Resolved: Facebook is Consuming the Bloggernacle

by: Stephen Marsh

December 7, 2012

On the affirmative side, closed groups for comments, questions and discussion have drawn away huge numbers of commenters from a number of sites on all spectrums. In addition, the feedback, comment structure and immediacy seem to appeal to many.

On the con side, well, who is arguing against this point? Other than the fact that Facebook is not much of a content provider. But are we seeing the difference between lectures (posts) and discussion groups (Facebook groups and discussions)?

What do you think?

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15 Responses to Resolved: Facebook is Consuming the Bloggernacle

  1. Brian on December 7, 2012 at 9:55 AM

    I don’t spend time on facebook so I can’t comment on that aspect. However, I would like to say I am so grateful for the thoughtful posts on this site. I am frankly amazed at the time and effort taken by the permas here. As a almost daily reader here añd sometimes commenter, I really appreciate this site. If W&T were to disappear, I would be very disappointed.

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  2. brandt on December 7, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    I think it’s a 2-fold thing.

    1.) One of the benefits of FB is that you can have conversations with people…real people, with real names, and real lives, and mutual friends and whatnot, while online, it’s mostly anonymous. I think that kind of killed some of the fun of anonymous online commenters and writers because it went from a fun “I wonder who this is” club of pseudonyms to everyone knowing everything about someone. Someone mentions a story about their wife on FB, we can immediately find out who their wife is (depending on privacy settings).

    2.) I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m wondering if the comment section of websites, perhaps especially Mormon ones, needs a revamp. I know Disqus has made some great strides in that, but the benefit of FB is you can immediately scan through all the comments and find the “fan favorites,” the ones that people like the most. Reddit has an upvote/downvote option where you can see the “best of the best” immediately.

    Even W&T has that option, which I would love to see more people utilize on different websites. But I think most of it revolves around option 1.

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  3. brandt on December 7, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    Dang it. That previous one was me. Dumb auto-fill-in extensions.

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  4. Andrew S on December 7, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    ^changed, brandt.

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  5. SilverRain on December 7, 2012 at 4:18 PM

    I’ll never participate in Facebook. But most people probably see that as a plus. *l*

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  6. SilverRain on December 7, 2012 at 4:21 PM

    I meant, by the way, I’ll never participate in Facebook in Bloggernacle discussions. I waste plenty of time on there otherwise. *l*

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  7. Stephen R. Marsh on December 7, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    I find that I often read things that interest me, get real feedback from people I know, and facebook is friendlier.

    I’ve been watching as it becomes an insular community.

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  8. Troth Everyman on December 7, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    I actually prefer this type of format for these types of discussions. I am not FB friends with most of the commentators and permas on this site and other LDS blogs and a prefer the partial anonymity. I wouldn’t want to have these types of discussions in a live setting where ALL of my FB friends (which include high school buddies, work buddies from a variety of settings, college, friends from social contexts, ward members from a variety places, non members, members, family, extended family, childhood friends, ex-girlfriends etc. etc. etc.) could see the conversation and associate it to me.

    While I like the immediacy of FB…I also appreciate the partial anonymity on the blogs.

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  9. Troth Everyman on December 7, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    Or perhaps I just don’t understand/use my privacy settings as I should. Or I allow too many people to become my facebook friend. :o)

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  10. LovelyLauren on December 7, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    I participated in the FMH group on facebook for awhile. I appreciated that I felt like I could contribute posts and links for things that I wanted to talk about. However, I felt the quality of posts weren’t necessarily as good because anyone could post anything they wanted to have a conversation about.

    Similarly, FMH is already known for being a bit more…sensitive than other places around the bloggernacle and that was magnified without anonymity. I know that I felt personally attacked far more than I ever did just posting on the blog and I eventually left the group because I felt that it became more about “circlejerking” (to use the reddit term: everyone patting themselves on the back for having the same opinion) than about real conversation.

    I actually really like reddit, but the LDS group there isn’t very big and heavily moderated to where anything remotely criticizing the church gets removed, which is pretty disappointing. It also seems like a much different crowd than the bloggernacle group. I actually posted a Wheat & Tares post to the group a few days ago and no one really responded because (and I’m speculating here) of the nature of the conversations that happen on Reddit versus those that do on blogs.

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  11. hawkgrrrl on December 7, 2012 at 7:43 PM

    LovelyLauren – I still participate on the FMH FB group sometimes, but like all the groups I’ve been in where identities are known, I do find that echo chamber quality and dancing around everyone’s feelings all the time to be annoying. I also struggle to identify with a large chunk of what is echoing since I’m not a twenty-something democrat housewife living in Utah. I do like some of the discussions, but I got incredibly bored and disappointed with the level of discourse there during the final days of the election. I have also participated in 3 other bloggernacle FB groups at different times, not nearly as good as the FMH one. Usually there just isn’t that much going on there. But there are great posts and comment threads from some of my Mormon internet friends that are good discussion.

    Personally, I think there’s a place for OPs still. It’s a much more thoughtful treatment of a topic. But I also see the appeal of discussion. An OP without a good discussion isn’t fun to me. I really like the polls also for this reason.

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  12. Hedgehog on December 8, 2012 at 2:08 AM

    I’d be sorry to see everything devolve to FB. I don’t have a FB account. I appreciate the slower moving discussions on the blogs. I’m slow to process information, and in RL group conversations usually leave me behind (not that I don’t understand what is being said, but my response to it is too slow). I also enjoy the well thought posts.
    W&T is my favourite because the discussions are vigorous and thought-provoking in the main, and it seems that the discussion is the point. There are a whole spectrum of attitudes and opinions, and I appreciate that about it. I appreciate the efforts of the authors of the OPs, both in coming up with the posts and continuing to engage with the discussions that follow. I like not having to worry unduly about trampling on sensibilities or having to dance around everyone’s feelings as Hawkgrrrl put it (#11). That was the kind of discussion environment I grew up with, but which seems to have vanished with the death of my grandparents. I really missed it.
    I’m less keen on blogs that seem to be a showcase for the writer of the OP (which has has its place I guess), but don’t engage in real discussion.
    I like the semi-anonymity. Anyone I know who reads regularly will probably be able to identify me, so I’m not hiding in that regard. But it isn’t all going to pop up on a search of my name, which isn’t that common.

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  13. Will on December 8, 2012 at 7:35 AM


    Wow, I haven’t heard that prevented word since jr high.

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  14. brandt on December 8, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    LovelyLauren – The problem with the LDS Reddit group is the moderator is kind of extreme. Yes, they’ve had their spats with the ex-Mormon Reddit group, but when I’ve been called out, when I’ve been kicked out of there because I didn’t subscribe to everything the moderator was saying, I had a huge problem with that.

    The worst part is that there’s not a decent way of having a moderator removed for (frankly) craziness. No petitions, no vetos, no coups, nothing. I’ve been trying to post more on the /r/Mormon subreddit, but that place seems to be a graveyard.

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  15. Andrew S on December 8, 2012 at 11:29 AM

    One thing I will say about non-FB internet places (well, probably more than one thing)

    I think it is VERY interesting how different groups use different services differently. So, as has been mentioned here, reddit is not a robust place for discussion of Mormon topics from a faithful perspective (for a variety of reasons), but it is a *great* place for discussion from an ex-Mormon perspective.

    …On the other hand, twitter seems to have no organized discourse among ex-Mormons, but faithful Mormons (and often faithful Mormons who would *not* be seen on bloggernacle blogs) do have that robust system — for general conference, just note that #LDSConf or #twitterstake frequently make the trending hashtags.

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