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This tweet was sadly not "Edited. By. Brooke."
July 2, 2011 7:43 AM   Subscribe

On the Media's Bob Garfield demonstrates How to Turn a Fan into an Enemy in Under 140 Characters.
posted by joshwa (120 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
A tempest in a tweet up.
posted by fairmettle at 7:49 AM on July 2, 2011 [18 favorites]


This is why the internet is bad. TERRIBLY BAD!
posted by mazola at 7:50 AM on July 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


Tweet drama?
posted by Ideefixe at 7:50 AM on July 2, 2011


This guy wrote an article about a bit of Twitter drama.

I guess that's all I've got to say.
posted by Malice at 7:51 AM on July 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


If you are going to get huffy when someone calls out a glib or facile comment, perhaps one should make fewer glib or facile comments, or at least use a platform that doesn't make such comments pretty much mandatory.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:55 AM on July 2, 2011 [10 favorites]


SOMEONE SAID SOMETHING CRANKY TO YOU ON TWITTER? QUICK! YOUR BLOG READERS MUST BE MADE AWARE OF THIS!
posted by chasing at 7:56 AM on July 2, 2011 [8 favorites]


I think that Mr your opinion of me is none of my business and Mr hates online comments are not as far apart as they'd like to think.
posted by bonaldi at 7:57 AM on July 2, 2011 [10 favorites]


It seems like, what with all these short messages going back and forth so quickly, there's a greater chance for nuance to be lost and further misunderstanding.
posted by benito.strauss at 7:58 AM on July 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


Also: An 'ENEMY'? This guy is not making a good argument against the internet being a hyperbolic noise machine.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:59 AM on July 2, 2011 [7 favorites]


NPR listeners are almost a good reason in themselves to never listen to NPR.
posted by koeselitz at 8:00 AM on July 2, 2011 [14 favorites]


This guy wrote an article about a bit of Twitter drama.

I guess that's all I've got to say.


Derek Powazek founded JPG Magazine, which is a teeny bit legendary. He worked on Blogger and Technorati, neither of which I used much, both of which I respect. He's one of the people responsible for MagCloud, which is one of the best self-publishing platforms on the Internet, and he edits Fray, which I haven't read, but I've heard good things about.

Why is it that if you've got a popular radio show it's okay for you to bitch about the Internet, but if you've got a blog you're not allowed to criticize the radio show for its bitching? Is it that a blog is inherently less respectable? Because Powazek has an audience of at least thousands.
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:00 AM on July 2, 2011 [30 favorites]


I'm also a big fan of OTM, and have listened to the segments the author characterizes as mocking or belittling. I heard nothing worse than occasional bemusement. I think he's way off the mark on this.
posted by Bromius at 8:01 AM on July 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


My On The Media story: I saw Brooke Gladstone give a talk about her new book. I bought the book and, since I was there, got her to sign it. But what would be the point of her writing my name in it? She doesn't know me. So I got her to write:

Written ..... by Brooke.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:01 AM on July 2, 2011 [12 favorites]


It might be Twitter drama, but it illustrates a trend that I see, too: journalists from the old school have thinner skins that journalists of the Internet age.
posted by CRM114 at 8:01 AM on July 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


And then Suzy said that Billy kissed Katie and that she's a slut and she's going to make sure she doesn't appear in ANY of the yearbook photos.
posted by nathancaswell at 8:02 AM on July 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


journalists from the old school have thinner skins that journalists of the Internet age.

If that were so, wouldn't Blogger Guy just have let it be, and not blogged/dissected everything? They both seem like annoying twerps, and I didn't even bother to finish reading the crap.
posted by kellyblah at 8:04 AM on July 2, 2011 [7 favorites]


Well, Powazek's right on nearly every point. Except his initial admiration for Bob and Brooke and OTM. It's a bit much to be "shocked, shocked!" that any air talent at WNYC would be pompous, arrogant jerks when they weren't being smugly fake nice on the radio.
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:05 AM on July 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Powazek and JPG Magazine previously on MetaFilter.
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:07 AM on July 2, 2011


Also, a fact I never tire of repeating: the GM of WNYC makes more than half a million dollars a year.

Public radio, my ass. I don't miss the pledge drives either.
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:09 AM on July 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


If anything this is a rare example where the recipient of the msm Internet tone deafness got butthurt and thought a lot about the interaction rather than just ignoring and subsequently writing off the journalist forever like most readers are doing these days.

The fact is that being a journalist now means being a socially adept person--this certainly isn't at all easy for most journalists I know. They're designed to be annoying enough to find the truth and report it in a compelling fashion...they're often horrible at the giant-cocktail-party aspects of the Internet.

Yes they need to work on that, but let's try to help them if we can an give them the benefit of the doubt--the world doesn't need more publicists, we need more gadflies and watchdogs.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:10 AM on July 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


I love OTM. I don't mind Bob Garfield's internet skepticism, even when I don't agree with him. It's clear that Garfield is a bit of a jerk, and I sort of love him for it. But I thought their coverage of the Jose Antonio Vargas situation last week was pretty appalling. So they're on my shit-list right now, too.
posted by craichead at 8:10 AM on July 2, 2011


I thought Bob Garfield reacted understandably to some off-base criticism. His On the Media persona is pretty much always "humorously cynical skeptic." It provides a good basis for him to ask interviewees tough questions from an opposing point of view. Often, they have good answers, which is part of the point. As a connoisseur of the Internet, I've never felt that Garfield was hostile to it or misunderstood it.

