There is the perception, particularly in American culture, that criticism and negativity go hand-in-hand. We understand well the idea of being in favor or something, or against something, but we don’t particularly understand how criticism fits into this dichotomy.

Alex Payne — Criticism, Cheerleading, and Negativity

There is about a 1 in a billion chance that Alex Payne knows my name, let alone reads my blog. However, in his most recent post he seems to take me to task on my last post regarding criticism.

After taking into consideration Alex’s remarks, I have realized I was a bit too quick to judge the motives of those who write criticizing others. What I wrote was a reaction to a tweet from Titus Ferguson, social media consultant at local rtraction. His post stated his intention to write about the horrible job that local companies were doing with social media, an issue Titus is passionate about.

I should have been more clear about what I was hoping to communicate. Joshua Blankenship said recently:

Somewhere along the way on the web, a lot of designers and developers have abandoned common courtesy for condescending quips that drip with pride and ignorance.

It’s this arrogance I was commenting on. I was careful not to mention Titus’ name, because I know Titus personally and know that he is certainly not smug nor arrogant. His remark simply brought to mind recent posts I’ve read, as well as the whole client hate-fest happening over at Clients From Hell.

All of this is to say that I agree with Alex that criticism does not necessarily equal negativity. However, as Alex writes, criticism must come from a passion for the target of the criticism, rather than simply a passion for pointing out flaws in others.