The recent herd mentality on Twitter reminds me of the French mob screaming for aristocrats’ blood. Break out the guillotine! First it was Motrin, then it was the Matt Bacak smeering (I did think he crossed a line, but still the response was excessive), and most recently the portrayal of Chris Brogan — of all people — as unethical for writing an IZEA (formerly Pay Per Post)/K-Mart sponsored post.
Much has been said about the Brogan post, some by Chris, some by Amber Naslund. To me the fact that Chris got his chops busted, and other prominent bloggers like friend Aaron Brazell didn’t just shows you how ridiculous Twitter can be sometimes. The hangman-out-for-blood mentality just shows human nature at its worst.
Frankly, I understand the angst about Pay Per Post. It’s a loss of credibility. But the rebranded IZEA service is bit more high-brow, and in this case sponsored folks like Aaron and Chris with a $500 stipend to shop at K-Mart. It’s hard enough making money as a blogger, but $500 at Christmas time is no joke, especially in an economy like this one.
I am not saying take $15 for writing SEO pieces every damn day that destroy your blog’s credibility. Personally, hat’s off to the K-Mart bloggers for being good enough to attract that kind of sponsorship. Just openly state that it’s a sponsored post. No big deal.
Amber had a nice entre to her post:
..the underlying issue to me is this idea that social media mechanisms like blogs are somehow sacrosanct, hallowed ground. That there is no room for commercialism within the walls of the Almighty Conversation. That the only use for these tools in within the confines of personal expression, removed from a capitalistic context. That simply isn’t the case.
Regardless of how you feel about Chris getting a $500 sponsorship, to me the mass hanging and outrage on Twitter has gotten to the point where the community is starting to validate Andrew Keen‘s Cult of the Amateur. There’s an increasing lack of common sense and a mad rush to bury people online. And that does not bode well for Twitter’s credibility as a source of mass intelligence.
As someone who has seen enough of these, I’m starting to get a) calloused to the cries of evil and b) question whether these events are actually hurting the brands in question, or in actuality helping them. I recently met Chris Anderson and he said to me all publicity is good publicity. Folks like Madonna would agree. In these cases, I am more likely to buy Motrin, I am now following Matt Bacak on Twitter, and I have more respect for Chris Brogan. The mob be damned.
What do you think?