The 857,291st article (this one on Reuters) claiming that blogging is over.
Amazingly insightful editorial from the WSJ: “if Viacom wins this suit and busts YouTube–and there is a very good chance it will win; it is, after all, uncontested that this is Viacom’s media property we are talking about–that won’t change what consumers want one whit. They are demanding unbundled media, sold everywhere and in myriad assortments. Period. And if Viacom won’t provide it then some new media entrepreneurs will.” As I’ve been saying all along, listen to me Mark Cuban, it’s a negotiation with users, not a war with Google. Forget Google. The users want something you aren’t providing. So provide it and stop arguing so much.
Mike Arrington: “Defending individuals against huge multi-corporation entities is one thing. Destroying human dignity is something else.” Amen.
Once, a long time ago, a Silicon Valley company wanted to break a deal with me, which happens of course, it’s just business. But one guy in the company decided to have some personal fun as they were breaking the deal, he was a really nasty mofo. I remembered it, of course, as people always remember unnecessary cruelty. I had a chance, a few years later, when my career had taken off, and his had fallen apart, to pay it back. One time, at a conference, he took me aside and said okay you won, you don’t need to rub it in. At that point I stopped. That was all I wanted.
I was younger then, today I would do it differently. I have learned that these things take care of themselves. People who deliberately choose the low road have to live on that path. Their reward comes from karma, or god, fate or luck — whatever you call it. There’s a force in the universe, much greater than any individual, that balances the books.
At a human level it pays to remember that no one stays on top forever. And the guy who needed help or just a little human kindness, will be asked to help a few years later. No one can blame him if he refuses kindness to someone who went out of his way to cause pain.
Something to remember, when someone asks for your help. It’s better to give than to receive. Ask not what the Internet can do for you, ask what you can do for the Internet. Namaste.
Back to Mike’s story — there is some nasty energy in the EFF, I’ve felt it myself. I didn’t like what they did to Michael Crook either. Kudos to Mike for having the guts to point it out.
I was introduced to Twitter last summer at a dinner at Henrietta’s Table in Cambridge by Ross Mayfield. I posted two or three notes using my Blackberry that evening and never did it again. I still receive SMS’s from Ross on a regular basis, but (no reflection on Ross’s value as a human being) I rarely even look at them. I imagine that other people may be vitally interested in his comings and goings, but not me.
Scoble loves Twitter, and I love Scoble, but I have never sent him an SMS, when I want to talk I generally ring his cell phone, get his voicemail, don’t leave a message (as his welcome message requests) and a few minutes later he calls back. Sometimes if he’s on a plane it might be a few hours. However if I were a Scoble fanboy, I would love that he posts every event in his busy life to his Twitter channel.
I’m very reluctant to dismiss Twitter as a passing fad, aware that many people said that about blogging, and I was sure they were wrong, and they were. Whenever so many people are so excited about something there must be some substance. It’s the same reasoning that makes me reject the idea that George W. Bush is stupid. You don’t get to be President and be stupid, and nothing frivolous gets to be as popular as quickly as Twitter has.
Jim Posner: “Wouldn’t it be nice to receive a twitter when the lasagne is done?”
Paolo: “Is Twitter the RSS for people with not much to say?”
So this leads to many questions. What will Twitter look like next month, next year, three years from now? Will it evolve to a point and become exactly what chat is? Will there be competitors — Twitterdum and Twitterdee? How about Twitter-A and Twitter-B? Did Twitter file for patents? Will they sell out? Obviously a company like Yahoo would love to own it. I’m sure they have already talked with each other.
What scaling walls will Twitter hit? Obviously the technology scales pretty well, it’s not using a whole lot of CPU on the back end. Do they have to pay to dump SMS messages on the network, if so that’s a scaling issue, for sure. What about human scaling? How many pizza deliveries on the other coast can you stand to be notified of before you unsub?
Michael Gartenberg says “no way” to business uses of Twitter, but be careful about that, I think there are real project management applications here, esp for geographically distributed virtual teams. I’m not just theorizing about that, I’ve used a similar tool to great advantage, managing a diverse team in Europe and North America. Whether Twitter is going in that direction is another matter. Only time will tell.
As I’ve often said, my favorite podcast is On the Media, although Fresh Air is catching up quickly. They cover different niches, yesterday I listened to Terry Gross interviewing Patti Smith, one of my all-time rock and roll heroes. The interview brought out her sweetness, a facet that people might think she doesn’t have, and at the same time, emphasized the younger Smith who was a revolutionary, in so many ways. She explained where her famous line about Jesus, the one that opens Gloria, came from. (Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine.)
The day before, I listened to an OTM interview with Micah Sifry, the founder of OpenCongress.org. He’s created a site where citizens can learn about Congress, what they do, the bills they vote on, who they meet with. It’s a focused aggregator about Congress. And of course Congress itself will probably be the biggest user of the site, the same way the tech industry self-obsesses through its blogs.
They make extensive use of RSS, which of course is appreciated.