One of the things that continues to intrigue me when it comes to content is how we interact with each other after reading a post.
I’ve shared various thoughts on how I see digital conversations evolving, and how we need to close the loop more on making the experience the best it can be for everyone involved – blogger, reader, subscriber or occasional visitor.
Due to a change in how readers consume content and how they discuss it afterward (and, more specifically, where they discuss it), many bloggers have decided to switch off blog comments altogether.
For me, this is a lost opportunity for these bloggers, as the often rich exchanges of thoughts and ideas help take a blog post to a much higher level than it was originally.
Especially when the likes of Postmatic make it incredibly easy for everyone to comment, and comment intelligently (as in, the natural way comments should be handled).
Commenting as An Everyday Action
Think about your daily activities – what’s (probably) the one thing you do the most, regardless of setting (personal or professional)?
It’s probably composing and/or replying to emails, right? Because email is the one thing that remains the same, regardless of technology advances and solutions – you get a message and you reply. Simple.
So why isn’t blog commenting as simple? Why do we need to have multiple solutions all offering (useful, but still fractured) features? Why do we need to provide passwords, sign in options, social actions and more?While choice is great, the truth is we don't need so many different blog comment solutions.Click To Tweet
The truth is, we don’t. While Livefyre’s SocialSync option is pretty cool, and Disqus’s tagging and recirculation community feature is nice, they’re still disparate commenting options.
If I prefer Livefyre, I don’t want to have to create a Disqus account (and vice versa).
This disparate approach to commenting is one of the reasons a lot of bloggers are using when it comes to justifying switching comments off. Instead of commenting on blogs, social channels are preferred as it’s where people spend their time anyway.
Which ties us back to email as a commenting option, because people are already there and using it in pretty much everything they do.
Which is great news if you have a self-hosted WordPress blog.
Read, Reply, Rinse and Repeat
It seems obvious when you think about it – you (usually) get a blog post update via email, you get notifications of new tweets, Facebook statuses, G+ interactions, etc., via email, and you get notifications of a new comment on a blog post via email.
Taking that to its natural next step, Postmatic enables readers and commenters to reply to a blog post and/or comment via email, too. Instead of having to be at point of origin (the blog post itself), the Postmatic experience is pretty seamless:
- You receive the latest blog post via email from your favourite blogger(s)
- You read the post in your email inbox, and want to leave a comment
- Instead of flipping through to the blog, you hit your email’s Reply button
- You type your comment and hit Send.
And that’s it – job done. Once you hit send, the email is converted into a comment and appears on the post. If it’s in reply to an existing comment, it appears after that (threaded, if the blogger has that option set up).
Further comments and replies will come to your Inbox, and you simply continue to use your email to continue the conversation.
It’s so simple, you wonder why it hasn’t been done before (well, unless it has, but I haven’t seen it, and the Postmatic implementation is super easy).
What I’d Like to See Added
I’ve just started using Postmatic, and I can see how popular it could become. Email is such a natural function for us, and we’re not limited by platform – desktop or mobile email is just as easy to use as each other.
Because of this, organic conversations can now be second nature too – we’re not having to jump over to multiple blog posts, nor do we have to worry if the blogger has their site optimized for the mobile experience.Email is second nature to everyone, regardless of tech know-how. Blog comments should be too.Click To Tweet
These two points alone should see Postmatic find a pretty big userbase, and make blog commenting “popular” again. It’s also pretty good when it comes to features and support.
While the existing setup and features are easy and uncomplicated, some features that would make great additions would be welcome in future updates:
- Currently, it’s for self-hosted WordPress only, and native WordPress comments. If Jason Lemieux, the Postmatic developer, can offer support for other platforms, either as a shortcode or line of script, it could really make Postmatic one of the default systems for commenting. (Note: Jason has kindly worked behind-the-scenes to make Postmatic work with wpDiscuz, which I currently use for comments).
- The newsletter option that Postmatic offers, while excellent, doesn’t support custom deliveries (like the weekly newsletter I deliver, for example). Support for this is coming, so I look forward to seeing how it’s implemented.
- Social sharing from the email would be useful. Given Postmatic’s goal is to make commenting easy, by letting you reply from your own email, sharing of posts could be affected if traffic to comment on an actual blog post is reduced. Including sharing options would definitely help here.
All things considered, though, I’m really impressed and excited by the possibilities of Postmatic. Making it feel as second nature as writing an email could really see the resurgence of comments at source.
And for many bloggers, that alone puts Postmatic in a great position to be an essential content tool.
To see how Postmatic works, simply reply to the comment I’ve left below the post, or leave your own comment and see how the reply is handled.