IntenseDebate is a blog plugin created by Automattic, and is available for WordPress, Blogger, tumblr, and TypePad. Simply stated in the plugin description, IntenseDebate includes: Comment threading, reply-by-email, user accounts and reputations, comment voting, along with Twitter and friendfeed integrations enrich your readers’ experience and make more of the internet aware of your blog and comments which drives traffic to you!
As I participate in commenting in other blogs, I’ve grown to appreciate the ability to post using my Twitter ID, and the only way I’d known of to offer that was to use the Disqus commenting system. The reason I decided to try the IntenseDebate system instead was the fact that Andy over at ComLuv is working on integrating the CommentLuv plugin wiht IntenseDebate. Ultimately, I would like to offer the features of IntenseDebate, as well as the CommentLuv feature of including a commentator’s latest blog post. Since the integration isn’t yet finished, I’ve opted to run IntenseDebate minus CommentLuv, for now.
Update: Andy’s right on top of things as usual, and has allowed me to beta test the CommentLuv functionality for IntenseDebate. It’s installed and working, so make sure to leave a comment and get your latest blog post seen! Thanks, Andy!
It’s all about the options
Using IntenseDebate enables me to offer my readers the kind of options I enjoy when commenting on other blogs. Most importantly, it gives them the option to comment under their Twitter, Facebook, OpenID, or InteseDebate member names. If a reader doesn’t have one of those, or simply prefers not to use them, they can also choose to comment as a guest.
This works well in my opinion because readers get to choose how they’re referenced. Do I want to send others that may read my comments to my Twitter account, or my FaceBook page? Blogger users can sign into their OpenID and have an automatic link to their blog, and IntenseDebate users can connect through their account there to increase their participation with the thousands of other avid commentators on that social site.
IntenseDebate also enables users signed in through Twitter to send their comment directly to their Twitter account, something that encourages discussion on that site as well. As an avid Twitter user myself, I like that option.
One of the most important aspects about offering my readers the ability to comment within their Twitter account IDs was the (oauth_token)… When you sign into your Twitter account to comment through the Intense Debate plugin, you are presented with a secure page to login to your Twitter account (https://). Knowing that I’m not giving away my Twitter account information when I comment on other blogs is important to me, so I wanted to make sure my readers are able to use this function safely, and with confidence.
My plugin has plugins!
Another feature I love about IntenseDebate is the list of Plugins that we can add to it. This is done through the IntenseDebate.com site, and plugins include a spell checker (which I installed right away), smileys, social bookmarking buttons through AddThis and AddToAny (for post and comments), FaceBook share buttons, TweetMeMe buttons, and even video embedding plugins. These plugins couldn’t be easier to “install”, simply click them while in your InteseDebate account, and they’re added to your blog’s comment area upon your next reload of your site!
This is handy because by using these functions within IntenseDebate enables you to get rid of other plugins within your WordPress install, or for other platforms, it may give you functionality that you can’t get otherwise. Valuable load time saver for WP users, and freedom for Blogger and TypePad users.
Features, Features, Features
Rather than listing all the features available through the IntenseDebate plugin, I’ll just direct you to their Features page. I love that it offers ‘Reply by email’, comment threading, and email notifications. Again, this saves WP users from needing additional plugins, saving load time. The FriendFeed Comment Retrieval is another great feature that increases interactivity on that social site, and I look forward to IntenseDebate doing something similar for Twitter Re-Tweets and/or mentions… that would help me get rid of another plugin!
Being an advocate of branding and brand marketing, I appreciate the integration of the Gravatars in IntenseDebate. The more places people see my GingerWench heart, the more people are aware of my brand.
I’m also looking forward to becoming more involved in the IntenseDebate community. Through the profile pages, we’re able to share information about our sites and social network with other commenting addicts… I love how I can see all my comments accross the entire IntenseDebate platform right there in one list… this makes it easier to follow discussions no matter how I set my ‘email notifications’.
If you have an IntenseDebate profile, feel free to link to it in the comments here, I need to build my list of blogs to follow there, and invite you to follow mine as well.
Do you use the IntenseDebate plugin on your blog? Let me know how it’s working out for you, and how it’s increased your blog’s comment participation! I’m looking forward to seeing increased comments to this blog, and welcome all forms of “intense debate”.