YouTube has recently rolled out a new version of its commenting system, and right on cue the trolls of the web were all up in arms about it. I, however, am not so quick to judge a new system like this, and after a little research I think it’s going to be a huge hit. In this article we’ll explore the new YouTube comments and why I think it’s a win-win situation for you and your users.
The Old Comment System
The previous iteration of YouTube’s commenting system were basically an open forum where anyone with a YouTube account could leave (oftentimes offensive) comments on your videos. To my knowledge there was no form of accountability to the YouTube commenter ecosystem prior to this latest update, which meant you didn’t really have to be a real person or have your account tied to anything meaningful for identification purposes. That meant people could be as nasty as they wanted to be and you really couldn’t do that much about it. Now, however, that looks as if it’s about to change.
The New Comment System
In case you’re not aware, Google owns YouTube, and also owns a social networking platform called Google+ as well. With the new commenting system they’re marrying the two services together in an attempt to unify the experience for users across the board. This means that you must have a Google+ account in order to leave comments on YouTube now. Google+ is a free platform, so there’s nothing to worry about there, but it is a rather desolate corner of the internet. My hope is that this will increase engagement with the platform, but only time will tell.
Why People Are Mad
I think the uproar regarding the new commenting system boils down to one thing… The trolls are pissed because they can’t flame you anonymously on YouTube anymore. Go to any YouTube channel and read some of the previous comments left by users. You will see some really venomous stuff. There is a very large contingent of the internet that lives merely to hurt and ridicule other people, and now that the veil is set to be lifted on who they really are, they seem to be upset. This quote from a recent change.org petition pretty much sums up the feelings of the trolls, I think:
“Google is forcing us to make google+ accounts and invading our social life to comment on a youtube video and trying to take away our anonymous profile. They are also trying to censor us unless we share the same worldview as they do,”
There’s also probably a large majority of people who simply have no desire to have a Google+ account, which is a fair request, I think. After all, we have so many networks that we participate in already, adding another only further complicates the equation. Couple that with the fact that Google+ struggles to generate the same level of interaction and ROI as platforms like Twitter and Facebook, and I can see why people wouldn’t want to be a part of it.
Why It’s a Good Thing
While I’m sympathetic to the arguments above, I also think this is a huge win for users and content creators alike. By tying these services together you are in essence adding an additional social layer to an already vibrant community. This is something I always thought YouTube lacked, but now with Google+, I think YouTube is poised to become the next big thing in social.
Also, by making people accountable for their comments and giving people a place to respond to them directly, hopefully the conversations on YouTube will take on a more civil tone. One of my favorite things about producing content online is interacting with those who watch and read my content. However, I’ve closed comments on more than a few videos simply because the comments spiraled out of control. Believe me, I can take criticism with the best of them, and I invite any and all constructive comments that people have for me or my work. However, I will not tolerate personal attacks on me, my family or just general jackass remarks that have no relevancy to the topic at hand. I think this new system will go a long way towards improving that aspect of YouTube.
The other great thing about the new commenting system are the new features that Google is implementing for creators. Check these out from the official Google post about the new system:
- Comments you care about move to the top: You’ll see posts at the top of the list from the video’s creator, popular personalities, engaged discussions about the video, and people in your Google+ Circles. You can still see the most recent comments by switching from “Top Comments” to “Newest First.”
- Join the conversation publicly or privately: You can choose to start a conversation so that it is seen by everyone, only people in your Circles, or just your bestie. Like Gmail, replies are threaded so you can easily follow conversations.
- Easily moderate comments: If you also post videos on your channel, you’ll have new tools to review comments before they’re posted, block certain words or save time by auto-approving comments from certain fans.
If you’re a content creator, I have no idea why any of these would be considered a bad thing. The more control over my social channels that I have personally, the better my community will be, I think.
Another great thing about the new comments system is the fact that when I’m talking directly to or about someone, I can tag them using their Google+ profile and they’ll get a notification on their phone or via email alerting them to the fact and hopefully sparking a conversation. I’ll also get notifications of new comments through Google+ which will eliminate my need to use the awful YouTube inbox feature, which I’ve grown to hate.
The final reason I love the new comments on YouTube is Google Translate. That’s right, now comments left to me in other languages will be automatically translated for me! I love that! I have viewers from all over the globe, and I only speak English and (some) Spanish, so having this service is going to be great for my abilities to communicate with my audience and hopefully be more helpful to them in the future.
Yes, I realize people are mad, but people get mad about everything nowadays. Creative Cloud, anyone? This new comments system is a good thing and in time the dust will settle and the trolls will find their way back into their caves. Personally, I’m going to enjoy the new commenting system, and now I believe I finally have a reason to devote more time to my following on Google+, something I previously saw very little value in. What are your thoughts on the new YouTube comments? Good? Bad? Terrible?!? Sound off in the comments or hit me up via my social media channels. Thanks for reading!