Going in to this assignment, I was pretty skeptical of the results I might experience. I had assumed for so long that commenting on a news story does not do anything for you – meaning it is completely unproductive no matter what it may be. I always felt as if most people commenting in these sections would not take it seriously, effectively flaming the comment section and pissing everybody off. Now in my experiences, that did indeed happen, but I did stumble across some very enlightening comments after posting myself. I would post the comment in here actually, but I cannot find it amongst all the pages of additional comments.
I commented on three stories from Boston.com – one about Tom Brady winning the MVP award, one about Jonathan Papelbon and his unlikely return after this upcoming season, and one about Marc Savard’s season-ending concussion.
For the Tom Brady post, I reacted to somebody saying that Brady has a crappy hairstyle and that the only reason he won the MVP was that he is a popular quarterback in the NFL. The poster went on to add, “[Brady] doesn’t know what he’s doing out there [on the field] half the time, so why the hell would he be named MVP?” This was my kind of post as I had said that Brady is one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history and that while he does have an unpopular hairstyle, he gets the job done. With what little he has to work with, he does his job as a QB, and he does it very well. The next string of comments was about how Peyton Manning wins MVP awards because of his popularity and how annoying he is compared to Brady. Therefore, the comments were not a dead-end street and sparked a long discussion of who is the better WB, Brady or Manning. I think this happened, not because of m post, but because of the virtual atmosphere, it had the chance to grow in. It is a place for fans of any team to go into and comment on, not everyone who reads the Globe is a Pats fan.
In the Papelbon article, Dan Shaugnessy (who nobody really likes on that site) interview Paps about him not return after this season. One poster had said that Papelbon will not be back and that he should be traded by midseason so that they get compensation for him. I went in there and responded after that comment by saying that they should not trade him if they have a shot in the playoffs. He is their best chance out of the bullpen to win another championship. He needs to be retained throughout the season. My comments ignited further comments, but not as a result of my post. Most of the comments ensuing were about Shaugnessy’s lack of journalistic talent; how he writes with a heavy hand of bias – and how he makes assumptions (even though they have been made by everybody) about the fact that Papelbon will not be back. They really rag on Shaugnessy in these posts. I think the increase in comments was just about people to rag on this poor journalist.
The last article I wrote on was Marc Savard’s season-ending concussion. The story was getting a little stale, but I commented anyway hoping to reinvigorate the conversation. Most of the comments leading up were about how this is his second concussion in less than a year. Some believed that Savard should retire, some believe he should be trade (but I do not see his trade value right now) and some believed that he should be released. I actually tried to spark this thing up, so I recalled last year’s terribly cheap hit on Savard. I said that Cooke and all the other people in the NHL who act this way are putting players in danger in a game today where concussions and other serious head injuries are likely to happen. By calling on the emotion of last year’s hit, I reengaged the conversation. Most people afterwards took shots at the NHL, Cooke, and the person who gave out the suspension on Cooke last year. Others noted the same worry that I noted. I think this was successful because I used emotional impact to get the conversation going again, if I had posted the way I did in the other stories, I would not have been recognized and responded to because nobody would have anything to connect my post to. I rather setup a connection for this to happen.
As for Facebook, man is this thing a hot commodity these days. Everyone is on Facebook – literally everyone. Well, not everyone but A LOT! Anyway, I commented on my friend’s picture that he tagged me in, my friend’s status, and my friend’s link post.
The picture was a pic of his bookshelf where he had a Yoda, and R2D2 and Princess Leia and an elephant sitting on it. The post was a serious of joking comments that we were all laughing about. Nothing special, the jokes just went on. The status was about the President of Egypt stepping down. I commented and made a remark about an eventual military leader coming in and becoming dictator (a la Cuba). However, this friend is not really a politics buff or just wasn’t willing to argue about it, so nothing happened. No comment back, not even a ‘like.’ Oh well, its Facebook, people don’t use it to communicate hot news like that. Some do, but most don’t. The final comment was a regarding a link on my friends wall where he ‘stumbled upon’ a humorous link about writing a 20-page research paper in just a few hours. The link was real, but the content was mostly a joke, it wasn’t something that should be taken seriously, (as no research paper should be written in just hours). Anyway, I guess he wasn’t feeling it either because he didn’t comment back.
My final observation between the news sites and the Facebook site is that on news sites, more people are willing to spam the stories and say harsh things via an anonymous poster. I kind of hate when people do that, but there isn’t much I can change. This way of doing this allows for less serious comments mixed in with actual, intelligent remarks. On Facebook, nobody cares enough to comment as if it is news story. I don’t know why, maybe because they feel like it is a gigantic waste of time on their end. Facebook is just a social utility for most people who do not care about that kind of stuff when they are leisurely cruising through the site and NOT doing work.