As you may have noticed, I have been tweaking the blog a bit in the past few days, adding some more “social” features. I would like to explain each of these quickly, and then get your opinion on a potential future change.
I would like to draw your attention first to the Rate this Post thumbs on each post. Oftentimes, I find myself reading an amazing article and am struck dumb, I have nothing more to add. All I can do is nod my head in agreement (or shake my head in disgust). Post-rating is a way you can show your feelings without having to compose a comment. Think of it as a tip jar, but free! Use it liberally please!
Secondly, I added a Share This icon to each post which will allow you to quickly add the post to Facebook, Twitter, Delicious or your networking service of choice. I expect most people are using bookmarklets, but this makes it one step easier if you are away from your main computer.
Last, I am considering using a third-party commenting system. The hot ones on the shelves nowadays include DISQUS, IntenseDebate and Echo. These systems allow readers to login with Facebook, OpenID or Twitter credentials, and manage their comments and replies across all blogs using the system. In other words, it gives readers more control and convenience. The dilemma is that there is a network effect — the more people that use a service the more valuable it is. I am wondering what everybody reading CA uses so that I may choose the most convenient platform. DISQUS seems to be the popular one, but IntenseDebate was recently acquired by Automattic (the WordPress guys) and may have a brighter future. Echo looks sweet, but does not have the comment collating ability of the other systems. Your thoughts?