Powazek's whole premise, then, was skewed from the start. Unless Garfield responded by being completely apologetic, there was a good chance that this was going to end badly. He didn't, and while not everyone would been quite as testy as he was, I don't think his testiness was at all unreasonable given then compressed context of Powaezk's initial tweet. (Powazek was thinking a lot of things he didn't say until later, as his post makes clear.) It's bad public relations, if you want to call it that, to alienate a fan like this, but honestly, it makes me like Garfield more as a media figure, not less. I'll go back to listening to OTM's outstanding coverage of new-media issues with a little better sense for Bob Garfield as a person, not just a disembodied voice.
posted by grimmelm at 8:13 AM on July 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


If that were so, wouldn't Blogger Guy just have let it be, and not blogged/dissected everything? They both seem like annoying twerps, and I didn't even bother to finish reading the crap.

The difference between Derek and Bob here is that Derek is attempting to start a conversation. Bob is attempting to shut a conversation down. Derek engaged Bob, Bob responded with vitriol and rudeness.

You need to remember that, again, Powazek's blog is not just some teenager's Tumblr that whines and moans and nothing happens. Derek linked to a blog post I wrote two years ago and I had a few thousand hits a day from his site for a week. And that was just him saying "I liked this thing"; when he writes (and I think he writes well), people read. And respond. I've seen this post other places than MetaFilter. People are thinking about what he wrote, and they're talking about it. And each thing that gets written moves the conversation along a little bit more.

For what purpose? I don't know. Maybe Bob Garfield gets a lot of angry tweets from people and that's it. Maybe people write NPR and complain about Garfield, and he gets reprimanded. Maybe people think to themselves what the right and wrong ways to behave online are, and it makes them slightly better online participants. The thing about the Internet is that everybody can see everything and we have no clue how things will get responded to.

(MetaFilter included, by the way. Newspaper articles pop up about comments and posts. People who don't have MetaFilter accounts have written me for things I've said on this site. We're part of the conversation. It's a shame that so many of us are taking this opportunity to insult a thoughtful post by a cool guy, but then, it's been established that MetaFilter sucks at doing a lot of things.
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:14 AM on July 2, 2011 [8 favorites]


Huh. Yesterday's Dooce Twitter drama post was deleted.
posted by statolith at 8:16 AM on July 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


The difference between Derek and Bob here is that Derek is attempting to start a conversation.

I don't see it that way at all. Bob is being (overly) grumpy; Derek is trying to score points with his audience. Stunt outrage is fun to watch, as Rush Limbaugh's ratings prove, but it's not productive. Treating conversation from the get go as a tit-for-tat interaction practically guarantees these kinds of dramas.

It's fun taunting the bulls, but it really doesn't get you anywhere conversationally.
posted by bonehead at 8:22 AM on July 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's a shame that so many of us are taking this opportunity to insult a thoughtful post by a cool guy, but then, it's been established that MetaFilter sucks at doing a lot of things.

Sorry that your idol isn't getting nicer treatment, but really the dude's as thin-skinned as all hell (see my link above), and pointing out other thin-skinned types (at great length) is simply nagl. I'd link to some other net luminary's post about being positive or shutting the hell up, but eh.
posted by bonaldi at 8:23 AM on July 2, 2011


bonehead: If Powazek had contacted Garfield initially I would agree with you. But his original tweet wasn't directed at Garfield; it mentioned him, but wasn't @sent his way. Garfield somehow saw the tweet and instantly responded with loud angry caps.
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:24 AM on July 2, 2011


The difference between Derek and Bob here is that Derek is attempting to start a conversation. Bob is attempting to shut a conversation down. Derek engaged Bob, Bob responded with vitriol and rudeness.

This week on MeFi, Rory Marinich is wrong! Wrong on the internet!

Seriously though; if a person wants to have a conversation on the internet, they have to work harder or find a platform that will allow them to make it clear they are truly interested in a dialogue, rather than just appearing to make a drive-by snark.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:25 AM on July 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Rory, sometimes the best trolls start with an unbaited hook.
posted by bonehead at 8:26 AM on July 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Garfield somehow saw the tweet and instantly responded with loud angry caps.

With all due, you may be projecting a skootch; I read the all-caps as a way to differentiate Garfield's response from the retweet.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:27 AM on July 2, 2011


I don't really listen to OTM regularly.. Is this basically like tweeting FUCK YOU KRULWICH JAD IS RIGHT?
posted by condour75 at 8:29 AM on July 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Derek Powazek founded JPG Magazine, which is a teeny bit legendary. He worked on Blogger and Technorati, neither of which I used much, both of which I respect. He's one of the people responsible for MagCloud, which is one of the best self-publishing platforms on the Internet, and he edits Fray, which I haven't read, but I've heard good things about.
Yes, he made sure to remind us of what an awesome weblebrity he is throughout his little rant. The real message of the article was less about Bob Garfield being "anti-internet" and more about "OMG! Bob Garfield doesn't know how important I am?".
posted by dvdgee at 8:29 AM on July 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


Anyone who thinks they're gonna get anywhere sensible on Twitter is insane. Twitter is 99.99999% for posing.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:30 AM on July 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'll show this guy what a real enemy is! Or maybe I'll just move on.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:33 AM on July 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Rory Marinich:
I've seen this post other places than MetaFilter. People are thinking about what he wrote, and they're talking about it.
Link(s)?

I posted this since I thought it was a perfect example of old media colliding with new, with an extra twist of meta since it was OTM, but clearly that's not the mood mefi is in today.
posted by joshwa at 8:33 AM on July 2, 2011


As someone once said, the failure mode of clever is asshole. This Derek guy was trying to be funny and, surprise, surprise it failed (for some people). Derek really shouldn't be surprised that someone he made a snarky comment about responded with "Dude, what the fuck?"
posted by nooneyouknow at 8:34 AM on July 2, 2011 [10 favorites]


God, listening to this Jose Vargas coverage now. The On The Media guys are douchebags, and I have no need for Bob Garfield's douchebaggery, either. Anybody who thinks he responded correctly here has no idea what a proper response is. I get the feeling that Bob Garfield doesn't like dialogue at all.

