Can't We All Just Get a Blog?post Alan Wolk had over at Agency Spy. I came away thinking there are a lot of issues at work there lumped together under the single banner of why are ad people so damn angry. In talking offline with a few creatives about it, even more points were raised. At the risk of continuing the separation of church and state between creatives and the rest of the world, the focus for me becomes:
1) Why are anonymous comments overwhelmingly bitter/negative on ad blogs? (The flipside to why are ad people so damn angry.) Are we talking in the workplace? Or online. Two different things. If I was stuck in a lousy shop, I'd be angry too. I might even go online to vent about it anonymously. What if they're tired of reading fluff pieces about someone they know to be a prick. Sure beats the mall and rifle approach.
2) What should the tone of online comments be?
That's up to the blogger. I'm not even going to get into whether anon comments should be allowed, suffice to say you can tell the difference between legit crit and someone coming on to start trouble.
Many agency people offer solid comments but also need to remain anonymous for a number of reasons. In general, go after the post, not the poster, for Dalton is your master: Be nice. Until it's time... to not be nice.
Here's where it takes a hard left though: Creatives are passionate freaks, while PR-marketing types are all about transparency and being open. Oil. And. Water. Latter meets former. Former disagrees. Latter expects polite discourse.
Problem is, discussions aren't always nice and neat because writers and art directors are always tearing stuff apart to make it better, much like a work in progress. It's what they do. Compare creatives who blog with PR/marketing types who do and tell me which group is more apt to delete stuff first. (Yeah, it's okay, you know the answer.)
As for remaining anonymous, two different anon comments can have different opinions. It doesn't make their views any less valid or true simply because they choose to remain in the shadows. How do you neg someone for being anonymous simply because they said something you don't like, but then turn around and give props to another anon because they agreed with you? Either ban them all or leave them alone.
3) Why do the vast majority of traditional creatives hate people involved with social media?
No, really, they do. It's one of those dirty little secrets. This is different than a digital vs. traditional creative arguement though. Creatives on the whole have little respect for anyone associated with "Social Media‚ĄĘ because of what the person associated with it represents to them, another version of suit, but more: Snake oil salesmen, change agents and worst of all, direct marketers--with mouses.
Creatives for their part came up as writers, art directors, photographers, etc., each doing something by hand. Writing, sketching, illustrating, etc. Social media gurus talk about how brands should listen to customers. It's hard as a creative to respect someone who you don't feel has ever been in the same proverbial trenches the way you've been.
While a few creatives love their TV/print/radio but hate things like Twitter, concluding then that they have to be out of touch with the net or anything interactive clouds the issue further. A lot of agency creatives are doing killer stuff regardless of the media employed, and will end up in my opinion doing the coolest things with social nets. Lines are blurring between disciplines anyway, so to say the hate is only coming from the traditional agency side doesn't feel right. (Look around. There is a LOT of smugness on the part of Thought Leadership Team USA that they alone are the industry's answer.)
But, what the creative side really doesn't like hearing is a PR-slash-"Social Media Enthusaist" talk about how blogger outreach is all a brand needs, and that ad agencies are a thing of the past. They agency model itself may well change, but the people in it are very much real and still here. An either or attitude like that by both sides accomplishes nothing.
Agree or disagree if you want, but this vibe is definitely out there, alive and well. So, can't we all just...
(Note to Steve and Angela, I swear this is my last megarant. I know how you hate it when I go over my words for the month.)