I find it kind of interesting that not many people — or at least not many mainstream bloggers — are writing about Shel Israel and his ongoing battle with video-blogger Loren Feldman of 1938media. Matt Craven from The Blog Herald has just done so in a post about how Shel has lost a lot of his respect for doing two things: 1) Making crappy videos, and 2) Failing to respond to Loren’s jabs at him in the spirit of his book “Naked Conversations.” Shel’s response is here.
For anyone who has an actual life and hasn’t been paying attention to the brouhaha between Shel and Loren, it started when Shel began doing video interviews for FastCompany.tv. Loren — who makes corporate videos and also does his own blend of free-form comedy and commentary videos at 1938media.com — began criticizing the quality of Shel’s videos mercilessly on Twitter and on his blog, and also started posting parodies of Shel’s videos using Muppet-style hand puppets.
At some point, Loren also noticed that Shel hadn’t bothered to register the domain name version of his name, ShelIsrael.com. So Loren did, and it is now filled with parodies of Shel using the puppets, with some of Shel’s actual videos mixed in. At this point, I should probably mention that I know and like Loren — we had him as a panelist at the mesh conference last year, and he is very funny. But there’s no question that he likes it “edgy,” as they say, and not everyone takes to that.
Regardless of what you think about Loren grabbing Shel’s domain name, or taking repeated shots at him on Twitter and elsewhere, there’s no question in my mind that Loren is just having fun with Shel — just as he has with Jason Calacanis, Mike Arrington and Robert Scoble, all of whom are now friends. As Aaron Brazell notes in a comment on Shel’s blog, Loren often goes after people he either respects or likes — it’s the video equivalent of a boy pinching a girl when he likes her.
That’s why I thought the best take on this whole thing came from Tom over at Tom’s Tech Blog, who has written a thoughtful post about how Shel has handled this whole affair in completely the wrong way. It’s not just that he has been sniping at Loren on Twitter, or threatening to get private investigators to look into his background — it’s more that he hasn’t followed through on the principles in his book. And more than that, he’s made it obvious that he doesn’t really have much of a sense of humour either. For a comedian like Loren, that is the ultimate flaw.