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Andy Leonard

Andy Leonard is an author and engineer who enjoys building and automating data integration solutions. Andy is co-host of the Data Driven podcast. Andy is no longer updating this blog. His current blog is

To Snark or Not to Snark…

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Published Monday, February 6, 2012 8:00 AM by andyleonard

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Joe Sack said:

Great post.

Reminds me of the scene from Fight Club where Tyler Durden asks “How’s that working out for you? Being clever?”

I think it’s easy to be snarky, but it’s not at all easy to be vulnerable.  I also think people lose touch with their compassion for others when they indulge in it.  For example – seeing the Twitter feeds during SQL PASS keynotes.    

February 6, 2012 8:15 AM

Jeff Banschbach said:

Love this thread Andy and enjoyed meeting you at MADPASS a couple of weeks ago.  Thanks for all of your contributions to the community.

February 6, 2012 10:02 AM

Holly Smith said:

Great thoughts put to paper...or virtual paper.  I am a HUGE believer in positive reinforcement rather than "building people up by tearing them down".  Thank you!!

February 6, 2012 3:40 PM

Karen Lopez said:

I think snark has a role, when it's not personalized.  Meaning that if I whip a zinger about a corporate that has hugely dropped the ball, say by featuring nekkid women to promote their services, I'm not doing any more damage than by saying "you should not use nekkid women to promote your service because it doesn't appeal to me.

Maybe I damage my reputation by spelling nekkid funny (because that's snarky, too)...pretending to dumb down my thinking just just the commercial does.  But I'd like to thing that people reading my tweet or comment understand the nuance there.

This whole blog post is made of snark. You're remarking about someone(s), but not saying who. "It is way harder than simply throwing some snarky comment in their general direction." Seems that's what this post is. That's meta.

I'm snarky.  I rarely target snarkiness directly at an individual.  If I do, it's mostly in jest and with a friend who can snark right back.

Or perhaps you have a completely different definition of snark?

February 6, 2012 4:13 PM

GrumpyOldDBA said:

It may be different in the UK but I only ever think of "The hunting of the snark"

I agree with you however although sometimes it is very difficult to be positive about something which is so dire it probably should never have existed, in the sense of "why on earth?"

February 7, 2012 7:03 AM

Marty said:

Nice article Andy, point well made.

Dark humour can often be a release valve, we've all made those slightly derisory comments "wtf", "why on earth", "rocks in their heads" type remarks I'm sure. Nothing wrong with that. Usually however there is a very good reason “why”, it’s just not one we might agree with or even have full knowledge of.

In my experience sarcasm, snarking, or to use a phrase where I come from “taking the piss” universally fail to convince the other person(s) to re-assess their position. If you want to effect change then construct a viewpoint, listen and engage…

February 7, 2012 3:46 PM

Ajarn Mark Caldwell said:

Andy I fully agree!  Closely related to this is sarcasm.  I used to take pride in being clever or witty (I thought) and was very sarcastic earlier in my career, especially with friends.  Then somebody pointed out to me that the origins of the word sarcasm come from the Greek for "to tear flesh".  Similarly, the origins of snark is "to annoy".

Someone may get my attention by being snarky or sarcastic, but it is not the type of attention that leads to anything positive long-term.

BTW, I love this series!

February 27, 2012 4:06 PM

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