MG Siegler of TechCrunch and Adrian Chen of Gawker engage in online fight over “boring” tech news

Sun, Jul 31, 2011


Tech beefs are particularly funny because they’re unabashedly lame. The term keyboard warrior can be chalked up as a misnomer with the latter half of the word being more of an ironic statement than anything else.

So move over “Twitter beef”, we have some Gawker/TechCrunch beef in the house.

Earlier last week, Facebook’s iPad app was released prematurely in the sense that it was discovered to be hiding within Facebook’s iPhone app. The story garnered a lot of press which prompted Adrian Chen of Gawker to opine on the boring nature of tech news.

Here is the story so far—keep a friend with some smelling salts handy in case you fall off your office chair and into a boredom-induced coma: Facebook has been hinting for a long time that it’s going to release an iPad app. Turns out that in the last update of the Facebook iPhone app, the iPad app was hidden inside. A writer for TechCrunch discovered it, did something weird to his iPad to make it work even though it hasn’t been officially released yet, then wrote a couple breathless posts about it…

But just when you thought it could not get any less exciting, Facebook blocked the iPad app, prompting a hacker to develop a whole new app called FaceForward, the sole purpose of which is to allow you to use the leaked Facebook app. FaceForward will also be blocked and another hacker will make another Facebook-iPad-app-enabling app which will also be disabled.

While we weren’t particularly enthralled with the original Facebook iPad story, we could certainly see how others would be. So who exactly is Chen to be deciding what constitutes boring tech news and what doesn’t. The beauty of the web is that those determinations are left up to individual readers.

Was this hard breaking tech journalism from TechCrunch? Of course not, but some people like their tech stories a little lighter and, let’s face it, some times there just slow days in the tech news cycle.

Besides, it’s hard to take anything anyone in Gawker says seriously when their tagline is “Today’s gossip is tomorrows’ news.”

MG Siegler, the TechCrunch author whose Facebook/iPad story Chen references, decided to strike back with a similar sentiment.

What irks me here, though only ever so slightly, is that Chen is essentially telling people what they should find interesting. People are interested in Facebook and in the iPad. Should they not be because it’s not as important as the potential collapse of the economy if the debt ceiling isn’t raised?

Maybe people should stop having any interests.

Technology — including yes, Facebook and the iPad — is an ever-growing part of everyones’ lives. Not surprisingly, many people like reading about it. They want to stay up to date on the latest happenings, no matter how trivial they may seem to others. I know that even if I hadn’t written that story, I would have read the shit out of it. So sue me.

Right on, Siegler.

And as for Chen, he wrote an article this week discussing Mark Zuckerberg’s musical interests (Jay-Z, Green Day, and Taylor Swift apparently) along with an extremely detailed, insightful, and in-depth article detailing the implications of Joe Biden joining Twitter.

Chens full article reads:

Vice President Joe Biden is taking his unique comedy stylings to Twitter. His office will be tweeting at @VP, so follow that for the inevitable Joe Biden-Ice T Twitter smackdown.

Thank god we have Chen and the other folks at Gawker to save us from the doldrums of reading “boring” tech articles that no one cares about.


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