Stand Up to the Comment Feed!
In the last post in this series, we learned how to make our arguments original. We also mentioned counter arguing effectively, which is the main topic of this segment, and the final one in the series.
You’ve uploaded your content and posted it for public viewing. You hope that people will read it and make use of it.
It’s almost a 100 percent guarantee that someone out there will disagree with your findings, no matter how controversial your topic is. It’s a lot like the academic review any writer faces upon publishing a thesis. And because your content is online, your proverbial review board has ample opportunity to post their opinion directly below yours.
If you don’t like what they say, you can delete the comment. But what if you used the comment as an opportunity for a discussion, to further your argument for other readers to see? Treat the comment feed as part of your content, instead of breeding grounds for a viral disease.
Should you decide to do this, here are a few tips to keep in mind as you address readers’ comments.
1. Think Ahead. Everything you post in response is public and permanent (yes, you can delete, but we’re working under the assumption that you won’t). Everyone can see it, including your boss, your friends and family, and potential future employers.
2. Think it Through. Always, always, always think through your responses before you post. Even what you think are harmless and positive responses to another harmless and positive response can be misconstrued.
3. Be Cool. No matter how angry the initial comment is, never respond in kind. Being just as hateful will not win anyone, and it can, in fact, hurt the persona you were trying to create when you first started using outside sources. If you can’t say anything nice, at least don’t be mean.
4. Keep it ‘PG.’ While colorful language is making its way into casual conversations in print and online, it’s still not professional when regarding another person’s opinion. Don’t use it, and don’t name call.
5. Stay on Topic. Don’t get distracted by comments that have nothing to do with your content. If someone attacks you instead of your ideas, ignore it. Engage in meaningful conversation centered on responses to what you have said.
What Are the Benefits to Keeping a Comment Feed?
Yes, you can delete your comment feed. And if they’re just nasty, you can simply delete the comment without chagrin. But if a reader brings up a legitimate point, asks a reasonable question, or does question your authority on something, it’s a prime chance for you to address these things. Who knows, others may be wondering the same thing but just didn’t ask. It should always be your ultimate goal to purvey truth and justice. So don’t sit away from a great opportunity for conversation. It also keeps you in control of the comment feed.