Update: Paul Carr at the British-based Guardian was at the DLD Conference and wrote a blog which, I think, agrees with me about rethinking the idea of writing snarky blogs for the sake of being snarky.
I usually don't pay all that much attention to the trials and tribulations of what I call the post-bubble social publishers, but today's post by Michael Arrington caught my attention. According to his post, Michael was leaving the DLD Conference in Munich Germany when, as he wrote in his blog, "someone walked up to me and quite deliberately spat in my face." While I remember in my more raucous youth we called it hocking a loogie, the intent remains the same: the gross equivalent of someone challenging you by slapping a glove in your puss.
I was about to discount the post as a bit of whining provided by someone who has made a business out of being an agent provocateur of the web 2.0 age and makes a living out of giving a thumbs up or down to digital entrepreneurs, when his post took a darker turn. He recalled how last year he and his family were threatened by "off balance individual" (in Arrington's words) to the point where he had to call in the cops and private security.
As his post nears its conclusion he states that after a trip to Davos World Economic Summit, he is going to take a break for most of February. " Ive decided the right thing to do is take some time off and get a better perspective on what Im spending my life doing. Ill be taking most of February off from writing, and decide what the best future for me is while sitting on a beach somewhere far away from my iPhone and laptop. Ill be continuing to write this week and cover news from the World Economic Forum in Davos, then Ill take time off starting next week."
Here's my opinion. One of the unwritten laws of successful blogging is to be provocative (snarky, as they say). Provocative is fine if you truly feel provoked and have done sufficient background work to see if your outrage is justified. Being prococative because it will draw a lot of page views is a very poor reason to take up the flaming pen (or keyboard as the case may be). There is a big difference in clearly expressing strong statements and someone striking a pose. Striking a pose via your blog can get you spat on -- or worse. Taking a break from blogging to rethink priorities is a good step for Michael Arrington and one that others might want to reconsider if the unwritten law of snarky blogging should be rewritten.