Sunday, March 05, 2017

Comment, don't like! Express yourself, don't just emote!

As you probably know, whenever I blog something, an automated process sends a post to Facebook and one to Twitter. As a result, some people comment on the blog, some on Facebook or Twitter, but more often someone "likes" my blog post. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the sentiment, but it is quite meaningless. Why did you like it? Was it well written, well researched, did you find it useful and if so in what way? I would wager that most of the time the feeling is not really that clear cut, either. Maybe you liked most of the article, but then you absolutely hated a paragraph. What should you do then? Like it a bunch of times and hate it once?

This idea that people should express emotion related to someone else's content is not only really really stupid, it is damaging. Why? I am glad you asked - clearly you already understand the gist of my article and have decided to express your desire for knowledge over some inevitable sense of awe and gratitude. Because if it is natural for people to express their emotions related to your work, then that means you have to accept some responsibility for what they get to feel, and then you fall into the political correctness, safe zone, don't do anything for someone might get hurt pile of shit. Instead, accept the fact that sharing knowledge or even expressing an opinion is nothing more than a data signal that people may or may not use. Don't even get me started on that "why didn't you like my post? was it something wrong with it? Are you angry with me?" insecurity bullshit that may be cute coming from a 12 year old, but it's really creepy with 50 year old people.

Back to my amazing blog posts, I am really glad you like them. You make my day. I am glowing and I am filled with a sense of happiness that is almost impossible to describe. And then I start to think, and it all goes away. Why did you like it, I wonder? Is it because you feel obligated to like stuff when your friends post? Is it some kind of mercy like? Or did you really enjoy part of the post? Which one was it? Maybe I should reread it and see if I missed something. Mystery like! Nay, more! It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is personal interest in providing me with useful feedback, the only way you can actually help me improve content.

Let me reiterate this as clear as I possibly can: the worse thing you can do is try to spare my feelings. First of all, it is hubris to believe you have any influence on them at all. Second, you are not skilled enough to understand in what direction your actions would influence them anyway. And third, feeling is the stuff that fixates memories, but you have to have some memory to fixate first! Don't sell a lifetime of knowing something on a few seconds of feeling gratified by some little smiley or bloody heart.

And then there is another reason, maybe one that is more important than everything I have written here. When you make the effort of summarizing what you have read in order to express an opinion you retrieve and generate knowledge in your own head, meaning you will remember it better and it will be more useful to you.

So fuck your wonderful emotions! Give me your thoughts and knowledge instead.

0 comments: