TechCrunch’s Arrington Blocks Mommyblogger

That would be me.

I’m not kidding.

Remember all the stuff I was saying about how the women in tech are ignored? They are never asked to speak at conferences, entirely overlooked, blah blah blah blah blah? I think I also touched on how the big bad tech boys who are so-called ‘in charge’ of this whole blogging/social media space are frat boys?

Uh. Yeah.

Meet one Mr. J. Michael Arrington. Note that his Wikipedia says “Magazines such as Wired and Forbes have named Arrington one of the most powerful people on the internet.”

Today Arrington (for those who still don’t know, he’s the TechCrunch guy) blocked me on Twitter.


For this :

@techcrunch ummm @mashable just scooped you. Just sayin’. Sorry, old school Journalist in me notices these things

I had been watching Techcrunch (aka Arrington) twitter for the past hour about the possibility had been blocked in China. At last check, he said he had two confirmations and I was monitoring to see if it was true, and how it would be reported.

What do you want from me? This is what I did for a living-I LOVE breaking news.

Not long after a twitter from Arrington about having two confirmations CNN was blocked, Pete Cashmore of Mashable (a competitor) tweeted a link to the story they had posted on CNN.

Having watched the entire thing unfold -OF COURSE I showed Arrington he got scooped.

He responded with a tweet that has since disappeared and was here. So this non-techy Mommyblogger (who can’t possibly ever read TechCrunch) went and pulled it off of TweetScan:

TechCrunch : @QueenofSpain haha. scooped us on the story we’ve been talking about here on twitter for hours? we’re not covering that. oh yeah. blocked. 2008-04-18 02:50:40 Reply

My response (still in twitter, not randomly gone) was ” ROFL @techcrunch is cute with the blocking. Apparently censorship isn’t a big deal for them. kudos to @mashable for posting it”

Now on to the important part of all this…

The term ‘citizen journalist’ is yammered about a lot these days. Web sites like TechCrunch are discussing politics, they are reporting breaking business and technology news. They are influencing readers-a few million a month– (wow, not even as big as Dooce or BlogHer…just learned something tonight) and pushing themselves as an ‘all things tech news’ related site. They get cited for ‘breaking news’ and for ‘being the first’ yet when you actually call them out on having posted a story SECOND, they get pissy.

So it occurs to me that maybe Arrington, and some other web site owners, need to understand the very basic principals of Journalism, having very obviously skipped over it while en route to conquer the internet. Afterall, this so-called ‘citizen journalism’ is taking over the main stream media dinosaur. It is influencing news cycles and fueling on-air pundits. Therefore it seems to me these sites could use a few quick pointers on how to be responsible citizen journalists.

Mr. Arrington,

Hi, I’m Erin. We haven’t met. I get the feeling we may not meet now, but hey-I’m around if you want to chat. I also have a decent background not just in citizen journalism but in traditional journalism. Let me give you a quick J-school 101, so maybe next time you don’t get too uppity and block a Mommyblogger on twitter. K?

In traditional media it’s common place to be scooped or to scoop your competitor. In fact, its what the game is about. Eventually EVERYONE is running the story-what sets you apart is either the ‘exclusive’ (which I can explain in another blog post if you like) or being the FIRST. You will absolutely promote a story you post before anyone else (because man, sometimes getting confirmation is a bitch) and you will yell at your staff with a red face when someone else runs the story before you. Such is the life of a newsroom. And make no mistake, TechCrunch is a newsroom.

A couple other hints-if you are working on a story but it’s still not ready to publish, you might not want to discuss it on Twitter. Because later, after you’ve been scooped and you claim you were never going to post it anyway, we silly readers aren’t sure if we believe you or not. You’re either saving face, or all that past discussion on confirming if China was getting seems confusing and misleading. Hell, I don’t know…maybe you just were super curious for your own knowledge about China and it’s censorship of foreign news media. I know I am, so you’re not alone. Either way, sure looks like you were working on a story.

Also, when the entire world watches you discuss China, and sees a competitor posts the story, and points it out to you-you might not want to just silence them on the spot like some communist regime.

