Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Reznor's edge: Trent quits

Just as Tim Westwood tweets that "I'm feelin bad", Trent Reznor decides it's time to wind up the Twitterage:

I approached that as a place to be less formal and more off-the-cuff, honest and "human". I was not expecting to broadcast details of my love life there, but it happened because I'm in love and it's all I think about and that's that. If this has bummed you out or destroyed what you've projected on me, fair enough - it's probably time for you to leave. You are right, I'm not the same person I was in 1994 (and I'm happy about that). Are you?

So, for a while, Twitter was like this kind of Eden-y place. So what was the serpent?

Metal Sludge. Who they, Trent?
Metal Sludge is the home of the absolutely worst people I've ever come across. It's populated mainly by unattractive plump females who publicly fantasize about having sex with guys in bands. Kind of like a role-playing game where people NOBODY will fuck make up stories about their incredible sexual encounters with people they WISH they could fuck. It would be kind of funny in a sad and pathetic way except the fun doesn't stop there - hate and good old-fashioned outright blatant racism are also encouraged to spice things up and remind you how truly ugly these scourges are. TRULY ugly on the inside (the outside is obvious).

The throwing of "plump" onto that list of failings jars somewhat.

Anyway, Metal Sludgers are now popping up on Twitter, and so Trent is sloping off elsewhere:
I will be tuning out of the social networking sites because at the end of the day it's now doing more harm than good in the bigger picture and the experiment seems to have yielded a result. Idiots rule.

Does Reznor have an answer?
I had thought a while ago about attempting to start a mainstream public forum that required real verification of it's participants for purposes of context. The idea was to have a place where you can actually discuss whatever and have some idea of who you're conversing with. For example, if we were discussing drumming techniques and you can see that someone participating in the discussion is a drum instructor vs. a 13 year old kid Googling answers, you'd have the proper context in which to have a potentially valid discussion. If we were discussing EDLC's heart condition and a real cardiologist speaks up, I'd value his opinion over, say FredFuckFaceWhateverHisLastFuckingNameIs's "opinion". Know what I mean? Anyway, we're in a world where the mainstream social networks want any and all people to boost user numbers for the big selloff and are not concerned with the quality of experience.

The question, I suppose, is how do you 'prove' your experience? And the knock-on one of how do you help others to weigh the value of that experience - sure, the examples Reznor offers are pretty clear-cut. But if, say, you're looking for a steer on the tube strike, how would you know if should give more weight to a Tweet from someone in the Mayor's office against a member of the RMT negotiating team? It might have been nice had Trent kept some of his energies for working on an answer to that sort of question, rather than just withdrawing.

But then he has other things to focus on:
With all of that said, I have business in the real world to attend to including wrapping up the live version of NIN, DOING some cool new shit and spending as much time as possible with the most amazing woman in the world.

Web 2.0's loss is music and romance's gain.

Just one question, though: could he not have just blocked people on Twitter who he felt were Sludge? You don't have to follow everyone back, after all - isn't it your choice how many signal follows to noise follows you have?


Steev Bishop said...

This will always be the dilemma of someone who lives in the public eye: how open should I be? The amount one chooses to be open could change in some way how their public views them, yes, but there is no way of guessing by how much it changes and to whom.

You have to develop a thick skin in the same way as you would dealing with traditional media, perhaps even more so because you’re not dealing with professionals (of a sort) but with people. People who don’t always think straight or have a common code. People who may well have developed a view of you based on a particular era, a particular interview or particular work and even if you have changed their view has not.

When you choose to open up and bring more of your life than your professional persona allows, spells will be broken. There will be many people who appreciate the candidness, who may understand and respect their favourite star a little more. There will also be people who just don’t get it. That’s not your fault and that’s not your problem. If certain people become an issue social networks actually help you to tune them out. It will never stop them saying stuff about you but you can at least choose not to hear it. It’s the best you can do online as it is the best you can do in life.

Trent Reznor actually owes nobody an explanation in the same way he owes nobody a place on their favourite social network. He’s pitched a little fit, called some people stupid and gone away from Twitter in a huff. A sulk that he perhaps could’ve staved off had he kept a cooler distance from the audience, and a sulk that was likely in part a product of his heightened emotions, where as he feels elation over his latest romance unfounded and frankly moronic criticism brings him crashing down harder.

Despite his enthusiasm for the digital age Reznor appears surprised by the nature of trolls and fools and that he, as a more well-known figure, might attract a few more of them. It is in no way a reflection of his entire audience but by capitulating it may well come across as a snub to those who were genuinely interested in what he had to say.

A calmer head, a thicker skin and a better understanding of the tools at hand would’ve left the bloom on the rose.

simon h b said...

Now you mention it: it is surprising that he seemed so shocked by the trolls - after all, he says that he (or the corporate he) has to work hard to keep the Nine Inch Nails site free of trolls.

And surely he must have known that an open, public space would by its very nature be less well-kept than a private playground.

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