Facebook has enabled a nice feature that’s been lacking from in-depth discussions – threaded comments and replies. On sites that want to encourage real discussion, participants can reply to a specific comment, and their reply will appear directly under that comment. Instead, what we’ve had on Facebook for years is just one comment after another, making lengthy discussions sometimes very hard to follow.
While the new feature is not available for personal accounts, it is an option for Facebook Pages. It does have to be activated.
Log into your Facebook account and navigate to your Facebook Page. Click on the Edit Page button and select Manage Permissions. Scroll all the way to the bottom and look for “Replies.” There’s a checkbox there to “allow replies to comments on my Page.” Select this and then save your settings.
Facebook is also going to begin rolling out a feature called Active Thread Sifting. This takes the most active threads and conversations and pushes them toward the top of the discussion. It will be available initially to Pages that have over 10,000 fans, and then be rolled out to everyone by the Summer.
“We think this update will allow for easier management of conversations around posts, which is a better experience for people interacting with Pages and public figure profiles,” according to Facebook.
Strangely, these features will not be available for mobile at all, though Facebook has said that will come eventually.
Replies and Active Sorting should definitely have a positive impact on the amount of discussion that takes place on a Facebook Page, and brands need to be aware of this. Not only will this result in discussions that you need to be an active part of, it will also represent new opportunities to use Facebook to engage your followers. As TechCrunch points out, one great use model might be to run Question and Answer sessions, not unlike a Reddit AMA.
Many though have been critical of the idea of sifted comments since it will put comments in a different order than they occurred, sometimes confusing a conversation.
What do you think? Do you like this change, or do you think it’s a bad idea? What other use cases can you envision for taking advantage of this feature?