Is Livefyre Destroying the Value of a Blog Comment?
In case you haven’t noticed, our government has a little problem. You see, over the past few years they’ve been printing dollar bills faster than Heinz makes ketchup, and despite what we’re all lead to believe, this process has only one ending—Inflation. That’s right, prices will go way up because the value of a dollar bill will go way down, all because there are too many of the dang things floating around out there.
I tell you this my friends because there is another inflation alive and well in our midst, and it’s that of blog comments, and the culprit is an upstart organization called Livefyre.
Now before Gini Dietrich sends the Chicago mafia after me for making this claim, let me simply say here that I’m not anti Livefyre. Nope, not at all. I’m just making some observations with this post, and I hope you’ll hang around until the end to give yours as well….
Michael Schechter and ‘The Gini Comment Experiment’
This article comes off the heels of one of the funniest social/blog commenting experiments I’ve ever been a part of. To give you the background, a few weeks ago I was joking with my friend Michael Schechter about Gini Dietrich and her propensity to be queen (well deserved btw) of all things commenting and community over there on her blog Spin Sucks. So, being the outrageous nut-cake he is, Schechter devised a plan to guest post on Gini’s site and sarcastically call all hands on deck to help him, at least for a day, get more comments than Gini Dietrich on her very blog. It was an epically silly, stupid, and fun idea and after whipping up the article in about 25 minutes, Schechter shot it over to me in an email and immediately I knew it would be a commenting hit. Even crazier, Gini was kind enough to run the post. Yep, the gal knows how to have a laugh.
So earlier today, at 1pm eastern standard time (oops, I’m writing this post at 1:30am, so it’s actually yesterday 😉 ), Michael’s guest post went live. Quickly I jumped on and started spouting off comments that basically made no sense, nor had any value as a whole, but the point of this little experiment was not so much of deep conversation—it was an online community sharing a laugh. Quickly, Livefyre started working its magic. Schechter was replying to comments as soon as they would come in. I was doing the same. One second I’d see Livefyre telling me there were two comments on the top of the page. The next second I’d see there were 3 more comments on the bottom of the screen. ‘Likes’ were being tossed around by everyone. And for the next few hours, folks just let loose, stopping in a few minutes here and there for a laugh, and watching an act that although silly, showed just how amazing Livefyre is as a comment generating machine (well over 300 total on the post), especially in the right setting.
Livefyre it Too Good
You see, I don’t even know if ‘commenting’ platform is a proper description for Livefyre. It’s more of a conversation/awareness tool that happens to be used by many bloggers in their comment section. And when one looks at all it does, with its many notifications, real time ‘new comment’ alerts, ‘likes’, etc—it’s no wonder so many bloggers have embraced this new platform.
But that’s the thing about Livefyre- It’s too good with garnering comments. So good that while a blog post that got 50 comments 2 years ago was viewed as a pretty big deal(at least by many), today such is not so much the case, hence the idea of ‘comment inflation’.
Tweet Inflation through Triberr
To me, the Triberr movement is actually no different. Think about it. It used to be a big deal to get over 25 tweets on a post for the average blogger. These days, it’s not such a big deal at all. Join a couple of tribes and ‘bang’, there are your 25 tweets.
Is that a bad thing? Yes and no. I’m a member of Triberr. I use it. I’ve seen its benefit. But it has also lead to a ‘tweet inflation’ as well. Today, because of the influence of Triberr, the value of a tweet is less than what it was a year ago.
Again, I’m not here to say Livefyre or Triberr are good or bad. They both have major benefits. But to act like they don’t have their own unique drawbacks is simply turning a blind eye in my opinion.
Why I’m a Livefyre Holdout
Many folks have asked me why I haven’t made the switch yet to Livefyre. They see I get a pretty decent amount of comments here because of the tremendous community(that’d be you 🙂 ) and for many, it’s only a natural fit for this blog.
Heck, I ask myself the same question at times, especially when some of the comment strands here on TSL get wacky as folks reply back and forth to each other. But if I was forced to give a few reasons as to why I haven’t made the switch yet, here’s what I’d say:
1. Aesthetics: Call me weird, but I’m not wild about ‘the look’ of Livefyre yet. It’s almost like they use a dull code with their design, and in my opinion, it’s just not as ‘clean’ aesthetically as the standard wordpress comment system.
2. Intimidation: Many of the folks that come here to The Sales Lion are just learning how to blog. They’ve just entered into the world of inbound marketing and are already overwhelmed. My goal is to be the one voice that actually makes complete sense to them, with clear understanding, and never speaks ‘above’ their understanding.
I say this because if you asked a new blogger to look at the comment stream of a Livefyre platform, many would feel like they were reading a different language. Seriously, I’m not kidding. I’ve actually done this experiment with my wife (who doesn’t blog at all, doesn’t know what twitter is, etc). She literally thinks reading a Livefyre comment strand is like reading Spanish—she gets about 50% of what is going on. 😉 For the folks that understand the symbols, handles, and such—there is nothing better than Livefyre. But my problem is those folks often times aren’t my paying customer.
3. 🙂 😉 🙁 : See those? They’re emoticons, and Livefyre doesn’t have them yet. And because I love me some emoticons, this would sure be a nice addition. 😉
Although there are a few more minor reasons as to why I’ve held off with Livefyre, I’m also happy to admit I think the day will come when I’ll have the system here on TSL. One thing is for sure—their employees and their company are top notch. I met all of them at Blog World New York and was blown away. Every month they seem to add a great new feature to their platform, like the ability to embed video into comments or their own version of CommentLuv. And it’s for this reason that I think Livefyre actually is the future of blog commenting in general.
I’ve babbled enough, now I’d like your take. What are your thoughts on comment and tweet inflation? Do you think Livefyre and Triberr have anything to do with the phenomena? Also, if you’re using Livefyre, what do you like and what do you dislike about the system? If you’re not using it, why? And finally, for those of you that are new bloggers, have you found Livefyre to be at all intimidating? Jump in folks, I expect this conversation to get pretty interesting, as everyone has an opinion….