I’ve received far too much attention this weekend for quitting FriendFeed. I would have wondered, if I were you guys, if what I did was a bit of a publicity stunt, given the attention it’s received.  

It wasn’t, though. It was me storming off in a huff from a community that occasionally just infuriates me with what I see as some extremely illogical behavior.
I’m more calm now, and I have a little bit of perspective.  A lot of people have pontificated here and elsewhere on my actions, and the one who seemed to best encapsulate my thoughts was Duncan Riley. He often has the scary ability to read into my actions online and then to be able to better elucidate what I’m trying to say.
After he put up his post, he pinged me and (amongst other things) said I should do my homework before quoting loons. He’s absolutely right.
As I told him, I shoulda done a bit more homework. I knew the theory was espoused by the loons, but then I gave the 9/11 twoofers a fair shake until read both sides and decided they were indeed batty. Of course that process didn’t really take place in the public eye like most of my thought processes do now, and I don’t know if that makes me stupid or open-minded or just hurts my credibility, but that’s how I seem to roll.
(note to self – compare and contrast issues with developing a publicly documented opinion vs. a privately held opinion. lots of new dynamics in play with all this social media stuff these days).
I think that during a campaign like this, I may have given it more credence than it was worth for the very simple fact (and this next thing isn’t a surprise to anyone here), every candidate lies. Every candidate lies, and these two candidates even make a very public point at every debate to say “hey, everything he just said? it’s a lie!” With all the falsehood flying, candidate credibility is at an all time low, and it’s very easy to just question everything.
Look, I’m not keen on McCain. If you scroll back to some of the old podcasts Art and I did several years ago, you’d find that out. I like Sarah Palin because she’s an American success story, but I don’t agree with all her policy statements. All my favorite candidates were weeded out during the primaries, and I don’t have faith in any of the third party candidates this year.
I don’t need to be a watchdog for McCain anymore, and certainly there’s no need for more Palin watchdogs. There are armies of reporters dumpster diving in Alaska, and on FriendFeed, everyone seems to have a direct line to these guys. 
A lot of people disagree, but I think that we’re having to choose between a smooth talking and inexperienced cult leader and an inept campaigner who’s barely a conservative. Some people like to be talked pretty to, and some people like to have a pretty vice president to look at. I fall in the latter category.
This doesn’t make me a racist.
Aside from the Obama citizenship topic, which at this point seems only secondary to the larger issue: the state of debate on FriendFeed and my involvement in it…
I like political debate and conversation. I don’t like it when I’m insulted or lumped into a group of folks through the use of damning pejoratives. You know what I’m talking about, if you’ve been on FriendFeed long, because you’ve seen it.  Many of you left me emails and comments like Mona did:

I’ve steered clear from political exchanges (as much as possible), since I already felt the judging and negativity during the primaries. Time and time again, it was a no win situation. When I questioned a policy, plan, or quote from O, I was automatically a racist or feminist. If I questioned Hillary, I was an anti-feminist… and here I thought I was just asking questions — like I would with any candidate.

If what happened on Friday was an isolated incident, was simple disagreement or was even limited to political debates, I wouldn’t mind it so much. 
  • Far too many times, though, I’ve been called racist for simply deigning to question one candidate (you know which one). 
  • I remember during the Thomas Hawk MOMA controversy, I was called a number of extremist things (I don’t remember how it came to this, but I remember someone calling me sexist) for taking Thomas’s side in the debate. 
  • During the fallout from a piece I did on some blogging news, several prominent bloggers publicly conspired to do a video expose on my shoddy journalistic practices.
  • Another blogger you likely read on a daily basis started a thread to have a virtual lynch mob come together and talk about how badly they all hated Mashable and our blog posts.
Every one of these comment threads had between 30 and 90 posts. They were all mob mentality. They all included people I had previously conversed with in civil manners coming out of left field and calling me horrible things.
It just comes down to the fact that I don’t wanna end up like Mike Arrington.  I don’t want to maintain a sh!t list of people who “done me wrong.” When I get written up in ValleyWag, I want it to be because they are jokingly suggesting I should be replaced by a caveman, not because I threw out one of my peers from my party because of some unspoken misdeed. 
When I get insulting comments over at Mashable, they blend in with all the other griefers that stick around from the Alex Jones crowd and call me things like proto-fascist. When I see it on FriendFeed, it’s got your real name next to it, and everything you’ve ever written. It’s hard not to remember who said what. 
So to that end, I don’t think I’ll be headed back. The temptation, given my personality type, to dive back in, mix it up, and receive even more punishment is far too great. 
I do, though, appreciate the mountain of good will after the fact that’s been shot my direction. Your emails and comments have been appreciated.  I’m not going to go all Spartacus and lead people u

p against the evil FriendFeed overlords or anything. Do it how you like.  If you can deal with the community there without pulling your hair out, you’re doing better than I.  

So feel free to create a “Rizzn Room” and read discuss me in my absence if you like, or you can just hang out on my blog or at Mashable. Or whatever you feel like, really.  Although I spent a ton of time on FriendFeed, I’m pretty visible a number of other places, as well, so I’m sure you won’t have problems finding me.
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