Just before Christmas, Disqus announced their support for Facebook Connect. At the time I remember being a little disappointed with the decision, due to Facebook’s closed nature and what seemed like a choice for the walled garden of Facebook and against the open web (OpenID, OAuth, OpenSocial).
I like Disqus; they’ve been responsive when we’ve had questions and issues, and obviously the longer we use it, the harder it becomes to effect a return to WordPress comments or a move to another comment management service like Intense Debate, which I’ve not had good experiences using. So, even though I like Disqus, I do feel a little trapped.
Based on all my hippie openness, why, when a commenter asked about supporting Facebook Connect for Disqus login, did I cave?
As an aside, I’m not even sure that’s a real comment; the comment spam has been very heavy lately. FYI, if your comment disappeared and you’re a real-live person who had a real comment, sorry if I nuked it. I didn’t know “Pregnancy Symptoms” was a real name.
Why the 180?
For starters, Facebook recently joined the OpenID board, and I’ve heard from a board member that it’s more than just an attempt at lip-service to the open web. There are increasing signs that Facebook wants to be more open. This makes sense; they’re not a in a position to open completely, but staying totally closed doesn’t serve the best interests of their users and the rest of the ‘tubes. Besides, I’m pretty sure someone studied the hall of fail for walled gardens, ahem AOL, CompuServ.
So, why not support Facebook Connect here? I asked myself on Friday.
You can see it in action in the comments. The comment widget has been slightly restyled to include a Facebook icon. Click it, and you’ll get the Facebook Connect login.
When you choose Facebook Connect you get the Facebook credentials window, show above; I’ve not tested it myself yet, so leave a comment to test it yourself, and I just might reply with my Facebook credentials.
You can choose to cross-post your comments to your News Feed too. I’m not sure how that would appear; I assume they must provide the original post for context. Again, I’ve not tried yet, so if you get there first, please share with the rest of the class how it comes out in the News Feed.
Another reason I caved is that so many people are using Facebook as their primary social network, it’s probably a higher value add than I think. Paul, for example, says it’s his main network over Twitter or LinkedIn, probably over Connect, too 🙂 It’s the de facto standard now, like it or not.
And I don’t want to be labeled a dirty hippie who only supports the Commie open web. No offense Commie open web, you know I <3 you.
Anyway, Disqus makes it very simple to enable Facebook, and there are detailed instructions in the Admin/Settings of your blog setup.
- To retrieve your Facebook API Key for use with Disqus, you must fill out a new ‘Create App’ form on Facebook
- Enter your site’s domain as the Callback URL
- You may use your site name as the application name
- Below is a screenshot of the AppsLab form on Facebook
Now, if only Disqus would support OpenID on the comments widget. Even though you can login to disqus.com with an OpenID provide, supposedly, the widget we show on the blog does not support any providers.
Although I wonder how much incentive they have to build that now that Facebook has committed to OpenID, which would mean they get it for free through Facebook Connect. Grrr.
Another seemingly cool feature of Disqus is the FriendFeed integration, i.e. comments on blog posts made on FriendFeed are reflected back to the original post. Not so much from what I saw. I set this up and tested it to no avail. I’m hoping it’s user error. Anyone?
Stay tuned sounds like a neat feature.
Find the comments and sound off about Facebook Connect, Disqus, hippie open web, whatever you like. Just make it obvious you’re not a comment spammer, which is harder than it seems.
Update: Surachart was nice enough to leave a test comment, to which I replied using Facebook Connect. After logging in, I got this box, asking to publish the comment to my News Feed.
And here’s how it looks in my Feed. Not too intrusive, but not very informative either.
Just as with FriendFeed, having a Comment function on Facebook creates another thread for your posts, which is a bummer.
One thing, if you have a public profile on Facebook, your name will show in comments, like Surachart’s. The public profile is indexed by search engines. If you don’t have that enables, only your profile ID will show, which looks a little weird, like mine.