Moreover, I think Derek is being ridiculously charitable here. Bob Garfield doesn't represent "old media" at all. In "old media," people who host self-important little shows about "media issues" aren't exactly the standard-bearers. Bob Garfield is just an Internet troll here.
posted by koeselitz at 8:35 AM on July 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


There's NOTHING wrong with the internet. Now FUCK OFF.
posted by philip-random at 8:39 AM on July 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I had this same exact thing happen a month or two ago with a member of local media here (although without making a followup blog post). Critiquing the critics in 140 chars didn't go any better in that case either.
posted by waterunderground at 8:41 AM on July 2, 2011


You need to remember that, again, Powazek's blog is not just some teenager's Tumblr that whines and moans and nothing happens.

I thought this was a Twitter thing? His blog post was him whining about the Twitter crap.

As an aside, telling me that I "need to remember" makes me pretty much disregard whatever you are saying.
posted by kellyblah at 8:42 AM on July 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Insulting people on twitter is never a good idea, for either of them. However, if Powazek wanted to back himself up, he could have at least given some examples on his blog post about Garfield's "anti-internet bias". As it is, he could have tweeted "Garfield gives us more reasons why academics are boring. Boring! Terribly Boring!" and it would have had a similar response.
posted by demiurge at 8:42 AM on July 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


The difference between Derek and Bob here is that Derek is attempting to start a conversation. Bob is attempting to shut a conversation down. Derek engaged Bob, Bob responded with vitriol and rudeness.

Nope, as you yourself said above, Derek wasn't engaging Bob. He was having a conversation with the public about a public figure via twitter. This kind of stuff happens all the time with book reviewers and authors on twitter. Someone will say something critical of a book, and authors start either tweeting the party in question or one another about how wrong they were. I think of this as "a public licking of private wounds." It never goes well.

Actually, I find the "why didn't he look up who I am; I'm important!!" aspect of this the worst part. Because both of these guys are pretty small-scale celebrities. Still, you have to expect people to disagree with your radio show, sometimes publicly. I just don't know if Powazek's status makes Garfield's fairly atrocious twitter behavior (DMing someone who criticized you? Poor form) any different.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:46 AM on July 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


I would like to comment on this post but I'm not sure if it's still kosher to use the word "butthurt" around here.
posted by Bookhouse at 8:50 AM on July 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


The blog perhaps needs an even larger font for his title/name?

Also, transparent lame publicity grab by publicly going after a B-list news celeb on teh Twitter: kinda sad.
posted by aught at 8:51 AM on July 2, 2011


Actually, I find the "why didn't he look up who I am; I'm important!!" aspect of this the worst part.

I think, and I'm not sure about this, Powazek was trying to point out that his specific experience and knowledge are relevant to the issue, that he was criticizing from an informed perspective.

So maybe it's not "hey I'm important", it's "hey I know what I'm talking about here"

I don't think he communicated that effectively
posted by device55 at 8:52 AM on July 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


So this is a discussion on website about a guy whining about his Twitter conversation with the host of a radio show about the internet as a medium and the latter's perceived bias thereof.

If we can tie this into bitcoins somehow I think we hit the Powerball jackpot.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 8:54 AM on July 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


Is this basically like tweeting FUCK YOU KRULWICH JAD IS RIGHT?

Maybe a better analogy would be tweeting "Jad and Robert think all scientists are BAD. BAD, RLY BAD!!!" because every once in a while RL questions the conclusions of some scientific expert.
posted by aught at 8:56 AM on July 2, 2011


I don't understand the hostility toward the blogger in this thread. He felt a radio show was being biased and tweeted that. A publicity grab? It's his Twitter and his blog. I assume he didn't send out a press release. I found this a reasonable article about the down side of being able to engage celebrities/your fans on an impulsive, intimate level. Sometimes you don't like what you learn.

Aside from doing it in 280 characters instead of 140, I thought this blog did what it said on the label.
posted by maryr at 8:57 AM on July 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


Part of Bob Garfield's "charm" is his tone of bemused skepticism, which I have never noticed to be specific to internet-related topics. If you so strongly dislike someone's style or personality, you probably aren't just in that person's intended demo. It would never occur to me to claim disgruntled consumer or media bias because I just don't like a public figure. I don't watch MSNBC because I don't like watching pundits yell at one another. I am not going to watch every week and then tweet at the yellers and write blog posts about their reactions.

Also, if you are going to snipe at a public figure via Twitter, how can you get a poopy diaper when the person snipes back? I think it's disingenuous to behave as though your earnest attempt to begin a dialogue was met with dismissiveness when really all you did was vomit up some Twitter snark at someone whose style you don't like or whose viewpoints you disagree with. I don't think it matters if this dude founded the best ever thing on the internet or is just some rando. It's pretty smug and self-indulgent either way.
posted by Rudy Gerner at 8:57 AM on July 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Powazek was trying to point out that his specific experience and knowledge are relevant to the issue, that he was criticizing from an informed somewhat biased perspective

(Maybe?)
posted by aught at 8:57 AM on July 2, 2011


Well, thank God this thread discussed Derek's new project in depth, rather than exhibit the peanut gallery's petty psychological interpretations of the short tweet-fight that sparked him to actually get it started.
posted by dhartung at 9:00 AM on July 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't think Twitter is the new revolution in communication or anything, but do people realize how old they sound when they dismiss completely? I cringe every time Jon Stewart does it. "Oh, those kids and their computers/Internet/video games/cellular phones. It's all cats and porn."
posted by maryr at 9:02 AM on July 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't really know either of the parties here, but I don't get how you can defend Garfield here. Powazek's initial tweet may not have been ideal constructive criticism, but I don't see why it has to be. Garfield could easily have just ignored it, but he decided to respond, and did so like a douche. At that point, Powazek seems to have tried to turn it into a constructive exchange, but Garfield seemed to have no interest beyond saying "nyuh huh."

