Calling BS on BS calling

Call: BS

There’s a trend for media types to “call BS” on something in the industry. The act of calling BS is a way of saying “I hereby declare that this thing, which so many people believe in so fervently, is in fact bullshit.” It’s lots of fun, and the proclaimer gets people talking and linking to their stuff, some people get a bit cross and leave furious comments on blog posts. Then it all dies down and everyone continues as before.

But I would like to hereby declare that the act of “calling BS” is in itself total bullshit. People have called BS on social media gurus, UX people and SEO, but what does this really mean? It just means that someone doesn’t like something. But even in the case of ‘social media gurus’  – the most derided of all web professionals – a demand remains for their services. Otherwise they wouldn’t exist. Calling BS is really just the expression of an individual opinion. Often the contentious opinion is shared by half, and resented by half.

BS calling is jolly good fun, and gives us a chance to rally behind our chosen positions and throw rotten vegetables from the comfort of the comments box, but it’s totally pointless, and can reasonably be deemed BS. In fact, this entire post is BS.


  1. The endless calling of ‘bullshit’ can get a little tired, it’s true – but it does at least foster an environment of scrutiny and debate, and help people to coalesce around ideas of good vs bad practice.

    Besides, some professional bullshit-callers (Loren Feldman, I’m looking at you) are funny enough to justify their existence, even if they weren’t sparking debate and an exchange of ideas…

    Comment by Ruth Harper — October 12, 2010 @ 9:51 am

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