Oh, the irony.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve blocked a guy on twitter-but he actually physically threatened me and called me some very nasty names. If you go around blocking everyone who criticizes your cute little website, you may end up with a legion of yes-men (yes-tweets?) and lose touch with what’s happening around you.

In fact, you might even lose touch so very much that you have a party with a beauty blog, having really done nothing with the actual majority of women occupying this whole social media, blog, web 2.0 thing you keep reporting on.

In short, Mr. Arrington, it may serve you well to take a few cues from old school media. They might be an aging dinosaur, but they at least know how to handle getting scooped.

If anyone needs anything else, I’ll be reading Mashable. Pete is much more handsome anyway, and since it’s clear on the web all that matters are looks, I might as well subscribe over there.

*updated with a twitPic of Arrington’s Friend Feed from @snobcrunch


  1. Well… How to put it.
    It was quite an asshole thing to do.
    And I don’t really understand it.

    YOU show him a link, and YOU got blocked?
    Shoot the messenger?

    Although, I’m not sure you lost anything important with this ‘blocked’ thing.

  2. michael arrington is notoriously crabby–i don’t think anyone in his world is exempt, so getting blocked sounds just about right. it wouldn’t matter if you were a mommyblogger or @joetrippi. i just think that’s how he rolls. guys like that take no prisoners and feel no qualms about how they look doing it. 🙁

  3. Way to call the whole thing out Erin. Note to all men, not just uppity tech bloggers: never mess with an intelligent woman. She will blog you.
    p.s. I read Mashable too.

  4. i love this.
    you = all kinds of awesome

  5. u need to cross post on Hoffingtn post !! :)-

  6. Oh no, he d’int.

  7. Lame. I should start following this guy just so I can bring this up, and then see if he blocks me, too. Heh heh heh.

  8. Ohhh, burn. I’m sure you were just in tears over getting blocked. Not!

  9. Veronica Giggey says:

    I guess he showed you! Cr*p does this mean I am going to get blocked too?

  10. I love that the tech sites are as bad as all the movies sites and their ‘professionals’…all is like high school on the ‘net and sadly many don’t follow any sort of journalistic qualities or standards..but then they don’t last either as quality eventually does win out over loudmouthed quantity.

  11. All I have to say is…YOU TOTALLY ROCK!!!

  12. Awesome! You are the bomb-diggity (or whatever the cool kids say now LOL) Hilarious, and just another fine example of what a pompous a$$ Arrington is.

  13. Geez louise. That guy is what, five years old? How childish. He obviously had no idea who he was blocking and how you don’t sit still when someone acts like a nitwit.

  14. For more insight into Scott Arrington’s civility, check out the below post, in which he publicly humiliates a PR intern for asking a simple question. Classy.

  15. What the heck, you’re comparing his block to the actions of a “communist regime”? Good grief…Maybe he just got annoyed with you, ever think of that? Thank God you aren’t overreacting to this situation.

  16. Oh, and @Jason Keeling: I believe it’s Mike Arrington; who’s Scott? Hard to take your opinion seriously when you don’t know the man’s name.

  17. I’ll advance a different hypothesis. People like Arrington, following thousands of people, are constantly looking for reasons not to do so, without appearing to be overwhelmed. So the shit floated downhill. Duck!

  18. Queen of Spain says:

    wait-isn’t this the blogosphere that has Arrington and Scoble and Winer? Aren’t I SUPPOSED TO overreact?

    Welcome to the blog kevan

  19. Ah Erin…such a breath of fresh air.

    Happy Friday 🙂

    ps I think you should rename your blog ‘ Queen of Calling Bullshit’.

  20. These are interesting:

    “Long ago I made the choice not to associate with people who are mean to others.” –

    “every time i block someone on twitter they completely lose it. good for at least five inbound links. definitely profitable for me.” –

  21. Chris (ceedee) says:

    The fact of the matter is that Arrington is a self-righteous blowhard. Never mind he’s Grand Prize winner of the Twitter Self-important Award. Hard to believe he actually goes out of his way to call out “tweets” on blocking people from his twitter stream. I mean, who the F cares? It’s like he’s in 2nd grade – going around to all the girls calling them out for having cooties or some such crap. Hey Arrington, get the fuck over yourself. TechCrunch = Blocked. What a douche.