Powazek has a line in his manifesto like "we shape the Internet more than it shapes us" -- I have no love for Twitter, but I think Garfield was responsible for all that was pointless and alienating in that exchange.
posted by bjrubble at 9:04 AM on July 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


Well, thank God this thread discussed Derek's new project in depth, rather than exhibit the ....

Talk to the creator of the post. The framing guaranteed that this would happen.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:05 AM on July 2, 2011


This thread is tiresome. The web sucks.
posted by foggy out there now at 9:06 AM on July 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


(Maybe?)

Sure. I'm not saying he's correct, just that he was trying to show why his perspective has value (and didn't do a good job at it)
posted by device55 at 9:07 AM on July 2, 2011


Those of you who are saying "Derek is attempting to start a conversation.", you don't start a conversation with someone you've never met with "Bad! Terribly bad!". I've got friends with whom I can start a conversation "What's up, asshole?", but I don't do that with random people I've never met before.

Maybe the generational divide is that the younger people think that anyone on the Internet is already at the level of intimate friend, and the older folk don't.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:10 AM on July 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


I think Derek flew off the handle a little.
posted by fire&wings at 9:11 AM on July 2, 2011


The Internet: It's For Assholes!
posted by incessant at 9:12 AM on July 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


fourcheesemac: Also, a fact I never tire of repeating: the GM of WNYC makes more than half a million dollars a year.

Public radio, my ass. I don't miss the pledge drives either.


How do these two things connect exactly?

So if he made $1 a year it would be "public radio" again?
posted by degoao at 9:16 AM on July 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Garfield was just grumpy because he was low on lasagna.
posted by mmmbacon at 9:19 AM on July 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


Also, a fact I never tire of repeating: Way, way too many people only make $7.25/hr.

(would that tweet?)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 9:22 AM on July 2, 2011


Derek is okay in my book, but I've had my skirmishes with the man over the years, where he was the Bob Garfield and I was the Derek Powazek. Way back when, I ran a silly and satirical "Consumer Reports" site called Blog You! Blog You! Blog You! with a friend (cooked up over heavy drinking at 2 AM), where a ratings system based on Donald and a pre-24 Kiefer Sutherland was devised and blogs were reviewed. The "reviews" were often laden with hokum and stupid cultural references, to suggest the futility of such an exercise. Most people understood the joke. But Derek didn't. And he responded that "an attack on a blog is an attack on a person" -- a statement I think he would disagree now that blogs have (d)evolved into slick corporate websites that are about as "independent" as a $200 million summer blockbuster movie.

I believe Derek to be largely in the right with this post, and his intentions are noble. I bring this story up not to assign hypocrisy to the man (again, he's okay in my book), but to point out that everybody gets oversensitive at some point in online exchanges (espcially here in the blue). Which is not to suggest that one should refrain from the "conversation starter" or "satirical response" that one makes in rejoinder to another person's project (far from it). But not everybody is going to like what you do. Nor should they, contrary to the dreaded +1 that Google has just introduced, if you hope to produce anything fresh and original. I think what I don't get about Derek's response is why he didn't just let Garfield cool off instead of agitating him by following him on Twitter. The thing that even the most experienced online voices forget is that emotions aren't necessarily instant. People sometimes need time to mend fences. It seems extremely silly to me to make enemies with someone just because you're on different visceral timetables. But, hey, that's the Internet for you.
posted by ed at 9:27 AM on July 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


You know these two are going to wind up in the sack by the end of act three.
posted by nanojath at 9:36 AM on July 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


Derek is a friend. He is sometimes cranky and I've known him to get what I consider to be too prickly too quickly sometimes. He reminds me a lot of various family members, so I feel like I get where he is coming from. I also consider him incredibly smart regarding online conversation stuff: he sees the internet as an actual place, a perspective that I think helps him use it to do real things with real people in a way that really crosses the divide that a lot of people see, where online interaction isn't real.

I hadn't read this particular exchange and was ready for it to be one of Derek's more prickly exchanges and I didn't feel that way at all. It's possible if you don't know him and yout don't know where he's coming from, his initial comment seems snarkier than intended, but his follow-ups to me sounded sincere. And they seemed to be sincerely met with grouchy and somewhat haughty repsonses from Garfield who maybe isn't as clear on how that particular media works or is interpreted.

At some level Derek is just representing Derek and Bob is actually (sort of) representing NPR and to DM something crabby just seems ... lame. So yeah like I said, Derek is a friend, he is sometimes crabby, but I found myself nodding more than skaing my head when I read this.
posted by jessamyn at 9:40 AM on July 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


I found myself nodding more than skaing my head when I read this

Do you often find yourself responding to events with a wobbly bass line and a horn section?
posted by asterix at 9:45 AM on July 2, 2011 [7 favorites]


I don't know what "DM" means as a verb in this conversation, but I'm going to keep pretending it means "dungeon-master."
posted by koeselitz at 9:57 AM on July 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yah mon!
posted by a humble nudibranch at 9:59 AM on July 2, 2011


It's a bit much to be "shocked, shocked!" that any air talent at WNYC would be pompous, arrogant jerks when they weren't being smugly fake nice on the radio.

Neither Bob Garfield nor Brooke Gladstone has ever struck me as anything resembling nice on the radio, fake or otherwise. And I say that as a fan of the show.

As to the exchange, the capacity for misunderstanding and unhappiness is multiplied 1000+-fold when it's a Twitter exchange, 10000+-fold when it's a Twitter exchange between a person from the "old media" versus a person from the "new media," and 105+-fold when it's a fan versus a semi-celeb who doesn't give a crap what you think.

