Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Potential "Shocking" Lesson from the Comments on Blogs

It won't surprise regular readers here to know that one of my favorite bloggers is Ann Althouse, even when I don't agree with her. Althouse comments on everything to the very serious to the super silly.

It's interesting for me to note what posts get the most comments on her site. It seems that supposedly "serious" issues often rouse interest insufficient to stir people into making comments, while topics that might be deemed "trivial" get a boatload of action in the comments section.

Over the past several days, for example, the biggest numbers of comments have been about rock music, especially from the 60s. I've got no problem with that and would argue that the music of the Beatles, Dylan, the Who, the Stones, and others is important in many respects. Equally interesting to me are the subjects that elicit scant comment from Althouse's readers. A far smaller number of comments have so far been made, for example, about Senator Ted Kennedy's rather inflammatory--and grammatically incorrect--fund raising letter meant to raise fears over present and future Republican appointments to the Supreme Court.

I think that some really enterprising sociologist could learn important things about what people really care about from reading and analyzing the comments left on the top blogs. It could well be a deeper window than is currently provided by pollsters into what people are really thinking and what's really important to them. What might be shocking to some is that politics isn't the most important thing in most people's lives!

No comments: