Will Leitsch’s Attack on Darren Rovell

24 12 2011

I came across Will Leitsch’s recent Deadspin article about Darren Rovell and Twitter. As expected, it was well thought out and contained a sufficient amount of snark. That’s Will Leitsch. He’s thoughtful, although I rarely seem to agree with his opinions. Count another one in which we disagree.

Leitsch aimed his contention with Twitter – and how it’s altered the way people interact with one another – at Darren Rovell, Mr. Sports Business Reporter. You might know Rovell by his regular reporting on CNBC or by his show on Versus (soon to be NBC Sports Network). I disagreed with a few characterizations Leitsch made about Rovell, in particular that Rovell is a “Twitter cop”, as Leitsch phrased it.

I know Rovell. We’ve met five or six times at various events during the past year. We’ve spoken on the phone several other times in which he would serve as a source for a story of mine. We follow each other on Twitter. He’s always been a nice guy, although that isn’t the point. Leitsch wrote that he found Rovell to be generally likable. But what I and I’m sure many others have noticed about Rovell is that he is deeply opinionated. That can be a good thing if used well, which I think Rovell does. He’s smart, he’s passionate and he uses those qualities to form opinions.

If Rovell uses the information he has gathered about Twitter (and social media) to form opinions on how people can and should use it, then who gives a damn if it’s policing or anything similar to it? The manner in which Leitsch and Justin Stangel (the Dave Letterman Show writer who’s been on a weird anti-Rovell rampage the past few weeks) criticize Rovell makes them seem ultra-sensitive. What are their expectations of Rovell?

The way I look at it is Rovell is already intelligent, so any opinion he forms is likely to have some value to it. But if his natural smarts are enhanced by the research and experience he has on a particular subject, then I’m interested to hear what he has to say about it. The fact remains that he understands Twitter, and social media, in general.His 13 Golden Rules of Twitter is a very good reference guide for anyone who wants to maximize his/her effectiveness on the social media platform.

What annoys me about Leitsch and Deadspin, for which he served as its founding editor, is the deliberate skepticism they take. It comes off as deliberate to me, at least. I feel like there so many times that they are skeptical or pessimistic about a topic because they feel like that’s the route they have to take. It’s disingenuous and sets the site up for coming off as some all-knowing entity when it’s not. Deadspin is hardly a bastion for any kind of journalism, save for the celebrity trash stuff upon which it has built its fame.