Imagine if metafilter comments were limited to 140 characters.
posted by blucevalo at 10:07 AM on July 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Neither Bob Garfield nor Brooke Gladstone has ever struck me as anything resembling nice on the radio, fake or otherwise.
And what's more, one of Bob Garfield's personal hangups is that the American media is much too nice: too non-confrontational; too afraid of causing offense; too emphatic about seeking "balance" even when one side is clearly wrong; too timid about asking hard questions and asking them again when they're met with evasions; too afraid to point out when someone is lying. And he tends to model the kind of behavior he'd like to see in journalists, which means that he comes off as a bit of an asshole, but that's because he thinks that's part of the job of a journalist. And I guess I think there's a lot to be said for that perspective.
posted by craichead at 10:19 AM on July 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


You know we are talking about MeFi's Own fraying, right? Anyway, his first tweet was jokey in tone and Garfield handled the exchange badly throughout, even when Derek was trying to make nice.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:27 AM on July 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know we are talking about MeFi's Own fraying, right?

I absolutely refuse to accept that a glib cranky person is a MeFite.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:31 AM on July 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


Anyway, his first tweet was jokey in tone and Garfield handled the exchange badly throughout, even when Derek was trying to make nice.

How do you pick up that the tweet was jokey in tone? Other than by Powazek assuring us that it was? I don't know Derek Powazek, and I don't know Bob Garfield. If I were in the same room with them listening to them talk, maybe I'd pick up the nuance that hey, maybe this remark is meant in a jokey manner and not as a sarcastic public jab. In 140 characters on Twitter? Maybe not so much. Exasperation (Powazek's word, not mine) is not the same thing as making a joke.

On the other hand, I would agree that DMing somebody you don't know with a nastygram in response, as Garfield apparently did, is kind of a gutter move. And Powazek has the platform and the right to call him on it.
posted by blucevalo at 10:57 AM on July 2, 2011


OTM often seems a little hectoring and defensive to me, especially the parts where they hint that anyone without a journalism degree and a job in news--preferably print--can't figure out how to fact-check and report ethically.
posted by yellowcandy at 11:08 AM on July 2, 2011


LIKE CNN, I THINK ARGUMENTS - CONTEXT/NUANCE, THESIS, EVIDENCE, ANALYSIS - THAT CANNOT BE PRESENTED COMPLETELY IN 140 CHARS ARE WORTHLESS
posted by milkrate at 11:22 AM on July 2, 2011


How do you pick up that the tweet was jokey in tone?

Because it sounds hyperbolically un-serious to say Garfield thinks the internet is Bad! Terribly bad!? Especially since anyone who has ever paid attention knows that's part of Garfield's schtick. You'd think that Garfield would sagely nod in agreement and move on, because he sneers about anything that he feels should only be the purview of SERIUS JURNALIZTS.

Anyway, it's not like he called Bob Garfield a dusty old codger who couldn't make a valid argument if he tried with both hands.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:27 AM on July 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


If he's such a sneering old-media fart who wouldn't know his head from his asshole, then why would he possibly "sagely nod in agreement and move on" instead of ramping up to maximum dickitude in no time flat?
posted by blucevalo at 11:47 AM on July 2, 2011


What was interesting to me was Bob Garfield's second response, wherein he called Derek's comment "demonstrably wrong and annoying to put up with." Saying a tiny comment expressed in less than 140 characters is "annoying to put up with" is really odd – I mean, you read it and forget about it, right? – so it seems to imply to me that Bob meant the criticism that he doesn't like the internet generally is "annoying to put up with." I mean, he makes it sound like he has to "put up with" this criticism all the time – like people are always going on Twitter and mocking him for hating the internet. Which is funny and revealing. Derek seems to have touched a nerve.
posted by koeselitz at 12:04 PM on July 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


If he's such a sneering old-media fart who wouldn't know his head from his asshole, then why would he possibly "sagely nod in agreement and move on" instead of ramping up to maximum dickitude in no time flat?

I suggest you write that up in 140 characters or less and ask the man himself.
posted by oneirodynia at 12:09 PM on July 2, 2011


I can totally see how - if you don't know the man, his work, and his championship of the individual (creator) online - you might read that tweet and see it solely as mocking and dismissive, particularly if you are on the opposite side of the old/new media divide. In fact, I would have been shocked if Bob Garfield (whose OTM appearances make clear that he stays in the ... More mainstream shallows of the internet) had read that comment any differently.

The facile quick soundbites both men reeled off were practically designed to hit each other's sore spots. Neither was particularly designed to start a conversation; both seemed designed instead for a knowing nod of agreement, a half-swallowed chuckle, and the sweet shared satisfaction of being right. Nothing gets under the skin of the opposition like those fluffy bon mots and the knee jerk reactions just inspire more on the other side.

As for me, I just rolled my eyes. I am tired of the old school/new school media wars and the posturing and grandstanding and wilful ignorance on all sides. I know people are people and petty and thin-skinned and egocentric and humorless on their causes and jerky and whatever, but come on!
posted by julen at 12:29 PM on July 2, 2011


BWAH! I WILL CRY TO THE INTERNETS WHEN OLD CROTCHETY JOURNALIST DISMISSES ME AND MY CHOSEN MEDIA. LOOK I AM CIVIL AND INTELLIGENT AND THE NEW FACE OF JOURNALISM. HE IS OLD AND UNFAMILIAR WITH NEW MEDIA. WATCH HIM HIT KEYBOARD WITH CLUB! I WILL LAUGH AT HIS INABILITY TO HANDLE INTERNET CRITICISM AS I KNOW HOW TO DO SO AND CLEARLY THIS IS AN EXAMPLE OF EXACTLY HOW TO DO SO. I HAVE SO MUCH INTERNET PROFESSIONALISM THAT I AM BELCHING INTERNET PROFESSIONALISM. IT TASTES SLIGHTLY LIKE POTATO CHIPS.
posted by Nanukthedog at 12:33 PM on July 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Perhaps Garfield is partially correct and the twitter medium does inherently encourage this kind of evidence-free glib snark both technically (140 char limit is perfect for the glib one-liner) and socially (glib snark appears to get retweeted a lot, reinforcing the behaviour).

