I spend a great deal of time with my foot in mouth. So much so that I have been told I only open my mouth to change feet. I can be sarcastic, stupid, way off the mark and plain rude. This has become less over time (I once told the biggest and most aggressive kid at my school he had a big nose, he then decided to spread my nose across my face) but I am still fully capable of putting my mouth in motion before putting my brain in gear. This is in the real world. The world where don’t get to think for a few minutes before commenting. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t always say the wrong thing, the times I do are when I don’t have time to reflect on the stupidity of what I’m saying. In cyber space I am afforded time to reflect before making a statement, on Facebook, Twitter, WordPress and in emails I can be thoughtful, witty and above all, less dumb. So here it is folks, my occasional guide to commenting on other peoples thoughts.
1) Don’t make stupid responses when kids are involved (unless the initial comment is silly): I have friends with kids. As well as a sure fire sign of getting old, this also brings with it different types of parenting. These styles mean different types of comment, and the responses can very.
Exhibit A: The proud and doting parent. Example comment: I am so proud of little Timmy today, he told me how much he loved me.
Facebook: Hit the like button or ignore altogether.
Twitter: Smiley face or ignore altogether.
Email: Hope someone responds before you and hits the ‘respond to all’ category.
WordPress: Don’t read it in the first place (unless you know the person then follow the Facebook route – see above).
Exhibit B: The parent who has the same mental age as their child. Example comment: My daughter poured her potty on my wife, couldn’t stop laughing for an hour.
Facebook: Make a well thought out, puntastic comment and then make more as they occur. Take into account what others have put and add to their comments.
Twitter: Make a less funny, less wordy comment, due to the constraints of twitter.
Email: Scour the internet for a funny link or picture related to the topic. Reply with the attachment.
WordPress: Try as hard as possible to relate the topic to a blog you have written, add a link to that blog and check your stats and comment area. Check also that they have commented on your comment.
2) Never respond to those who seem needy. You can tell these people a mile away (especially when you can be one of them). The warning signs are as follows.
a) They constantly write questions. These are to elicit a response, to make you want to reply, and to fuel their ego. These could range from questions about food i.e who loves beans? To caparisons i.e who would win in a fight, superman or Batman? To musical preference i.e who doesn’t love Elvis? Yep, if you answer, they win, you lose.
b) They comment on everything topical, all the time, non stop. Did you see… I am just watching… Cant believe that… This band are about to… Put down the phone or computer, watch what you are watching, call someone (maybe your Granny), go out, have a beer. Just don’t tell me you are doing it.
c) They look for affirmation directly and unashamedly. This mainly applies to blogs. Blogs should be a chance to produce brain vomit as a kind of therapy. If people like it good, if not then screw ’em. Sometimes it can be the bloggers screen name that does it. I recently had someone like my post whose screen name was based around the topic of not circumcising boys. Seriously, that view is your choice, but if you need to make it your screen name, then I’m not convinced of your convictions. It also made me a little uncomfortable to have that on my ‘like’ area.
3) Try to be thoughtful. I like to read other peoples blogs, and love the fact that I now have a way of tracking the responses to comments I’ve made through the WordPress dashboard. I will only comment on a blog, status update or tweet if I like it. The difference with commenting on a blog is this: you don’t know the person. The great part is that you can get to know them through their words. I consider my blog a fair representation of who I am. I would like to think the same about others and their blogs. If I read a blog but have nothing to add, then I will hit the like button. But if I feel the writer might enjoy what I have to say, then I will tell them. If they don’t, well they can just moderate and delete my comment.
I will continue to comment on blogs, annoy my friends on twitter and Facebook and write silly emails with attachments of Darth Vader playing the harmonica. Above all this though, I shall continue to speak to real people and say really dumb and sometimes insulting things. My friends will always forgive me, or at least put up with me.