Good morning, afternoon, evening or night-night, sleep tight
Not many people know this, but when I set up The Slog’s predecessor nine years ago, I didn’t want a comment thread. I didn’t want to when forced to change the name to The Slog five years ago: but on both occasions, ‘experts’ told me such things were essential. They were wrong.
Right across the internet, there are tens of thousands of sites that don’t take comments, many of whom have massive followings. When comments come from a representative cross-section of the followers and add value, they can be great. More often than not, wading through them is a time-consuming exercise in tiny-minority obsessions.
So what I’m going to do now is adopt the system I wanted in 2006: that is – no comments, but access to an email address if any reader wants to point up an inaccuracy (facts not opinions, please), add more evidence to the post, blow the whistle on some other diabolic scandal, or offer an adult debate about what I wrote. Personal insults and obscene rants will, as always, be blocked without appeal. So we’re all absolutely clear and before the naysayers start schniding their way into my inbox, this is not about stifling debate: it’s about putting it into a relatively more private medium, and giving me more time to get the message across to a broader audience.
remains the place to write to if you have something substantive, constructive, amusing or credibly contrarian to say.
Equally, I’ve been drilling down into some of The Slog’s referral data of late. It is excruciatingly obvious from this that nobody is ever going to build a serious website with loyal followers by tweeting at Twitter. The assists I get from Facebook are, on average, six times higher than those from Twitter, minus only the pain that the latter medium involves these days. One wastes countless hours having arguments with people who are the proud owners of V8 motor mouths…and small brains incapable of detoxifying the exhaust output.
In communication and marketing terms for me, it has become – literally – a waste of time. This is a shame, because I have regular and often informative chats with good people of sound and open mind there. But the overwhelming majority of tweets in 2015 are commercially motivated, political propaganda, tribal nonsense, and/or, at times, deranged. Last week, for example, I spent 7 hours on Twitter, and got 22 (count them) referrals. It simply isn’t worth the hassle.
Twitter followers (some 3,000 in total) will still be able to link to auto-tweeted Slogposts each day. The only difference I’m talking about here is one of engagement – viz, yours truly not engaging in puerile spats with clowns who have an opinion on everything but nothing to say.
In short, major changes…but at negligible cost in terms of keeping those with intelligent and caring natures abreast of the Big Issue: the descent of Western civilisation into a sewer filled with turds concerned only to trouser as much boulah as they possibly can – preferably at the expense of the majority.