Preview: From Trolls to Stars: The Commenter Ecosystem
By Robert Hill
As a self proclaimed “message board veteran,” I felt Kate Miltner’s panel was not only interesting but actually in my wheelhouse. I am a big sports fan and as such I have been known to banter with the fanatics of opposing teams as well as my own from time to time. In addition, I am also a news junkie who visits numerous sites for different angles and details regarding many topics. In this arena, I have grown to appreciate message boards for more than just being an avenue of expression or interaction. I am guilty of, on several occasions, deciding whether to read an article based solely on the number of comments. For some reason, consciously or not, I suspect the more people opine on a story, the more priority it should have, at least for me at that point in time.
Miss Miltner’s panel will explore the phenomenon that is the “commenter culture.” There is so much to consider of this still evolving community. The panel will discuss the role of the commenter as a contributor and an authoritative participant (for the self policing boards). Another a topic of discussion will be the concept of social capital and how it applies to this particular phenomenon especially when some media entities (Facebook Connect) may be shifting the structure in a way that blurs the line between the real individual and the message board character/persona.
Miss Miltner’s expertise in the social media realm should add perspective to the discussion; especially considering where this particular industry is headed. Professionals such as Miltner will have an integral in applying, or discounting the need for, social media and the various components and intricacies it creates for the medium.
Finally, the conversation will obviously reach the point where capitalistic interests are evaluated. What does this mean for the hosting sites and especially the advertisers? Have all options been considered, in terms of monetizing this arena?