I was somewhat prepared I suppose – Mac users have a reputation for being “passionate” – even a bit nut case-y. I was girding myself for a bit of a backlash when I wrote an article for Ad Age on how easy it is to be slippery with the truth in technology advertising because “heck Judy Consumer won’t know the difference anyway”. The article, for instance, questioned whether Mac’s emphasis on virus free operation was giving “Judy Consumer” a false sense of security.
While I may have prepared, I figured I am not important that anyone would really notice. I was wrong. The Ad Age article did catch the attention of a Mac daily digital daily newsletter, which took exception to my article. Politely, I will restate their point which was they felt that my lack of technological knowledge did not allow me fully appreciate how bullet proof Macs really are.
Got it – they really really disagreed with my point. I respect that.
But then they launched a guerilla attack that was pretty well coordinated to lobb every conceivable personal attack. Many were very funny. Someone took a fair amount of time to create reusable content for others to hurl at me. I was described as an idiot”, worthy only of being in the kitchen, a dishonest reporter (pretty funny since I am not a professional writer), an archetype of silly women everywhere who don’t understand technology. They even pulled the old, tired, “you ignorant slut” why don’t you get some “recreational activities” and stay out of tech. In short, the onslaught was saying – I was worthless as a human being and had no right to even invoke the precious Mac name – much less challenge their sacred reputation.
In many ways, the attack reminded me of a guerilla organization. They come out of the weeds – do their dark deeds and then skulk back into their holes. The editor deliberately took my article and edited it in such a way to suggest the focus of the article on why Macs can not claim their bullet proof status (that wasn’t the focus at all). They created a bunch of content so users could flood me with a barrage of personal insults that had no intelligence in it. They even accused me of being in the pocket of MS or the security company I quoted in the article.
And just like any guerilla terrorist organization, there is no honor in their fight. There is no desire to keep the conversation focused on the real issue — how real people must grapple with new challenges as we all become more dependent on the Internet.
Nope. The site wanted to whip up a frenzy to drive traffic. They did exactly what my article was complaining about – they played with the facts to satisfy their business needs. There was no straight talk in their harangue.
But I am consoled by the fact that I must have hit big time … otherwise they would not have bothered. I know others have been in this Mac Attack club including a recent article from Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt in his article; “Why are there no Mac viruses?”
http://brainstormtech.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2009/09/02/why-are-there-no-mac-viruses. But they seem to reserve their special ire for “ignorant women”…
I thought the days of persuasion by coercion were only reserved for close minded fundamentalists. I was wrong and on this point – I wholly admit my error.