baltimoresun.com

« Thrill Jockey Records signs Double Dagger | Main | Harder better faster stronger? »

November 12, 2008

Why I don't accept some friend requests

sam sessaI wanna take a quick minute and lay something out for everybody. 

More than a few Midnight Sun readers have sent me friend requests on Facebook. That's cool.

But if you're in a local band, or you're a local promoter or bar owner, I'm not going to accept your friend request.

Why not, you ask? Well, because we have professional relationships. I could review your club, or interview you as a source. And if you're listed as a friend on Facebook, that might  make people think I'm giving you special treatment.

I know, I know -- this might seem a little drastic. But I'm very serious about keeping my writing and reporting free from potential conflicts of interest.

That means no free drinks, no favors and for people I cover, no Facebooking. I appreciate you thinking about me, but I just can't do it. 

(Photo illustration by me) 


Follow Midnight Sun on Facebook and Twitter @midnightsunblog
Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:30 AM | | Comments (26)
Categories: Random stuff
        

Comments

Sam Sessa: Man of Principle.

No free drinks?? Wow! Sam Sessa, now there's a man with strong principles.

Sturmy, yes, it's hard to believe, I know.

Sam, are you on Twitter yet? I know a lot of Sun reporters are.

CantonK, I am not on twitter. It's bad enough that the first thing I do when I roll out of bed is check this blog. I'm drawing the line at Twitter.

I long for the day MySpace, Facebook and Twitter take a backseat to actual person-to-person interaction.

I understand businesses, groups, entities, etc. having these sites, but really people, do we need to know everything you're doing, planning on doing, or done?

I guess everyone has the right to feel important, but a little discretion and anonymity can go a long way.

What's that about discretion and anonymity? I remember -- back before they posted my profile in the paper -- you said you already had photos of me, and you planned on giving them to your bouncers when your club opened.

Sam,

Yup, I still do. We've actually been toying with the idea of using your photo as wallpaper and calling the place "Not Sam's." :)

You have elected to put yourself in the public forum with regards to Baltimore dining, nightlife and entertainment. As a business owner, it is my responsibility to make sure my staff can identify you and your peers and put our business' best foot forward when a review could be imminent.

As an owner, by showing your staff you care about the way your business is perceived, customer service across the board increases for everyone, not just media stars such as yourself.

We usually affix pictures of critics on the walk-in, attached to the pass line and below the service bars.

How is this relative to individuals sharing personal details with the world via MySpace and Facebook? I fail to see the parallel.

Mark, what other critics are there? I mean, the only other nightlife writers in Baltimore are Joe Giordano and Molly O'Donnell. Are you talking about food critics too?

Yeah, food critics are a top priority, if not -the- top priority. Usually, food critics have a larger, more diverse readership than nightlife reporters.

Many people follow nightlife reporters to choose a spot to go after dinner. Many people follow food reporters to fine a great place to start an evening. More people eat dinner out and make an evening of it, than people who go out just for clubbing.

It's important to capture and cater to both markets.

The publication and medium have to be taken into consideration as well.

The press is our guests too. We like to know who are guests are and deliver to them the customer service that they expect and the customer service that our brand insists.

Pardon the grammer above... running late for court.

"I long for the day MySpace, Facebook and Twitter take a backseat to actual person-to-person interaction."

sorry Mark, i'm afraid you missed that one. we have given that up for technology. we used to deal with each other face to face, or by telephone (wire based from a fixed point) when we couldn't get face time. but it's too easy to whip out the cell, e-mail/text/call someone. and you can avoid face to face confrontation which makes it all the more attractive since (god forbid) we actually interact with someone with a different viewpoint.

Mark, you sure do comment on this blog pretty frequently for someone who longs for "actual person-to-person interaction". Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the insights that you often provide into the industry, but don't go getting all holier-than-thou...

Mark Twain,

Imagine every time you posted, it reaquired you to actual leave what you are doing to go meet the Sam somewhere with the assumption that you aren't kept waiting because he is in the midst of something else and a convenent break isn't going to happen soon?

There are some people who interacting with, is such, that this is a much more tolerable experience than have them in your physical presence. Also much easier

And yes as a businessman you want the competitive advantage of having your staff at your best, but it undermines Sam's job as a critic as your staff, because they know who he is, may perform it a way that is atypical to the service norm of your establishment, hence making his reviews of suspect value if enough people often enough don't have a comparable experience to his.

"I understand businesses, groups, entities, etc. having these sites, but really people, do we need to know everything you're doing, planning on doing, or done?"

That is like the traditional argument about what appears on television, you can always change the channel if you don't want or enjoy this sort of entertainment, rather like whether or not you elect to visit this site and how often.

How did I know all the MySpace loving technophobes out there would take offense to my post? I should have chosen my words more carefully, and I would have, had I known this was such a hot-button issue.

Look people, MySpace, Twitter, Facebook; these are all tools. They can be used in a variety of ways for a variety of purposes. I’m not a fan of these sites becoming peoples’ primary, dominant medium of social interaction, rather than acting as an ancillary means of supporting face-to-face social interaction.

I’m amazed at the very private details some people choose to share in the very public domain via social network sites.

