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.
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.
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