Originally started on Twitter, the @ symbol has quickly become the character of choice for directing comments toward a certain recipient. Now, the symbol has made its way to the popular commenting service, allowing users to mention others in the conversation and even pull other people into the conversation.
Disqus just raised $10 million earlier this week and announced a set of impressive numbers regarding its growth, despite a recent release by Facebook in the comments arena. Disqus co-founder and CEO, Daniel Ha, insists that Facebook's "biggest impact is that Facebook is asked about by tech press and industry peers," but it could be said that Disqus might lack something in at least one area in respect to Facebook - user engagement and traffic. Facebook last month announced that its comments plugin can increase publisher traffic by up to 45%.
The @ feature released today by Disqus allows users to not only mention other users who are participating in the conversation, but also Twitter users.
"Before @mentions, commenting threads were an island. There wasn't a way to reach out to people who weren't already participating. Now with @mentions, you can call out your friends or friendly social media gurus, and get them involved in the conversation," the company explains on its blog. An @mention of a Disqus user sends an email notification, while an @mention of a Twitter user sends a Twitter @mention from @DISQUS_Mentions, Disqus' "Spiffy Twitter bot."
With Facebook Comments, the engagement driver is simple and obvious. Facebook. When you post a comment, you can chose to share it on your timeline and even include a full link to the story on your newsfeed.
Disqus has been insistent that Facebook hasn't been an issue. "Facebook's latest update to their widget hasn't chipped away at our growth, from the metrics we pay attention to," Ha told us earlier this week. Still, we think it needs to continue making moves like this to keep publishers from making the switch.
That, and the feature is just neat. @mention me in the comments below.