do i come right out and bash the people who bash the king of all media?
no, but you don’t have to be a genius to see what im up to when i debunk nonsense online.
why do i waste so much time doing it?
at the world famous Daily Nexus, I had very few bosses. mostly because they made me an editor of different desks pretty quickly, which is normal in college since theres so much turnover and so few people willing to dedicate their lives to the paper
but one of my bosses was Dougie Gyro
i reached out to him the other day about the design of the Hear in LA website that has gotten me to stop my momentum
i am really struggling with it because i am no design expert and i am desperately trying to make it look like something i am not: elegantly professional.
doug gave me the best advice which is actually something he told me he learned from Apple’s Guy Kawasaki
don’t worry, be crappy.
which basically means, whoever it is youre trying to impress so hard either
does not care about you one but
can see through the facade and only cares about the content youre actually creating
warts and all
so make your Drudge Report design if you’re Drudge, it’s the You that matters
and thats why i am so grateful that the Lord put me in Santa Barbara when he did because so many of my friends are that wise
But that doesn’t mean that things are without drama.
There’s two challenges in building communities: making it grow & keeping it cool once it’s large.
To be honest I don’t really know specifically how I was able to grow Any of the communities I was tasked to oversee, be it LAist or Buzznet or the Howard group — I just followed my gut, and tried to be creative, while allowing the members to express themselves freely without being huge jerks.
I also paid attention to what seemed to work with us and what didn’t work with our so-called competitors.
Which brings us to the drama I encountered on the Stern page last week (which remnants still waft). Howard announced that he’s coming out with a new book. Later a staffer told him that Wendy Williams called him “Hollywood” because he has so many famous friends like Jimmy Kimmel. David Letterman, and Billy Joel. Howard took offense because god bless him, he can dish it out but he can’t always take it. He’s human.
So he went on a 30+ minute rant about her, calling her every name in the book including the dreaded c-word.
The community took that word and started using it left and right. But when Howard does it… it’s different. In part because he’s doing it on the radio. Cussing someone out on FB is old hat.
Also calling a black woman the c-word is like two strikes to me.
So I announced the new rule that we wouldn’t be using that word any more and 20-30 people got super uptight and started using the word against me. Which is fine. Everyone has a mountain they wanna die on. Mt Cword is an odd one, but you do you. And I banned them with a click.
But then this guy gets on and starts saying it like two days later.
So I decide to debate him so people can see what I am talking about. Here it is.
Me: Is there something you want to say to me?
Him: How much time do you have? Why do you feel to censor comments in a fan group that loves the Howard Stern Show? Howard went to Sirius in part of censorship and FCC…. When someone says something you don’t like you remove their post, suspend them, or ban them all together. That’s about the least Howardish course of action an Admin could take.
Me: How long have you been in this group?
Him: I would say at least 2 years now…
Me: So you have seen this group grow from 0 to 16k members. Would you say it’s the best Howard group on FB?
Him: I wouldn’t say the best, no. I do find some neat posts here and there but I personally find your censorship as an admin to be over the top and very anti-Howard. I bet if you leave this up even though I doubt you do that others would agree.
Me: What would you say the best is?
Him: I think your intentions in starting a group that discourages people from talking shit about Howard on every other post was cool but you’ve let that get away from you.
Me: I’ll ask again, if this isn’t the best Stern group on FB, what is?
Him: The official page, HSS Universe, Howard Stern Fans……. Is this when you remove and take down my comments, Ms. Turk?
He is referring to the Executive Producer of the show Marci Tuck, who some have inferred has watered down the Stern Show and advised Howard not to have strippers and porn stars on any more, etc. While an interesting theory, something tells me that Howard Stern does only what he wants. His show is the most successful in radio history. If he wanted to have strippers on every day, he would. I think he’s just 60+ and bored with what he did when he was 40.
Me: Howard Stern Show Universe has had 5 posts this month. Very little discussion and nothing original. What makes that page, to you, better than this one?
Him: Lack of censorship from the admin.
Me: How would you know? They don’t even have audio of Howard’s rant.
