There was a great deal of fanfare last week when Disqus implemented something called “social media reactions.”  It was a feature that’s been in usage over at Mashable for some time now, and essentially serves as a mechanism to import relevant comments from other services ranging from YouTube to Twitter to Friendfeed into the original comment threads at the blog post.

As most of us very quickly found out, those features didn’t exactly work for most of us.  I just found out yesterday from @danieha why that is.

Photo_20_normaldanielha: @rizzn I hope most things don’t just work periodically. 🙂 Which bits are giving ya trouble?
1 day ago from TweetDeck · Reply · View Tweet

Picture_54_normalrizzn: @danielha i’ve been having real trouble getting the FriendFeed and Twitter integration to work.
about 1 hour later from web · Reply · View Tweet

Photo_20_normaldanielha: @rizzn Outbound or inbound?
28 minutes later from TweetDeck · Reply · View Tweet

Picture_54_normalrizzn: @danielha Inbound stuff. It could be a configuration thing, perhaps? I’m just not sure where to start troubleshooting it.
6 minutes later from twhirl · Reply · View Tweet

Photo_20_normaldanielha: @rizzn Not your fault. Both features are part of an integration push we did last week to limited sites. We’re still scaling it out
about 2 hours later from TweetDeck · Reply · View Tweet

Picture_54_normalrizzn: @danielha ah, ok, that makes sense then. how long will it be before it’s fully scaled out? (or more selfishly, before my sites have it?)
17 minutes later from twhirl · Reply · View Tweet

Photo_20_normaldanielha: @rizzn Hard to say right now, but I really hope it won’t be too long
35 minutes later from TweetDeck · Reply · View Tweet

News comes from Techcrunch today that Backtype has released similar functionality in the form of a WordPress plugin:

Today BackType has launched a new WordPress plugin that allows bloggers to integrate BackType Connect functionality into all of their posts. This means that every relevant comment from FriendFeed, Reddit, Digg, Twitter, and even comments from other blogs that link to the original post can be automatically imported, allowing readers to follow the conversation on your blog no matter where it is taking place on the web.

image There’s also problems with this plugin – problems I’ve experienced with the Backtype system in general that have prevented me from really using the service at all:

There’s also apparently no way to preserve the original comment threads when importing them, which can make some comments appear totally out of context.

Backtype is a good idea – but their execution has always needed work.  Their matching isn’t very accurate, their reach hasn’t been as extensive as I’d like, and the contextual relevance is very lacking.  These are not easy issues to tackle, but before I can use the service avidly, they’re issues that must be tackled.

UPDATE: backtype’s Mark Montano provides some illumination on my problem via FriendFeed:

Mark — the reason you’ve had problems with comments that aren’t yours is that BackType uses the URL you comment with as a signature. So this doesn’t lend well to blogs with multiple authors (like mashable). This problem doesn’t affect many but it is something we need to address. We allow you to moderate your comments, and select the ones that are yours, but I realize that’s not ideal. – Mike Montano

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