Fear of going first

On my wanderings on the internet and specifically on observation of certain blogs I have noticed that there is this a psychological fear of going first. Many people are like this in real life, avoiding going first because they feel they can learn from those who’ve gone before or are just crippled by not taking action.

Call to action: I ask for you to make a comment in my comment section below, it doesn’t matter if you are first or last, make a comment below. This time I’m asking.

Image from Wikkicommons

Make that first step, break the virgin sands.

Somebody always has to go first. It’s a universal fact!

  • Someone decided to eat an oyster
  • Someone decided to beat someone to death with a tree branch or the business end of a rock
  • Someone decided to start singing for social enjoyment

There was always someone who went first, took that important first step. They are the courageous person that is willing to take a chance. What was bizarre becomes commonplace.


Ways of managing people who go first.

There are a lot of situations where you may really need someone to go first.

  • The white player on the chessboard
  • A pitcher in baseball
  • The bowler in cricket
  • The fencer who strikes first in fencing

Without the initiation of the person to go first, you have no game. Someone has to make the first move.

Asking isn’t always enough, sometimes you have to incentivise by other means, find some way to capture commentary or social acceptance.

Comments emerge on subjects that evoke some form of personal connection, something that the audience can relate to. In my short time blog writing those articles that do best are the ones that help.


Situation in terms of blogging involve the following:

  • Being the first to comment on a blog post
  • Being the first to like a blog post
  • Being the first to +1
  • Being the first to comment
  • Being the first to re-share or re-blog
  • Being the first to like

Numbers symbolise trust and a collective of like minds. People become drawn to surging numbers. Notoriety drives more notoriety (good or bad).


Comments are needed for credibility and trust.

Comments help expand the content beyond the original conversation, they allow others to share views and opinions on the topic and comments allow the reader to ask questions of the author.

Likes and +1s are needed for signs of shared approval. The crowd always looked to the Emperor for a sign of approval at the Colosseum. His thumb was often the decider when it came to a Gladiator’s survival. Perhaps one of the failings of some of the big social media sites is the lack of opportunity to dislike or show disapproval apart from reporting a post.

In YouTube there are positive and negative thumbs and I can’t help but feel that these would be of use on Facebook and Google+. Of course, you can always report people for abuse but there should be some form of balance.


Google Ranks your post on how your content has been viewed.

Besides backlinks, Google ranks posts on how many comments, plusses, shares, re-shares, likes and tweets it has. They are called social signals.

The image below is an excerpt from Neil Patel’s Quicksprout.com blog and refers particularly to what is classed an “In-depth article” algorithm. Google have many complex algorithms to calculate search engine results based on readable content.

This excerpt came from “How I increased My Search results by 13.15% in Just 30 days through Google’s in depth articles” dated 14th November 2013

Qsprout quote NP 001


I term this factor as social reckoning.

Comments are important for other reasons.

Comments allow the audience to provide you with objective, and sometimes biased, feedback. The audience can provide critical information that can be rectified quickly by means of the comments.

Comments allow others to share links to similar topics which may help broaden the discussion and help the audience further. You’ll be known as the person who in part helped to provide the answer. Whilst it may seem counter-productive to allow these links, Google will like you more but you have to be careful of spam creeping in, moderation is key.

Debate can take the contents of the original post beyond its original horizon and chart new depths. These new branches of ideas may lead you to be inspired to write more future posts along these lines and this will help stave off writer’s block. Review these comments to see if you can spin them further.

You can identify interested parties and if you are a marketer; “leads”. Some audience members often ask questions from lack of knowledge or an expressed need. You might be the person to provide that help whether it be free or not.

High fives may follow. There’s nothing like the exhilaration of being congratulated on your work, especially if many praise you, all is graciously received.

If you receive a stream of negative comments, this is a warning sign that something is wrong. The root cause could be technology failing, the product or service you are selling, the content and nature surrounding the article, a troll or something else. Investigate these comments to learn more.

Most importantly, visitors may follow. If you are setup with a Gravatar, which can be acquired from WordPress pretty quickly, you are universally recognised with all blogs (well almost, those people who use Disqus or one of the Social Media comments may be different, because, you know, some people want to be different). From one site I have consistently tried to comment and I’ve received numerous visits just from my Gravatar profile on the comment sections.


