85 Percent

This is what happens when you let jackasses who don’t know the Internet and understand the Internet use the Internet:

But the worst part of the NBC performance wasn’t the
mistakes or the photo. It was the preposterous way it wrapped its arm
around anyone who read its story and said, tell us how you’re feeling.
The story about the fatal accident was accompanied by a poll that asked
readers if it made them “furious,” “sad,” “bored,” “thrilled,”
“intrigued,” or “laughing.”

“We are . . . ” reads a column alongside the story,
announcing the running results in large type, “85% sad, 5% bored, 5%
furious, 5% intrigued, 0% thrilled, 0% laughing.”

Stunts like this pander to the public in order to attract the elusive online advertiser.NBCchicago.com
boasts: “Our users have a distinct relationship with their city that
goes well beyond just calling it their residence. The city is part of
their identity. . . . NBC Local Media uncovers and connects our users
to all that the city has to offer so they can be true city
insiders. . . . We help our passionate local user base know more so
they can do more.”

My intro to the Internet in general came through Buffy fandom, and before that I’d read Salon and message boards and other stuff, but really, fandom was where I learned about Internet behavior. About pointless flame wars, “the lurkers support me in e-mail,” picking fights with Bigger Names Than You just to get hits, assumptions of bad faith, pseuicide (faking one’s death or illness), the dangers of sending money to complete strangers running their first convention, the way factions form and then break up, fannish entitlement, people flouncing out of communities only to flounce right back in a week later because they can’t stand not being the center of attention, the destructive vandalistic glee of groups of overcaffeinated users, etc, so on, also.

The 2004 election aftermath and the 2008 primaries were softened for me because I’d seen all that sort of crappy, dramatastic behavior before. So much of the Internet in one area is the Internet everywhere, which is why I laugh so hard every time a campaign lets you macro your own campaign signs or something. Why not just ask for the Obama boobies sign to be made? You might get it faster that way.

This is really simple, classic stuff. If you put up a poll with the option to be a shithead someone will take it, usually lots of someones. Which is why an Internet poll is just a completely dumbassed way of USING the Internet. This is par for the course for news organizations, who seemingly don’t hire people who use the Internet at all. Just because it’s online doesn’t mean it has to be stupid. It isn’t 1994 anymore. There are more than six web sites out there and they don’t all have flaming logos. Jesus tits.


6 thoughts on “85 Percent

  1. The press really doesn’t use the internet much. Reporters I’ve talked to have an utter disdain for it, because they don’t think there’sanything on it that’s accurate.
    It’s no wonder that they don’t understand much about the interpersonal dynamics of it, largely because they think that’s about all there is to it.
    And, of course, it’s very convenient to dismiss the most obvious and immediate tool for fact-checking that’s come down the pike in a long while when you’re doing “he said, on the other hand, he said” journalism. There’s no need for fact-checking when you’ve set the parameters of your job as presenting both sides and little else.
    Naturally, they’re going to get it wrong if they never use it.

    Part of me thinks newspapers do this kind of crap to corral readers into the kind of Internety behavior newspapers approve of (take our poll!). If they can get you going in that direction you might not expect, say, writers to answer criticism or spend time in their own comment threads responding to feedback. It isn’t about cluelessness as much as a desperate desire for this whole Web place to start behaving more like the way God ordained newspapers to be (industry standards circa 1992).
    So may I assume this is the one day in recent history when you will be cheering for the Browns? Come, spend some time in hell with me. They will likely suck again this year; I’m hoping rookie running back James Davis provides some occasional reason to hope for the future.

  3. Dr. who showed me that screen voting is not accurate decades ago. my into into the left blogosphere was if anything, therapy to deal with the 2000 election.

  4. If you disliked this don’t check out the nbcla coverage of the recent wildfires, because they weren’t even 85% sad during that.
    NBC is a clueless subsidiary of a defense contractor anyway.

  5. I couldn’t agree more about the inane polls. The local TV news has a new poll each week. Something along the groundbreaking “Do you support kicking newborns down the stairs?”
    And then there are the TV pundits who understand mass behavior and manipulate the hate. I’m thinking like Nancy Grace who chooses an item deserving of moral outrage and pumps up the outrage.

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