THE DAY THE WORCESTER TELEGRAM EMOTICONS DIED

WE EXAGGERATE A BIT. SOME OF THEM AM INDEED TRYING TO PULL THEMSELVES UP BY THEIR PIXELATED BOOTSTRAPS. TAKE THIS ONE, FOR EXAMPLE…

emoticon_panhandler

BUT TRULY, TIMES HAVE CHANGED. AND BECAUSE THIS AM A LIFE-ALTERING CHANGE IN INTERNET HISTORY, WE NOW TAKE YOU THROUGH A BRIEF LOOK AT WHAT CAUSED THE END OF THE INTERNET IN WORCESTER AS WE KNOW IT!!!!!!!!

WE DO NOT KNOW WHEN THE FIRST COMMENT APPEARED ON THE WORCESTER TELEGRAM. WE IMAGINE IT WERE POSTED IN 1794 BY A BITTER ARTEMAS WARD, BUT UNFORTUNATELY, WE COULD NOT FIND CONFIRMATION OF THIS. ONE SOURCE PUT THE DATE AT SOME POINT IN 2006, THOUGH WE SHALL SETTLE WITH OUR COMPROMISE ESTIMATE OF “MEH”. WE DO, HOWEVER, HAVE A MORE ACCURATE ESTIMATE AS TO WHEN THEY BELIEVED SOME NEWFANGLED INVENTION CALLED A “COMMENT SECTION” COULD BE IMPORTANT TO READERS: MARCH 23, 2007.

WE WOULD TRY TO GET A MORE ACCURATE DATE, BUT AT THIS POINT WE AM ALREADY DOING MORE RESEARCH THAN THE AVERAGE TELEGRAM COMMENTER.

IN ANY EVENT, WE SEE HERE PUBLIC ACNOWLEDGEMENT OF WHICH ARTICLES RECEIVED THE MOST COMMENTS, THUS GIVING A FERTILE GROUND FOR THE SEEDS OF CHANGE TO BE PLANTED.

WE SAW THE BIRTH OF BASTIONS OF INTELLECT. WE ALSO SAW A DOZEN OR SO DULLARDS WHO WOULD RECITE THE SAME TIRED MAD-LIBS ARGUMENTS FOR THE NEXT EIGHT YEARS!!!!!!!!!!!!! TRULY, A GOLDEN AGE OF WORTHLESS CLICKBAIT AND ENDLESSLY REHASHED ARGUMENTS HAD BEGUN IN WORCESTER, AND ITS IMPORTANCE CANNOT NOT BE OVERSTATED.

THEN, ON THE FATEFUL DAY OF AUGUST 16, 2010, TRAGEDY STRUCK.

WITHOUT BEING ABLE TO COMMENT ON ANY ARTICLE THEY WANTED, DOZEN OF COMMENTERS WERE FORCED TO RE-EVALUATE THEIR LIVES WHICH WERE NOW RENDERED MEANINGLESS. IRONICALLY, THE ARTICLE DETAILING THE CHANGE (WHICH HAVE ALSO MERCIFULLY BEEN LOST TO MY SAURON-ESQUE GAZE) GENERATED HUNDREDS OF COMMENTS, THEN A RECORD FOR THE SITE. IT WOULD TURN OUT THAT SIMPLY LOGGING IN WITH AN INSULTING ALIAS AND POSTING LINES OF UGLY EMOTICONS WERE EASIER THAN EXPECTED, HOWEVER, AND ONLINE COMMENTS QUICKLY SOARED AGAIN.

THE TELEGRAM EXPERIMENTED WITH WAYS OF RUTHLESSLY SUPPRESSING DISCOURSE THROUGH AN EXPERIMENT IN 2013 CALLED WORCESTER CONNECTS. THE WEBSITE RELIED ON USER-GENERATED CONTENT SIMILAR TO KOTAKU AND RELIED ON HEAVILY MODERATED, NON-ANONYMOUS COMMENTS. ONE MIGHT THINK WE WOULD BE OPPOSED TO THIS, BEING A SHADOWY OVERLORD OF CHAOS… AND WE WERE!!!!!!! HOW CAN ANYONE TRULY EXPRESS AN INTELLIGENT THOUGHT USING ONLY THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

A PROGRAM WITH TED-STYLE TALKS WITH A WORCESTER TWIST, INCLUDING SUCH WORCESTER LUMINARIES AS… RUDOLPH GIULIANI AND BEN CARSON… WERE LAUNCHED IN CONJUNCTION WITH THIS. THOUGH WE COULD QUESTION THE EXECUTION, WE CANNOT IGNORE THEIR BOLD ATTEMPT TO PUSH THE ENVELOPE IN TERMS OF RAISING THE BAR FOR DISCOURSE IN WORCESTER.

WE CAN OF COURSE MOCK THEIR FAILURE, HOWEVER. THE LAST TWEET FROM THE WORCESTER CONNECTS TWITTER ACCOUNT WERE IN JANUARY 27, 2014 — A MERE 3 MONTHS AFTER LAUNCH.

