• Opinion1
Opinion

Opinion: Why being nice in the online world is no bad thing

Posted by Rob Alderson,

This week Editor-in-Chief Rob Alderson defends the idea of purely positive cultural coverage after controversy about Buzzfeed’s moves into book reviewing. As ever you can add your thoughts using the thread below.

This week Buzzfeed’s new books editor Isaac Fitzgerald caused a stir in the creative community by telling an interviewer that he wasn’t interested in publishing negative reviews on the site.

“Why waste breath talking smack about something?” he is quoted as saying.“You see it in so many old-media type places, the scathing takedown rip.” This plan to avoid negative reviews was widely criticised; sneeringly mocked on Gawker and critiqued in a more sober way on The New York Times website. In that latter piece, the author made what seemed to me a pretty disingenuous leap, saying: “Will Fitzgerald’s ‘positive place’ philosophy become an additional tool for the blind monetisation of everything, or even a final erasure of that once-bright line?… Is this how the Minority Report version of consumerism—ubiquitous, completely inescapable—is going to slip into every corner of our culture? Through the spread of ‘niceness’?”

Obviously with a name like ours, such a cynical take on the idea of being nice struck a chord. I am not denying that the world needs critical cultural coverage and that there are many excellent reviewers who are able to be nuanced in their criticism without resorting to the “scathing takedown rip.”

But equally I believe strongly that in an online world that is awash with sarcasm, cynicism and the most vituperative criticism (which is often anonymous), there is also a place for people like us – or Isaac Fitzgerald – to tend little corners of the internet which are upbeat, enthusiastic unapologetically positive.

To immediately denounce such an approach as some sort of financial strategy does a disservice not only to such sites, but also to their readers, who it is assumed have no idea that they are being hoodwinked by happiness. The great thing about the modern media landscape is that there is room for many different voices. One does not threaten another and my feeling is that It’s Nice That readers buy into an approach that accentuates what is interesting, engaging and exciting.

comments powered by Disqus
Ra

Posted by Rob Alderson

Editor-in-Chief Rob oversees editorial across all three It’s Nice That platforms; online, print and events. He has a background in newspaper journalism and a particular interest in art, advertising and photography. He is the main host of the Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Opinion View Archive

  1. Kingadz-autenticity-list

    In the branding and advertising world, authenticity seems to have become the Holy Grail. Seemingly melded to whatever people need it to convey, it’s become a buzzword whose significance has mushroomed while its meaning has all but vanished. With this in mind King Adz, aka Adam N. Stone – whose new book Unbrandable is out this summer – considers what authenticity really means in a contemporary creative context. You can add your thoughts using the comment thread below…

  2. Kinfolk_14.cover

    The latest issue of Gym Class magazine has an eye-catching cover; with bold block capitals on a black background spelling out: “Nobody cares about your oh-so-cool, Kickstarted, tactile, minimalist unoriginal magazine.” It’s intended as a “call to action,” Gym Class editor Steven Gregor told MagCulture, “make magazines, and make them exceptional.”

  3. Applewtach-list-int

    The Apple Watch was officially unveiled yesterday (as was a super-thin 13.1mm new MacBook) and as ever the internet is awash with run-downs and reactions slobbering over the new products. For Wolff Olins design director Jan Eumann though, the imminent arrival of the new timepiece got him thinking about logo design, and in particular how app buttons have rehabilitated the logo. You can add your thoughts using the comment thread below…

  4. Rod-hunt-int-hero

    Do you really need an agent? Why? What do they actually do? In a talk hosted by The Illustrator’s Guild of Ireland at this year’s Offset festival a panel featuring Peepshow Collective’s Andrew Rae and Chrissie Macdonald, illustrators Rod Hunt and Matthew Griffin and Bernstein & Andriulli agent Sam Summerskill, we heard about how best to go about finding an agent, what they look for and what they get up to. Here’s what we learnt…

  5. Opinion-int-list

    After visiting the Design Indaba conference in South Africa, Rob Alderson asks if the leading designers working today favour humility and modesty over the cloying over-confidence of their predecessors. As ever you can add your thoughts using the comment thread below…

  6. Opinion-davidpearson-int-list

    Last week an interesting Twitter debate sprang up after a comment by graphic designer Andy Pressman who admitted that on a recent series he worked on it wasn’t always possible to read the books before designing the covers. So we decided to speak to a few other book cover designers and find out where they stand on this apparently quite divisive design issue; as ever you can add your thoughts using the comment thread below…

  7. Marckremers-opinion-int-list

    As part of the digital design showcase we are running with Represent, we interviewed Marc Kremers and found him in an unflinching mood as he detailed some of the issues he felt were affecting the industry. Such was the reaction to Marc’s piece both on the microsite and social media, we have decided (with his permission) to republish an excerpt of his interview here. You can add your thoughts using the comment thread below, and check out the dedicated digital design showcase here.

  8. Ije-nwokorie-indaba-sun

    As CEO of Wolff Olins, Ije Nwokorie is well-versed in the creative landscape; the forces that shape it and in turn how it shapes our world. Describing himself as “born in the US, bred in Nigeria and enlightened in England” he also has a global sensibility that sets him apart from many of his peers.

  9. Opinion-int-list

    A new survey has identified what clients see as the four worst types of design agency, and Rob Alderson suggests we should listen to what they had to say. As ever you can add your thoughts using the discussion thread below..

  10. Robertbye-opinion-list

    The intern debate is still one of the most talked-about issues whenever we meet young designers. This week Robert Bye wrote an interesting article about why, after three months interning in a design consultancy, he believes doing crappy jobs did sometimes make sense.

  11. List

    Assistant editor Maisie Skidmore chimes in on the debate about the presence of full-frontal male nudity in Rick Owens’ AW15 collection which showed in Paris a few days ago. Do you think penises on the catwalk are a step too far? Leave your comments below!

  12. List

    Following this week’s news that plain cigarette packaging could be introduced in England as soon as next year, Studio Minerva co-founder and creative strategy lead Silas Amos tells us about the designs that made his relationship with smoking “always equally one with the branding.”

  13. Artsemergency-list

    Earlier this week James Blunt’s open letter to shadow culture secretary Chris Bryant went viral, in which the musician hit back at the MP’s assertion that the arts was dominated by those from privileged backgrounds. But Jonathan Wakeham of Arts Emergency and The London Comedy Film Festival believes James’ (admittedly amusing) letter missed the point. As ever you can add your thoughts using the comments thread below.