This week, much of us in the community are giving a standing ovation "slow clap" to The Record Searchlight for its recent decision to use Facebook-hosted comments. This was a forward-thinking move that places Redding.com in line with the vast majority of larger news networks such as CNN, Mashable, Buzzfeed, etc.
Using Facebook Connect for comments will increase the amount of public participation in local news over time, enhance the City of Redding's reputation when articles are viewed by potential tourists and prospecting businesspeople, and give our community a nice boost of self-esteem.
Why? It is no longer possible for people to comment anonymously. Only one week after commenters have had to identify themselves, Redding.com feels like a breath of fresh air - a much more welcoming and positive place to read local news.
Just as with the previous commenting system, Facebook comments still enable Redding.com to be an entirely open forum. All attitudes, opinions, and beliefs are welcomed. The difference now is that no commenters can hide behind cryptic usernames like "ucouldbewrongimayberight" or "redding4ever." As a result, the self-congratulating peanut gallery of the same five to ten people who chronically throw digital spit wads at leaders, government officials, the RS, and anyone who is standing up for anything seems to have vanished.
It is quite refreshing.
I am looking forward to the rollout of Facebook comments for The Record Searchlight's mobile app.