Always think and blog

At Christmas in the UK you always get lots of “Don’t drink and drive” adverts. I think a lot of people could also do with some “Always think and blog” adverts to remind them to think carefully and reflect before hitting the publish button.

The TechCrunch UK debacle just won’t go away. Michael Arrington has just posted his latest version and Sam Sethi has responded. The two versions have several factual differences and it is impossible for me, or indeed any of the far too agitated commentators to know the truth.

What it is possible to do is to look at the tone, style and personality of both posts. This just might give an indication of the veracity of the protagonists.

On one hand we have Michael Arrington’s shrill, angry, emotional tone and on the other we have a far more cool and collected voice from Sam Sethi.

We still don’t know the truth, but I know that Sam sounds far more convincing.

Michael Arrington’s post also contains some very alarming opinions:

However, Loic started taking a lot of heat over the event, and he lashed out at Sam, calling him an asshole in the comments. That wasn’t a shining moment for Loic, but these kinds of things happen. Frankly, I far prefer someone who loses their cool every once in a while to people who are always under control and calculating. Being human isn’t a bad thing.

People leave comments like these on TechCrunch all the time. And if I know them personally, I usually email them and ask them if they’d like for me to remove the comment for them. Invariably they say yes after they’ve had a day to cool down, and I delete them. People use blogs to communicate freely, and I want people to know they can speak their mind in our comments section. And if they change their mind later, I’m usually ok with amending those comments.

My emphasis. I had to read this twice as I couldn’t believe anyone could post something so unethical just two paragraphs after saying “I talk a lot about ethics on our site and how important it is to me.” Effectively what Michael Arrington is saying that he will do favours for mates screw up, but he’ll leave everyone else to sink.

Although thinking about it the quote does say “I talk a lot about ethics”, which isn’t quite the same thing as practising good ethics.

David Tebbutt left an excellent comment on my previous post about this when he said:

I’m guessing here, but I think nothing in Michael Arrington’s life has prepared him for the monster he is currently riding.

We do weird things when we’re at full stretch. I know how weird I was when editing Personal Computer World in the early days of the personal computer boom (’79 – ’81). And I was probably a similar age at the time.

But, in today’s transparent world, there’s no hiding place. We are on view, and truth-bending is not an option.

I can understand this and feel for Michael Arrington, but what I can’t understand is why he doesn’t do what I said in my last post and admit he got it wrong and apologise. Everyone would think so much more of him. Everyone makes mistake and it’s a good thing, because that’s how we learn and improve.

 


About Stuart Bruce

International communications consultant and PR trainer specialising in online public affairs, digital corporate communications, online PR and social media; frequent national media commentator and conference speaker.
  • http://www.broadstuff.com alan patrick

    Stuart, do you think any of these protagonists are taking PR advice ? They probably all should ;)

  • http://www.accmanpro.com Dennis Howlett

    This is a very sad affair. I know both parties in the sense I've met them on multiple occasions and we've spoken at length. Sam and I go back to his Netscape days.

    Mike's losing the plot IMO. After all, what publisher closes a title in these circumstances? Crazy. OK – so it's Mike's fiefdom he can do as he wishes but on this one I'm afraid he's shot himself in the head having already shot himself in the foot.

    This isn't the first mis-step. Not turning up to your own launch party seems with no notice and then not going to LeWeb seemed off. Perhaps if he'd made the trip he'd understand better but I suppose that's unlikely to happen in the forseeable future.

    I do think you're right on the 'old pals act' thing. There is a definite culture of 'the chosen few' in a lot of what I see going on.

    To me that's sordid.