16 March 2009

A Face Behind Anon Comments

An interview with a regional news website’s anonymous comment poster provides a valuable insight into why people comment online.

Former Birmingham Post development editor Joanna Geary has published a video interview with the active user in a bid to learn more about online news from the perspective of a commenter.

On her blog, Geary asserts that both journalists and posters can learn something about each other and themselves when they engage in a face-to-face dialogue about their respective positions.

For example, she notes that the commenter had “developed quite a bit of a reputation as a curmudgeon”, and yet, “the man I met in reception could not have been further from what I expected - polite, erudite, passionate and engaged in local news”.

She adds: “For his part, he was oblivious to the image he had been portraying to others online.

“Of course the wider point is that those who engage on the internet need to remember there are humans behind the handles (or bylines) and try and think about how their comments might be taken.”

Visit Geary’s Thoughts of a UK Regional Newspaper Journalist to see the 15-minute interview and full post.

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