Ok so in case you haven’t noticed – I have zero comments on my blog.
It feels like I’m standing in gym class (because in Australia we definitely call it gym class…) waiting to be picked for a team, but no one wants me…
Only this team is like hundred of millions strong and growing by the day. And so long as people are rooting for that team – I remain comment-less :(
My blog stands to counter the idea that ‘no blog is an island’. I have tried to network out a little, by commenting on other’s posts, but still…zilch. Despite what Geert Lovink says, “most bloggers would admit it is not their aim to foster public debate,” I differ.
Please – if blogs were a social networking site, my Looking For status would read: Anything I Can Get
Humans are social beings, and even if it means throwing in the politically correct towel, I would prefer heated discussion than none. PLUS in half my blogs I end with questions (which is theory blog code for please freaaakinnn comment!!!!). Due to the nature of my niche , most of the content is controversial – I am talking about race, and let’s face it, who hasn’t got an opinion on race?
In a world where almost everything is politically incorrect (did you know Midget is officially a derogatory word, with people who are extremely short preferring to be called Little People?) I am surprised more people aren’t flocking to a blog such as mine to vent their rage, where anonymity is a blessing sent.
However, I see it’s because I am not popular enough, and only the Queen B(logs) get that attention like The Urban Daily.
Comments that follow rules of Netiquette?
Netiquette: It pretty much means don’t do anything to annoy or frustrate someone over the internet…LIKE APPARENTLY RIGHT NOW, I AM YELLING AT YOU…so feel free to write “Don’t type in that tone of voice to me!”
A particular post on John Witherspoon (actor from Friday, Boomerang and who voices grandpa from The Boondocks) aggravated some commenting from its readers.
You would hope that a blog such as The Urban Daily (which is part of the BlackPlanet Universe) with a post like this, would stir up more than a mere glimpse from its readers.
There are three areas where people debate the content of the blog:
- The appropriateness of the N-Word
- Ice Cube and his money handling techniques
- Whether John Witherspoon was joking about getting paid $5000 for Friday
Then there was this:
I’m sorry AmericanRose, but I do believe you are commenting the wrong post…
Some of the more controversial comments include:
I’m not sure who Kam is, but apparently he is important – Oh, and he would beat down Ice Cube who is also his cousin. Either way, it doesn’t really matter, because people should be allowed to debate about any of the content on a blog.
Glenn Reynolds (aka The Blogfather) argues that blogging is blurring the boundaries between professional journalists and amateurs:
Power once concentrated in the hands of a professional few has been redistributed into the hands of the amateur many…technology has made it possible for individuals to become not merely pamphleteers, but vital sources of news and opinion that rival large metropolitan publishers in audience and influence.
So if blogging can be considered a form of citizen journalism, why should the content not be scrutinized? Relating this back to Geert Lovink’s stance on commenting, and hence why it limits blogging – I completely disagree. In a society where we have countless media “watchdogs” why should blogging be free of opinion?
Today more and more blogs are written like newspaper articles, and more importantly they are not like a social network page, where if someone leaves a nasty comment – it could be taken personally.
If the content is not about you (although I would argue if you are blogging about yourself, you should be prepared to take whatever comments are thrown your way) and is related to public matters, then people should comment away!
A blog is to be read, by many (hence why it’s on the internet) and frankly if you haven’t got the balls to take a negative comment then you shouldn’t be blogging (Yes… my loner-ness in the blogosphere has transformed me into Blog Nazi). However, I do believe that there are some limitations to comment culture in niche blogging…
Limitations of The Long Tail?
As Geert Lovink also states, “debates happen within homogenous webclouds” this draws focus to the problems with commenting in a niche environment.
I am going to take a guess that most people reading that blog were either directed there from BlackPlanet.com or found it because they’re interested in urban culture. Therefore, if you have people with similar interests and (possibly) like views commenting on the same thing – you’re not really harnessing public debate.
If people are reading these blogs and almost considering them as news, then go down to read the comments, they may not be getting a well-rounded view of the issue, or may take an opinion as fact or evidence.
Unlike a news show broadcasted on TV which will reach many people from varying demographics, in the long tail on the internet, that scope of opinion may not be as varied. The author of the “news” is also not accountable like a professional journalist, and the “story” does not go through rounds of editing and fact checking, like in a normal newspaper.
You have all heard of the shocking tales of poor individuals who have had their reputation partially destroyed thanks to the internet. Daniel Solove gives insight into the issue of privacy on the internet, in particular the ability to control our reputation online.
In regards to comment culture, I think it would be rare for someone (with the exception of AmericanRose) to comment in a thread that wasn’t related to its attached post. Therefore if the post somehow breaches privacy or someone is defamed, more than likely it is from the original post and not the comments.
But just because it’s already on the internet, here are a few of my favourite YouTube videos that had not-so-good responses from the people involved…
Lady Falls Down Hole In Shop…
Scarlet Takes A Tumble…
Model Falls Twice – News Anchors Can’t Stop Laughing
DO ME A FAVOUR AND PLEASE COMMENT!
Although here are some questions for those who weren’t stimulated by my riveting discussion…
In relation to some of the comment examples above, do you think fights between readers should be permitted? Or does this just add to the fun of blogging and allow for more upfront opinions?
Do you think anonymity helps immensely when commenting, or are there limitations to not seeing a face behind the mask?