I read every comment on my last post.
I tried stopping after the first busy day. I couldn’t. I had to know what people were saying.
I’ve never written anything that became a thing. I’d never had strangers pass around my words. I had never become “The Internet”.
So I read all of the comments.
Most of the comments were attached directly to the blog. Some came to my gmail inbox. A few were sent on Twitter.
I found that the comments sent directly to my email were the most negative. Complete strangers had read my 900 (give or take) words, decided that they had enough information about me, and proceeded to rip me apart over email. One gentleman told me that he hoped I died of cancer so that my kids wouldn’t be infected by my negativity.
That one made me laugh.
For the most part, the comments on the first day were fairly positive. A few men thought that I was betraying the cause. A few women thought that I “sounded like I was a bad person”. But most applauded the honesty.
The second day was when the real fun started. This was when the comments really started to roll in. Again, most were positive, but the negative ones were taking a real turn. On person ripped apart everything he knew about me, all 900 words, and ended with “these are the kindest words I can think of”. That one bothered me. That’s when I decided to stop reading them.
The hiatus lasted for about an hour.
What can I say? In the end I’m an insufferable attention hog.
It wasn’t long before the positive comments started to bother me too. People were giving me psychological advice, again, based on 900 words. They were applauding my honesty but deeply concerned about my “selfish and possibly sociopathic tendencies”. That one came to my email.
Some thought that I wrote the post to receive a pat on the back or a medal. They assumed that I was writing it to get recognition. Never mind the fact that my blog had never received any significant traffic to speak of, before that post.
Again, people were attacking my personality, my actions and my perceived intentions. This gets pretty tiring when it’s a constant barrage.
The ones that really got me, though, were the ones that told me I wasn’t showing them enough. They accused me of writing flowery words, but not giving them enough evidence of my change. As if they were the appointed ruler of “The Internet” and I was begging for their leniency and pardon. The amount of delusion and self-satisfaction needed to write something like that, to a stranger, is mind-blowing.
But, on the other hand, maybe I’m just a sensitive asshole.
All of these comments were based on 900 words. People were diagnosing me, offering suicide tips, urging my wife to leave me, lamenting the inevitable poisoning of my sons all based on 900 words. They read my post and assumed that they had the whole story.
I shouldn’t be surprised, I suppose. I didn’t tell them the whole story. People can only go off of what they’re given.
Things finally started slowing down a week after I wrote the post. Traffic was way down, and most comments left were positive. The few negative comments left were used to attack other commenters. I stopped receiving emails from strangers. People were no longer DM’ing me on Twitter.
It was nice.
I started to reflect on everything that had happened in the past week. I tried to figure out why I was so bothered by everything, when it hit me.
Very few people recognized my intention.
I was writing a love letter to my wife.
I was trying to tell her that I had finally heard her. I was trying to tell her that I had finally seen how my behaviors were affecting everyone in the house. I was trying to tell her that I wanted her to know that she was important to me and that I was trying to change.
Romance was never my strong suit.
So what’s the point of all of this?
I don’t know.
I suppose one could argue that I am a sensitive baby. One could argue that I have some serious issues with recognition and being liked. One could also argue that I’m just a windbag.
Any way one chooses, I just wanted people to know that I read the comments.
One day, you may become “The Internet”. When that day comes, try not to read the comments. If you can’t help it, try not to take it personally. If that doesn’t work, then wait two weeks and whine about it on a followup post.