Never Read (or Post) the Comments
The meteoric media attention to tattooing is making a lot of people, a lot of money. And many of those people don't have a single tattoo. When tattoo polls make claims like "one in five U.S. adults has at least one tattoo," that's a significant market to be tapped.
We are passionate about tattoos. We get excited to view beautiful work and pissed off when the art is denigrated. This passion = $$ in the eyes of those seeking "eyeballs" for their websites, TV shows, magazines, and sales outlets.
Back in October, we talked about tattoo "Like farms." Those are often the tattoo "fan" pages with the billion "Likes" on Facebook, where you'll find beautiful tattoos but without any information on the artist, photographer, or collector. The tattoos are used to draw us in and then throw ad links to merch, apps, and services.
The flip side to this is what I see as the "Dislike" hook: tricks like "click-baiting," with headlines such as "Tattoos are Corny and Degrading," designed to drag us in, make us angry with asinine writing, and provoke us to comment on the article, defending something that is personal and important to us. It brings more clicks, more time on the site, and more interactivity. Editors and advertisers just love how much we hate it.
Back in my early days of blogging (over 10 years ago), I used to call these articles out, and even comment on them in the hopes of trying to change someone's mind with, what I believed to be, rational thought. I no longer do that. Because, in the history of the Internet, no one has ever won in a comment war.
Which brings me to the old Internet adage: Never read the comments. We already know all the tattoo cliches that are out there, so we don't need to lose faith in humanity with a constant reminder. The Washington Post has a great article on getting rid of comments sections. Alexandra Petri writes:
"We have this mistaken idea that some things are up for debate that frankly are not actually up for debate. People may disagree on them, but the only reason that they disagree is that, well, some of these people are wrong. You do not have to give people who are objectively incorrect equal time."This is not only true for science articles, but for any article that entices small minded people and their prejudices to interrupt serious discourse within a community.
We got rid of the comments to this blog a while back and moved the discussion to our Facebook group and my Twitter feed, where there's less anonymity, and thus, greater civility. I love thoughtful debates and sharing of ideas, which is what makes social media so great. But let's keep it on our terms, and ignore the mass media comment forums and clickbait.
Screen cap above from the Don't Read the Comments Twitter feed.