Saturday, November 3, 2012

Blogging 101: A week of vlogs and a reminder to bloggers

UPDATE (11/05/12): A response has been posted regarding the overwhelming reaction to Taub's article. (The article in which this blog post satires). In her response, Taub briefly acknowledges the flaw in her snap judgement, but goes on to devote the rest of her post to addressing the negativity rampant in the comments section. Although she admits some comments had valid points and were civil, she voices her disapproval of those with "name calling and personal attacks" (many of which, stemming from bickering between non fans and fans of singer Adam Lambert). One is tempted, however, to wonder the reasoning behind Taub's approval of inciteful comments while refraining from posting more civil ones, especially when she mentions that "It was incredibly sad to read the back and forth commentary that became so contentious and inflammatory. It was upsetting that the post was the conduit in allowing that to happen."  

Nevertheless, Taub states: "I hope that we can move on so we can direct our energies in more positive pursuits." So with that said, lets move on. Before we do though, negativity in online communities from haters/trolls is a sentiment that Adam Lambert has addressed quite eloquently in the past as well, and has learned to ignore and not take too personally:
"Internet comment sections are not real life. When folks are able to remain anonymous, they waste their energy by hating others to make themselves feel better about their uneventful lives," Adam told Just Pop! magazine. "When you realise that most of the negativity is bred out of loneliness, boredom and insecurity, it doesn't hurt quite as bad." --http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/entertainment/news/adam-lambert-wants-constructive-criticism-16184866.html
Once we are able realize the absurdity of the entire situation, and separate it from our personal emotions, we can all enjoy the humor of this satire piece below for what it simply is -- humor (just as Adam Lambert has been able to do so in the barelypolitical parody of him).



Living on the Internet, we often see nobodies seeking attention. From time to time, we have moments that make us realize: “A novice blogger knows he can write about anything. A veteran blogger realizes he shouldn't.  It's just part of the vast web and unless the blogger mentions something of value, humor or - worse yet - triggering eye rolls and scoffing, they often disappear within the sea of blogs and continue writing in their little bubble as usual.

Of course, those who are crass and unfair will get picked up on no matter how they attempt to mask their personal bias, especially when in an easily accessible medium, like say, the Internet. My personal experience surfing the net has been enjoyable and entertaining, particularly when there is an open discussion with readers and bloggers.

"But every once in a while, you have an unfortunate encounter that leaves you feeling disappointed at best. The problem? Those impressions stay with you. If it’s an actor, you’ll never watch one of their movies with the same suspension of disbelief...if it’s a musician, you’ll never listen to their music with quite the same joy, if at all.”[*] And if it's a journalist, you'll never read any publications they're associated with without wondering about their ulterior motive, if you even decide to read it at all.

One of the time I remember it happening to me (before last week) was a little over a year ago during the Occupy movement. I had watched CNN's Erin Burnett's uninformative news segment the night before, which left much to be desired as I was undecided and sincerely wanted to educate myself on the issues. So when I was later informed that her colleague, Alison Kosik, answered a tweet to summarize the aim of Occupy, I was intrigued. I expected a civil debate with the public and was shocked to see that her opportunity for open communication was so unprofessional. I never forgot it, and I’ve been suspicious of every journalist's agenda and their truthfulness ever since. This also carries on to bloggers.

CNN's Alison Kosik explains to her followers the purpose of Occupy.
Source: http://jayrosen.tumblr.com/post/11035487240/a-cnn-business-reporter-alison-kosik-summarizes

If I put myself in their shoes, I can imagine it being weird to go from behind the computer screen to every household's PC. Where your opinions are scrutinized because people felt offended by a report. People focus on your every words and they always want something from you, even if it’s just a simple reply to their comment. And for that, I feel for you. It's definitely not a piece of cake. But some do it successfully, like Perez Hilton for example, who has reportedly spent more than 12 hours reading and replying to comments on his blog, no matter how critical they are towards him. That’s dedication, but it’s also one of the reasons his hits are on par with the big names in the mainstream, like Huffington Post, TMZ, and Business Insider. Without readers, you can’t sustain a worthy blog, you can’t get hits and you can’t get ad revenue.
Perez Hilton ranking high with the big names.
Source: http://www.ebizmba.com/articles/blogs
So when you come across or hear stories of bloggers who censor civil comments or who don’t take the 30 seconds to approve or reply to a reader's comments, it’s gut-wrenching because we personally feel insulted. This unfortunately happened to me this past week – the first time since a year ago with the CNN anchors. Yes, I’m still bitter about that. It was rude.

But before I get to that…

Relating to blogs, there are also vlogs (which are video blogs). Everyone who knows me well knows that seeing an actual person talking is one of my favorite pastimes. The genre doesn’t matter much – I love it all, so long as it’s entertaining and edited phenomenally as to grab my attention span.