I can't condone Garfield's response, but the entire exchange was both ill-conceived and typical of too much twitter chatter, and I gave up on twitter because of just this kind of nonsense.
posted by vanar sena at 12:36 PM on July 2, 2011


I actually don't think OTM is particularly big on journalism school, and I can't find any evidence that Bob Garfield has a journalism degree. (Brooke Gladstone appears to have majored in Theater at the University of Vermont and to have received a fellowship to go to journalism school in the early '90s, well into her journalism career.) What's true is that they're generally skeptical of the claim that amateurs on the internet can replace professional journalism. I think that's as much a matter of resources as of skills. I think they believe that journalism is best practiced by people getting a salary to work a beat, developing contacts and watching stories unfold over long periods of time. It's the same reason they're not big on celebrity foreign correspondents who are parachuted into the current hot-spot. It takes time and resources to do good journalism. It's not something you can do on the fly or in your free time.

I'm a huge fan of the internet, obviously, but I guess I'm really sympathetic to their view. I think the internet works best when it supplements, rather than replaces traditional journalism. If that makes me crotchety and old, so be it.
posted by craichead at 12:56 PM on July 2, 2011


ALL CAPS MAKES ME JOKEY.
posted by maryr at 1:25 PM on July 2, 2011


I think the internet works best when it supplements, rather than replaces traditional journalism.

you know you can listen to NPR on the internet, right?
posted by LogicalDash at 1:37 PM on July 2, 2011


aught: "Maybe a better analogy would be tweeting "Jad and Robert think all scientists are BAD. BAD, RLY BAD!!!" because every once in a while RL questions the conclusions of some scientific expert."

The tweet exchange is strange, but to the point about Bob's on-air antipathy to Internet stuff - Bob doe perform the same function re: new media that Robert performs re: evolutionary psych or $NewFinding. It's hard to tell (and probably unimportant) whether either Bob actually feels that way in real life, but serving as the foil for your younger, more enthusiastic and contemporary producer is what makes both On the Media and RadioLab interesting.

Still, people shouldn't get angry on Twitter, and Bob Garfield should get that a significant part of his wellbeing comes from an Internet where big audio files can be easily downloaded and shared.
posted by Apropos of Something at 1:40 PM on July 2, 2011


First Derek upbraids Bob for "the continuing refusal to understand that a tweet is not a news story," and then he gives us a whole little news story about a tweet.

Which is it? If tweets are the equivalent of a news story, then maybe it's understandable that Derek feels like Bob published a nasty article about him that needs rebuttal. If tweets are more like conversation, then Derek's post is just a catty, "You would not believe what that guy said to me! The nerve!"
posted by straight at 1:41 PM on July 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can't find any evidence that Bob Garfield has a journalism degree.

Isn't his original background advertising? This book was actually pretty interesting and you can think of the cover picture whenever you want to imagine someone judging you.
posted by drezdn at 2:05 PM on July 2, 2011


So, social media training is this thing I'm doing now. If Garfield was my client, I would have encouraged him not to even reply in the first place to a tweet like Powazek's, because Powazek didn't direct it to him in the first place. It's not like Derek called him up to gripe on his voicemail. By not directing the tweet to Garfield, Derek wasn't actually trying to have a conversation with him.

You don't actually have to reply to all your critics. If that exact comment had shown up in a snail mail letter, would Bob Garfield have insisted on sending back a scathing missive? No, he would have tossed it in the circular file. It's possible to do that online, too.
posted by sugarfish at 2:23 PM on July 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Hello, MetaFilter. I'm the Powazek in question. And yes, I'm a MeFite, though I haven't posted in forever. Hi! How've you been?

I've read the whole conversation here and agree with pretty much all of it. Except the butthurt part. I've had butthurt. This was not butthurt.

In hindsight, I agree that my post contained a little too much resume (I thought that it might help if Bob saw he was speaking to someone with relevant media experience - it didn't). And I agree that my first tweet was not a good way to start a conversation (because it wasn't trying to - it was just a bleat of frustration). In the 20 seconds it took me to post the tweet, I never stopped to consider that he might actually see it, which is also my mistake. On Twitter, everyone's listening.

This experience brought me out of a 4-month blogging retirement because I found it so interesting. Here's a guy who's job is to understand media, totally freaking out because someone criticized him in a tweet? Yowza. I thought it could be a teachable moment for other oldschool journalists wrestling with modern instant communication.

For what it's worth, Bob and I took it to email after this, and though I tried very hard to calm him down and just try and communicate my one point ("I noticed a tone in your reporting that's really negative towards the internet in general. Maybe you should look into that."), let's just say that Bob proved he was uninterested in having that conversation. Really, really uninterested.

It's a bummer because I bet, had we met in another context, we'd get along like a house on fire. We're basically the same person, separated by about 20 years. Instead, we just burned down a house. Oh, well.

The silver lining of this experience is that it inspired me to start a new project, On The Network, which is going to be a podcast for people who aren't afraid of the internet. And you can participate if you like.

Anyway, thanks for reading this far down. You look really nice today.
posted by fraying at 2:23 PM on July 2, 2011 [23 favorites]


journalists from the old school have thinner skins that journalists of the Internet age.
Please.
Nerds routinely get their panties in a twist whenever anyone expresses anything but OMGITSTHEBESTESTEVARRR111 about their beloved intarwebs (and technology in general)
posted by Thorzdad at 2:25 PM on July 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


For real, though, Twitter is pretty toxic and vile.
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 5:01 PM on July 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


For real, though, Twitter is pretty toxic and vile.

