I had an interesting discussion about this today after receiving some negative backlash from my post yesterday about racially-motivated police brutality.
We all know that 90% of Internet comments are garbage, and I would argue that number trends slightly higher when I post something controversial on Facebook. This makes it particularly frustrating because instead of just being random strangers bickering, it’s my own friends and family going back and forth about political opinions and calling each other names along the way to the point where I kind of wish that it was possible to turn off comments altogether when you post a link to Facebook.
Fine if people want to use the Like options to react, and they can always comment on it by sharing it to their own wall, but the commenting doesn’t have to take place in my space.
That’s what I do with just about all of my other sites – save for this one for the time being – because I kind of look at it like this: I’m a writer, and I use these websites to share my thoughts and opinions about the world around us through the columns and articles that I write. If you find yourself moved to commentary after reading something that I wrote, why not work through those thoughts in an article or blog post of your own???
When I hit publish on something that I’ve written, that’s it – I’m done. I hope that it serves to entertain or intrigue or enlighten the people who read it, but I’m not necessarily looking to defend my position to every Tom, Dick, and Harry who disagrees with me … even if I’m related to you. Sorry, but I’m a writer, not a debater, and if we’re being completely honest, more often than not we’re not even talking about a genuine, worthwhile exchange of ideas anyways. You disagree, and maybe you think I’m a naive idiot, and you want to tell me that.
Can you see why maybe I wouldn’t be too eager to engage in that type of “discussion?!”
Besides, at the end of the day – as a writer – I value part of my self worth in the quality of the words that I’ve put onto the page, and not for nothing but the number of Facebook comments that I look back on and value is few and far between compared to the editorials and humor pieces and Thing-a-Day posts like this that I publish! Frankly, responding to comments on Facebook is kind of a waste of my time … at least for the negative stuff … and so I’m entertaining the notion of maybe just not responding to them anymore…
In a way I hate that it’s come to that because it seems kind of rude, but then again so is commenting just to pick apart or critique something that you just read. I’m tired of publishing what I think is a good piece only to have the first comment be from a relative saying, “Sure, but why didn’t you talk about XYZ because that’s WAY WORSE than what you wrote about???” Or getting into this huge back and forth debate, only to discover twelve comments in that they never actually read my work in the first place and were just responding to my headline as a means to be their own sounding board. So I’m going to make more of an effort to look away once I post something to Facebook that I’ve written. I’m not looking to build a career out of writing Facebook comments anyways and I’ve certainly got plenty of other stuff I can be doing.
If other people still want to comment and go back and forth and debate on what I’ve written, then more power to ’em … I just don’t want to let myself get bogged down in the mix of it anymore.
I’ll leave you with this one question, though … why is it that Facebook seems to be this festering shithole of terrible comments, but I find that Twitter is actually welcoming and downright pleasant for the types of discussions that I like to have?