Join the Conversation

This past weekend, I passed a major milestone on my blog. I received my five thousandth comment. When John Saddington, my blog designer and developer pointed that out, I was blown away. I had no idea.

several people having a lively conversation

Of course, this is the essence of Web 2.0 or, as it is sometimes called, the “read/write” web. People are not content to let authors pontificate. They, too, want to participate in the conversation. Blogging is no longer a monologue (if it ever was); it’s a dialogue.I am celebrating this milestone by installing IntenseDebate, a third-party commenting platform for blogs. Here are the five features I wanted that are not possible—or at least, not easy—with most blogs:

  • Comment Threading. This enables you to reply to specific comments with out the hassle of “@username” reference or other workarounds. Replies are indented at different levels, so you can follow the conversation.
  • Commenter Profiles. This provides you with the opportunity to upload your picture, a bio, your comment history—whatever you think is important. Or, you can remain anonymous. It’s up to you. Best of all, your profile works on every blog that uses IntenseDebate.
  • Reputation Points. This is a method for rating various commenters based on the quantity and quality of their posts. This provides you, as the reader, a way to judge the authority or value of that commenter’s reputation.
  • Twitter Integration. When you post a comment, IntenseDebate gives you the option of sending a Tweet on a post-by-post basis, letting your followers know that you have commented on a specific post.
  • Reply by Email. I spend a lot of my time away from my desk—in meetings, on airplanes, etc. As a result, I need a way to interact with my readers and keep the conversation going. This feature does that.

I looked at several systems before settling on IntenseDebate, including Disqus, and coComment. In the end, I settled on IntenseDebate because it is owned by Automattic, the same company that owns WordPress.

We had a few problems with the installation of IntenseDebate. But with the persistence of both John Saddington and the Intense tech support team, we got it working.

Question: What do you think about the new commenting system?
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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

  • Christopher

    I think you are going to be happy with Intense Debate. It brings comment conversation to a whole new level.

  • Michael Hyatt


  • chrisdat

    Just commenting here so I can catch up with human3rror (in my lifetime).

  • human3rror

    yes. word up!

  • human3rror


  • myhatt

    Re: Christopher commented on Join the Conversation I think so, too. I like what I have seen so far.

  • myhatt

    Re: chrisdat commented on Join the Conversation Good luck!

  • @tonyramos

    Looking good. I am going to guess that IntenseDebate grabs my Twitter avatar automatically. Also, liking the new blog design as well. Keep up the good work!

    • PattiM

      IntenseDebate grabs avatars from which Gail Hyatt kindly introduced me to the other day.

  • ButchWalker

    Saw your Tweet that this was coming and thought I'd check it out as possible plugin for my blog. Looks nice. Thanks for the tip.

  • PattiM

    Neat dropdown when you hover over the avatar of those registered at IntenseDebate I'm liking this addition Michael. Will take a look at it for my blogs.

  • Douglas Schultz

    I really like the look of Blog 3.0 and how you've shared the tools you use and how well they work. I really appreciate that as I investigate moving to WordPress also.

  • Michael Hyatt

    I'm not sure it will grab your Twitter avatar. I think it only works with Gravatar, which is also owned by Automattic, the company that owns WordPress and IntenseDebate.

  • Gabe Taviano

    I could not be wrong, but I think IntenseDebate just manages comments and doesn't utilize Twitter at all. I'm pretty sure Twitter Tools and TweetSuite do that. Just wanted to make sure the new users weren't looking for that……or learn something new if I am wrong, lol. Glad you're using ID Michael!

  • Gabe Taviano

    Ok, so maybe I glanced over the fact that you were talking about comments and Twitter, not posts and Twitter. Guessing you have to install an add-on to ID to make the Twitter post work (since I don't see it by default)?

  • Gabe Taviano

    Sorry to reply thrice, but you were right Michael. It's a setting under your ID profile. Seems a bit annoying to me I guess.

  • thejeffbrown

    Very impressive. I look forward to what IntenseDebate has to offer.

