February 25, 2010

How To Enable Comments on Google Reader Shares In Buzz

With the recent launch of Google Buzz, shared items from Google Reader's RSS platform have become more visible and more important than ever. (TechCrunch said growth increased 35%) Those Buzz users with existing shared Reader feeds had these streams automatically connected to Buzz, enabling Buzz viewers to see your shares, and if enabled, to leave comments, once obscured in your own private network, in a public place. But those following you on Buzz don't automatically have the option to comment on your Reader items, and for some, this can be frustrating. Here's how you can help them join the conversation.

Google Reader enabled conversations back in March of 2009. As somebody who has adapted to a distributed multi-locational world of conversations, I have optimized my activity to embrace the conversations in this platform. In the last year, I have been enabling connections to comment on my Reader shares, and as a result, the conversations grew dramatically.

An Active Google Reader Item in Buzz, With Comments

But the integration, to date anyway, has required some effort on my part. As new followers added my feed to their reading list, I have had to give permissions to these followers to comment on my items, by adding them to a folder, which I called "Friends". This work, a few followers a day, has paid off in a big way, as I have enjoyed fantastic conversations in my Reader, and now, this group can participate with me in Buzz.

Many of you are probably seeing more followers from Buzz into your Google Reader world than you ever had before. Now, it is more critical than ever to move these folks into a folder who can comment on your items, or they will be met with errors, locking them out of your conversation.

So here's how you fix it:

1. Log into Google Reader at http://www.google.com/reader

2. On the left side, click "Sharing settings". (Shortcut here)

3. Where it says "Who can see your shared items?", there is an item which says "Who can comment on your shared items?". Those items that have checkboxes are enabled.

My Sharing Settings and Connected "Friends" to Comment on My Items

4. Click "people are following you", and from there, you can add individuals to folders.

Adding a New Individual To a Group for Commenting

5. Repeat until you're done.

Note How All My Contacts Are In Groups for Commenting

As new followers come in, even if you choose not to follow them back, you should add them to a folder that can comment on your items. With Buzz drawing ever more attention to your Reader shares, and Reader shares being a big part of the content there, it makes sense to extend the conversation there. If this seems complicated, note it is due to a policy of having "private" conversations in Reader from the last year, and adapting this policy to a new public place. Until Google Reader enables fully public conversations on all shared feeds, this will be how you can make your feed an active place.

You can find my Reader shares here: http://www.google.com/reader/shared/louisgray. We can get connected on Buzz here: http://www.google.com/profiles/louisgray.