My night surfing the web kicked off with barelypolitical. Now what I like about these folks are that they not only make entertaining parodies, they also have a positive relationship with viewers. In addition, they have been very humble and appreciative to fans after skyrocketing to fame since 2007 with their viral Obama Girl video. In fact, they even devote entire vlogs to respond to posted comments.
1:55 minutes into his video, Mark of barelypolitical acknowledges a critical comment from zhaclub stating "LAME AS HELL" He remains respectful of the viewers opinions, answering: "Well you're entitled to your opinion zhaclub, but you know who didn't think the video was lame as hell? Adam Lambert" Mark then provides insight to his viewers by engaging in a little philosophical musing: "Sometimes, you know, you can be subjective about whether or not something's funny. But when the guy you actually parody says it's funny, then it's funny. There's no room for debate."

Moving on to an entirely different tone, we have truth seeker Vigilant Citizen. What attracts and keeps readers to his blog is the sense of community. The comments section foster open (and interesting) dialog. There is also a forum available for further discussion on any articles posted. Posters may also bring up related stories or offer suggestions to VC. Nothing is ignored and readers are confirmed of this fact when a new article is posted based on popular requests from readers.

As a matter of fact, VC begins one of his recent articles with this very fact: "For months, I’ve been receiving e-mails about the South-African rap-rave group Die Antwoord, saying something like “OMG theirr illumanaty!!” Since the release of their new video Fatty Boom Boom, e-mails now say “OMG therre anti-illumanaty!!”. So are they for it? Against it?"  VC then proceeded to devote the rest of the article to answering this burning question that quite a lot of readers had.

The man of the night, though, was UCLA mathematician blogger Terence Tao who won a Fields medal in 2006. This blogger has such a pure heart that he he even provides his well thought out replies right in the comments section. He's also not afraid to tackle tough question that attack his logic and reasoning. In one of his blog post, Tao boldly claims that "Every odd integer larger than 1 is the sum of at most five primes". Many comments poured in, some very critical, however, Tao remained graceful and addressed their concern directly and politely.

Tao visits readers in the comments section during one of his post.
His response to a critical reader was so long and deailed, it had to be cut in order to save space.
Source: http://terrytao.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/every-odd-integer-larger-than-1-is-the-sum-of-at-most-five-primes/#comment-126881

And now we get to Lindsay Taub, the new Kosik. I texted my friend Noah, arguably an avid reader of music blogs, to tell her that a music review was recently posted. After the "Busy" texts came back, I thought, “I loathe LOATHE reading opinion blogs to get the scoop on this concert, even though I am interested in the performers mentioned and am on the computer, but for Noah, I’ve gotta do it. She’ll thank me.”

Let me back up for a bit. I respect independent bloggers. I quite enjoy that they often add sass by bringing in personal experiences. And I completely supported notorious Singaporean blogger, Xiaxue, when she defended herself against the harshest critic. It was unfortunate that Xiaxue was insulted by Peter Coffiin's direct confrontation. No blogger deserves to be personally attacked without reason. I respect bloggers for standing up and not accepting it.

So I browsed to Lindsay Taub's article to read about this music event with Joss Stone and Vintage Trouble for my friend. Well, I was appalled at the amount of energy devoted to slighting an artist who wasn't even performing at the event. Basically, this blogger spotted a celebrity (who she wasn't a fan of) attending the same concert on his own time. During their encounter at the lobby, his hands were full and he was rushing back to his seat. Although he did stop to engage in a brief chat with her, he was unable to take a photo since both his hands were full and his friends were waiting for him to bring back the beverages he purchased. So the celebrity told her: “I need to get these back to my seat, sorry. Come find me later.”

This should seem fair to Taub, who herself mentions this celebrity was "sitting two rows in front of [her]." However, Taub was already against it: "Come find you later? Are you serious? No shank you." She then proceeded to complain about it in the article, unfairly comparing this celebrity (who was inconvenienced to take a photo with her during a rushed lobby encounter) to that of other celebrities and their respectable behavior in paid performances and scheduled meet and greets. Soon enough, critical comments from readers began coming in, like this one from Jim (Time stamp: November 1, 2012 at 7:44 pm):

One of the many comments posted, critical of the entitlement in Taub's reasoning.
Note that the 'Reply' button was clearly visible but was not utilized by Taub in this case.
Source: http://pacific-punch.com/celebrity-101-a-week-of-music-and-a-reminder-to-celebs/#comment-3464