    Erin, keep on kicking ass! The rest of us know Shit™ from Shinola®.


  22. TechCrunch is all sorts of “making stuff up” lately. I guess they really are turning into a newsroom…

    Great post, Erin! I love it…More Mashable all around!

  23. Well I am not shocked, he has been getting more craby every day. Even Steve Gillmor called him out on that a few weeks back when he Michael called back into the the gang weekly show. I have been a reader of tech crunch from the beginning not that it matters, it obvious that it does not to Arrington. Thinking about unfollowing as I still see his content with track feature but then he looses my attention points.

  24. Queen of Spain Says:

    wait-isn’t this the blogosphere that has Arrington and Scoble and Winer? Aren’t I SUPPOSED TO overreact?

    Hmm… point taken and duly noted.

    (btw, did not realize how snarky my original comment came across until I read it later. Please accept my apology, as I reserve being an ass for Mondays) 🙂

  25. Precisely!

  26. That was fantastic. Makes me proud to be a journalist

  27. Erin,

    He probably blocked you because it was convenient. As Joffi points out above, he mentioned earlier today about how blocking people gains traffic for his blog. He also happens to follow more people on Twitter than any human can actually read. So, blocking someone he barely knows probably has as much significance as swatting a fly. If he had less than 100 people he followed, I might take it personally. I think he follows more than 10,000. Consider yourself lucky that he even noticed your tweet enough to block you.

    With that out of my mouth, though, I’ve got to agree with you about the risk of keeping the “yes men” and unfollowing the “no men”. Every person, particularly one who influences others, needs to be challenged or their critical thinking will go soft.

    You might want to reconsider your lecture about journalism, though. The rules of the game are changing and *everybody* misses a few points. The traditional journalists are struggling to learn the new rules and the citizen journalists are struggling to learn the old rules. In the middle of it all are some readers who care (because they don’t like change) and others who don’t care what the rules are (because they adore change).

    One of the trends I find most interesting about the rise of social media is that “first” is almost an insignificant event for most news stories. Who cares who posted it first? There will be 100 places to read about it by the time I get back to my RSS feed. I only care who writes about it with a perspective I appreciate.

    Keep on writing.

    Kind regards,
    Justis Peters

  28. Yes, you’re right — Mashable guy is much cuter and as you said that is really all that matters on the web right? 🙂

  29. Arrington is a prick. Is that news to anyone? I’m sick to death of whiny tech bloggers. Get over yourselves already.

  30. Erin you rock 🙂 All in all I think I agree most with Justis Peters and Arrington could have been trying to use it as an excuse to prune down the 1,000s of people he follows.

    But then why do the tweet that says “TechCrunch : @QueenofSpain haha. scooped us on the story we’ve been talking about here on twitter for hours? we’re not covering that. oh yeah. blocked.“? and then delete that. Obviously he can delete what he likes from his twitter feed, but I don’t like the way he made sure you knew you were blocked before getting rid of your entire “existence” – in internet terms that is.

    I block commenters on my blog – sometimes with a warning beforehand, sometimes without a warning. It’s my blog. It’s my prerogative. But what I don’t do if I’m telling them that I think they’re an arse or racist or troll like (the only reasons I block people) is then delete that comment saying why I think they should be blocked. Which is roughly what happened to you.

    You’re going to get a lot of publicity out of this Erin and well done for standing up 🙂

  31. PS – take back the “1,000’s of people he follows”. He only follows around 300 people. That’s actually not a lot considering who he is, so the pruning argument doesn’t wash at all.

    Erin you rock even more 🙂

  32. Supportive Reader says:

    You do good work here, so I don’t want this to come off as a dis comment, but perhaps “@techcrunch ummm @mashable just scooped you. Just sayin’. Sorry, old school Journalist in me notices these things” came off as rude to MA. He was certainly a bit rude back, which sucks, but aren’t you just perpetuating the rudeness with this blog entry?

