I used to think having a high number of comments on any given piece of content was a good thing.
Whether it was a blog post, YouTube video, high-profile article, or even a Tweet, I used to think “high engagement” was not only desirable — but the main goal.
Then something interesting happened:
I observed a few blogs that got insanely high engagement, yet resulted in zero sales and wasted time. On the flip side, I also observed low-engagement (or no-engagement) blogs leading to multiple 6-figures in sales.
“How is this possible?” I wondered.
That’s when I realized internet comments simply aren’t that valuable – either for the receiver or the giver.
This is true regardless of whether they’re “good” or “bad,” positive or negative, substantive or meaningless.
High engagement on your content doesn’t automatically translate into success. In fact, it’s not really a measure of success at all. If anything, it’s a measure of how many people are wasting time posting comments on the internet.
By nature, comments posted on the internet tend to be low-value.
I can prove this by examining where comments tend to originate. The average person commenting on a post somewhere on the internet, on a free site available to the general public, usually falls into one of three categories:
#1 – They’re a marketer. They’re commenting mainly for the purpose of getting their name out there. Sometimes there’s actual substance in their comment; sometimes there’s not. Sometimes their post is savvy and subtle; other times, it’s overt and annoying (much like spam). Either way, they have agenda: to get their name out there. After leaving a comment, they provide a link back to their website.
#2 – They have unresolved psychological issues. Any piece of content with an open comments section becomes a mini-playground for people in this category to work out their psychological issues. They see a post that upsets them? It’s a perfect opportunity to write a nasty reply to vent their anger. They see a post that reminds them of some deeply held insecurity? Perfect chance to write a defensive retort to soothe their ego. They’re a people pleaser with low self-esteem? Why not write an overly gushy post full of praise. For these individuals, the internet is a “safe space” in which to work through their issues without having to interact with people face-to-face, or pay for counseling.
#3 – They’re killing time. This category encompasses the majority of people who comment on stuff around the internet — they’re simply killing time. This is an avoidance strategy that helps them avoid having to make real decisions about the direction of their lives or the nature of their character. Not fully valuing the tenuousness of life, they’re spending yet another hour…and another hour (out of several combined thousands of hours) scrolling their life away on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, forums, or whatever other free mediums they happen to be browsing when they come across your content. People in this category are bored, unfulfilled with life, or both, so they figure they might as well chime in their two cents while they’re there, in hopes of making life more interesting.
I repeat: regardless of whether internet comments appear “good,” “bad,” positive, negative, substantive, or useless — they’re generally low-value due to coming from one or more of the aforementioned sources.
No matter what free content people are commenting on, chances are they could be doing something better with their time.
If they’re a marketer, for example, they could be working on a direct mail campaign instead of traipsing the internet for free places to leave their website URL.
If they’re bored with life, they could make an effort to find their passion.
Instead of staring at a screen, typing words in response to various things they happen to find on the internet, people could be creating something of value — something that could help humanity in profound ways.
Here’s another reason to close comments: The nature of internet comments often encourages “responsive-reactive” behavior (which I’ve written about in my article on The Path of Least Resistance).
Responsive-reactive behavior only serves to deepen the various patterns of oscillation in one’s life — thereby keeping one stuck (in boredom, in unfulfillment, etc.).
DISABLING comments is actually a way of taking a stand for the value of life. It’s a way of taking a stand AGAINST wasteful, responsive-reactive behaviors.
I’m finding that more and more high-quality blogs are simply disabling their comments section altogether. I think this a good move.
By disabling comments, you’re declaring, “Life is too precious to waste by giving or receiving unsolicited feedback, opinions, and ideas! Life is too short to engage in conversations with bored/unfocused/psychologically unstable people!”
Websites that allow comments on posts are ENABLING others to partake in the responsive-reactive orientation. They ENABLE people to waste their lives engaging in useless discussions. (By the way, Facebook is one of the biggest enablers of time-wasting on the planet.)
Reading and sifting through comments can be a drain for a business, as well. I know of business owners who’ve wasted significant chunks of their day responding to low-value comments…or even just THINKING about or BEING UPSET BY such comments.
…which means more important things get neglected.
I say turn off the comments.
Unless you’re operating a paid forum where members pay money for the privilege to read and post comments, don’t bother having a comments section.
You’re better off doing activities that are more meaningful and intentional, which lead to the desired result you want to create.