You are no more than a snivelling contrarian

11 July 2006

It's funny how apparently innocent words become insults. Lit-crit types have been thumbing their noses at each other with accusations of "Leavisite" for years. Poor old FR Leavis: you turn lit-crit into a serious subject and end up becoming the top insult for drunk English students. The political left wing used to be fond of the old standby of "reactionary", sometimes expanded into "reactionary running dogs of the imperialist aggressors" among the more hardline members. I remember being told by a teacher how children had managed to turn the politically correct term of "learning difficulties" into a playground slur thanks to its contraction to "learndiff". Now, it seems that the world of blogging has its own: "contrarian".

Barely pausing to wipe the spittle from his mouth as he lay into computer maker Dell's rather bland blog, Jeff Jarvis decided to round on other bloggers, such as Nicholas Carr and Scott Karp. Carr is fast approaching enemy-of-the-people status given the number of times people have levelled the contrarian accusation at him. In this case, the thought-crime was to wonder whether it was simply too early to say that the company's initial efforts at blogging just needed some time to bed in.

Those critics? Why they are nothing more than...contrarians. Jarvis is by no means alone in using the word to label anyone who disagrees with a point he has made. But it is a bit odd when you consider that Jarvis' central theme in just about every blog post he writes is that blogging is about conversation, whether it involves agreement or disagreement. I conclude that Jarvis believes in only half of that. No prizes for guessing which half.

I wonder what Jarvis will have to say to 'Jack', who posted a comment on the first of three entries about Dell in the same day, asking the former Dell user and recent Apple convert what he thought of Apple's corporate blog. Given Jarvis's decision to reprint an open letter to Michael Dell about how the Texas PC maker should blog and blog often, and his apparent satisfaction with all things Apple today, he must be very impressed with the blogging output of Apple Computer. A clear sign that less truly is more when it comes to blogging. Maybe Dell should emulate the example set by Steve Jobs and his company.


There are plenty of Apple staff blogging, though you have to know where to look. And there is an Apple corporate blog somewhere in its iWeb pages - I subscribed for a while but it was too dull.

A blog isn't a measure of a company, only of its writers.

Oh well, that knackers that sketch.

The iWeb blog - is that the one that pops up now on the .Mac account telling you how to post pics and stuff or is there another one that's crept out? I've now found some of the Apple insider blogs - mostly developers on Cocoa and Webkit and stuff as far as I can tell, which makes sense. Being a user of Netnewswire and Omniweb, I guess I should have realised they existed before now.

Curiously, Jeff Jarvis did reply to Jack to say that Apple not having a blog was no problem (I don't think he clocked the iWeb pages either). The reason? His Mac hasn't broken. Let's hope it's not one of those that gets an endemic fault (like the white spots on the 2003 15in Powerbook display or the flaky graphics chip on the G3 iBook), or we'll never hear the last of it.

However, it seems we now have a rule for when to launch a corporate blog. Don't bother unless you've pissed off a supposed A-list blogger. If you have upset one, post regular vlogs of your CEO flaying himself with birch twigs while firewalking on a mixture of charcoal and broken glass. Rinse and repeat until someone declares that the corporation has officially joined the cluetrain.