Friday, September 07, 2007


As much as I dislike comment sections on various websites I check out, it's at least worth taking a glimpse in hopes there isn't immature back-talking or nitpicking. These hopes are often dashed, but not every time. When there is a good back-and-forth between readers, it's a pretty thoughtful, cool read. Yet something I still can't wrap my head around is the desire to be the first to post a response. In other words, those comments that simply say, "First!" What gives with this?

Steve Hyden over at the AV Club touched on this in a recent post about "grade grubbin'" nitpickers. I get the sense he and I aren't the only ones annoyed by this. How about you?

For me, I'm well aware of how sites like the AV Club, Ain't It Cool News and MySpace are highly trafficked because of the immediate responses in their comments sections. A post can be only a few minutes old and already there's a response or two. But what exactly does a first post saying "First!" really say? Not much, at least to me.

The stakes are incredibly high to be the first to post a comment on sites like these and I think that's the gist of the race. But how does being first in this case make you feel? I don't equate it to running a race around a racetrack or entering a science fair. Being a Firstie seems like a flimsy, carefree hope that you'll be the first to say something and nothing more.

I remember when Noel's wrap-up of LOST's Season 3 finale came online. I felt he really nailed so much about the episode and I was a little surprised to see nobody had posted a comment yet. So I just wanted to share my thoughts and wondered if my post would have the distinction of being the first comment. Turns out, it was. Now, did I celebrate and feel like my self-esteem went through the roof because of this? No, but I did feel like the first one to buzz in on something, like what I've seen on Family Feud and Jeopardy! It was cool, but I was just lucky.

Of course, on a blog like this where there aren't many comments posted in the comment section, I get the feeling there isn't a race. So, I'm curious with what you, the reader, think. What gives about being a Firstie? Is it empowerment? A sense of mattering in the online world when you feel you don't in the physical world? Something I'm reading waaayyy too much into? I want to hear what you think and don't feel rushed to be the first to comment.


the secret knitter said...

Umm, fir...

Have you checked out the Wikipedia entry for first post? I don't know that it gives the kind of insight you're seeking, but it makes the behavior a little clearer to me.

As much as "first!" drives me crazy, I'll take it over the thread hijacking and nitpicking that clutters up potentially good discussions.

Eric Grubbs said...

Thanks for the link. It did help. I'm still amazed at what all Wikipedia has . . .