change IS coming to America thanks to IntenseDebate

When a website adds the feature to allow comments to websites, it’s not really news.

When change.gov adds comments, its interesting… when they use the IntenseDebate system as their comment system it is exciting.

IntenseDebate uses threaded comments and user profiles, with community ranking to ensure that quality comments are most prominent as well as telling you what a commenter’s reputation is next to each comment.

I have to take my hat off to Obama and his team for really embracing democracy in this way, enabling a real conversation where anyone can add their thoughts and by truly embracing community to manage those comments. Good work.

There is plenty of ongoing discussion about how to moderate comments on blogs and the legal issues around who is liable etc.  IntenseDebate doesn’t solve/answer all of those issues, but it does represent a great step forward – not only that, it supports OpenID and a number of other cool “2.0″ type features.

If you’d like to read more on change.gov’s use of this technology, see also techPresident’s excellent article.

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Facebook moving forward

There’s a lot written today about Facebook launching their new service Connect.

Connect allows you to login to partner websites using your Facebook account and for information to flow from that site into your feed and friend information to pass back to the partner site.  This is part of a wider plan by Facebook to become the standard for social interaction.

OpenID set out to be the standard for connecting people across the web, plenty of big name partners supported OpenID but yet… outside the industry, who knows it exists?

There’s another important part of the strategy for net domination, that hasn’t received as much discussion: Facebook are taking steps to reduce the amount of people using ordinary Facebook accounts as a promotional tool. They are really clamping down on fake profiles and have put in places limits for how many group messages you can send out rather than using updates or advertisements.

The real strength in Facebook is in having 99.999% of users as real people, that is what makes it stand out from most other networks.

If Facebook can keep the balance of community vs commercial messages right, people will stay. A lot of users left MySpace when the volume of messages that were “hey you’ve never heard of me but please check out my tracks” overtook the messages between friends.

Sure some people will be put out when their profiles are deleted (after being warned) BUT it won’t cause the bulk of people to move.

This brings me nicely back to my talk, the social web in 10 slides – where I talk about the importance of interacting and engaging with the community in the right way.

If you (as a business) want to promote yourself on a social network, you have to be really clear to understand how that network works and how best to mobilise that network for your benefit whilst playing by their rules.

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