Feedback from other bloggers is the lifeblood of many an online outpouring. I know I look forward to these responses, and I try to give back my share of them to other bloggers.
But there is a certain kind of feedback that raises one’s hopes, only to dash them. Here is one example, of the type you may be familiar with:
You’re so interesting! I don’t believe I have read through a single thing like that before. So wonderful to discover somebody with some unique thoughts on this subject. Really… thank you for starting this up. This website is one thing that is required on the web, someone with a bit of originality!
It’s been a while since I’ve visited flim-flam spam flummery on this blog. As I’ve mentioned once or twice before, I occasionally check through spam comments to see if any genuine remarks have been hoovered up.
Mostly they haven’t.
In amongst the invitations to view porn or buy porn products, to click on suspicious sites, boggle at essay-length missives in Russian and wade through cut-and-paste non-sequiturs in English there are, nevertheless, a few well-written halfway-decent anonymised compliments, as above.
Of course, I don’t believe a word they express, but they are mildly entertaining. Take this second example:
Wow that was unusual. I just wrote a very long comment but
after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up.
Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyway, just
wanted to say fantastic blog!
Both the examples quoted almost seem genuine, but the tone of them is spoiled by their generic blandness and lack of specificity. “Fantastic blog”? How, in what way, is it fantastic? The compliment is too generalised, which means it’s not targeted. “I don’t believe I have read through a single thing like that before”? I don’t believe you’re really responding to my post, are you? In fact have you actually read it, let alone ‘a single thing’ like it?
Still, lots of good trigger words in that first complimentary message: interesting, unique, a bit of originality. If only one could be sure that this interesting, unique and original comment hadn’t been shared in almost identical wording with hundreds or thousands of other bloggers.
A nuisance, yes, but not nearly as annoying as the blandishments given out by corporate entities, government departments and a certain breed of politician when things have gone wrong. And they have been going very wrong in recent times.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.
The [insert organisation here] deeply / truly regrets the inconvenience / distress / upset experienced by [insert individual or group here].
Lessons have been learned.
Lessons learned? Like hell they are—it’s business as before.
Now, these pat phrases are what I’d call gratuitous—they’re freely given but in no way are they worth the air that has been expended issuing them, the paper they’ve been printed on or the online cloud they’ve been sent to. I tell anyone who’s paying attention that for nothing.
But is anyone listening?
Here’s an example of a politician who is not only not listening but doesn’t care who knows he’s not listening, with this gratuitously insulting tweet:
A plague on him and all those other arrogant excuses for human beings.
The first in an occasional series of rants by Yours Truly