Social Media Ills: Two News Stories Today On Junk Comments


Share on LinkedIn

Today (Sept. 26, 2013), two news stories of note came across my desk. The first informed me that Popular Science (PopSci) has closed comments on its new articles. The second, and related, announced that YouTube is attempting to make comments of videos more useful, and requiring commentors to log in with their Google+ accounts.

Probably two stories you might have missed, but maybe you should pay attention.

Social media is staggering under the weight of spam, offensive comments, and posts that are badly disguised pitches for business. It’s to the point where I’d say about 1% of the social media content I come across has any value whatsoever, but at least thank goodness for that one percent.

In case you haven’t noticed what’s happened here are some observations:

The bad crowds out the good, so the more junk posts and comments, the less people read, as they discover what I’ve discovered. That there’s no point. Not to mention the “overwhelmed by information” problem. On our own Customerthink, don’t know if you noticed the trend in the last year. First, comments on articles went from at least a trickle to almost zero. In the last few months, something else has happened. Now the per article readership has dropped by a bunch. You don’t even have to see the numbers per se (since only CustomerThink would have them overall) to see huge drops where even excellent posts, of which there are many on CustomerThink, are not even being read anymore.

Another example: is a portal for discussion of government issues with over 60k members. The majority of new posts come from a handful of high posters, perhaps ten, augmented by people who clearly work for the company or have some commercial association. Of the posts, more and more have nothing to do with government.

LinkedIn discussion groups have become a vast wasteland. Unmoderated groups are full of spam. Moderated groups are struggling with the huge load of time needed to run them.


It’s bad and its serious. Social media behavior is constantly in flux, and the trends, or at least the early warning signs of people having had enough are emerging, and a recognition, as is the case for PopSci and YouTube, that things aren’t working out very well.

I suspect we are going to see some drastic changes, and reductions in people’s use of social media. After all, at some point, people do realize that the time involved can’t be justified because there’s simply too much trash, except for the situations where one is looking just to interact with friends already made in the real world.

But who knows where this is going? Do you have some sense of a) the shift and b) what it could mean for business?

Robert Bacal
Robert began his career as an educator and trainer at the age of twenty (which is over 30 years ago!), as a teaching assistant at Concordia University. Since then he as trained teachers for the college and high school level, taught at several universities and trained thousands of employees and managers in customer service, conflict management and performance appraisal and performance management skills.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here