I have noticed over the years that comment sections on blogs and news sites give editors and managers and writers distress. Website after website has acted to rein in the comments. The comments evidently are what they are; but not in the mind of the publishers. They are ‘published’ comments and the particular affected parties can not ignore them; theoretically they could ignore them, practically they can not.
The conversations that develop between posting commenters are hated by the writers and editors. But I observe a freewheeling comment section attracts commenters. It becomes almost like a club with regulars that must spend a good part of many days reading, posting and responding on the site. They become website stakeholders in attitude. The ‘real’ stakeholders are made uncomfortable. By analogy: Employers want employees to take ownership in the enterprise. Employers don’t want employees telling them what to do.
This willybamboo blog, which virtually no one reads, is theoretically available to half the people on the planet. But writing here is, by analogy, like cooking for one. Why bother? We humans tend to like to eat together, sharing more than the food, sharing the meal. Writing something no one will read doesn’t excite you the way a ‘like’ or a ‘reply’ does on a ‘real’ website.
The observed, repeated, phenomenon of websites freaking out over their commenters commenting too much is also why Twitter, Facebook are so popular. People are much better at speaking than they are listening. The websites want the reader to ‘listen’ but what the reader really wants to do is respond to what he has heard, (even if he doesn’t listen).
Donald ‘the tweeter’ Trump has got timing. The inauguration will be the coronation of the ‘facebook age’ where everyone can speak and where no one has to listen: A man for our time.
This untethered autonomy we have descended into is captured in the catch-phrases: “Not my President” and “not my congressman.” We have forgotten; we never did have a congressman, a district has a congressman. We don’t have a President either, the United States, fifty all together, have a president. ‘Our representatives’ is not, ‘my representative’ in some personal sense. F*** Donald Trump, is really F*** the President of the United States. Its really, F*** We The People.
And you can say it so four billion people can hear it – but they, like you, aren’t listening to what you are saying.
This post needs cleaning up – but why bother? No one will read it.