    He might have blocked you because he’s unprofessional and reactionary when he’s scooped (unlike tradional journalists, as you seem to be claiming here). But maybe he blocked you because the “ummm” and the “just sayin'” and the overall tone of your tweet didn’t seem like a fellow professional extending the courtesy of informing him of a possible scoop (which is how you describe your tweet in this blog entry), but instead it seemed like gloating and schadenfreude.

    Anyway, keep up the good work.

  33. Plus, Pete’s far cuter than Mike. 😉

  34. Wow. Can’t believe he blocked you over something so trivial. Ego… tsk tsk tsk. Journalism has obligations… and he is obviously failing on that end.

    Disappointing… I turned away from Mashable to read TechCrunch again…..

  35. Erin,
    Not to take Arrington’s side or anything, but I think you might want to check what your journalistic house is made of before you throw stones.
    Twitter is both a publishing tool (a micro-blog) and a place for conversations. Both Tech Crunch and Mashables use it for both those purposes. Arrington’s initial post is part of an ongoing conversation with another twitterer about the possibility that China has blocked CNN. He’s seeking confirmation before formally publishing that story. That’s what good journalists do. Half an hour later Mashable posted the “news” without confirmation – relying on a post by the cit-journ site, Shanghaist.
    Trouble is, it wasn’t exactly true.
    Do a little digging into the story – including on the original Shanghaist site – and you’ll see that CNN was likely the target of a hacker group’s previously announced DOS attack, which failed. Here’s CNN’s statement on the matter:
    That’s very different than the kind of government ordered “blockage” of a foreign website. Techcrunch, it seems, practiced safe journalism, by waiting for confirmation and not rushing the story.
    And you might want to check your own facts on the audience size comparison you make between Techcrunch, Blogher and Dooce. Getting accurate stats ain’t easy, but this comparison via Alexa suggests they’re in different leagues: (Although frankly, it seems kind of dumb for you to be comparing audience sizes – that seems a kind of juvenile male thing to be doing).

  36. You go girl. As the old saying goes, “See a fight? Well jump in it!”

  37. Arrington is too full of himself.

  38. By not just accepting this graciously Arrington has *increased* mashable’s readership.

  39. I was following him until recently when he started whining about how he breaks a story and then it pops up all over mainstream media. I guess whining is just second nature to him. Doesn’t give tech bloggers a very good name…

  40. Mike Arrington? Didn’t he invent the internet? Or does he just own it?

    I don’t think Arrington actually cares if he has a scoop or not; he’ll claim it no matter what, expecting that no one reads anything except his pearls of wisdom. Good for you for calling him on it.

  41. Queen of Spain says:

    Was I snarky-sure. But they all are. Seems the only way to roll with that crowd.

    As for the story-how many times does something break and then they correct things after the fact?

    And-by someone brining up Alexa they are automatically disqualified. Seriously. Even this momblogger knows that.

  42. Hmmm…dunno if I’m on his twitter list. Should I care? Would my world be rocked if I was ‘blocked’ by somebody? It might be a sign you hit a nerve. To hit someone’s nerve in less than 140 characters, that takes TALENT!!! That takes eggs. LOL

  43. It doesn’t seem to me like it’s exactly what you said, but simply that it was, to him, noise. I’ve been watching him blocking people recently and it seems like he simply has gotten tired of the negativity of the internet, blocking people when they’re negative without offering anything productive. Look at some of the other non-spam blocks: they’re pretty similar.

  44. ArringtonIsAJerk says:

    Hey man your Mom & Dad would be disappointed in you right now. Time to change your diaper cause I know she made you crap in it. I was a fan of yours but no more. Your juvenile behavior has worn way to thin. I think this is the beginning of the end for you. I’m saddened by it all.

  45. I never try to confuse being tough with being a nice guy. Imagine how popular/powerful MA and his crew would be if they were good dudes? Sadly (I’m sure it’s lost on him) TC wasn’t a bunch of dicks in the early days, back when they were in credibility establishing times. The marketplace of ideas tends to treat his attitude with a touch of Darwin. He will likely be relegated to the Simon Crowell class of asshole-ness and irrelevancy or stop. We know where most bets are. You wouldn’t see Guy Kawasaki do this, which explains his rep..and MA’s.


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