John Byrne and BusinessWeek.com are taking its leadership position with their social media efforts one step further this morning by syncing the comments on Business Exchange, its social-networking site, to Twitter. The move makes it the first major business media outlet to sync comments with the service.
Business Exchange, which goes by BX for short, posted within their blog yesterday that:
“Business Exchange now allows you to simultaneously post your reactions (brief comments) to articles on both BX and Twitter with the click of a button. Once you link your Twitter account, we will automatically tweet your reactions to the articles posted on BX. You can choose to post to Twitter on a case-by-case basis or send all of your reactions on BX to your Twitter stream.”
The move makes obvious sense for BX and their users, and BX has made recent changes which included shortening the length of comments and renaming them reactions to make the sync work. BX users were already able to sync with LinkedIn, and most users use this syncing ability to portray their LinkedIn profile within the Business Exchange community.
Following in the footsteps of BusinessWeek.com’s overall strategy to increase reader engagement through user comments, the move is being made to increase user engagement with the Exchange community – which has been difficult to do so far. Elizabeth Holmes of the Wall Street Journal notes on Digits that:
“Only 3% of users have been actively commenting.”
Holmes doesn’t let on if the Journal is considering a similar move to sync Twitter with their Journal Community, but you know the folks posting for Digits and the creators of that community are itching for it.
Twitter isn’t anything new for BusinessWeek staffers, as almost all of which are on the micro-blogging service. In fact, @BWBX, Business Exchange’s Twitter handle, has been active for some time now — with Ron Casalotti (BusinessWeek’s Director of User Participation) and other staffers pushing BX conversations into the Twitter Stream. They’ve built a following of more than 2,000 and will become even more popular in the Twittersphere given the new syncing feature.
While the move is a step in the right direction, I still believe Business Exchange needs to implement a Facebook-like type of share feature that would allow you to read the uploaded content (News, Blog or Reference Material) without officially leaving the community. I’ve noticed Facebook doing this with publishers on their new pages on Facebook. You can read an entire story from Fortune Magazine without officially leaving Facebook, and commenting while doing so. This would make it much easier for the users on Business Exchange to comment within the community on the full content. You currently find yourself having to go back to the community – and away from the full content – to comment.