It may be a sign of the times. It may be a result of the web becoming an open forum for the masses. It may just be that people are generally unhappy. I don't know the reason why explicitly, but I do know that there is a lot more snark in the world today. You might wonder what I mean specifically, by the term "snark." It's more than negativity. It's more than being opinionated. It's the negativity and commentary that is infused with venom, spite and oftentimes pure hatred.

I am a frequent visitor to the industry blog AgencySpy. Many call it a gossip-rag for the ad industry. While it may be that, it has also become an outlet for the anonymous finger pointers and venom spewers. The commentary on the site has gone WAY beyond that of negativity and has crossed into the realm of pure, unadulterated Snark (note the capital S.) Personal attacks against character, airing of the dirtiest of dirty laundry and not to mention blatant libel have become a mainstay of blogs, online news outlets and industry trades in general.

Most of the forked-tongued comments are, of course, anonymous. It's not secret that I have a huge problem with someone hiding behind a veil of anonymity and throwing stones in any setting. However, the degree to which this is happening is sad, and honestly, I think the product of a bigger - much bigger - issue in our society. People genuinely seem to have a critcism about anything and everything. From the smallest of issues, someone is ALWAYS going to have beef with it. What happened to live and let live? What happened to respect and professionalism? The glass is not always half empty, but for the vast majority of those with an online voice, it appears the web has become the forum for the miserable to air their grievances publicly with no regard for those their venom might be directed at.

In this new and ever-increasing environment of transparency through the web there is nowhere to hide. Companies, brands, products and yes even individuals are being held accountable for their actions, words, etc...There is no room for the bait-and-switch anymore. As soon as a consumer or customer (or prospective employee, for that matter) feel slighted, swindled, lied to or otherwise, it is out there for the world to see, hear and read in all of its flaming hotness. Does that mean that our culture will become better, more reputable, more honest as a result? Or does it mean that our culture will remain the same, however, more angry, critical and disgruntled than ever?

The results are yet to be seen, but I choose to remain optimistic and hopeful that the good will win out in the end. Go ahead snarkers, give me your worst.

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