Last week The New York Times had a piece about "Twitter scolds," who correct people's grammar screw-ups and errors in taste. Hey, that's no big deal. There have always been crackpots, gadflies and shut-ins. That's how Huffington Post health updates on Bret Michaels get two thousand comments while normal people scratch their heads and wonder, "Who's Bret Michaels?"
The people who scare me are the ones who feel compelled to write simply, "good article" in the comment box on a magazine's website that's read by thousands.
Do these professional consumers also insist on offering pilot and co-pilot fist-bumps upon a successful landing? "Come on, Captain: Give me some rock!"
After downing a tasty carton of Stouffer's Macaroni & Cheese, do they feel obligated to send compliments to the plant manager?
Are they compelled to praise every decent article they read?
"Honey, I'll be there in a moment. I just have to let this writer know I think his article is—what's the word I'm searching for here?—good!"
David, you need to listen to more 80s rock ballads. Bret Michaels is a LEGEND.
Twitter Fail says
I’m amused with your assessment of the people mentioned in the New York Times story. Although your blog is not a humor blog like mine (www.Twitter-Fail.com) you do essentially the same thing: comment on the events around you. This post of yours is highly critical of people who want to weigh in with an “atta boy” on articles that they enjoy. In the other posts I read, you are opinionated, critical of others, and wear the title of curmudgeon proudly. The only difference between my blog and yours is my sense of humor, and your insults. So, Mr. Murray, which are you, a crackpot, gadfly or shut-in?
The “good article” people scare you? Although you infer that by giving a “good article” comment, these people are stupid, that’s not necessarily true. Many people who are moved to giving positive feedback are not as eloquent as the author of the story. Perhaps they don’t have enough free time to write a lengthly comment. Is it your position that they should not comment at all?
I’m not afraid of the “good article” people. If they want to put their stamp of approval on my posts, I welcome the feedback, even it appears they are commenting just to say, “Me, too.” All comments have value, because they help people feel as if they are part of your community. Community members are loyal readers. They sign up for rss feeds, recommend your blog to friends, and post about you in social media. These community members help you grow your audience, and extend your brand, even if they use just two words at a time.
David Murray says
Isn’t it a lot like clicking the “like” button on Facebook? (http://writingboots.typepad.com/writing_boots/2010/02/david-murray-likes-this.html)
David Murray says
Hee. Close reader, Ellen. Keep me on my shoe-clad toes.
(The distinction, of course, is that Facebook “likes” are to tell friends, “I noticed your post” and “good articles” are to tell mass communicators that “some anonymous schmo thinks you have written something good.”)