When Howard got home last week after his rant, it was quietly removed from the archived show on the Sirius App and missing from subsequent replays throughout the week and weekend. But thanks to some Russian YouTube site, it was preserved and posted online, including on our FB group. I let it stand because I don’t like when things are deleted and also, it was interesting. And one thing Howard always complained about other broadcasters who would bristle when a phony phonecaller or a drunk or angry person got on the air was “why would you cut off the one interesting thing that happened on your show all week?” I took that statement to heart.
Him: You ban words from a freaking Howard Stern group.
Me: Yep. Now lets go to what you think is another group better than this one, Howard Stern Fans — today that group celebrates a milestone. A year ago today that group had its last post. Are you serious in saying that a group that hasn’t had a post in a year is better than this one? OH, I’m sorry, they haven’t had a post in TWO years. I’m starting to think that even though you’ve never said the words I’ve banned in here, you just wanted attention from me today and a cool story to tell your friend about being banned for being an idiot.
Him: I think I’ve hurt your feelings, Marci.
Me: I think you complimented me by not being able to show me a Stern group on FB better than this one.
There was silence.
Me: Is there anything else Robin?
Him: That’ll do Marci… Censor away!! The people that have called you out on your power trips before got booted so i’ll be in excellent company.
Me: Once again… your point is that even though this is the best Stern group on FB (in part because of the decisions I have made), I should change that because you want the freedom to say things in this group that you’ve never said… even though you are free to say those things in other groups that are less successful — and in some cases totally dead? Do I have that correct?
Him: Not at all… Do your thing, Tony Turk. I love the show , hate censorship, and I don’t think this is the best unofficial Stern Show fan page on facebook. I enjoy a lot of the posts people share in this group but you aren’t going to make or break my day by booting me or not.
Me: Why would I boot you? You have provided the perfect example of why this group has done well. You can’t name a better group. The groups you name are dead or dying. You seem outraged that you cant type in HOWS THE SLOT or the c-word. So I should doubt myself because you want to call me names? I’ll get right on that bud.
i have been so lucky to have been able to work at some of the coolest online ventures around. from LAist to the LA Times to the Oscars. but it all started here on this very blog, the busblog.
one thing i learned at LAist was – it helps if you love the content as much as you love the audience.
when you love something you do it with rose colored glasses. so you might miss some of the issues. but thats ok because when you notice that certain things are bad, you will rush to fix it. not out of any weird power trip but because you want everyone else to enjoy the thing you’re making with them.
so the first thing is love. love it, love them. otherwise it’s just work and you can tell if something is being run by someone who loves it compared to someone who is just doing it for the money and health benefits.
the next thing is be open to change, be open to creativity, be open to possibilities, be open to things that are scary, be open like youve never been open before.
if America wasn’t open to expansion we would never have had the Louisiana Purchase and we would have never made it to the Golden State. And now California is as mighty as most foreign countries. it pays to be open. it pays to figure out ways to grow. will there be growing pains? of course. don’t freak out. as the hitchhikers guide wisely advises: dont panic.
at every group blog ive seen or worked with there were more than a few superstar writers who some thought were irreplaceable. we are all irreplaceable. the yankees have won championships without Babe Ruth. the Lakers have won without Magic. life goes on without tony pierce and all the rest. and thats ok. what is freaky is how quickly life can go on without this star or that one. it’s been over 35 years since SNL lost John Belushi, Dan Ackroyd and Bill Murray and that show still trends every Sunday.
the show will go on. so dont fear change. if you wanna be punk rock, embrace it. and if you wanna be new wave: be the change.
no one asked for this group. i started it last year, wellllllll into the last stages of his career. he only has a show 3x a week, 2x a month. there were already at least 100 howard stern groups, and yet suddenly ours is on pace to being the most popular one on Facebook. how?
because i have set rules. i enforce the rules. it’s just me plus some superfans who let me know via flagging or instant message when people are being rude. and i allow the group to metaporphisize into whatever it’s gonna be. and i will call bullshit on certain trends. and i am not afraid to boot people or protect others.
but i really think the secret sauce is i love howard’s show and history, and i know it, and ive been around the block in regards to social, so i can see trouble before it happens.
what i love about this chart on the tippy top is, anyone can have good numbers in your first 6-7 months cuz youre new and cute. but if you suck people will bail out and stop telling their friends. whats interesting about this group is it started hot, and has continued to be hot for the last 6-7 months too. even though howard has had hella vacation, even though more stern groups have sprouted. even though ive been obsessed with a secret project. the growth is growing at a pace of 61%.