THE TELEGRAM COMMENT SECTIONS WERE SAFE. BUT, AS IT TURN OUT, THEY WERE NOT READY FOR THE INVETTIBLE. A YEAR LATER, ON APRIL 30, 2015, THE TELEGRAM SWITCHED TO A FACEBOOK COMMENT MODEL. WE WOULD LINK TO A PAGE WHERE SUCH LUMINARIES AS “U DO’NT GET IT” COMPLAINED. BUT DESPITE CONCERNS RAISED ABOUT COMMENT SECTIONS DISAPPEARING, THIS TIME THERE WERE NO FORMAL ANNOUNCEMENT TO HOST A FLAME-WAR. WHICH COULD HAVE BEEN THE POINT, BUT WHERE AM THE FUN IN THAT??????

HOW DID THEY MAINTAIN THEIR VISE-LIKE GRASP ON ONLINE DISCUSSION IN WORCESTER?????????

EMOTICONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

emrolleyes14 emrolleyes14 emrolleyes14 emrolleyes14 emrolleyes14 emrolleyes14 emrolleyes14 emrolleyes14 emrolleyes14 emrolleyes14

BECAUSE NOTHING PROMOTES INTELLIGENT DISCOURSE LIKE A SHIFTY-EYED FACE LABELED MISTRUST.GIF.

mistrust

CAN YOU NOT FEEL YOUR IQ POINTS RISING?!?!?!?!?!?!?

WE SHALL NOW TAKE THIS TIME TO REMEMBER THE TOP 3 EMOTICONS WHICH AM NOW OUT OF WORK AS A RESULT OF THE HORRIBLE TRAGEDY CAUSED BY TELEGRAM PARENT COMPANY GATEHOUSE MEDIA THROWING THE BABY OUT WITH THE BATHWATER (WHICH WE NORMALLY WOULD APPROVE OF):

#3:  highfive

ALTHOUGH NOT AS INSUFFERABLE AS THE OTHER TWO, HIGHFIVE-DOT-GIF WERE GENERALLY USED NOT TO EXPRESS CAMRADERIE WITH ANOTHER COMMENTER, BUT TO EMPHASIZE THE GLEEFULNESS  TO A SITUATION WHICH THE POSTER RAISED, RESULTING GENERALLY IN HIGHFIVES WITH ONESELF.

EXAMPLE: “less ppl in nepal = less taxes highfive

#2: banghead

THIS EMOTICON SAW ITS MOST FREQUENT USE BY COMMENTERS DESCRIBING WORCESTER POLITICS LONG BEFORE THE SUPERIOR BIZARRO WORLD METAPHOR CAME INTO POPULARITY.

EXAMPLE: “my dog peed on my leg again. thanks obama bangheadbangheadbangheadbangheadbangheadbanghead

#1:  old_rofl

WE SHALL MISS YOU MOST OF ALL, SCARECROW.

NO DISCUSSION OF THE WORCESTER TELEGRAM’S OLD COMMENT SECTION COULD BE COMPLETE WITHOUT A DISCUSSION OF THIS JOLLY FELLOW!!!!! THIS EMOTICON, BY FAR, WERE THE MOST REVOLUTIONARY DEVELOPMENT IN WORCESTER RHETORICAL HISTORY SINCE THE BATHROOMS AT RALPH’S. NO COMMENT SECTION WERE COMPLETE WITHOUT THIS THROWBACK TO THE DAYS WHEN IT WERE UNPROFESSIONAL TO HOST A BLOG WITHOUT AN EMBEDDED BACKSTREET BOYS MIDI FILE ON EVERY FREAKING PAGE.

EXAMPLE: “they died in a fire old_roflold_roflold_roflold_roflold_roflold_roflold_roflold_roflold_roflold_roflold_roflold_rofl

WE HAVE NO IDEA HOW GATEHOUSE MEDIA’S NEW COMMENT POLICY SHALL POSSIBLY IMPROVE THE LEVEL OF DISCOURSE IN WORCESTER WITHOUT RED SPHERES BANGING THEIR HEADS INTO BRICK WALLS, OR EVEN THE MODERN EQUIVALENT WITH EMOJIS DEPICTING EXCREMENT WITH HAPPY FACES. BUT IT AM CRYSTAL-CLEAR TO US THAT THE SUN HAVE SET ON THE GOLDEN AGE OF LOCAL ONLINE COMMENTARY.

THE KEY TO THAT GOLDEN AGE MUST NEVER BE FORGOTTEN.

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6 thoughts on “THE DAY THE WORCESTER TELEGRAM EMOTICONS DIED

  1. WE WOULD LIKE TO BIZARRO THANK MS. CLAUDIA SNELL FOR HER ASSISTANCE WITH THIS ARTICLE. WE UNDERSTAND SHE DID YEOMAN’S WORK IN IMPLEMENTING THE WORCESTER TELEGRAM’S COMMENT SECTION AND (AS WE STATED ON TWITTER) TO BE UNFAIR, HER WORK DID SURVIVE 9 YEARS WITH MINIMAL CHANGE.

  2. Mark Henderson says:

    I’m impressed with the research. Emoticons aside, I find the principle of anonymous comments one worth defending, despite its problems.

