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That’s What She Said

06/04/2010

Behold, Lavender’s first ever comment:

“I agree tetris is a great game”

Thanks, Fag McFaggotry!

As sure as I am that Mr McFaggotry is an inconsiderate, mocking friend (who still remains adamant in denying his secret identity), I was thrilled to open an email from WordPress announcing I have one new comment for moderation on my blog.

Did I care what it said, whether it was relevant, or appropriate?
Hell no – someone had commented!

A couple of weeks later I received another email informing me Lavender had a third comment. Again, I approved it straight away without reading it.

People of the world, listen up because at least two people have viewed this page and felt it worthy of half a minute out of their bustling, busy lives to drop in their two cents worth.

Lavender had three whole comments, and that was that. Despite its 200-odd views, no one else has bothered since.

If what Lovink says is indeed the case, that “it is even unwise to write a comment,”[1] I wish there were more “unwise” bloggers viewing my blog.

For amateur bloggers (like myself), comments are a very public indication of how popular a blog is, and if “blogs are primarily used as a tool to manage the self” [2] it is also an idication of how popular the blogger is.

Even outside of blogging, comments are a measure of popularity. A Facebook status declaring:

“OH MY GOD I HATE MY LIFE. THIS IS BULLSHIT, WHY DOESN’T HE UNDERSTAND ME?”

warrants an influx of comments. But if such a status was void of comments, even one with a, “shut-up-and-please-refrain-from-further-attention-seeking-pursuits” gist, a lone, commentless statuses would suggest, “I am a loser and no one really cares”.

There is an online reputation to maintain, and what better way to do so than to avoid the embarrassment of a “(0) comments” display by simply turning comments off?[3]

Despite claims the internet facilitates Habermas’ ambitious “Public Sphere” and allows the “one-to-many relationship between mass media and consumers” to be “supplemented by many-to-many and peer-to-peer relationships”[4] I tend to, be it cynically, disagree.

Lovink states, “Most bloggers would admit that it is not their aim to foster public debate,” and instead of commenting, it is “much safer to post the remark on your own blog.”[5] From my (rather limited) experience with blogs and blogging, heated public debate is indeed a rare specimen. The idea of a public sphere utopia created on the internet is undermined by Carl Trueman’s observation:

“Where everyone has a right to speak, everyone ends up thinking they have the right to be heard; and when everyone in general thinks they have a right to be heard, then you end up with a situation where nobody in particular is listened to.”[6]

Though there are indeed online forums for public debate, blogging is perhaps, not one of them. Rather than it being a many-to-many or peer-to-peer relationship, bloggers’ self appointed importance has created an “almighty-blogger-to-nerdy-niche-loving-minions” relationship.

I would love to provide an example from my niche, but as mentioned in A Shorter Head, blogs in the “humour/ homosexual/ gay fail” niche seem to have trouble attracting comments (I wonder why).

While I realise I’m trailing on a massive tangent from the topic in questions and niche, actually answering the set question and discussing an “interesting and provocative comments thread in my niche” would defeat the whole purpose of this blog’s argument.

Instead, I’m going to elaborate on the recently established an “almighty-blogger-to-nerdy-niche-loving-minions” relationship theory using Tattoologist.

I do like this blog very much. The pictures are cute and it’s nice to look at etcetera; yet I can’t help but think the blogger has an, “I am god of this blog, what you ask for, I have the power to give you” mentality.

Instead of simply replying to her comments, she posts a very public reply by dedicating entire blogs to her comment responses which she calls Formspring Lovers.

She could just post images her readers ask for and let it be, but that’s not enough. At the end of the post (that’s right, click on the link, it takes you there), she does a little, “You asked for it and I delivered, aren’t I a great blog mother?” spiel.

She is the blogger, you are mere commenters. There are no ‘peers’ in this relationship. It is the God of Tattoologist, and the insignificant you.

On a quick, final note, I did comment myself, and I did get a spam comment.

I commented myself because it’s a wacky thing I do, and this is what the spam comment said:

“12345678910111666768697071727374757677787980818283848586878889
90919293949596979899100101102103104105106107108109110111112113114
Chrysler Neon Srt, Grill Neon – 451.codebluehacks.orgChrysler Neon Srt, neon parts
removal neon problems led flex substitute for neon chevrolet silverado 3500…”

That spam comment goes for about 3 more pages.

Considering the rarity of Lavender actually receiving comments, I’m not fussed with allowing comments and the “host of problems” I might come across. I would be absolutely stoked if this blog was popular enough to have to face the who-ha of spending a “great deal of time policing the posts, weeding out spam and trolls, and answering endless technical questions from registrants.”[7]

Bring on the comments, bitches.


[1] Lovink, Geert. A quote from the task sheet you gave us whose original source I can’t seem to find anywhere.
[2] Lovink, Geert. (2007). ‘Blogging, the Nihilist Impulse’, in Zero Comments: Blogging and Critical Internet Culture. Routledge: London. Pg. 28
[3] Ibid, pg. 28
[4] Russell, A et al. (2008). ‘Culture: Media Convergence and Networked Culture’ in Kayz Varnelis (ed.) Networked Publics. MIT Press: Cambridge. Pg. 43
[5] (Refer to footnote [1])
[6] From Lovink, Geert. (2007). Pg. 27
[7] Lovink, Geert. (2007). Pg. 28

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