In an interview with Yahoo!'s Katie Couric (which is still an amazing combination of words, but I digress), two-time Republican presidential hopeful Willard Mitt Romney offered a bit of sage advice crucial to those who spend any time online: Do not read the comments.
This is one of the iron facts of the Internet, of course. This article will probably have some comments down the road, and you are welcome to read them. To contribute to them. But many are predictable: "You wrote this because you love Obama." "You wrote this because you hate Obama." "Why did you write about this?" Others will be much less generous, so even authors are often reticent to dive in, much less the subjects of the articles.
As Romney put it, "You don't want to have some 25-year-old writer that is attacking you in your mind all day, and you're responding to that attack." Now, I'm not exactly 25, sir. But the same holds for the people writing the comments.
The whole conversation stemmed from the lament of Romney's sons that, had America simply known their father, Mitt would have been elected president. But it's impossible to know a candidate through debates and sound bites, Romney responded, and in an age when cameras follow you around hoping to catch a mistake, it's harder still.
"Most candidates get in trouble telling jokes!" he said, having already offered an unexpected summary of one of his 2012 flaws: "I probably should have been more rigid and more scripted than I was."
If you haven't yet been convinced by Romney's concerns, one last point about the Internet: "You know, there's trolling going on."
Well, we know that now. Thanks, Mitt.