Talking with Scoble today we agreed that the blogosphere has gained many of the negative traits of mail lists or Usenet. There are certain topics that, if approached, will result in a flameout. So you don’t go there.
Imho there’s no point blogging if you accept those constraints. There aren’t many people who do the flaming, but they do control discourse, because they control things like who gets to speak at conferences. Since I don’t get to speak at the conferences anyway, perhaps I should start to go through these barriers, accept the flaming, and go ahead and say what I think.
I even get flamed from the podium at conferences where I’m not allowed to speak. It’s practically institutional by now, everyone knows its done, it’s even openly discussed at the conferences that it works this way. I hear about it, in email from people who are there, and don’t like it. That’s new and positive. It shows that perhaps our community is overcoming this limit.
Since coming back to the Bay Area, I’ve been seeking out local speaking opportunities and smaller events, or new places like Mike Arrington’s BBQ (where I gave the keynote, proving that Mike’s sense of humor is intact). There’s a new generation of software entrepreneurs who have only heard the nasty stuff about me, which sets expectations low, and that’s actually pretty good. They seem surprised that I can carry on a conversation like a relatively normal person, and I don’t spit when I talk. Last night I explained it this way. I’m a celebrity. And what matters to people is what they think of me, not who I really am. But, by going out and talking to people, that negates the negative buzz, and I hope raises some questions when people say the nasty stuff. It’s hard to overcome the tar-and-feathering that has been done to my reputation, but I’m trying. I think my contribution is solid, and not in question, and after that it’s just a matter of taste.
Yesterday I wrote, in my BDG to RSS 2.0:
“Some people will say I’m stupid, or corrupt, or incorrigible, even toxic, or any number of negative personal things. What they’re really saying is they don’t like me. That’s okay, no one is liked by everyone. It doesn’t hurt my feelings, and you shouldn’t worry about it, because I don’t.”
There’s more to say about that. When someone says that kind of personal stuff, you can turn it back and ask them why they are making it so personal, and how do they know so much about Dave. My bet they don’t know me at all and they have a reason to want you not to listen to me. I won’t show you that kind of disrespect, I want you to get all the opinions you feel you need, and then make the right choice, for you. You should never base your opinion of some idea on what someone else thinks of the person who is advocating the idea. That is a perfect example of disrespect, of you.