every week we are getting between 250-350 new members. and theyre staying. lots of posts.
i had one guy say, how many admins do you have? i said me. he said, im in this group but i admin another one about a cable TV show and we have 4 admins. how do you do it? i say, i let them be. he said, no way would that work with us? i asked why? he said the founder of the group wants everything approved. that takes time. and the quality is better.
i said how do you know if the quality is better if its always been one way. maybe when people are free they write better or they say things that omg that One guy doesnt like or the other 3 admins. thats a lot of ways to get vetoed. here i only have a few ways to get vetoed: poop, disparaging howard robin or beth, politics and a few others. most people are cool with that and it allows space for people to be free.
freedom is everything for growth. give a tree a lot of space, a lot of sunshine, and tons of water and that baby will grooooooooooooow.
it started simply. i was in 3-4 Howard Stern groups and I noticed that they were hateful and mean and stupid and they all seemed to despise Howard – and especially his wife.
they’d complain that the show wasn’t funny anymore, that things were so much better in the old days, that the Sirius app didn’t work a lot (valid). They’d complain about the guest, the bits, the musical acts, the Wrap Up Show, Howard 101, and each other.
and when politics entered the discussion it was all out war.
No fuck-marry-kill (because it’s only interesting when it’s a famous person being asked)
No disparaging of each other
No comments that ask women “how’s the slot?”
with over 10,000 members, not everyone liked the rules, but I told them that there are plenty of places (including other Howard groups) that allowed you to do those things, but in my opinion nothing good comes from those things.
turned out i was right.
when someone signs up to be in the group they are asked a few questions, namely
Do you understand this is a Howard group of Howard fans, so no negative posts about Howard, Robin, or the Show, ok?
Likewise, do you understand that there are no politics allowed in here? There are endless amounts of other groups for that.
And finally no berating other members about their questions, insights or pieces of vinyl, right?
The vast majority of the new members are a-ok with this and say so. This also prepares them for the rules and the tone of the group. If people complain or seem wishy washy when answering those questions: they are out.
Existing members who break the rules are dealt with publicly, swiftly, and politely. Usually they will be Muted for a week on their first offense (they can’t comment or post). And banned on the second offense. If the first offense is nuts, they’re gone immediately.
So far I have either had to deny access to the group or ban 152 people.
If someone messages me with a valid excuse, I’ll bring them back to the fold but most people understand what they did and go on with their lives.
What has helped is there are about 4-5 super fans of the group who message me any time something is going wrong. Also, anyone can flag a comment or a post so if someone goes nuts it’s immediately brought to my attention and I can snuff it out.
The most active posts get between 5,000 to 8,000 eyeballs. Which is pretty great for Facebook which notoriously makes it hard for fans of something to see the thing that they signed up for.
My guess is the people who join this group really truly love Howard and check out the group every day or several times a week. They seem to have also not signed up for a lot of other groups that attract their attention. I also think that because they have to really go out of their way to get into the group (it’s not as easy as clicking a Like button), they’re invested in it.
And once they are in, and they see that all the jokers and asswipes get booted immediately (and this appears to be the only Howard group that does that) the discussions are better.
Anyway, it is the thing I am most proud of from 2018.
he said that security guards harassed blacks at night, that they were dissuaded from having black backchannels, and they were even asked not to do “black things” after work with each other.
i dont know the gent, and some of these accusations seem outrageous especially in northern california but who knows, maybe he’s totally telling the truth.
he even said that 2-3 times a day, every day, he noticed people clutching their wallets tighter whenever he walked past them.
am i weird that i usually left my wallet in my desk? also, why would you need a wallet if all the food is free?
but lets say he is telling the truth and it sucked being 6% of a huge company and the environment made you feel intimidated to speak up else youd lose your gig?
i think that could be fixed. and i dont think it would be hard. you just need an african-american in charge with actual power to fire people if they, indeed, tried to tell people who they could hang out with after work and what they could do.
if the culture there is so backwards that even bright young tech workers are terrified of a black man walking through a campus in menlo park then there are actual things that can be done about it and a filthy rich company like Facebook should be the ideal place to invest in that sort of shift.
