That would be me.
I'm not kidding.
Remember all the stuff I was saying about how the women in tech are ignored? They are never asked to speak at conferences, entirely overlooked, blah blah blah blah blah? I think I also touched on how the big bad tech boys who are so-called 'in charge' of this whole blogging/social media space are frat boys?
Uh. Yeah.Meet one Mr. J. Michael Arrington. Note that his Wikipedia says "Magazines such as Wired and Forbes have named Arrington one of the most powerful people on the internet."
Today Arrington (for those who still don't know, he's the TechCrunch guy) blocked me on Twitter.
For this :
I had been watching Techcrunch (aka Arrington) twitter for the past hour about the possibility CNN.com had been blocked in China. At last check, he said he had two confirmations and I was monitoring to see if it was true, and how it would be reported.
What do you want from me? This is what I did for a living-I LOVE breaking news.
Having watched the entire thing unfold -OF COURSE I showed Arrington he got scooped.
Now on to the important part of all this...
The term 'citizen journalist' is yammered about a lot these days. Web sites like TechCrunch are discussing politics, they are reporting breaking business and technology news. They are influencing readers-a few million a month- (wow, not even as big as Dooce or BlogHer...just learned something tonight) and pushing themselves as an 'all things tech news' related site. They get cited for 'breaking news' and for 'being the first' yet when you actually call them out on having posted a story SECOND, they get pissy.
So it occurs to me that maybe Arrington, and some other web site owners, need to understand the very basic principals of Journalism, having very obviously skipped over it while en route to conquer the internet. Afterall, this so-called 'citizen journalism' is taking over the main stream media dinosaur. It is influencing news cycles and fueling on-air pundits. Therefore it seems to me these sites could use a few quick pointers on how to be responsible citizen journalists.
Hi, I'm Erin. We haven't met. I get the feeling we may not meet now, but hey-I'm around if you want to chat. I also have a decent background not just in citizen journalism but in traditional journalism. Let me give you a quick J-school 101, so maybe next time you don't get too uppity and block a Mommyblogger on twitter. K?
In traditional media it's common place to be scooped or to scoop your competitor. In fact, its what the game is about. Eventually EVERYONE is running the story-what sets you apart is either the 'exclusive' (which I can explain in another blog post if you like) or being the FIRST. You will absolutely promote a story you post before anyone else (because man, sometimes getting confirmation is a bitch) and you will yell at your staff with a red face when someone else runs the story before you. Such is the life of a newsroom. And make no mistake, TechCrunch is a newsroom.
A couple other hints-if you are working on a story but it's still not ready to publish, you might not want to discuss it on Twitter. Because later, after you've been scooped and you claim you were never going to post it anyway, we silly readers aren't sure if we believe you or not. You're either saving face, or all that past discussion on confirming if China was getting CNN.com seems confusing and misleading. Hell, I don't know...maybe you just were super curious for your own knowledge about China and it's censorship of forgeign news media. I know I am, so you're not alone. Either way, sure looks like you were working on a story.
Also, when the entire world watches you discuss China, and sees a competitor posts the story, and points it out to you-you might not want to just silence them on the spot like some communist regime.
Oh, the irony.
Don't get me wrong, I've blocked a guy on twitter-but he actually physically threatened me and called me some very nasty names. If you go around blocking everyone who criticizes your cute little website, you may end up with a legion of yes-men (yes-tweets?) and lose touch with what's happening around you.
In fact, you might even lose touch so very much that you have a party with a beauty blog, having really done nothing with the actual majority of women occupying this whole social media, blog, web 2.0 thing you keep reporting on.
In short, Mr. Arrington, it may serve you well to take a few cues from old school media. They might be an aging dinosaur, but they at least know how to handle getting scooped.
If anyone needs anything else, I'll be reading Mashable. Pete is much more handsome anyway, and since it's clear on the web all that matters are looks, I might as well subscribe over there.
*updated with a twitPic of Arrington's Friend Feed from @snobcrunch