Though business bloggers' daily disquisitions on Chinese exports may not be
every reader's cup of tea, you have to hand it to them: their Twitter battles are epic.
One of the finest examples recently sprang up between Business Insider head Henry Blodget and Reuters blogger Felix Salmon. Blodget had fired John Carney, a blogger at Business Insider, inspiring a debate about journalistic values and business models. Salmon weighed in on the subject back on Wednesday, suggesting Carney was ditched for not being "lowbrow" enough to attract readers. But things didn't really heat up until he fired off a trenchant tweet. Blodget replied and, with a stamina unique to writers accustomed to 1,000-word posts on GDP, the two went to town.
Here's the full exchange, which Blodget also posted in the form of a slideshow (see below for why that's funny) and which The Awl's Choire Sicha called "a snippy little girl-spat." Here, we've edited it for readability, included some nasty one-liners from the bystanders, and tossed in the satisfying denouement.
- Salmon: "[Blodgett's] business model: Take a story about M&A fees associated with AIG. Illustrate with 2 hot babes kissing. http://bit.ly/dexECw"
- Blodget: "[Salmon] blasts appalling collapse of journalistic standards: Illustrate boring stories with 2 hot babes kissing."
- Salmon: "there are 2 journalistic issues here: the pic; and the fact that you're running boring stories ... there was no reporting involved in this story, yet it involved a significant amount of time to write it & find a pic.@nicknotned rightly says that the old days of link-plus-snark are over. Replacing with link-plus-babes-kissing is self-defeating ... it's like crack cocaine for blogs. You get a short-term high, but at the cost of long-term health and sustainability."
- Blodget: "Wow, check out what Reuters is paying [Salmon] to do all day: http://bit.ly/92eVl2 Can I get a job at Reuters?"
- Salmon: "no."
- Blodget: "Can't figure out who [Salmon] works for now -- Columbia Journalism Review, McKinsey & Co., or CEO of Business Insider? ... I mean, it is really astounding that Reuters pays [him] huge money to complain about things on Twitter all day ..."
- Salmon: "your business model became news when you fired [John Carney]. That's why I blogged it http://link.reuters.com/qam25j and am tweeting it."
- Samurai Trader (unrelated Tweeter who starts attacking Salmon halfway through): "[Salmon] is a bitter Brit stuck in the States with a shit blogging job. If his research had value, he'd work for a fund. $$"
- Blodget (to Samurai Trader): "Well, [his] writing is excellent. That part I get. I don't get why Reuters paying him to bitch/tweet at others" (turning back to Salmon) "if business model really the issue, can we have a $10 billion finance terminal cash-gusher to fund our newsroom with? ... If you give us $10 billion a year to fund our newsroom, I promise we'll publish some stuff that you like to read ... And, by the way, one of the first things I'm going to do with that $10 billion is hire you. Because you're excellent."
- Salmon: "and then the second thing you'll do is fire me. Because I don't create enough slide shows."
- Blodget: "But we can't afford you if you just noodle around bashing people on Twitter all day"
- Salmon: "damn, you're micromanaging me already, and you haven't even hired me yet!"
- Blodget: "Okay, back to this glorious waste of time (thank goodness I'm the boss or my boss would be an idiot not to fire me ... First, a confession: That tweet about firing you for not making slideshows was brilliant. I almost choked in sandwich line ... But of course it's not really about slide shows. It's about producing content people want to read ... Specifically, unless you're subsidized by a trader-terminal, it's about being read by enough people to pay your $ ... And that's where, honestly, I would be a bit worried about hiring you. Because you don't seem to think that should matter ... And now, unfortunately, although this is great fun, I have to get back to work. Because otherwise we're going to go bankrupt ... And then you would have one less site whose journalistic standards and business strategy you can insult!"
- Salmon: "RT @Awl: Henry Blodget Isn't Making Working for Him Any More Attractive -- http://www.theawl.com/?p=32308"
- Blodget: "Reuters blogger attacks us on Twitter. We respond. http://bit.ly/cAhfTH"
- Salmon: "Of course he turns it into a 25-page slideshow :-)"
- Blodget: ":-)"
- Salmon: "of course you cut out the 'can I get a job at Reuters' / no' exchange..."
- Blodget: "Ahhh... apologies. I didn't realize what that "no" referred to. I'll add it."