Or; Eh dikra, I can’t find the comments area.
Because there isn’t one.
But that’s what blogging and Twitter and tumblr and lookitmyhappyface are all about! Community networking! Feedback! Cross-platform discussions!
Yeaaaaaah … pass.
There has been enough written about information overload, beginning with Toffler in the ’70s, for me to need to explain the problems with it. There have also been enough writers who have preferred to shun publicity and book readings and interviews and just let people get on with reading their stuff. You know this, and you also know how much more distracting it keeps getting. And nothing’s made it more so than the ever-expanding commentspaceverse.
There used to be a time when you read a column in your morning newspaper, or in a magazine, and you went away to think on it or found someone to talk it over with. It encouraged considered reflection, especially if one wanted to get into a verbal discussion with others. Plus, it also meant that you had to make the effort to meet people, or call them up, which was a nice social-bonding thing.
But who can afford the luxury of that sort of time anymore when there’s so much more to discuss! And what about people who didn’t want to speak aloud but had valid opinions anyway? And how would we have otherwise ever had random chats with people living in strange and distant lands?
Bah. There was always too much information – most of us just didn’t (or couldn’t afford to) access it as much. But even if there is, how does that convert to “I have to respond to this nau nau!”? That road has only led to the idiot-trend of ‘First!’ posts, and people typing out the word ‘Like’ on Facebook messages despite having clicked the button that shows they do. All it has done is create a world where people feel they are compelled to respond, immediately, for fear of being forgotten or sidelined. And this is not even starting on the trolling, the deliberate hate-mongering, and the advertising spambots.
Think about it – what percentage of the comments you’ve read on news articles, opinion pieces, blogs, or social media sites are ones that you remember, learnt something from, or pointed you to undiscovered avenues? And what percentage was full of people going lol, calling each other names, or eagerly following Godwin’s Law?
Like the Internet itself, the commentspace has become a place where genuinely interesting stuff is being swamped by the effluvium of the innate desire of people to be heard. Now. Too many words, not near enough sense. As Charlie Brooker succintly put it: “Every day, a billion instantly conjured words on any contemporaneous subject you can think of.”
Which, well, sort of describes this blog too. But I can do my bit to reduce the chatter.
So, no comments (for now).
I’m probably going to miss out on getting to know interesting people and fellow bloggers, who I would normally only discover if they commented. I’m probably also going to not learn about alternate theories and arcane trivia which somebody might have pointed out. I’m also probably coming across as a bit arrogant by seemingly asking people to just read and go away and not bother me.
But this is a rant, remember? It’s me going blah blah BLAH blah blah and everybody going aveh bas kar ni. Besides, anybody who feels strongly enough will call me, or message me, or tell me when they see me. Which will mean that if they’re taking that much effort, they’re not just instantly reacting and saying the first thing that comes to mind, but probably have something interesting to offer.
And who knows, after we’ve had it out, we might say want to get some chai and oh by the way guess who I bumped into the other day, and an actual conversation may take place. (And yes, I get the irony of hoping to encourage old-school social interaction via modern technology).
Besides – I’m lazy. Who’s going to moderate comments, respond to them, and weed out the trolls when I can instead pretend to be promoting profundity?
PS. People had pen-pals once. Now there are forums. That’s how you reach out to people you don’t know living in a country you’ve never been to.