Site Stuff: Facebook, Sharing, and Commenting

Categories: Help

Written By

July 13th, 2010

I’m about to go into Internet silence mode for my last few days of summer vacation.  I spent a lot of the last week working on a lot of things that while not directly related to either TV ratings or even watching TV, hopefully will benefit our readers.

Facebook Page

We’d long been available on Facebook but we had ourselves hidden in the “Networked Blogs” ghetto.  We decided it was time to move to a better Facebook neighborhood so we created a Facebook Page at http://facebook.com/tvbythenumbers.    I’m quite happy with the results.

It looks pretty good and is easy to skim.  In fact, when it comes to scanning the site’s latest posts I like it a bit better than either using our site directly or Twitter.  It’s fast, easy to skim and not only do small excerpts carry over, but Facebook takes any image and makes it into a nice thumbnail.

I also like that our readers who prefer Facebook can have stories show up directly in their news feeds.

It would be great so see it grow as much as our Twitter feed has (now approaching 5,000) and to get some interaction going on our Facebook page.

If you’re already on Facebook please go to our page and “like” it.

Sharing Options

We’ve had sharing options on the site for a long while, but they were kind of hidden out of plain sight.   We’re now trying to make them easier for people to find.  We tried a variety of options and the path to the end result wasn’t pretty.

There was one version that Bill and I both really liked and thought looked good on the site.   Unfortunately, there were two problems with it: one, it caused our sites performance to take a hit, and secondly I couldn’t stop the icons from feeding to the mobile version of our site where for iPhone and Android users it looked like a hideous monstrosity.

We then tried a couple of other options that ultimately resulted in e-mails like “OMG! You have to be kidding me!  I tried to share one of your posts on Twitter and Twitter told me the post was 327 characters TOO LONG!  You can’t  expect me to delete 327 characters to share your stuff!  Fix it!”

Indeed, we can’t expect anyone to make crazy modifications like that in order to share our stories.  It’s fixed, and if you tried previously and had that “OMG! You have to be kidding me…” reaction,  we’re sorry about that and encourage you to please try again

We are using a slightly customized version of AddThis and while both the buttons we’re currently showing and the size of them might change we're hopeful it will work out.  I liked AddThis enough overall that when I couldn’t get it to work the way it needed to with our configuration, I changed our configuration a bit so it would work better.

We hope you’ll find it useful.

Commenting

Frequent commenters might have seen that we’re considering abandoning Disqus and going back to native WordPress comments.  At this point there's a better than 50-50 chance that will happen.  It pains me because I really like Disqus in a myriad of ways from its features to the ease of moderation to just much better handling of dealing with spam.   My friend Fred Wilson’s VC firm invested in them and I understand why: it’s a great team lead by CEO Daniel Ha, who is awesome.

If it were just the fact that it sometimes crashes the once great, but now kinda crappy web browser that is Firefox, I could live with it.  Our bigger concern is site performance.  I’ve done enough performance benchmarking at this point to be very clear that there is no bigger improvement we could make to our site to make pages load faster than to move back to native WordPress comments.

A Word on WordPress

I don’t want anyone to get the idea from the section above that we don’t absolutely love WordPress. We do absolutely LOVE WordPress and its wonderful community of third-party developers.   I consider WordPress a huge component of any success we’ve had.

 
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