Scripting News for 7/11/2008

Why I don’t like ‘crowd sourcing’ 

On Twitter, Jay Rosen asks why I don’t like the term crowdsourcing. (He says hate, but that’s way way too harsh.) Anyway, he’s right — I don’t like it — because it betrays a not-useful point of view. I am not part of a crowd, I am an individual, I’m a one man band by the quick lunch stand, playing real good for free. When you mash us all together you miss the point.

I don’t like it cause it’s cheap, it’s always used by people who want something for nothing.

Tell me Jay, how does your wife feel when you tell her she’s part of the crowd you were thinking of marrying.

If you want people to like you, and who doesn’t, try seduction. Don’t tell us about your greed, say how much you love and respect our individuality our originality.

Bottom-line: I don’t think of myself as part of a crowd when I write on the Internet. When you describe me that way I don’t like it.

I don’t like it for the same reason I never liked “The Long Tail.” The person using the term is never in the long tail, he or she is the head! It’s the rest of us that are in the tail. Well excuse me but I’m riding up front with you. Been locked in the trunk many times by Microsoft, Netscape and Apple. It sucks! 🙂

One more reason — it’s not useful because it doesn’t actually model what’s going on. In the 20th century everything was about mass markets and centralization. You could explain things with concepts like crowds. In this century we’re going the other way. The technologies push us there in a positive way, because the cost of communication is so low it doesn’t need to be financed by moguls the way printing presses and TV stations were. And in a negative way because while our desire for information is increasing, the ability of professionals to provide it is decreasing. So we have to fill the gaps ourselves.

Hope this helps.

PS: I didn’t reply on Twitter cause 140 chars is way too limiting for an idea like this.

PPS: I have even more to say, the industry you cover keeps trying, even clutching desperately to an idea that we can go back to the world they grew up in. It’s not going to happen, imho. Better to accept things as they are and try to figure out how to make the best of it, for all of us. My own industry got decimated by the forces at work in publishing, so I’ve been through it. I’m still here, knock wood. But no one gets to have it easy. And the individuals you want to turn back into a crowd won’t go for it, also imho.

Another tale of woe of Apple 

These monolithic, upgrade the world in a day rollouts of Apple may not be such a great idea. And this is a reminder to myself never to be tempted by them.

Lured into the iPhone 2.0 rollout timed to happen the same day as the iPhone 3G rollout and a day after the rollout of the new app store, I decided to updgrade my 1st-gen iPhone (purchased on June 29 last year) and fell into the same brick-hole as have many other iPhone users.

Surprise, the store couldn’t handle the traffic. Sound familiar? Same thing happened last year.

Oy. This should the last monolithic shake-the-world rollout Apple does. Apple makes serious products that people use seriously. The idea that so many people lost their phones on the day of the rollout is just plain unacceptable.

Anyway, you can follow my travails here and here.

And I may not be shit-out-of-luck. I forgot I have a trusty and boring Nokia N95 here that should work, its only problem is its battery is run down. I’ve got it plugged into my wall socket, which thanks to PG&E still works, even though Apple is rolling out its wonderful new world-changing products today.

Update: Persistence pays off. Keep your iPhone plugged in, power it off, power it on, wait for it to fail. If it doesn’t you’re done. If it does, repeat.

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