I’ve been watching a little tussle going on between two people I know. The tussle started when social media guy Chris Brogan announced he was doing a webinar about the latest bright shiny object, Google+.
As I write this, Gini’s post has more than 400 comments and 200 retweets. Chris’s post about his webinar has 15 comments. And there’s been a real (to use the Shel and Neville term) kerfuffle over this.
I’ve been watching with bemusement more than anything else. But I was moved to write this when the BlogWorld Expo blog covered the story, engendering comments on their site. The comment that tipped me over was one from Rick Calvert, the CEO of that organization, who wrote in the comments:
“There is nothing wrong with having an opinion. There is nothing wrong with disagreeing with each other. What I and many other people have an issue with is slandering someones good name. That is what [Gini] did. That’s my opinion. I don’t see anyone who agrees with [Gini's] opinion saying [she] did otherwise. [She] should apologize publicly. That’s my opinion.”
I didn’t attend the webinar. I have no idea what value it provided attendees, and whether it was worth the $47 paid for it. And for my purposes, I frankly don’t care.
What concerns me is that there seems to be a feeling that there are people whose actions are beyond criticism in the social media sphere. Criticism not as in someone is gauche, has bad breath, or is stupid. Criticism as in “this is an inappropriate venture”; “you’re wrong”; “The facts don’t bear out your argument”; or “you’re contradicting what you said last week. Which is it?”
This incident has shown me a population of people who seem hypersensitive to criticism, who feel that to question an action is to question the person. There have been a number of comments that essentially say “if you can’t say anything good, don’t say anything at all.” I think that’s crap. I think people need their ideas tested and tempered, like the steel for a sword. If your ideas can’t withstand the first criticism, how strong are they? How good are they? Where does agreement end and blind faith begin? Another common comment has been “If people pay for it, it’s good.” Have you READ the Twilight books? People pay for them and they’re CRAP! I know, because I read them. (Don’t ask why.)
I like people based on their humanity. I respect people based on their accomplishments. And I esteem their arguments and words based on their logic and thoughtfulness. I seem to be able to separate those things fairly well and maintain varying levels of like, respect, and esteem. Am I that weird? God, I hope not.