    I can tell you as a matter of fact that crimes that may have gone unsolved were solved with the help of anonymous comments. Anonymous commenters caught mistakes in reporting and many times advanced reporting on stories of consequence. Commenters who chose anonymity did so for a number of reasons. Yes, it could be so they could throw bombs. But many times it was simply because they had something to say and saying it with their real name may have negatively impacted their lives.

    The biggest reason I supported them? The system was built and the moderation was handled by local employees. Not a full-time job in itself, to be sure, but the the loss of these functions locally portends bad things for the future of Worcester media.

    • THIS SHALL SHOCK YOU, BUT WE AGREE THAT ANONYMOUS COMMENTING CARRIES ADVANTAGES. WE CITED THE SAME ADVANTAGE OF CHOOSING NOT TO “STAND UP AND BE COUNTED” IN OUR INTERVIEW WITH WORCESTER MAGAZINE. TO SUGGEST OTHERWISE WOULD BE TOO BIZARRO EVEN FOR THIS WRITER.

      WE OFFER THAT WORCESTER MAGAZINE STILL STAND AS THE BEST WEBSITE OUTSIDE OF FACEBOOK FOR ONLINE DISCUSSION, IN PART DUE TO LAISSEZ-FAIRE MODERATION — AND ITS COMMENT SECTION REMAINS IDENTITY-OPTIONAL. WE THOUGHT THE WORCESTER HERALD MIGHT OVERTHROW THAT TITLE, BUT INSTEAD OF WORCESTER’S ANSWER TO FARK, IT BECAME A RIP-OFF OF THE HUFFINGTON POST MINUS THE COMMENTARY.

      WE SEE A DIFFERENT FUTURE FOR WORCESTER MEDIA. NOT JUST BECAUSE WE AM NATURAL CONTRARIANS, BUT BECAUSE WE SEE NICHES YET TO BE TAPPED (POINT IN CASE: THIS BLOG). WE STAND CONFIDENT THAT SOMEONE SHALL EVENTUALLY BECOME TO OUR GENERATION WHAT WORCESTER MAGAZINE WERE TO THE ’70S.

      BUT HANDS OFF THE POLITICAL PARODY, FOLKS. THAT AM OUR HOUSE!!!

      • Mark Henderson says:

        We agree? What’s happening to us?

        For me the jury’s out on other local commenting platforms. It will be interesting to see where, if anywhere, the audience goes. It would be shame if they just dropped away.

        This might shock you but the futures we see for Worcester media probably aren’t that far apart, really. This is a very exciting time with other people such as yourself stepping up just as the T&G appears to be stepping back. That said, while voices and opinions are important, bad things happen in communities when there are fewer and fewer able to commit acts of journalism for a living.

        One other thing: I think you just betrayed your age a bit or you know your history. “OUR GENERATION WHAT WORCESTER MAGAZINE WERE TO THE ’70S.” Hmmmmmm

        And by all means, I’ll never am enter you house. 🙂

  3. Mark Henderson says:

    I know this is parody, but I just wanted to follow up on my first comment.

    I wrote: The system was built and the moderation was handled by local employees. Not a full-time job in itself, to be sure, but the the loss of these functions locally portends bad things for the future of Worcester media.

    Follow-up: The two people mentioned above were among the 10 who left the T&G yesterday. We should all lament the loss of local jobs, even, and can I say it, if it am in media.

    • OUR JOB AM TO BE SHORTSIGHTED YOKELS SO NO ONE ELSE NEED TO.

      WE COULD PLAY GATEHOUSE ADVOCATE AND CLAIM THAT JOBS LIKE I.T. AND GRAPHIC DESIGN CAN BE DONE ANYWHERE, AND THEREFORE SHOULD BE DONE AS FAR AWAY FROM WORCESTER AS POSSIBLE. BUT THAT IGNORES THE KEY WORD IN LOCAL MEDIA: LOCAL.

      NO ONE FEELS THE EFFECTS OF CORPORATE RESTRUCTURING THAN EMPLOYEES LEFT FEELING LIKE FURNITURE. THIS AM NOT FALLON. FEW BUSINESSES RELY MORE ON THE COMMUNITY THAN LOCAL NEWS MEDIA. THEREFORE, WE STAND UNSURPRISED THAT THE UPROOTING YIELDED A DOMINO EFFECT NOT UNLIKE A TYPICAL DWARF FORTRESS ENDGAME. HENCE NOAH BOMBARD, THOMAS CAYWOOD, CHRIS SINACOLA, DAVID HITCH, ET AL. ACCOUNTANTS FACTOR IN GOODWILL FOR A REASON AND THIS WOULD BE IT.

      IF NICKELS STOPPED HOLDING UP DOLLARS IN WORCESTER’S BIGGEST BUSINESSES, WE WOULD THINK WE WERE IN THE WRONG CITY. BUT WE NEVER LIKE BIZARRO PLANS COMING TOGETHER IN REALITY.

HAVE A COMMENT??? AMUSE ME OR SUFFER!!!!!

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