That said, I have no problem with people who have social networking accounts. Many of my friends who now work overseas rely on these sites to keep in contact with their friends and family back home, and would be lost without them.

If you fall in the small percentage of social network user’s who choose to share every moment of your life with the world, you have the right to free speech and that gives you all the permission you need. With freedom, however, comes responsibility and you may regret what you choose to publish.

Last year, over 250,000 job applicants (United States Dept. of Labor) were denied positions due to content on their MySpace page.

Greg,

“Mark, you sure do comment on this blog pretty frequently for someone who longs for "actual person-to-person interaction".

What’s your point? I don’t see the similarity of responding to articles with specific comment, to creating a page that informs the world every detail of my life: interests, hobbies, work experience, etc.

It has nothing to do with a holier-than-thou attitude. You are free to do what you wish, and I am free to choose not to partake. It really is that simple.

Trust me; I probably get too much face-to-face interaction on a daily basis.

GDA,

“There are some people who interacting with, is such that this is a much more tolerable experience than have them in your physical presence. Also much easier”

I really don’t want to interact and share personal details of my life with people who I find intolerable, regardless of the medium.

“And yes as a businessman you want the competitive advantage of having your staff at your best, but it undermines Sam's job as a critic as your staff, because they know who he is, may perform it a way that is atypical to the service norm of your establishment, hence making his reviews of suspect value if enough people often enough don't have a comparable experience to his.”

The actions of my staff don’t undermine Sam’s job... A critic does not receive better service than a regular customer. However, on some nights, the kitchen will be in the weeds, the bar staff will be backed up. I want a critic to receive the level of service that we provide to all customers 99% of the time. If, during his/her (the critic) visit, we are experiencing that 1% of the time where we have less staff, more customers, a slammed kitchen, It is my duty to share with Sam, or any other critic, the quality of product and level of service that we strive for 100% of the time, but do to many variables in this business, may only be able to deliver 99% of the time. Does that make better sense? It may not, but it is life.

“That is like the traditional argument about what appears on television, you can always change the channel if you don't want or enjoy this sort of entertainment, rather like whether or not you elect to visit this site and how often.”

You’re right. I don’t remember me calling for an end to social networking sites. If you want to share your inner-most-personal details with the world, have a blast! I don’t think it is the most intelligent course of action, and I believe you may place yourself in a position where you may be more likely to experience some unintended consequence later in life.

Sheesh… anyone else?

Mark Twain,

It would of been of preemptive value to have pointed out earlier that all these sites are facilitators and one should keep in mind the target audience of friends, fans or prospective business. What you elect what to post online should be filtered with the discretion that you would use if you were sending out a postcard, tacking a poster to bulletin board, or placing a flyer under a strangers windshield wiper.

The following do invite an interpretation other what you had intended.

“You (Sam) have elected to put yourself in the public forum with regards to Baltimore dining, nightlife and entertainment. As a business owner, it is my responsibility to make sure my staff can identify you and your peers and put our business' best foot forward when a review could be imminent.”

“We usually affix pictures of critics on the walk-in, attached to the pass line and below the service bars.”

“The press is our guests too. We like to know who are guests are and deliver to them the customer service that they expect and the customer service that our brand insists.”

I just want to be the first to say that the new Bond movie was a let down.

aw RATS

Seriously? Are you a big Bond fan, Mark? And did you like the last Daniel Craig one?

Sam,

Yeah, I know... what was I expecting, right? I don't make it to the movies much, and I think the last three or so I picked haven't been winners.

I don't think I saw the last bond.

Waiting for Tropic Thunder on dvd.

Mark Twain, Why didn't you like it?

The plot is sketchy at best. It opens with a lot of action, but it's more like the Bourne franchise than the Bond franchise.

Gone is the image of the slick, cool, charming 007 and in comes the brute and deliberate spy. It’s much darker than the previous Bond films I’ve seen. Craig plays his role well, but there really isn’t too much dialogue throughout the entire movie.

All-in-all, I left the theater shaken, not stirred.

Sam,

What can I say, I was inspired by your "...or go up in smoke like its predecessor."

Apparently, it sounds like need to return to Ian Flemings's original stories and his character as original conceived.

Maybe what is needed is to leave James back in the early sixties, if they can't retain his basic essence when updating him.

GDA,

Are you saying that Bond used to me more deliberate and brute rather than savvy and chic? If so, you are the second person to say that.

I'm not familar with the early Bond stories but this guy sitting next to me, told me after the show, that the character was similar to early Bond stories.

Maybe so.

Post a comment

All comments must be approved by the blog author. Please do not resubmit comments if they do not immediately appear. You are not required to use your full name when posting, but you should use a real e-mail address. Comments may be republished in print, but we will not publish your e-mail address. Our full Terms of Service are available here.

Please enter the letter "s" in the field below:
About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at erik.maza@baltsun.com. Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.
-- ADVERTISEMENT --

Most Recent Comments
Recent tweets
Sign up for FREE nightlife alerts*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for nightlife text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Weekend Watch newsletter
Plan your weekend with baltimoresun.com's best events, restaurant and movie reviews, TV picks and more delivered to you every Thursday for free.
See a sample | Sign up

Photo galleries
Stay connected