As I said in an earlier post, the comments feature on most blog platforms was what turned genealogy bloggers into geneabloggers. We went from being individual bloggers into a blogging community thanks to the comments section. Although the comments section is still there and does see some activity, social networking sites are now the place to go for conversation. Why is that? I think it’s because it’s easier. One login lets us get into just about any conversation.
Unfortunately, there’s a downside to social networks – a lack of privacy. Facebook’s recent research scandal is one of many attacks on our privacy.
Fortunately there’s an alternative – one that keeps our blogs front and center where they belong. It’s the Disqus commenting platform. Disqus makes it possible to comment at Tumblr, Blogger, WordPress (self-hosted), SquareSpace and a number of other blog platforms using one Disqus account. And, that’s just the beginning. With Disqus, commenters can:
- include rich media like photos and embeds
- carry on real-time conversations
- comment on-site or through your Disqus profile
- receive notifications – new comments or replies
- follow interesting individuals as well as blog sites
- export and keep their comments.
How can a society take advantage of Disqus to engage members and attract new ones? First of all, add Disqus to your society’s blog and use it to ask your members to share ideas, tips and suggestions. Other ideas include:
- build a blog network among your members by encouraging them to use Disqus on their blogs. Even members who don’t blog can have a voice by creating a Disqus account and getting into the conversation.
- schedule live online discussions using Disqus.
- use Disqus to hold online show-and-tell events so members can show off favorite family photos or interesting artifacts.
- hold an online book launch party with the author available to discuss the book and answer questions.