Additional comments poured in, questioning why the blogger didn't seek the celebrity after the show like he asked her to instead of writing a blog full of entitlement painting the artist in an unfair light. As if perfectly timed, Taub logged on to defend herself. She clarifies: "I had every intention of finding Adam after the show to try again, as many of you suggested but when the lights came up, he was already gone.”"[*]
Another fan at the same event was able to snap a photo with this celeb after the show.
Happy Halloween Adam!
Thx 4 taking the time to take a pic w/ me!
Ur a huge inspiration, album= EVERYTHING♥"
Source: https://twitter.com/boigeorgie/status/263691156553097216
Now, this raised more questions. Did she in fact not attempt to find him as the initial article suggests ("No shank you"), or did she indeed have intent on finding him but "when the lights came up, he was already gone” as stated in her follow-up response. These statements were such a contradiction that I (and many others) decided to question her on how these 2 opposing statements can be reconciled. The response?



...None. Just silence. Many civil comments were never approved and I felt censored (as I imagine others were as well).


Disappointing.
Taub plays the victim role while refusing to address the inconsistency of her 'truth'.
She also dramatically misinterprets rational criticism as 'hatred'
Source: https://twitter.com/lindsaytaub58/status/264135345195610113

Readers take note of deleted comments critical of Taub's logic.
Source: http://pacific-punch.com/celebrity-101-a-week-of-music-and-a-reminder-to-celebs/#comment-3555
Additional readers catch on to the author's censorship and potential bias.
Source (above): http://pacific-punch.com/celebrity-101-a-week-of-music-and-a-reminder-to-celebs/#comment-3645
Source (below): http://pacific-punch.com/celebrity-101-a-week-of-music-and-a-reminder-to-celebs/#comment-3655

Okay, so the online publication stated that they were overwhelmed with comments. But it’s not like this isn't part of your job right? You're sitting at a computer pushing buttons. If it was really time consuming for comments to await moderation, they could’ve disabled approval and posted everything. They could’ve said, “I'm taking my time to read and think of a response to your comment. My response awaits.” They could have said, “email me so I can explain it to you in detail without character limits.” Anything! Or just taken the few seconds to type a simple response. Instead, they resort to ignoring and censoring comments. So instead of me texting my friend with an answer on why I was not able to get the scoop on the music event (and why the article didn't even completely cover the event), an event which she would have loved to get inside stories on, she instead will remember my text — “Sorry, I tried. Here's the publication's explanation.”

Publication's response on the situation.
Followed by a reader questioning the pubilcation's motive.
Source: https://twitter.com/ThePacificPunch/status/264150582586138625

It may be a small offense to many. But it absolutely annoyed me. "They don’t know me. They don’t know who I know. They don’t know what I do."[*] What if I was a hot-shot TV producer who was looking for a music journalist? What if I was an agent seeking material for a mainstream magazine publication? What if I was the ad sales or marketing guru for Coke or Prada and wanted to buy ad space on their website? You just never know… And on the Internet, that’s even more true.


“With every blogger I partner with, I make sure they know that each reader is the number one most important part of their significance. Without them, consider that you're essentially invisible in a black box of emptiness,” said a close friend of mine who happens to be a very popular blogger on blogspot.

“Even on most days where they don’t feel like responding professionally, I tell bloggers to get over themselves and take the criticism. You are voicing your personal experience and have been entitled to your opinions. Give that same respect to readers. It’s about common sense, being humble and checking that attitude out the door. Isn’t this Journalism 101? Fame can easily come and go. Plus, you don't know who that reader could possibly be and what opportunities they could offer you.”


The article spreads around (), stirring intense emotions and criticism.
The author remains unfazed, continuing to avoid responding.
Source: https://twitter.com/FishbowlLA/status/264545837110136833


Oh and for your information — who enabled all comments to be posted? FishbowlLA. Such nice guys and such huge talent. They’re about to go viral. Don’t miss an opportunity to read their website!

So the lesson here is plain and simple. If you have any kind of public blog and a reader (or friend of a reader) comments with a question, take a moment to read it and reply. Be polite. Be graceful. Be thankful. Take notice from the likes of Perez Hilton, barelypolitical and Xiaxue — without reader support, you can’t do what you do. That’s what I call Blogging 101.

Perhaps it’s best quoted from popular blogger Xiaxue …


"1) If you can't tolerate criticism why be a blogger?"
 (http://xiaxue.blogspot.com/2012/06/faces-of-haters-part-ii-unrepentant.html)




*Disclaimer: The contents of this post is a parody for entertainment purposes and meant to convey the absurdity and unreasonableness in the original author's article. As such, the irony inherent is purposeful (including the sense of entitlement, contradictions, and the fact that this is a no-name blog in itself). The article being parodied is: Celebrity 101: A week of music and a reminder to celebs by Lindsay Tab  http://pacific-punch.com/celebrity-101-a-week-of-music-and-a-reminder-to-celebs



Footnote:
A comment from Taub's article that summarizes the aim of this satire piece: to raise awareness of the hurtful and lasting effect critical opinion bloggers/journalists have when their emotional snap judgement of someone is recorded in print. Source: http://pacific-punch.com/celebrity-101-a-week-of-music-and-a-reminder-to-celebs/#comment-3661
 

20 comments:

  1. OMG this is awesome! SPOT ON!! Please tell me that you have forwarded it to Lindsay Taub. Are you planning to post it in the comments for the original article?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have been unable to post any comments to her article. They always end up "Awaiting Moderation", but I have sent it to her.

