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18 February 2011

9 types of online commentators

Forget therapy. It's much cheaper to classify your personality by how you use open comment boxes on the internet, says Susan Erasmus.

Forget therapy. It's much cheaper to classify your personality by how you use open comment boxes on the internet, says Susan Erasmus.

Don't get me wrong – I am not slamming the usefulness of therapy, but hell, who wouldn't take a shortcut if they could?

Here's a scary thought: how people behave when they think no one is looking, or no one knows who they are, actually does show you the real nature of the animal. It's a bit like what your table manners look like when you’re eating alone. OK, enough of the scary stuff.

Back to online commentators. It is a phenomenon of the age of the internet. But it is not entirely without precedent: the same types of contributors are also recognisable on phone-in radio programmes and always have been since someone cottoned onto the idea of audience participation and user feedback. Whatever the medium, the classification remains the same.

The Confessor. This is the person who fills up three comment boxes in succession with a long personal story – usually of disaster. The Confessor is insecure, has exhausted his audience among his colleagues and family, and is the type of person who simply gives too much information. By the end of the first date with a Confessor, you will know how much he earns, why he hates his ex-wife, why he doesn't get on with his father. You get the picture. The Confessor needs to see a therapist, but probably doesn't feel like paying for it. There is so much to say, after all.

 
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