Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Profile of an Internet Commenter

Kevin Collier started collecting commenter profiles from various websites and viewing them as characters. He sold the idea to a popular magazine and NPR picked-up a sample of his column. I wanted to include it because it's a neat idea that I've done before, myself.

It's a neat concept and the "character profile" is certainly fascinating, but it is still just a slice of virtual reality. You can't really tell that much about a person from the comments they leave online, at least not on one site. Especially today, most people are more careful about the information they share than it would seem.

Individual websites foster communities that often work through certain cliques and dominant, or prolific, commenters to whom most of the other comments respond or refer. Many sites employ commenters to stir-up discussion and foster communities, as well -- professional "trolls." Users adopt defensive personalities and other conversational antics in response to these stimuli.

But, especially for writers and general "people-watchers," it is a fun thing and well-covered here.

© C Harris Lynn, 2010

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