Comments as Sociological research
I admit it, I’m a “Comments” junky. Often when I’m reading an article, I skip to the comments section at the bottom after reading just the first or second paragraph. I occasionally go directly to the comments after reading nothing but the title. I may come back to finish but I’ve just got to see what people have said before reading the whole article. It’s not just the comments but the thumbs up and down that I love.
The comments on every article are a condensed sociological survey. Sure you have trolls but the type, the number of trolls and their slant is social data. Where else can you get a rapid, candid poll of the temperature of any topic nationwide?
I love the “My Comments” feature. You can get a quick review on what you’ve said, what people have said about what you’ve said and whether the people that are too lazy or busy think about both by the count of the thumbs.
Just recently I took the time to write a few lengthy comments on topics I considered worthwhile and important. One was on technology and the other on citizenship. During the same period, I also made a comment on the bullying mess in the Dolphin training camp. The total amount of the comments and thumbs was more than triple the comments and thumbs for the other two articles COMBINED.
If I want to “pad” my comment or thumbs totals, I just add some reference to a celebrity. Anything Beiber or Kardashian gets lots of thumbs. John Boehner is good for political fireworks. I call this my control. When survey takers make their surveys they often include a few questions that are meant to gauge the attention and temperature of the survey respondents. Typical control questions are; Are mothers good? Was your mother good to you? Is Justin Beiber’s mother good? Would Kim Kardashian be a good mother? Did John Boehner have a mother?
How a respondent answers that sequence of questions tells the survey taker a lot about the mentality of the respondent. You know whether the respondent is a psychopath, well adjusted, opinionated, pop culture freak or a Democrat.
When analyzing the comments to any article an added bonus is the number and direction of thumbs. They tell a lot about the lazy readers reactions and what they are thinking.. How aware and engaged are the lazy readers, politically, socially, sports wise and pop culture..
After you’ve done this for a while you start to get a sense of what the comments and thumbs will be after reading just the first or second paragraph. I can’t tell you how excited I get when I get totally tricked. Then I go back and re-read the article to see what I missed . I learn a lot.
Comments? Thumbs? Anyone?