What does a former British rock group that formed in 1968 and disbanded many years ago have to do with the U.S. Civil War?
Two weeks ago, when I was researching my Civil War Sunday blog post, I visited a couple of newspaper and magazine websites and read some Civil War related articles.
Have you ever noticed what happens when someone writes an article about the United States Civil War (or any other subject), posts it online and allows comments on the article?
Allowing people to comment on newspaper and magazine articles online is a form of social media I could normally do without. It's one I find distracting and not as successful as some other social media ideas. For some reason, when people comment on articles, it very quickly degrades into a middle school type of insult/discussion with little substance. In my opinion, who needs it? (In rare instances, you do find clever discussions.)
When you read the comments on Civil War articles, it quickly becomes obvious that we, the American people, are still fighting the Civil War that officially ended in 1865. Usually, within 5 or 6 coments, the posting people, North vs. South, are going at it with a ferocity that makes you wonder if this war, 152 years old in our hearts and minds, will ever end.
But this time, in one of the comment sections, there was a difference.
I don't remember how, but in the midst of Civil War cyber battle someone mentioned the former rock group Led Zepplin. Suddenly, tone of the entire discussion changed. Everyone propelled themselves back into the present when we live in (one would hope) a united country. Suddenly, the contestants in the commenting battle were talking about the Kennedy Honors tribute to Led Zepplin in December of 2012. These honors, held at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, were attended by many celebrities, including the President of the United States and his wife.
Every one of the battlers united in their love of Led Zepplin. They were all fans of this former rock group. They had all listened to the concert honoring them. They commented on how the members of the group, up in the audience, got teary eyed over the performance of their music by other famous musicians. They marveled at the President, who did everything short of getting up and dancing to one of their songs.
Eventually, the commenters returned to battling over a war that's been over on paper for 148 years. But for a few minutes, the Civil War was forgotten. They were united.
Do you ever read the comments under online newspaper and magazine articles? Do you think it is a practice that adds value to any article?