March 26, 2013
Latest Facebook Move Allows Replies To Your Comments
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Facebook has finally joined the rest of the modern Internet in one major way: they´re going to allow replies and threaded comments on Pages and extremely popular public Profiles. Facebook claims these changes will “improve conversation,” but it´s also likely they´ve introduced this change to increase time spent on the site.
These two new features are available now to all Pages and public Profiles with more than 10,000 followers. By July 2013, these features will be turned on by default and be also available for mobile users. As it stands, these are opt-in only features and available only for desktop users.
Facebook has been testing threaded comments and replies on some accounts since last November. These are two features which are located all over the Internet, including popular sites like Reddit and the comment sections on most popular websites. Active comments can be “up voted” as it were, causing these replies to float to the top of the list. Less popular comments or statements which other readers find less than humorous or insulting can be sent to the bottom of the pile. The more replies a comment receives (or the “most active and engaging conversations,” as Facebook puts it) will be placed at the beginning of the list.
The new replies feature will allow Pages owners to communicate directly with specific commenters rather than tag that user in another comment in the general list. This feature also allows Pages owners to host their own Question and Answer sessions, giving them the opportunity to speak directly with each commenter. As an example, Facebook mentioned a Super Bowl chat hosted by Herm Edwards with ESPN.
Like a Reddit AMA, (Ask Me Anything) fans were able to ask questions of Edwards, and he was able to respond to them directly.
The ability to reply to direct comments is a feature which has been sorely lacking from Facebook for years. This will help Pages owners and those running large public profiles take better control of their comment sections on the page, allowing those replies which garner no conversation to sink naturally below the rest.
Along with genuinely helping some of Facebook´s most important users, (potential advertisers and profiles which bring thousands of users to the site) this move also helps Facebook by keeping these users engaged for a longer period of time. Nine years after Facebook´s debut on the web, they´ve had to begin looking for new ways to keep users engaged.
In the beginning it was easy to keep users active by looking for old college roommates and love interests. Now that most users have begun to seclude themselves from the larger public network of Facebook, the company must find new ways to both take information from their users and keep them on the site long enough to serve them the ads tailor-made for them based on this information.
Yesterday´s changes look to aid them in this effort. After all, if it works for Reddit, it could possibly work for Facebook as well.