In my search for why there are so many jerk-comments these days, I found that the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory, or the Online disinhibition effect is partly to blame for this behavior. Simon White a.k.a Purplesime weighs in on it in this blog post "Don't feed the trolls".
Even Beyond Madison Avenue have "seen some pretty nasty and uninformed comments posted anonymously, on pieces we have written, as well as our colleagues on this blog and Digital Pivot, Beneath the Brand, and Flack Me." The comment-attack disease is spreading. I like the "uninformed" jab BMA made, as more often than not, these types of comments are. Though uninformed guesses can make a thread funny, like when someone insisted the Levi's poem was "a real poem", which spawned some poetic retorts. The thing is, it's not that I can't even say that I think a VO is heavy-handed without being dubbed a cunt that's bugging me here. It's that it seems to me we have lost or ability to engage in a discussion anymore. One that involves first reading (all) of what the other person says, then mulling those points over, and putting forth ones own thoughts. Whatever happened to civil discourse that was over 140 chars long?
As Simon says (heh), it's an opinion shared, and others may disagree. There's no need to call names or competitively measure award cabinets as a response.
Some of us have done amazing work and won a tonne of awards. Most of us have done good work that, for whatever reason, has not won every award under the sun; this type of work, I’d say, makes up a large proportion of the advertising world. Some agencies don’t even put work into awards. And just because no awards have been won that doesn’t make the work worse than, say, an ad that’s scooped several Cannes Lion, One Show awards, or D&AD pencils. (For the record, I’ve won a few awards and been a finalist for some big ones, but I’ve got a trophy cabinet that even lowly football clubs could better.)
But I’m proud of what I’ve achieved as a creative. I’ve won a lot of business in my time and that, I think, is just as worthy. You may disagree, and that’s okay.
I believe anyone has the right to critique. ANYONE. Opinion is what makes for a more informed industry. I may not like the offered opinion, but if I can have one, then so can anyone else. So those who say I’m bitter if I call out an ad I don’t like (anything with Star Wars in, recently, for example – Vodafone and VW) or say how I would have done something different with the insight, you are very, very wrong. I’m not jealous, or bitter, or a hater. I’m giving my opinion and you don’t agree with it.
We used to be better at this, not only here on adland, but everywhere. Is it the spawn of social media that made people suffer tweetpilepsy and now can't read past the headline? Is it the constant captcha's that anger people so, they forget how to speak to other humans? Is it because mean jabs are so much easier to share than a well thought out point? Look around, everywhere people are sharing quick jokes, making funny ha ha's and pressing easy likes. All this chatter, yet nobody is talking.
As for the trolls: Dave Trott thinks you're a little child who can't stick to the topic and should be ignored, Johnny reckons trolls are uncreative, he's got a point, and Luke Sullivan calls it like it is: "anyone with personal integrity and a bit of calcium in their spine will publicly stand by and own an opinion they post, even if it is an unpopular one." I think a new generation, weened on the internet but have never seen Usenet, have lost the ability to discuss things. You can call me as many names as you want, my give-a-fuck-o-meter won't budge, all I care to talk about is the craft of advertising. You can join the discussion like an adult, or prove yourself unworthy.