Friday, September 16, 2011

What's New Is Old

Project Runway 3000: Inter-Galactic Social Edition

Is it just me, or is new media and certain aspects of social starting to feel old (as opposed to mature)? Facebook, Twitter, to me they are feeling tired and too time consuming.  Quora, very interesting if you belong to the church of the startup.  Google Plus?  It seems even key Google execs have stopped posting. Google is finally getting ready to make it open for "everyone."  I haven't exactly heard a wave of excitement from the masses.

What is the payoff to hundreds of millions of people broadcasting unedited and often incoherent bites, aside from contributing to our understanding of truly newsworthy events like the recent Arab revolutions?  Yes, there is also some interesting work being done on meta-analysis of these streams of information, say to track the spread of influenza. However, it seems that most of it is self-broadasting as a means of personal marketing. Who really thinks that people who subscribe to 300 plus Twitter streams are doing anything other than trying to get those people somehow interested in themselves?  Who has the time to monitor that many streams and to what benefit?  Social media seem to be a net-sum game: time spent on Twitter is time not spent on Facebook, etc. How much self-marketing is really healthy and how far do people really need to go down the road to developing personal brands?  Ultimately, whether you represent a large corporation or yourself, social media is only effective if you are providing useful, timely information.

I have been through quite a few apps meant to make some kind of coherent personalized narrative out of social and/or news and they all have all failed, either as businesses or in their functionality.   I've given apps permission to interpret my Facebook, Twitter, RSS and pretty much anything else to which I subscribe and ended up with nothing but nearly generic results.  They were definitely much worse than manually scanning RSS feeds or Twitter streams. Believe me, I am a true believer: whoever gets the next step right, curating content automatically and in a way that tells a story to the recipient combining news, video, social, etc., will be the next Big Winner.  I want it to happen. And yet,  I am coming closer to the opinion of a good friend, in explaining how they use their Facebook account: "Facebook is the perfect delivery platform for baby pictures."  That may explain why Facebook is the largest online image hosting platform, I'm guessing larger than almost all the others combined.

How long will  the idea that "social television" is a clunky TV interface tied to chat rooms, or check-ins to your favorite shows or tweets from show stars hold sway?  Someone, please help me understand how any of this is an interesting way forward?

The most interesting aspect, at least for me, is that the mid-1990's promise of interactive media is quietly coming to fruition without CD's or DVD's.

The future of media: it's in your hands

I do want to talk about Google soon, and how they are silently changing the way content will be delivered.  Now, if they only could implement super fast broadband nationwide.......

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