  • Chownage

    I love it. I think I'm gonna install it on my blog too! Thanks for the heads up.

  • Ryan Markel

    I've been using IntenseDebate for a while on several sites, and I believe it's the best commenting solution I've seen so far. The integration with WordPress makes it an easy choice.

    Good to see you finally got it up and running!

  • Daniele_Beta

    And finally, I got a great suggestion from you..

  • Michael Hyatt

    Re: Daniele_Beta commented on Join the Conversation Great. I’m glad!

  • Phillip Gibb

    whooa, 5000, that's insane. Well done

  • mvivas

    I like!! Good call on IntenseDebate. Keep up the good work!!!

  • Michael Hyatt

    Great. I’m glad!

  • Michael Hyatt




    Michael S. Hyatt
    President & Chief Executive Officer
    Thomas Nelson
    P.O. Box141000
    Nashville, TN 37214

    tel: 615.902.1100
    fax: 615.902.1110
    cell: 615.429.3381


    Sent from my iPhone

  • Michael Hyatt


  • loupage

    Intense debate looks great. Just wanted to use this opportunity to say thanks for all the great info you share. It has helped me a bunch.

  • Michael Hyatt

    Test from Entourage

    From: IntenseDebate Notifications
    Reply-To: IntenseDebate Notifications

  • Michael Hyatt

    Test from Entourage

  • vicki_small

    Michael, I'm not sure how long you've been blogging. I got curious about the total number of comments on my blog, and now I'm really down! I've been blogging for a little over four years, and I'm not even going to tell you how few comments I have to show for it! I read a few other blogs where some discussions develop and that just hasn't happened on mine. Granted, I've stayed away from politics (a policy that I explained in my initial blog post), which would no doubt get more comments.

    As much as anything, though, I probably need a new family and new friends. I get more comments on my blog posts by e-mail than I do on my blog. :o(

  • Michael Hyatt

    Re: vicki_small commented on Join the Conversation I think the key to engaging readers is seeing your posts as a way to initiate a conversation. This means that you don’t have to make a speech or answer every question. Instead, you need to write something that is provocative and pulls your readers into the content. Ask them their opinion. Invite them to comment. My goal is to end every post in this way.

  • Michael Hyatt

    I think the key to engaging readers is seeing your posts as a way to initiate a conversation. This means that you don’t have to make a speech or answer every question. Instead, you need to write something that is provocative and pulls your readers into the content. Ask them their opinion. Invite them to comment. My goal is to end every post in this way.

  • photomatt

    Looking good.

  • TipsGoda

    i've just install IntenseDebate at my blog recently and it doubled my comments in less than 2 loving it and it rocks!

    congrats to you for your achievements…

  • Elaina_Avalos

    Very cool!

  • vicki_small

     IntenseDebate Notification <DIV>Thanks for your input. I have more or less begged for readers to tell me what they thought, on only a few posts, and I got nothing. That was maybe three years ago. I'll try to remember to ask, more often, although my blog really doesn't exist to provoke controversy. That probably qualifies it as boring, to a lot of people, but, then, they probably aren't interested in the message I try to get out there.</DIV> <DIV style=”FONT: 10pt arial”>

  • Michael Hyatt

    Wow! That's impressive!

  • Christy O

    On blogs I read regularly, the commenter community is an important part of the experience for me. Discussion of a post really opens it up. I recently bought a (paper!) magazine subscription from a kid. As I read, I often find myself anticipating the "discussion" of the article and then I remember that there won't be one! (Of course, the article is probably posted online with comments, but I never go to the trouble to find it. ) But yes, long live blogs with comments.

  • PFNikolai

    I do wish they would add a third option for users who are posting comments for "Notify me of replies to my comments"–those are the emails I want. I made the mistake of checking the "Notify me of follow-up comments via email" box (thinking I would be notified of replies to my comments) and discovered that doing so causes it to send an email every time somebody comments on that blog post.

  • hellen

    So nice.