It’s not uncommon for me to hear “I was having a good day until I read the comments on x article.” A lot of people avoid them at all costs, because reading them tend to anger them. I can understand that. More often than not, comments on the internet are very polarized, heavily for or against something (whether it be political, about art, or about the article in general). But I always find myself reading the comments.
Why? Well, it’s about something I picked up when I was studying in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. As consumers of media, we tend to read articles that support our ideas. If we are Republican, we tend to read Republican leaning articles. If we are Democratic, we tend to read Democratic leaning articles. (Obviously this goes past political lines, but these are the easiest examples to use). To me, this shows why we get angry when we read comments. The comments usually are heavily for or against the article topic, meaning if we read what we support, and the comments are more against than for, reading the against comments puts us in a bad mood.
Since I am aware that I pick articles that already align with my beliefs and have already come to the conclusion that comments on said article will be anti my point of view, I don’t really get as angry as some when I read the comments. I actually somewhat enjoy reading the comments because it’s an easy way to see another side to my point of view. Sure, there are trolls there and not all comments are something worth reading. However, there are some decent arguments that occur that can be somewhat educational about the topic of the article.
That’s my two cents on comments. Maybe you will start to read comments. Maybe they will still make you angry and want to punch a hole in your screen. Whatever the case may be, just keep it in mind!
Featured image by jessamyn west on Flickr.