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.