Rules Of Engagement

Aunt B. wrote a post last week about how she found, in her words, the “Oxford American Music Issue Unsatisfying.”

Well, the editor of that work came to her blog and, in my opinion, had a meltdown.

This is a curious study in how some folks see the blogosphere as the enemy, while I believe that it’s a wonderful tool if used properly in marketing a product.

You see, B. and others love the OAM and I believe in the Tiny Cat Pants community that this has been discussed over the years. She, nm and others love to write about the nuances of the choices in OAM, they critique and embrace. They are, in essence, fans.

But the editor made a mistake. He saw the criticism and didn’t see anything but that. And I guess he felt like he needed to fight back. He brought up A-Listers loving the article about Neko Case where B. questioned her inclusion. He said of bloggers:

With all due respect, I, for one, really am tired of the unthoughtful, quickie judgments one finds all too often on blogs. There is too frequently a stink of sour, condescending negativity that just lowers the conversation (and people) before even REAL ENGAGEMENT can take place. David Denby of The New Yorker has a book coming out in January on the subject of snark. I hope blogs engage it.

And then this:

I am not trying convert you to the magazine. I’m arguing points with you. Just because you think I should “convert” you doesn’t mean I have to. I actually think I am showing respect by engaging you on your terms…although I now see that my failure to brown-nose is not going over so well…. Oops. My bad.

I left a comment myself discussing his missed opportunity and citing that I’m paid to write and I blog for fun. Basically, that he shouldn’t be elitist about it all although those weren’t my exact words.

I was reminded of the wonderful Seth Godin and the tips that he gives. I believe that this could have been a learning curve for him about how to market his product but instead, and he admits it, he was thin skinned. Godin is an evangelist on how to find opportunity and make it work for your product.

As an editor I can say that I probably get much more negative feedback from the general public than anyone else at the paper. All the editors do, quite frankly, but I also believe that our readers feel some ownership of the paper and if they are pointing out things, they are paying attention. I have learned to listen and try to be flattered when I’m taking a flogging. Not always but most of the time (I don’t like to be confronted when I’m out with friends or eating dinner. I think there is a time and a place and I own that because it happens more frequently than you would think. I tell them the office hours.)

Marc Smirnoff only proved that he doesn’t understand new media and marketing because he should have wanted to convert new folks to the magazine. He dropped the ball by taking it personally.

This is an exercise in blogging I find to be very interesting between old ideology and new methods of discussion.

My two cents.

2 comments for “Rules Of Engagement

  1. Jon
    December 22, 2008 at 10:06 am

    >a book coming out in January on the subject of snark. I hope blogs engage it.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA … yeah I hope so. Surely snarky bloggers will have nothing snarky to say about someone nailed to a dead tree griping about snark.

  2. December 23, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    I just got caught up on all this tonight and want to say that I agree with you entirely. Criticism stings but thoughtful discussion among fans who care about your product? That is worth its weight in gold.

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