You know the type. The person who regardless of the situation (online or offline) has to always have the last word. It can be a beyond annoying habit. In person, most people are somewhat aware of and on guard to NOT be that person who has to have the last word. Some ignore it anyway, and some have no clue (and will never have a clue). But does this follow in the online environment? YES!
In my experience people are more prone to being a ‘last word’ type person when commenting in social media. Facebook posts, LinkedIn forums, Twitter posts and blogs are the four areas that are at the top of my list. Since I write and comment on all four platforms I’ve developed a sensitivity to not being that guy – the one who always has to have the last ‘post’ or ‘word’ on any given topic. In particular I think it’s important to keep in mind the initiator of the conversation. If someone online starts a discussion or makes a point first in a forum, that initiator, as long as they engage by responding at least once, should most often have that last response. Obviously when the initiator fails to respond the point is moot. Yes I am aware that I am completely dreaming but it’s a pretty good one.
It’s absolutely fine if there is some repartee between initiator and reader/commenter, but it’s also fairly easy to tell when things have gone too far. This happens when the over-commenter begins to look desperate to have that last word. Surely you’ve seen it? I acknowledge that there are some people who are not quite able to figure out when to stop – possibly thinking that it would be rude to stop commenting. There are and always will be clueless people, so in that case let them have that last word and simply ignore them. Those people are the exception to the rule.
Since being aggravated by other people is a part of real-life we have no right to expect the online world to be any different. Let’s just say that sending messages on a screen while being behind a screen has the unintended effect of making people frequently lose their sense of etiquette. What many people will do online, (and this still makes me shake my head constantly) is a far cry from how those people will behave when actually interacting in person with other people.
As someone who writes a fair amount of online content and reads and comments on many other people’s blogs and pages, when someone posts something online they are nearly always hoping for some interaction. What that online ‘poster’ does not want is to have his or her point drowned out and falling prey to a commenter’s personal agenda. It’s an easy trap in which to fall as I’ve done it myself.
So are you someone that needs to have the last word?
That’s all I have to offer. Nothing more. That’s it. I’m done. Really.