No more than blogging or anything else. You choose who you follow and how you interact with them. Claiming twitter itself is toxic and vile is nonsense.
posted by justgary at 5:11 PM on July 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Twitter is quite pleasant, fun, useful and informative. If you follow people who fall into this categories.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:06 PM on July 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


These, goddammit.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:07 PM on July 2, 2011


S2pid n00b gets surly smackdown from 1337 d00d, goes and cries on his blog. In this case it's journalism and not a MLP:FIM fan-fic message board, but the takeaway is the same. Don't start none, won't be none, learn from the error and think before you post, n00b.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:38 PM on July 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


hey "Slap*Happy" how would you like to have a mouthful of broken teeth
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 7:44 PM on July 2, 2011


hey "Slap*Happy" how would you like to have a mouthful of broken teeth

See, the medium does influence the message. When you write that here on a shared weblog, we can't tell that you're saying it ironically.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:07 PM on July 2, 2011


This issue resonated with me, because in Australia (with it's smaller media base) we've had quite a few public clashes between journalists and bloggers/tweeters, especially when it comes to political reporting. Many journalists are all over Twitter, without seeming to understand that the internet has it's own culture which developed while they weren't looking. It confuses them and they lash out, and when they comment on online issues (or about the national broadband network that's being rolled out soon) their lack of knowledge is obvious. And yet they're not interested in learning about it, and take a really antagonistic attitude to anyone who tries to explain it to them.

Annabel Crabb, who's writing and commentary I generally enjoy, thought the Cook's Illustrated kerfluffle a while back was a fuss over nothing, because the blogger who'd posted the original content wasn't making any money from it. I guess if you're giving content away for free, then you shouldn't complain when someone else decides to make a buck off it.

Another journalist 'outed' a blogger who uses the psuedonym Grog's Gamut to his government workplace, saying the blogger was using taxpayer money to run his blog and attend political/media conferences. Turns out Grog doesn't do that, and his workplace was perfectly fine with him continuing to do whatever he liked in his free time with his own resources, as long as he wasn't commenting on work issues that'd create a conflict of interest. The journalists were clearly puzzled by this.

I've enjoyed some of the links Powazek's shared via On The Network, and I look forward to the podcast with people's "wow" moments about the net. If it could become a place where journos could learn a bit about the taboos and mores of this new communication medium, that's a good thing. Because we do still rely on journalists to dedicate their time to investigating matters the general public doesn't have the time or resources to figure out. Having them cut off from what is likely to be the most important communication channel of the 21st century will only make the world a crappier place, and I'd like to avoid that.
posted by harriet vane at 11:57 PM on July 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


hey "Slap*Happy" how would you like to have a mouthful of broken teeth
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 7:44 PM on July 2 [+] [!]


No, no: "HEY FELLA HAVE YE EVER PICKED UP YER TEETH WIT BROKEN FINGERS"

"Sorry, what?"

"Just a question."
posted by Sebmojo at 2:41 AM on July 3, 2011


Now I am wondering if this kerfluffle will be mentioned on the program; it starts here in about 20 minutes so I guess I will make it a point to listen.

From the amazon site drezdn linked to:

From Publishers Weekly
As the advertising industry's Dave Barry, Garfield...


Huh? I guess "On the Media" would make a great band name.
Then from the same review (which is supposed to be a puff piece):

Garfield's apparent ego (he less-than-wittily compares himself to God and declares, "[W]ith well in excess of a thousand ads subjected to my pitiless scrutiny, I've really blown the call only eleven or twelve times") can also wear thin.

Next thing you know, Mr. Garfield will be getting a sockpuppet account here to tell us he is a Certified Genius.
posted by TedW at 3:47 AM on July 3, 2011


Well, now I hear Mr. Garfield "is away this week".
posted by TedW at 4:11 AM on July 3, 2011


Related video: Bob Garfield on how to handle a controversial tweet
posted by joshwa at 5:14 AM on July 3, 2011


Well, now I hear Mr. Garfield "is away this week".

That plus the tweets getting pulled suggests to me that WNYC's management found out and is looking into it.
posted by middleclasstool at 5:54 AM on July 3, 2011


That plus the tweets getting pulled suggests to me that WNYC's management found out and is looking into it.
Huh. Really? That would seem like a major over-reaction. And I'm pretty sure he was away last week, too.
posted by craichead at 6:51 AM on July 3, 2011


Ironically, I was in one of Derek's Twitter "purges" a while back and it sort of stung. We had talked back and forth a bit, and I had a deep respect for the guy and his work. Yes, I know it's silly to be butthurt about something like that--but I wasn't just unfollowed, I was blocked. Later he labelled people like me (casual followers he didn't know personally) "background noise" (paraphrasing) in a blog post about his follower purge. So, I guess this sort of thing cuts both ways.
posted by littlerobothead at 9:07 AM on July 3, 2011


NPR versus an A-Lister
Exactly how far up an arse can a head be pushed?
posted by fullerine at 9:10 AM on July 3, 2011


A grown man getting whiny and bitchy with AND ABOUT Twitter. Wow.
posted by bongo_x at 12:27 PM on July 3, 2011


As always, the Twitter haters have joined this thread in droves to leave glib one-liners. You'd think they'd be busy with all the stuff they do that's so much more worthwhile than leaving short messages on the internet, but I guess not.

littlerobothead, I guess I feel that one of the advantages of Twitter is the asymmetrical following that goes on. I have followers who have the same profession as me, but who mostly tweet about their own hobbies. They follow me to get my work-related tweets, but I don't follow them because I'm not interested in cars. I assume they've got followers they don't follow in return because those people are interested in cars, but mostly tweet about I dunno... foreign affairs or whatever.

