While there may have been times I switched Livefyre off and reverted to native WordPress comments, this was mainly due to a design and implementation hiccup with my redesigned theme, as opposed to anything wrong with Livefyre itself.
It’s why their service was installed again with my latest design, and why I’ll be doing my damndest to make sure it remains through any future updates.
Especially given their very cool new solution, Livefyre Sidenotes.
Why Sidenotes is a Huge Leap for Blog Comments
Actually, that’s a little bit of a misnomer, since Livefyre Sidenotes isn’t really a blog comment solution – more an enhancement to any content on the web today.
They also feel incredibly natural to anyone that’s read anything, ever. That’s not an overstatement – think of the little notes you make on Post-Its on your favourite books; or annotations on college papers; or side comments on a suitably-equipped eReader for further research/discussion later on.
In Livefyre’s own words, this is what their new Sidenotes solution is all about:
We kept harkening back to our college days (no not the booze part), when we annotated and highlighted passages we wanted to discuss with classmates or just pass down to future used book aficionados.
We also looked at similar experiences that exist today, Kindle Highlights for example, which enables us to see and share insightful sections in the books we love. It was clear that the ability to engage directly with content makes for an engaging conversation specifically around what people are reading.
For an example of how that looks, here’s an example of a Sidenotes discussion from the Spin Sucks blog (click to expand).
As you can see, by clicking the little speech bubble at the end of the paragraph, you can see annotations around that particular copy. This helps encourage contextual discussion around a particular thought or point, as opposed to waiting until the comments themselves and referring to the paragraph from there.
Which is why I’m going to experiment with Sidenotes on here for a little while, to see how they complement the main comments section (which will remain at the end of each post).
How Do You Want to Use Livefyre Sidenotes?
From the very first post I published on here, your voice has always been an equal one to mine – and that’s why I’d love your thoughts on how you’d like to see Sidenotes used.
Some ideas I have include:
- Use the word “Discuss” at the end of a particular paragraph, to focus on that thought or viewpoint while still top of mind;
- Bold any sentence when encouraging readers to use the Sidenotes option at a particular point;
- Insert the first Sidenote as a discussion starter on a certain piece of content.
These are just basic ways to use Sidenotes at the moment. The release is only Version 1.0, so deeper functionality will come in future updates, and much of that will be based around user and reader feedback like yours, so fire away!
Are there perhaps content topics that you feel would be better suited to a Sidenotes discussion versus a discussion in the comments at the end of the post? As I mentioned, I really want you to drive your experience here as much as possible, so I’d love to help Livefyre understand where the user experience can be enhanced even more.
In the meantime, feel free to play around with the Sidenotes option here and let me know what you think. To leave a Sidenote, you can either sign in using your existing Livefyre account if you have one, or your preferred social sign-in (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, etc.).
I look forward to hearing your thoughts!
Update May 7, 2014: I’ve decided to switch Sidenotes off for now. While I love the concept, and think it’s the natural evolution of commenting, there needs to be more user control/optimization on usage and placement. Having chatted with Livefyre about future integrations, I look forward to switching Sidenotes back on when there is extra end-user functionality.
image: Dimitris Papazimouris