When I first started my old school shaving ‘hobby’ in 2002 there was almost no information about it on the internet. And even fewer discussions about it. When I did find a couple discussions groups it was a friendly little club.
Now there are multiple forum sites and various social media platforms. That friendly little club has become a lot larger, a lot noisier, and in some cases not as friendly. What can you do to avoid the “snark?”
I recently asked readers of Sharpologist’s Shaving Information email list, “Which platform do you find the most drama and ‘snark‘ about shaving?” and asked then to select from this list:
- Facebook groups
- Reddit subreddits
- Somewhere else
Of the responses, Facebook groups, Youtube, and B&B tied for the most votes, followed by Reddit. Votes for the other sites were “in the noise.”
Some comments from readers:
“I do not use any social media. Two reasons – they are hotbeds for slander and bad behavior, and they are springboards for identity theft.”
“[S]ome people just have to put themselves out there as knowledgeable “experts” on things such as razors, blades, brushes, soaps and creams, technique, etc.. In reality I doubt that they are and secondly there are very very few people who are “expert” unless they have carried out rigorous and extensive comparisons.”
“With some success, and they’ve learned a lot. They’re acting ethically and in an open, honest way but there are a few folks who just can’t let it go yet.”
“As I grow older, my goal has been to reduce both professional as well as personal drama. I intentionally don’t experience drama in forum discussion as I limit my viewing and information gathering to quality people on You Tube…”
Different Types Of Snark Attacks
Also among the responses it became apparent that there are actually two kinds of content that contribute to the problem–business and personal.
Business-related controversies have swirled around a number of issues:
- Vendors removing negative reviews on their site
- Vendors using “growth hacks” for low cost (or no cost) promotion of their business
- Attacks on the technical end of the business (domain squatting and poaching, denial-of-service attacks, reputation assaults) for business (vs. personal) reasons.
The more common “drama” in shaving discussions boils down to differences of opinion. Unfortunately a “simple” disagreement can devolve into something much more ugly depending on the personalities of those involved.
5 Ways To Reduce Drama
So what can you do to reduce drama in shaving discussions? Here are some strategies.
1. Switch From Large Discussion Sites With Many People To Smaller Sites.
As a platform grows it naturally becomes more difficult to be “heard” as an individual. This tends to create “troll” users who are looking more for recognition (for good or ill) rather than contributing useful information. A random viewing of comments on very large social platforms (Facebook, Reddit, Youtube, etc.) will show numerous examples.
Switching to a similar-but-smaller platform may provide a better experience with less “noise.”
2. Switch From Discussion Forums To Blogs And Podcasts
Discussion forums by their very nature can be a freewheeling, vibrant experience…or a cliquish “echo chamber.” Switching to niche’ blogs and podcasts can supply much of the same diverse information with fewer of the anonymous, trouble-making users of forums.
3. Switch From Un-moderated (Or Over-moderated!) Sites To Curated Sites
4. Switch From Text-Based Discussions To Image-Based Discussions (i.e. Instagram, Pinterest, And–Maybe–Youtube)
Forums encourage written content with formatting options. Image-based sites such as Instagram and Pinterest are usually more focused on tighter discussion about an image itself rather than a general topic that may devolve into something else.
Even Youtube can be useful here, depending on how many subscribers a channel has and how the channel owner polices their comments.
The biggest, most-obvious strategy–and for some the most difficult to implement–is simply to disengage. If you see a shaving discussion devolve into snark and drama…stop reading it. Resist the temptation to put your own two cents in (unless, perhaps, if you have first-hand knowledge that would be relevant to the main topic of the discussion).
It’s nice belonging to a group who share the same interest. But sometimes discussions of that interest gets “noisy” and too personal. You can often get the same information, and enjoy it more, by taking a step back and finding another platform.
Do you have any suggestions on how to reduce drama in shaving discussions? Leave a comment below!