my own blog?

    It all comes down to twitter-whoring. And it also shows an attitude that people don’t want comments, they don’t even want discussion, they want traffic.

  • October 25, 2011 @ 23:40

    I SO agree with you…. “Their argument is “discussions happen there mainly anyway. This is an utterly user-unfriendly move just in order to stroke your ego for more hits on your site.”

    That drives me up the wall when my friends ask me to do that, especially when they try to get me to there 5th grade socially clique facebook page with the 1000s of nearly identical self taken profile pics, reminds me of Derek Zoolander, anyway, yeah I’m so over stroking egos on facebook and twitter Id rather just look for
    <a href=“http://www.foxtunes.com/”>free music downloads</a> in my spare time than go and “like” someones post stating they are at in line at starbucks for the a-millionth time.

    :)

  • November 8, 2011 @ 00:56

    Agree. Actually I hesitated for quite a while before I integrated SNS support. Everytime I get a comment via Facebook, I wish it would have been posted on my site and not on Facebook.