Last I checked, I follow Fraying and he doesn't follow me back. That's ok, I doubt my tweets about my work (sprinkled with recreational outrage about the news) would interest him. But I like hearing about his new projects and his orchids.

I think it's a good idea to regularly cull your following list, otherwise your steady stream of links and one-liners turns into a firehose of stuff you're not interested in reading and you spend more time scrolling past than getting any value from it.
posted by harriet vane at 4:10 AM on July 4, 2011


Last I checked, I follow Fraying and he doesn't follow me back. That's ok
Blocking isn't. Blocking prevents you from even following a person. That, combined with his "you only get one chance to talk to me and if that annoys me even a little bit, I'll block you" stance, and you've basically got something I find deeply unappealing.
posted by bonaldi at 5:26 AM on July 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it's weird. It's like killfiles for people who write things that upset you. Unless someone is actually harassing or intentionally aggravating you, I think you'll find your big boy pants are more useful.
posted by middleclasstool at 5:48 AM on July 4, 2011


Well, now I hear Mr. Garfield "is away this week".

Conspiracy theories are fun but it's often the case that one or the other of the OTM hosts is away on assignment or vacation, and it is the heart of summer vacation season in the U.S.).
posted by aught at 6:13 AM on July 4, 2011


littlerobothead: The reason I block people is well-babbled about here. Trust me when I say it ain't personal. I've blocked my mother. It's true.

In fact, the reason I block people is precisely because I don't want to respond the way Bob did to me. I think it's far better to simply remove yourself from someone else's attention than to post an angry allcaps reply. Block is the only tool Twitter has to do that.

And, as I said in my post: "Block is a necessary tool, but it’s like setting the dinner table with only chainsaws. Communities need more nuanced tools to enable members to really manage their attention streams. What else can we build to help people manage these weird virtual connections we make in humanistic ways?"

That was a year ago, and we're still left with a table set with only chainsaws. C'est la vie.

ps - I checked and I don't seem to be blocking you, littlerobothead. (You also seem to have two tweets.) Was it a different account? Email me and I'll unblock. And sorry if I caused you any distress.
posted by fraying at 1:45 PM on July 4, 2011


The reason why I hate Twitter is because of the 140 characters. Without more room to EXPLAIN SHIT, people make lovely social gaffes. Or tweet stupid shit off the top of their heads that offends everyone, because it's sooooo easy to blog "I hate whatever" from your toilet and you don't bother to think about it the way you might in a blog first. Then arguments explode across the Internet and make everyone look bad. The easy impulse + short reads + short sentences thing really doesn't seem to benefit actual conversations as much as y'all seem to think it does, especially if anything goes wrong/someone gets offended, etc.

Though in this case, I don't think Twitter vs. blogging vs. e-mail would have made this situation any better, since apparently this Bob guy likes to be a public ass no matter what.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:40 PM on July 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is Twitter actually supposed to be good for conversations? I don't read many tweets, but it looks like the convention is '@otherperson', which means this tweet is in response to something 'otherperson' said, but I'm not telling you which thing. Seems designed for creating alliances and rivalries between people, and making it impossible to separate what someone says from the person themselves.

Feel free to explain to me how twitter works the same way you would to your grandmother.
posted by benito.strauss at 7:25 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can someone explain the "by Brooke" joke to me? I'm afraid I've only listened to the show a couple of times.
posted by Deathalicious at 3:42 PM on July 5, 2011


fraying:
I think it's far better to simply remove yourself from someone else's attention than to post an angry allcaps reply. Block is the only tool Twitter has to do that.
Or you could just have enough self-control to ignore it.

Going nuclear at the first hint of annoyance just makes you seem like a prick person who isn't actually interested in conversation.

I see a contradiction between your criticism of Garfield's Twitter hostility and your Twitter modus operandi, which has come off to many as hostile. You both respond to annoyance/criticism in non-constructive ways.

If you (and Bob) can learn to respond graciously to less-than-polite tweets and listen (a word you both use reverently) to what they're saying, you might start some interesting conversations.
posted by joshwa at 6:55 AM on July 6, 2011


benito, I find Twitter great for casual chit-chat and exchanging links. I find out what interesting things are going on in my town and my industry when people tweet that they're attending this or that thing next week. I use it to make plans to meet up with friends and professional groups, and sometimes to join in a running commentary about what's on TV (sport, politics, anything where someone gets eliminated). The actual conversation takes place on blogs, forums, and in person. Later on, we might refer back to those proper convesations in our tweets.

Twitter isn't really for serious or complicated conversation, it's for the type of conversation that humans use the way chimps use grooming time. It's for maintaining contact with a broader circle, to show you're interested without being a drain on someone else's time, to blow off a bit of steam when you're pissed off, and to share the things that gave you a chuckle.

Some people do treat it like it's IM (for some reason mommybloggers and SEO specialists do this a lot) or a forum. They promptly get blocked or filtered out by people who genuinely like them but don't want to see a complicated message broken into umpteen 140 character pieces and scattered among the lolcats and links to new research.
posted by harriet vane at 7:37 AM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Twitter isn't really for serious or complicated conversation, it's for the type of conversation that humans use the way chimps use grooming time.

Thank you harriet vane, that's a perfect explanation/analogy.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:42 AM on July 6, 2011


Deathalicious, the 'by Brooke' thing is this:

At the end of the show, if Bob is reading the credits, he'll say "edited [pause] by Brooke', in a slightly smarmy accent. I seem to recall the explanation goes back to when she was editor and he a reporter on some other show. Just one of those in-group tics.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:45 AM on July 6, 2011


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