clearly mark z has other fires popping up all around him, and maybe he still wants to be a major political player, but as they say, how you gonna tell me how things should be when you got problems in your own house?
could i fix the culture problem at Facebook? of course. easily. and with style. i hired hundreds of people at PeopleSupport. the crew was diverse, talented and respectful. parking sucked though.
is that something that i would want to spend my energies on right now? no.
right now im working on a secret project and wondering why my tax man hasn’t called me back.
chris asks, Whats the protocol for calling BS on friends of friends racist posts?
it’s so interesting that you ask this because im about to finish reading the bible for the 3rd or 4th time (but who’s counting?) and Sunday i read this line in 2 Timothy that totally reminded me of Facebook
23Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. 24And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.
Here St. Paul (the author of the letter to Timothy is Paul) starts off by saying “just totally ignore the haters because you’ll end up in a flame war, and those are for sucker MCs.” but then he says if we are really going to try to be good Christians we have to be super chill with everyone, totally patient, and if you are going to correct someone do it in the smoothest way ever. which in a way is the opposite of a flame, and eventually it’ll work out.
Personally i have never seen a racist stop being a racist because of words on a Facebook wall. my experience of racism is it is the culmination of years and years of ignorance that starts with someone’s parents and friends and is fertilized over time by a fucked up environment. so i dont see where even the coolest exchange of facts, hyperlinks, and well-turned phrases could undo what years of bullshit formed. so i don’t even try very much any more, even though it can seem so tempting to jump in there.
Instead I think there are far better places to place ones energies within Facebook, namely the good people in your life who, for whatever reason, Facebook hides from you because you haven’t engaged with them very much. Chill with them instead.
Peter asks: Is it too soon for Brangelina jokes?
on one hand, it is super sad whenever any couple breaks up, especially those with many kids, because divorce affects some kids very emotionally – not to mention the once-happy couple.
on the other hand, Comedy Is Not Pretty. some of the funniest jokes are dark, tasteless, rude, foul, biting, and OMG WHAT?
but we need comedy, particularly when we see ourselves in others who apparently are having it worse than we are.
the problem with bashing on Brad and Angie is for all apparent appearances they’re really sweet people. Brad built houses in New Orleans for the poor after a couple of those hurricanes. he produces films that tackle tough issues in artistic ways (The Big Short, 12 Years a Slave, The Normal Heart, Selma, etc)
And Angie’s list of charitable endeavors was so long that the Academy gave her a humanitarian award a few years ago where even her acceptance speech was selfless, touching and inspiring, focused on her mom who taught her early on that all of us who live a safe, healthy life are extremely fortunate and downright lucky because we could have just as easily been born in another part of the world devoid of clean water, plentiful food or peace. so those of us whose head is above water should help those who aren’t.
so since there are plenty of more deserving people to make fun of, i will be aiming my barbs at those who are far more selfish and foolish and worthy of my incredible barbs. perhaps you will feel the same way.
Asher asks: If Tony is at Wrigley Field for the Word Series, how does he react to the national anthem?
First of all, aint no way I’m going to be at Wrigley for the World Series. The cheapest tickets are going for close to $9,000 and even though i love the Cubs with all of my heart and wear a Cubs hat almost every day and have dozens of Cubs gear, and have lived this way my whole life, i’ve never had $9,000 laying around for such a thing and i sure as hell don’t now.
But let’s say a miracle ticket comes my way and there i am in the bleachers and someone great like Billy Corgan or Cheap Trick or Bruce Springsteen starts singing The Star Spangled Banner: as much as i am angry and dismayed by so many innocent victims of the police murdering black men, i don’t see how one blogger in a sea of 40,000 Cub fans kneeling or raising my fist would impact anything in the slightest other than making my fellow Cub fans around me feel uncomfortable.
What has made this protest so fascinating and powerful is it is coming from the players, most of whom have the cameras pointed at them. Because of these players the protest has gained momentum and kept the conversation going. Even if 1,000 fans knelt, the odds of the cameras catching it are minimal, especially on Fox, who will be broadcasting it, who care so little about the game or the viewers that they insist on having Joe Buck ruin it for everyone.
So no, for once in my life, I would not be trying to change the world. I would be entirely focused on watching my little Cubby world change.