As many of you probably know already, Facebook offers a social plugin for developers who wish to integrate their blogs further with their Facebook pages/profiles. The Facebook Comments Plugin is a simple piece of code in either FBML (Facebook Markup Language similar to HTML or Hyper Text Markup Language) or an iframe to be embedded in the source code of the blog. This plugin can be used as the only option for comments or in conjunction with the default commenting system of the blog. While many other integrated commenting plugins like Disqus also use Facebook integration, the Facebook Comments Plugin is also popular as a standalone system.
Here we shall look at the various advantages and disadvantages of the Facebook Comments Plugin.
1.Enhanced Privacy Protection: Since you can adjust the Privacy settings in Facebook to show only certain personal details to the general public, you don’t need to reveal your Email ID or even your real name while commenting on blogs using the Facebook Comments Plugin. For the blog owner, this would probably lead to more comments.
2.Reduction in Number of Spam Comments: Since the comments would be published only by people who have logged into their Facebook accounts, spam comments would become scarcer. In future this might not longer be a huge advantage when the number of spam/fake accounts on Facebook increases.
3.Increased Community Interaction: You can pretty easily publish the comments on your Blog’s Facebook page, in addition to the fact that the comments posted on your blog would also get published on the wall of the person commenting, thereby increasing the level of interaction within your blog’s community and even getting new readers from Facebook!
4.Reduced Server Load: Since the comments posted using Facebook Comments Plugin would be hosted by Facebook on their own web servers, the load on your blog’s hosting server would be greatly reduced. This would be in effect while posting, moderating as well as fetching the comments for displaying the pages!
5.Ease of Transfer: When you are transferring the blog from one platform to another (say Blogger to WordPress) or simply from one hosting provider to another, the effort involved would be greatly reduced, since all you would need to do to transfer the comments is re-paste the embed code on the new blog!
1.Increased Pageload Time: Since the commenting plugin would be hosted on a different server on a different domain, the number of HTTP requests would be increased, thereby increasing the overall pageload time.
2.Increase in Probability of Breakdowns: Since your commenting system would depend on the Facebook servers, any downtime experienced by Facebook would also affect your blog. Also, changes in the plugin might lead to discordant parameter values getting supplied by the plugin, leading to errors.
3.Reduction in Number of Casual Readers’ Comments: Since the readers would have to be logged in to Facebook, any random person who likes your blog post might not care to actually log in and comment (unless he/she is already logged in!). However, Facebook’s huge popularity everywhere on the globe reduces the effect of this disadvantage.
4.Possible Duplicate Content Issues: The same comments being published on Facebook walls, blog pages and the blogs’ post pages might lead to duplicate content issues for search engines.
5.Increase in Number of Short Comments: Since logged-in Facebook users wouldn’t have to enter their Email ID, Name or Website URL each time they post a comment, the number of “Thanks”/”Nice Post”/”Awesome Tips” comments might increase.
Based on my own experience, I’d say the advantages of using the Facebook Comments Plugin far outweigh the disadvantages. What do you think?
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