      Delete
    2. I just posted your link in the comments on Lindsay Taub's original article, timestamp Nov 4, 9:56pm. It appeared to go through and doesn't appear to be in moderation. We'll see if it stays there, though!

      Delete
  2. Thank you for your comments on Lindsay Taub's/Pacific Punch blog of her encounter with Adam Lambert. I was one of the (I assume many respondents) whose comments were not published. Mine is still "Awaiting Moderation" which I interpret as "Waiting Until Hell Freezes Over.." My comments were IMO reasonable, well thought out : ) , respectfully stated, but yes, somewhat critical of her reaction to being politely asked by Mr. Lambert to catch him after the show. I also specifically addressed her musings about "what if I was a Big Time Producer..." etc., which I found to be unrelated to what she was upset about in the first place. IF she had been one of those professional music people, etc, she would have had the insight to leave Adam to his private moments at this concert at which he was NOT a performer and therefore off the clock, and call his management to set up a meeting. She is, IMO, in dire need of taking that "Celebrity 101" class that she mentioned in her blog. I am also a long-term fan of Adam Lambert, and follow his career closely as many of his fans do. I've also had the honor of meeting him once at an event at which he WAS performing. Ms. Taub, in this unofficial meeting with him, had more time with him than most of his actual fans do, in an official meet and greet. Nothing to complain about I would say. At all. Not only is he a vastly talented singer, he is a polite, generous with-his-time, unfailingly gracious human being who is without exception (to my knowledge) universally respected and loved by everyone he meets on a personal and professional level, whether it be a fan, media representative, interviewer, etc.. He politely chatted with her and asked her to find him afterwards. What she also failed to consider was the possibility that by asking for a picture, she would draw attention to him "Oh look! Its Adam Lambert!!", consequently attracting others to his presence, further delaying him on his mission to deliver drinks to his friends waiting back at his seat. He was, by the way, there to see his close friend, Ty Taylor, lead singer of Vintage Trouble, the band who was opening for Joss Stone, and I suspect he didn't wish to miss a moment of the music. (I went to the same concert in another city: VT is fantastic!!). Lastly, Mr. Lambert is a very busy man, with a busy international concert and appearance schedule, and his relatively few moments of down time with friends are no doubt precious to him. To be verbally attacked and criticized by this apparently "entitled" blogger, when he DID take the time to chat with her, is unwarranted and unfair in my humble opinion. I do hope that instead of feeling abused by the fans who responded to her blog, that she takes a step back and ponders her comments, and perhaps takes something positive away from all of this. That, in the words of Adam Lambert earlier in his career, "Entitlement isn't sexy...".. Mary @glitzylady

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've never met Adam or follow him too closely but I felt personally insulted by her article too.

      I was honestly expecting a music review for the Joss Stone/VT concert but was surprised that the entire tone was focused on slighting an artist who wasn't even performing that night. Making it more unbearable was the fact that every artist she brought up to 'review' was unfairly used to 'prove' how better a celeb they were than Adam for 'tending to THEIR fans'.

      Of course, Adam may have had an attitude specifically towards her, and no one can argue that she felt personally insulted (since it is her perception of the situation), but writing about it passive-aggressively in a music review blog that misrepresents his general character was unprofessional and rude.

      In fact, I felt my own intelligence insulted by her entire article. As Lindsay says herself:

      "...I am entitled to my opinion and to share my feelings, whether it upsets [her publication] or is judged as unfair. The truth of the matter is that no one was there [when my comment was awaiting moderation] and what I left out above was the attitude that came along with [her article and response] – I was compelled to write about it because I found it personally insulting"

      Delete
  3. Taub she deletes all comments regarding her (can't take the heat get out of the kitchen), yet she keeps all the posts that fans go after eachother... sick biotch.. useless tool of a so called journalist- and of course her PP is standing by her or they look like idiots. If everone has an opinion, then respect Adams opinion at the the time too... PP is hypocritical and look like idiots anyway now.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I commented on that horrendous article by Lindsay Taub & my comment was ignored as well. I'll never read anything by her again!!

    tess4ADAM

    ReplyDelete
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