Everybody Gets to Vote Nobody Cares

People love to talk about the democratizing power of the internet.  They tell us that less expensive distribution and production, means more people can make music.  We also heard that as the internet becomes more important than the radio we are coming to a time where everybody gets to vote.

The problem is nobody votes.

There are a million services that now allow for feedback.  Social media has exploded and now rather than a couple of services that are interactive the whole internet will interact with you.  You can rate songs on iTunes, Ourstage, Spotify, and Pandora, but the majority of people the majority of the time don’t and more importantly don’t want to.

On blogs people who read but don’t comment are called lurkers.  But this evil sounding term applies to most of us most of the time (everybody but Charles).  A regular commenter someone who is:

  • Outspoken enough to write
  • Comfortable enough with technology to do so
  • Interested in the subject enough to have something to say

Even this “regular commenter” does not comment on everything that they read, hear or watch. I would count myself in this class and it is routine for me to look at over fifty pieces of media on the internet in a day and I never write 50 comments I wouldn’t be able to get off the front page of the Chicago Tribune.

So What? This doesn’t mean that we all need to fulfill our civic duty and talk about everything all the time, though if you do that here I promise not to complain.

It means when we are thinking about social media we need to remember that most of the people most of the time don’t want to be social.  Sometimes we want to passively consume.

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4 Responses to “Everybody Gets to Vote Nobody Cares”
  1. Lori says:

    Hi Casey,
    I guess I’m falling into your bulleted/checked group today – especially the last one (Interested in the subject enough to have something to say).

    I’m here to say that I’m interested in this topic!! And, I’m interested as how it relates to commenting whether that be to news (i.e., Chicago Tribune), blogs, or any media form, actually. I read a lot everyday because of exactly your point, I love to read and consume. I am a voracious reader, actually. But, I usually only comment to about a tenth of what I read.

    Sometimes I’m not feeling too great (stupid Ms. MS!!!), sometimes I feel I can’t ADD anything to the conversation, and (yup) sometimes I just want to passively consume. But, nonetheless, I almost ALWAYS *get* something from what I’ve read.

    Thanks for writing about this topic, Casey. It’s right on the money and well said.
    Thanks, too, for not minding that I’m outspoken enough to comment today.

    • Casey says:

      Not minding? I love having engaged readers like you. Thanks for being a consistent voice here and so many places.

  2. CharlesHo says:

    I would argue that in the case of social media, even lurking is voting. Since the technology can record clicks and IP address visits, even this is voting. I think writing is the major stumbling block when it comes to actual interaction, which to me seems more the root of what this article explores. In college people would say “oh, you going to teach” when I told them that I was taking English as a major. The truth was I simply found that 2 years into college the classes I’d done best in, effortlessly, was English because I enjoyed reading and really didn’t have to try to hard to communicate effectively with the written word. Many folks are wary of writing or self-conscious of their grammar. Myself? I know my grammar often stinks (which is worse for an English major), but at least I can get my point across. ;)

    • Casey says:

      “I know my grammar often stinks (which is worse for an English major), but at least I can get my point across.” I am with you brother you can be shy or you can have a voice. Anybody, that hasn’t caught a typo on this blog doesn’t read it enough.

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