Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Death of Comments: The Rise of Sycophants


Margaret Adams had an article recently on Daily Blog Tips that I found both reassuring and disheartening, depending on my seesaw viewpoint of glass half empty and glass half- well you know.

She asked the question, “Are blog comments dying?”

I was initially happy to read that those in the business have noticed a decline in commenting on their blogs, that the time was passing for comments. My happiness was a raction to the fact that I have a dismal commenting record of, well- two. Yes, two people have commented on my posts and one of them was my wife, who now says she will not post again for a reason I can't recall at the moment. She was polite and smiled a lot- sympathetically as wives do at times.

I suppose I should try to sugarcoat my numbers, pretend that my blog is actually popular so the few people who read what I write won't feel so keenly the stench of desperation and impending failure that emanates across the blogosphere form the direction of my keyboard.

But hey, blog commenting is dying so yeah! It might not be me, it might be a system-wide phenomenon and I am just unlucky to have started my blog amidst the death of commenting.

Then a bit of the positive happy liquid drained from glass as I was confronted with the thought of, “What the hell am I going to do if no one comments?” I enjoy interactions on the internet, the freedom of dipping into blogs and making a comment, talking to different people that I don't have friend or follow or, what is Google? Circles or something? Plus oneing?

I am tragic in my social ineptitude. It is only magnified on the internet where failure and awkwardness is magnified with multiple social platforms, all with their own quirks and secret handshakes.

No commenting means what?

I don't have an answer.

I do see a change in commenting, though and I can see what Margaret Adams sees. Commenting may be dying. She does not elaborate much on this point, but it has been bothering me with how sickening sweet people are on many threads. It is too much, “I love this article, it changed my life!”

Bullshit.

I call it when I spy it and I can't ignore the enormous piles I see at many blogs I frequent.

Ass-kissery doesn't sit well with me and I am seeing more of that rather than positive back and forth discussion. How to react to a comment that basically says, “[Insert Author's Name] you are the greatest and point number six is so right on! I'm going to go right a great novel now because of your post!”

I find lots of great information on the internet, on the blogs I frequent, but most are small points, little bits of advice that I use, but don't alter my existence or my outlook on life. Tips and advice people, not manna or anything.

Add the little bits together and get something greater, improve yourself over time, but the ridiculous notion that a single blog post changes your destiny as a writer is something I don't buy. It all selling, trying to get a follower, get in the good graces of known writers for the sake of promotion with mindless flattery. It sucks reading the same comment over and over about the wonders of a blogger, especially when it is the same comment by the same people on every blog post. If you have something to contribute, then say it. If you don't, if you just want a love fest followed by a link to your e-book or blog then do everyone a favor and-

Well. I was going to say something bad and likely inappropriate. I won't do that because it isn't any more productive than empty flattery.

If comments are dying then it us, the independent writers who are killing comments with sycophantic glee. It is a shame that the level of- well life I suppose- always comes down to the lowest common denominator. We don't want intelligence, we don't want insight, we want compliments, we want smoke blown up our collective butts and in the process we loose a chance to improve public discourse and consequently, we as writers become lost in a world that stagnates without a structure that challenges, or has the possibility to challenge.

If comments die, where does that leave us?

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