A few weeks ago, I commented on ZDNet post by Serena Ehrlich about Social Media Releases. I left a comment, but only because I really wanted to.
The process to sign up to leave a comment was incredibly lengthy. In the screenshot (below), you can see all the fields that one is required to fill out in order to register.
While I'm sure that someone in the Marketing Department of ZDNet is patting himself on the back over the amount of data he's getting, someone else must be pulling out there hair over the fact that fewer people are commenting since the registration process was implemented. Do they really need to know how many people work for my company and what my postal code is?
As soon as you make it difficult or lengthy for your users to do something, the less likely they are to do it.
As Serena writes in the post about Social Media Releases, it should be free and easy for anyone to access your content. The easier you make it (by using formats and sites they may already be familiar with), the more likely they are to use it.
I think that this is one of the reasons that Twitter has triumphed whereas RSS hasn't really caught on. RSS is an incredible tool for getting new information, and it really is quite simple. However, explaining it to someone and going throught the steps needed to set up and RSS reader and start subscribing to feeds sounds and is complicated. However, most people instantly grasp the concept of "following" one of their friends, and thus
One of the things I'm proud about BlogCampaigning is that it is relatively easy to login and leave a comment (maybe "proud" is too strong a word here, but you get the idea).
I'm also working at implementing the Facebook Connect plugin for this blog so that people can easily comment using their Facebook profile (it doesn't seem to be working for Wordpress 2.7 yet - let me know if you've got it figured out!).