Reading the Comments Book Summary - Reading the Comments Book explained in key points
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Reading the Comments summary

Joseph M. Reagle Jr.

Likers, Haters and Manipulators at the Bottom of the Web

3.2 (20 ratings)
15 mins
Table of Contents

    Reading the Comments
    summarized in 6 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 6

    People love offering commentary and the internet has given the opinionated free rein.

    Thanks to the internet, online commentary is booming. Users can convey their opinions in many different ways, from awarding stars to writing in-depth reviews.

    But our passion for commenting wasn’t born online. It has precedent in history.

    Take the Michelin guide. Established in the early twentieth century, the guide not only helped drivers navigate highways safely, but was also the first to offer a star-based rating system for hotels, gas stations and other services along the way.

    Consider, too, printed book reviews. As unprecedented numbers of books and articles were published following the Enlightenment period, periodicals such as London’s Monthly Review and the New York Times Book Review cropped up to assist readers in deciding which books they should be reading.

    While experts penned these early guides and reviews, other review platforms that allow anybody to share a thought or opinion have been around for decades.

    The Zagat Survey, for example, leveraged the wisdom of the crowd to rate the quality of restaurants, hotels and even music. Founded in 1979, Zagat reviews were a hit long before Yelp!

    When you share your opinion about another person’s work, however, you also offer a form of commentary: it’s called giving feedback. We’ll explore the implications of this sort of commentary in the online world in the next blink.

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    Key ideas in Reading the Comments

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    What is Reading the Comments about?

    Reading the Comments (2015) delves into the social phenomenon of online commentary. These blinks explore how online commenting became the force it is and examine commenting’s positive and negative influence on communication at large. Importantly, these blinks encourage you to think about the implications of online comments for the modern internet user.

    Best quote from Reading the Comments

    We live invested in an electronic information environment that is quite imperceptible to us as water is to fish. –Marshal McLuhan, media theorist

    —Joseph M. Reagle Jr.
    example alt text

    Who should read Reading the Comments?

    • Readers fascinated by online commentary
    • People keen to learn about new modes of communication
    • Students majoring in communication studies

    About the Author

    John Reagle is the author of the acclaimed title, Good Faith Collaboration: The Culture of Wikipedia. He is also an assistant professor of communication studies at Northeastern University.

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