January 31st, 2012

Blog comments are good for your mental health

So says this study.

At least for teenagers. Who write blogs about their personal problems. And whose blogs are not especially popular:

In all the groups, the greatest improvement in mood occurred among those bloggers who wrote about their problems and allowed commenters to respond.

Interestingly, the commenters on the blogs were overwhelmingly supportive. “The only kind of surprise we had was that almost all comments made by readers were very positive and constructive in trying to offer support for distressed bloggers,” Dr. [Azy] Barak wrote in an e-mail…

The trolls, the bullies, they go where they can be seen. Some of the most well-trafficked sites on the Internet have the worst commenters. In general, smaller blogs with dedicated readers — whether personal journals or niche-interest publications — have lively, thoughtful, and smart conversations in their comments sections.

The site has had its share of trolls and bullies, although I have ways of blocking them and keeping it to a minimum so far. But I love the comments section here, and probably wouldn’t continue to write this blog if I didn’t have a fairly lively one. The article didn’t define a “smaller” blog—mine would probably be called medium-sized—and this ain’t no support group.

But still, there are elements in the comments section here that give it something in common with the helpful ones in the study. Mainly, it acts as a community—one that sometimes challenges and even enrages, but always engages and sometimes supports—but a community nonetheless.

12 Responses to “Blog comments are good for your mental health”

  1. Promethea Says:

    I love your blog, and I love the general tone of your commenters. I learn a huge amount from reading neo-neocon.

    Good job for creating such a pleasant and informative community. If I had a problem, I’d probably bring it here for consultation.

  2. neo-neocon Says:

    Promethea: Whew! I was beginning to wonder whether anyone would ever comment on this thread. :-)

  3. davisbr Says:

    Other’s were thinking it too, neo, though kudos to promethea for vocalizing it.

    It can just seem so, so …self-congratulatory and all …and you know how it is: modesty rules us, one and all. LOL.

    …actually, I made this very observation with my wife this past weekend (during our drive to go eagle-viewing), while trying to get her to perhaps participate (she’s privately opinionated, but distressingly publicly politically quiescent, and I was trying/hoping for a spark).

    Same argument/observation on comments (though I included the *ahem* blogger).

    I did convince her to at least lurk occasionally, I think.

    Come for the politics, stay for the dance.

  4. Richard Says:

    Neo, I check your site at least once per day if possible to read, from a fellow political traveler, what’s going on in the world. Without your blog (and the community of commenters you have attracted) my online time would be spent perusing far-less-thoughtful sites. Your political journey is very similar to mine, and I’ve developed a strong affection for your views ever since I first found your site.

    You are a jewel, Neo. Thanks for doing what you do, and doing it so well. I’ll be hitting your tip jar as soon as I’m working again.

  5. SteveH Says:

    Anyone besides me assign imaginary faces, personalities and even voices to fellow commenters? Maybe i’m just weird that way.

  6. DNW Says:

    Neoneocon says,
    Re. trolls: ” I have ways of blocking them and keeping it to a minimum so far. ”

    It seems that you do, and have. Which is one of the first things I noticed.

  7. expat Says:

    Neo,
    You and the commenters here kept me sane during all the years of media BDS I had to endure on this side of the pond. It is so good to have access to people who are willing to look at facts instead of mouthing clichees. Thanks all.

  8. rickl Says:

    So is it that mentally healthy people tend to comment on blogs, or does the act of commenting promote mental health?

    Either way, thanks, neo, for providing a place for me to rant and vent.

  9. mizpants Says:

    This blog has certainly improved my mental health. I sometimes worry that Neo will get tired of the constant effort of posting and that one day it won’t be here, leaving me homeless in the blogosphere! Though I don’t contribute very often, it’s the only blog on which I ever leave comments.
    Anyway, thank you, Neo, and thank you, fellow Neo commenters.

  10. Mary Wilbur Says:

    Neo, I don’t have a chance to visit your blog often, but when I do I’m never disappointed. I appreciate all the effort you put in to keep your blog going, and I think I understand how tough it is to be a politically conservative Jew. The attacks are getting worse, as I am sure you know. Don’t get discouraged. You have dedicated supporters.

  11. JuliB Says:

    I love the posters here, and sometimes wonder what a given poster would say about something I see or hear. Truly a virtual salon, and thank you!

  12. Mrs Whatsit Says:

    I’ve been wanting to chime in here, but failing to find just the right words to express my appreciation for the community of castaways inhabiting Neo’s Internet oasis. Suffice it to say, it feels like home.

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About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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