April Fools’ jokes are pretty hard to pull off, but I loved the one that NPR ran last week. Noting that many people would comment on their online articles without actually reading the piece, the new organization posted the headline, “Why Aren’t Americans Reading Anymore”? When you clicked on the post, it took you to a message that said, “We sometimes get the sense that some people are commenting on NPR stories that they haven’t actually read. If you are reading this, please like this post and do not comment on it. Then let’s see what people have to say about this ‘story.’”
Hilariously, countless comments soon filled the page in response to the fake headline about Americans’ lack of literary skills. Several people commented that they did in fact read, though clearly they hadn’t read the actual article. Many posted spam, or comments that were hateful or of a political nature, obviously missing the point of NPR’s exercise. NPR was proved right—apparently online commenters just want to voice their thoughts, even if it has nothing to do with the topic at hand. So much for a thoughtful debate!
If you decide to comment on this blog post, I hope you at least took the time to read it first! Knee-jerk reactions are partly to blame for the uninformed and overly negative feedback we see online. Think before you respond!