*(TL;DR: People don’t seem to post comments and have online discussions on Ghanaian websites and blogs but do have more online discussions on Facebook and Twitter)
*This will make more sense after you read the post*
If you’re on social media, you’ve probably realized that a lot of discussions about issues or trends tend to happen on Twitter timelines or Facebook feeds.
The same can’t be said for online blogs and websites. Most blogs have comment sections which have barely any commentary or discussions. There are some outliers but they have made a name for themselves, they don’t have much online commentary by visitors.
Some of the websites I used to visit (Most of them were US based) had great debates in the comment section. Sometimes I would sign up for accounts on those websites just so I could drop in my comment about a particular topic. So why do most comment sections of Ghanaian blogs and websites seem to be ghost towns?
Quick In And Out
Like I said before, people seem to have most of their discussions and banter on Twitter or Facebook. I think it’s understandable. You can quickly tweet an opinion or leave a comment on someone’s Facebook page in quick steps. The same can’t be said for posting a comment on blog page or website. For Twitter, I would just pull out my phone, open the Twitter app, drop a tweet and then go on with my day. The same can be done on Facebook. But to leave a comment on a blog/website, you would have to open the browser, go to the address bar, type in the blog name or web address, select a particular article and type in your comment. If you’re lucky, the blog would have a Facebook or twitter plug in where you can comment. If not, you would have to sign up before you can make a comment.
Some people just don’t have the time to be doing all that.
Too Long, Didn’t Read (TL;DR)
I think it’s safe to say that social media has made us all develop shorter attention spans. Dare I say, it has even made us less able to read long articles.
If I post a link to an article and it’s a 5 min read, most people bail out before they finish the whole article. Some would even skim the article and try to come away with something.
So if people are not reading full articles, why would they even want comment on it?
Some do. They read the headline, make assumptions and throw in uninformed comments in the comment section. Believe me, I’ve seen a lot of “Did you even read the article?” comments by writers in response to hastily typed comments by visitors.
Unfortunately, in the Ghanaian context, there’s hardly any comments to even respond to in the first place. Are people’s attention spans just not enough to read your post? But if you check on Twitter or Facebook, you’ll probably see more tweeted responses and Facebook comments to your links than your on site article.
Even though I see a lack of comments on news sites like Joy Online or other blog and news sites, there is one place which constantly has commentators lining up to give their feedback. That place? GhanaWeb.
GhanaWeb’s comment section is usually flooded with comments from users who visit the site. It’s really a sight to behold. Unfortunately, you could easily observe that at least 20% of those comments make some sense. Majority of comments on popular news articles on Ghanaweb are uninformed, political propaganda, aggressive and some don’t even relate to the article that was posted in the first place. It seems like the commentators read the headlines, skim the article and just go straight to the comment section to give their take. It’s like the comment section of a Youtube video: Just a lot of noise.
It kind of goes back to what I was saying before: People don’t seem to be actually reading the articles. Sometimes I wonder if GhanaWeb should just close up their comment section or use a Facebook plug in to regain accountability for terrible comments in the comment section.
Is The Comment Section Dead?
I’ve visited a lot of websites where there have been lively debates and discussions on particular articles. Sometimes, commentators can get contentious and aggressive to the point that the comment section just becomes too poisonous. Over the years, some sites have decided that users would have to sign in with their Facebook accounts before they can comment on a story. Strategies like that supposed to promote accountability for people who write bad, uninformed or even aggressive comments. No more hiding behind anonymity.
Some websites decided to just shut down the comment section entirely because they couldn’t handle all the poisonous comments.
But in the case of Ghanaian blogs and websites, if there are hardly online discussions and comments on the posts and articles you write, is there a point for the comment section in the first place? It would seem most people are arguing or discussing blog posts and articles on different platforms anyway.
I think it’s good discussion to have. I would love for people to comment on this story and give their thoughts in the comment section. But to be honest, I doubt there will be much debating going on. I’ll probably check on my Facebook timeline and Twitter feed to see most of the comments.
(I would still love your comments on this post 😊)