I'm pretty sure that most of our readers know about Jetpack, yet another great invention from the Automattic team. Essentially, it makes our blogs compatible with WordPress.com and provides functionalities like statistics, e-mail subscriptions, social media sharing, contact forms etc. And from version 1.4, Jetpack now serves a new comment system which improves the commenting experience for our visitors.
How Does It Work?
Well, you install the plugin and activate it through its settings page, that's all. If you need to adjust its settings, they're located on the Settings » Comments page in your admin panel:
And if you check the front end of your website, you can see the new commenting section:
As you can see, from now on, your visitors can leave comments with their own choice of name, e-mail and website OR they can log in with their WP.com, Facebook or Twitter credentials. And if the user is already logged in to your website, they will see something like this:
And as you may have noticed the checkboxes, you can let your commenters subscribe to the post they're commenting on (for follow-up comments) or subscribe to your website (for new posts).
The Pros and Cons of Jetpack vs. Other Comment Systems
Jetpack's new comment system looks great but also lacks some qualities (which are not really important for many users). It's not exactly a competitor for Disqus, Livefyre, IntenseDebate or Facebook Comments since it's just a big improvement to WordPress' native comment system and is not an entire comment system, but it will definitely be compared to them – I'll try to compare it with other comment systems because I believe that it will be improved a lot in the future. Let's see where it excels and where it falls short:
- The greatest thing about Jetpack is probably letting you offer the functionality of signing in with Facebook and Twitter (and WP.com) accounts by just installing the plugin. You don't have to create Facebook and Twitter apps, you just activate the plugin and voilà!
- It only deals with your own database and doesn't save and load the comments from another place. Neat, right?
There are no significant cons if you compare Jetpack with WordPress' native comment system but if we think about big systems like Disqus or Facebook Comments, we can count a few:
- The last "pro" is also a "con": It only deals with your own database and doesn't save and load the comments from another place. If you have a large website (for example, an online newspaper), loading the comments from other servers like Disqus or IntenseDebate might be a better idea, since their servers will be dealing with the load and not your server.
- Facebook's comment system lets the user immediately post comments without the need of installing a Facebook application. Jetpack doesn't. Neither does Disqus or IntenseDebate, of course. That might drive people away from commenting. Facebook Comments is the best option if your readers are surely socially engaged.
- And eventually, you're dependant on yet another plugin to use Jetpack's new comment system. You can't use it without a plugin (like Disqus).
Conclusion: Should You Use It?
If you're happy with your native comment system and don't need an advanced one, you'll love Jetpack as a major improvement. But if you need a big change with how people see and post comments on your website, you might want to look into other comment systems like Disqus, Facebook Comments, IntenseDebate or Livefyre.
Do you have any other pros and/or cons to add, or do you have any ideas on using this new comment system better? Your comments are always welcome!