Thursday, January 29, 2009
Michael Arrington has had a week you wouldn't wish on anyone. Being spat on and witnessing the volley of unfair criticism rising to a fever pitch is no way to get into the WSJ.
The last time anyone spat on me was in a schoolyard at age 8. A bully chased me around the asphalt for about a half a mile. I got tired of running away, so I stopped. The bully stopped short, and unloaded a looghie right on my face. And then began running away. So I started chasing him. Anyway, people who spit on people are inherently repulsive. Even shoe-throwing is tidier.
Although I blog to a smaller audience, and I'm not being attacked daily, I can understand Arrington's sentiments about just wanting to stop because it isn't worth it anymore. Over here, my issue is with people's extreme sensitivity to criticism. With large companies, the slightest criticism can invoke either a response or that familiar cold shoulder response, whereby you can assume they're trying to teach you to write only positive things.
Startups are the worst, because they really want coverage. So their response to any negative coverage can be lightning-fast and solicitous. ("I see you covered x. Want to see a demo so I can show you how this thing really works?") It's not a big surprise that this is how a company might deal with coverage they don't like, but it's achingly predictable. And it's amazing how, up until that point, they'd never shown any signs of reading the blog, getting to know the writer, or participating in the relevant online communities... until all of a sudden they want to make friends, timed with some kind of public launch (or negative coverage).
That gets real old, and makes one feel like "what's the use of writing".
That said, I know that many people quietly read the content, and though not frequent, some of the comments people have written here in the past couple of years have been encouraging.
Probably the only reason I won't take February off blogging, like Mr. Arrington, is that unlike him, I won't be taking the month off to be in a warm place. I'll pretty much be dividing my time between Toronto and London, having foolishly booked something here when I should have been heading to SMX West in Santa Clara. So if I don't write in February, the only reason will probably be that my fingers froze up.
On a serious note, if nothing else, the hiatus should be good for Mr. Arrington's health. When you start to perceive extreme day-to-day pressures that look barely discernible to outside observers, it's time to step back, get some perspective, and take some deep breaths before your head or something else explodes.
Labels: blogging hiatus
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