I spent some time in thought over permission whilst away on my vacation in November 2013. I feel that there is a psychological imperative to wait for permission especially on subjects that require you to invest a small amount of time in something. Expanding this theory, most people of decent upbringing like to be polite, have manners, carry themselves in a socially delicate way. They are respectful.

In the situation of leaving a comment you should leave all of those ideas behind. Ideally the author would have disabled the comments if they didn’t want you to comment. There are many videos on Youtube that trump this fact because trolls live out there.

When considering whether to comment ask yourself a question:

What’s the worst that can happen?

I believe that a lot of people are wrapped up in being self-conscious over how people may take the comments. Obviously you’ve got to try to be on topic but in most cases you should be free to fire and forget. If the moderator doesn’t approve your comment, what’s the problem? As long as you didn’t invest too much time in writing your comment it shouldn’t mean too much time.


Part of the psychology behind making a complex decision can equate to paranoid delusions.

It’s okay to be afraid!

But you shouldn’t let it stop you from living your life the way you want to!

Paranoia in leaving a comment can spring from many concerns. I’ve listed a few below but you might be able to think of more.

  • Releasing your details to randoms
  • Fear of being out of your depth with the topic
  • Fear of offending the author of the article
  • Fear of the moderator not approving your submission

In those rare cases maybe something bad might happen. Driving a car in the modern world is statistically dangerous yet millions of us do it every day. I’ve had 3 incidents in 15 years so on average 1 every 5 years. Think of how many days there are in a year and think of how many hours you spend driving every year. 3 bad events doesn’t mean a whole lot in the scheme of things. Just think about the thousands of times we got to the place we were going.

To Conclude

I reiterate my call to arms; my call for your duty, the CTA, the business end of the rifle.

I ask for you to make a comment in my comment section below, it doesn’t matter if you are first or last, make a comment below.

But just one thing before you do, consider some guidance before writing if you have no sense. Step back and Think: Social engagement is a post I wrote to cover the basics.

Best wishes to you all!

This post was submitted to the Daily Prompt writing challenge.


Shout outs!

A Personal thank you to Michelle Huang at Michellebikeandbuild.wordpress.com for being the first to comment.


4 Comments Fear of going first

  1. Michelle

    There is definitely some apprehension in going first. I think that mainly has to do with the fact that results are usually incalculable and unexpected. I figure commenting first is not too far out of my comfort zone, so here it is. I completely identify with a certain fear of being the first one, but there still seems to be certain intrinsic barriers to being second, third, fourth, etc. As I read your post, I considered: What are the payoffs to voicing your thoughts and responses to a blog? And how are short or long term benefit or cost considered? What can a blogger do to inspire and motivate people? How do you align incentives? I don’t have conclusive answers to any of these questions, but it looks like your solicitations worked (on me, at least).

    The points you made about specific social phenomena are quite interesting as well. The right catalyst (in the form of a blog comment, activist manifestation, or fashion statement) could spark and energize an entire sustainable movement. I doubt my comment is going to be the one to bring that spark your blog, but who knows? Unexpected things happen when you go first.

    1. Jackson Davies

      Thanks for replying Michelle! A very well constructed first response it is too. I personally think that going first is difficult for a great many people. It harks back to the comment I made on seeking permission even when that step is not required. You might see a blank slate and think, why upset the status quo?

      I’m glad my solicitations worked on you! For me the article was more about an observation on a theory about how weight of numbers has an effect on psychology. I don’t expect some explosion but I find it interesting by asking for a comment how it has actually transpired. It is a good question you pose. What is in it for anyone for that matter? What is the payoff. The payoff for me when I post on other blogs is the fact that there is potential that an interested party might look further into the person behind the words. Sometimes a comment is a bit of a reach but I’ve had people follow those feelers back. A lot of people use comments that way. Of course, I feel being sincere is more important than writing a comment to satisfy an agenda.

      Thanks for putting a smile on my face by going first. It is highly appreciated! I wish you well with your blog!!

  2. แทงบอล

    thanks for this post, I’ve found it really interesting (gaah, that sounds like something a spammer would write!) I hate captcha, but I think I hate spam more. Hmmmmm. I think you might have convinced me to give it a try. What’s the worst that could happen, right? Now I’m going off to read more of your tips!

    1. Jackson Davies

      Hello Read (that’s what Google Translation says),

      Thanks for your comment and for taking the leap of faith. Spam is worse, you’ve got to do something with it but Captcha can be your golden guardian!

      If you have any questions about my other tips, you know where to find me!


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