It’s nothing really new. You visit a Web site, read an article or consume some bits of content and, depending how much coffee you’ve drank, feel compelled to leave a comment.
“Join the conversation”, “share this post with your friends and followers” are the mantra of those looking to build an audience in what’s become a fractured digital landscape saturated with countless options vying for our attention.
What follows next (still) baffles me. Please sign-in with Facebook, Twitter, or [insert prominent social network here] to leave a comment on our glorious Web site.
Ok, if you insist. Hmm… I’ll choose Twitter.
Web-site-you-want-to-leave-a-comment-on would like to access your Twitter account and “Update your profile“, “Post Tweets for you“.
Oh wait. Let me think about that one for a moment. Hmm… No.
Incredibly there are many sites still employing this rather severe mode of access and APIs that want untethered access to everything under the sun, including your firstborn child.
Content administrators who subscribe to the argument of forcing users to sign-in with their social media credentials would likely say it’s the most effective way to ensure everyone leaving a comment is a real person. Automated bots and trolls on the other hand conspire to pollute discussion threads with bogus or low quality content, so these protocols are necessary the moderators would argue.
Perhaps so, but sites imposing strict rules governing audience engagement, for example, requiring users to log-in with their Facebook credentials or only a few other cherry-picked social networks, is an unfortunate measure for dealing with the mountains of automated crap now circulating the Web. I’m afraid resorting to these tactics only discourages authentic audience participation.