Technology: Are You A Tech Elitist?

Are *you* a Tech Elitist? If so, how's that workin' for ya?

As it's now Christmas, and we think of The Grinch sitting high on the hill, looking down on all the little people of the village with contempt... Let's consider our own positions in our respective fields and how we've chosen social media sites & groups as well as whom we've chosen to affiliate ourselves with.

There was much change during 2007. More ways to communicate. More social sites to join. More video hosts with their own little gimmicks that made them slightly different from the rest. New video editing software. New storage solutions. New live streaming options....

As new opportunities arose, there was a lot of bandwagon-jumping. Sometimes it stuck, sometimes it didn't. When Twitter was initially unreliable, OFTEN, eventually, Jaiku came along, and there was a mass exodus. The backup plan for when Twitter would go down was for people to immediately start posting on Jaiku until the problem was resolved. Eventually, Twitter became stable, and I didn't hear a peep about Jaiku for months until they got bought by Google. All of a sudden, here come the Jaiku friend requests.

Even within Twitter, there was bandwagon-jumping. Apps were created so you didn't have to use the twitter web page with your browser. Some people stuck with them. Some people bailed back to the web site when they realized how many twitter posts the apps weren't picking up. Eventually, people found found satisfaction in how they received twitter posts. At some point during '07, Pownce became a player as well.

There was much debate about which status update application was better between the three of them. I ended up sticking with Twitter, and once every so often, I copy/paste redundant posts to Pownce & Jaiku for people that primarily (if not exclusively) use those sites. I'm also biased towards Twitter because I have 341 contacts there vs. 117 on Pownce and 50 on Jaiku, many of which are redundant for the reason I stated earlier. So, for the sake of this post, I'll say I made the 'elitist' decision that Twitter was better for my purposes and essentially neglect the other two services.

On the social site front, I used to have a regular MySpace presence. I had somewhere around 500 "friends" that were rather randomly acquired. What I mean by that is that I had probably 100 contacts that I knew from some other site or forum or that I actually knew IRL and then another 400 or so people/companies that sent me a friends request and then essentially never talked to me "again". :D ... "Again" has to be in quotes, because they never TALKED to me the first time. All they did was click a button that sent me a friends request, and I accepted it. I enjoyed interacting with my actual friends on MySpace, but the vast majority of it I found to be utterly worthless. MySpace is fantastic if you're a musician or an artist, but I didn't make many new relationships on MySpace that were worth anything.

Eventually, Facebook stepped its game up, and I migrated to "the better site". Similar to my Twitter bias for status updates, my MySpace dealings dwindled to ZERO. In fact, if someone didn't have a facebook account, I wouldn't even bother to look them up on MySpace. :) "Everybody who was anybody" was on Facebook, so there wasn't any need to 'waste' time on other mass social sites. Recently, someone mentioned MySpace to me, and I inadvertently laughed and said something like "You *still* use your MySpace account?" She replied that she interacts with the people that she knows because of business on Facebook, but her IRL friends are all still on MySpace. I hadn't thought about it before, but as I sit here on my Facebook hill with contempt... I'm now wondering how many of my ACTUAL friends are still down in the MySpace village, having never made the jump to "the better site".

The reason Facebook is better for me is that I deal with social media every day of the week. Now that I'm thinking about it, for the average joe, MySpace is more than enough, and there's no reason for them to look for better connectivity to more REAL people. So now I have to consider whether it's more beneficial to me to move some of my Facebook-time back to MySpace instead of concentrating solely on the site that's clearly superior for my purposes.

Next, you have video hosts. I use blip.tv because the options and functionalities serve my purposes as I maintain my own video blogs using WordPress, Show-In-A-Box and vPiP. Meanwhile, other people talk into their webcams and post videos to YouTube. I've posted a few videos to YouTube for test purposes, but I wasn't impressed with the video compression quality at the time, I wasn't impressed with the Terms of Service and I *CERTAINLY* wasn't impressed with the dimwitted remarks people love to leave in the comments sections.

For those reasons and others, I've left YouTube just about completely alone... However, you can't argue with the numbers of views that people get, assuming they get "featured". YouTube has become the go-to for people looking for any kind of video under the sun, so just by having your video there, you have more of a chance of it going viral than if you oh-so-elitely plan, film, edit, compress, upload, post, tag and advertise your own videos like I do. :)

The question, again, is "How's that workin' for ya?". Fortunately, another 2007 development is TubeMogul which enables you to upload a video once and have it distributed to multiple video sharing sites. TubeMogul also tracks statistics for you across several sites. So now, there's less incentive to keep "all your eggs in one basket".

I'm sure we can look forward to lots more fantastic developments in 2008. :) Personally, I'll be paying more attention than I was this year as far as whether I'd like to consolidate or expand in the areas of status updates, social sites and video hosting sites. I didn't even get to talk about live streaming options, like how I think Operator11 is infinitely better than BlogTV..... except Operator11 went completely offline for more than a week, so people like Jonny Goldstein had to retreat to other live streaming sites to keep their shows going. Of course, there's no way to add a BlogTV archive to your Operator11 show archive, so c'est la vie. :/

Anyway... I think it's in all of our best interests to pay attention not only to which new app or site has cool features or the elite people flocking to it, but also to whether we're trading away communications with our core viewers, friends, contacts and followers. Just like The Grinch found out... it's lonely at the top.

Bill Cammack • Cammack Media Group, LLC

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3 Comments

  • Bill Cammack

    Thanks Kfir. That's exactly what I'm trying to assess right now. The clones bring a new way to contact each other, and potentially one or two innovations that draw some people to use it, which is great... Except it actually decreases value instead of adding it. The splintering of the online population forces you to redundantly post the same message to each of the clones or miss out on the people that use that particular service as their sole connection to the space. More time is wasted, so your productivity's actually decreased when you look at the overall time a project takes to go from concept to completion. We can't just post to one place and rely on people subscribing to our RSS feeds.

    As far as marketing bringing in cash, I don't think that's being addressed yet. This year, the scramble's been to get 'bodies' onto your site, OR buy a service where the bodies have already been amassed so you're purchasing an instant, captive audience to serve advertisements to. The "get cash" part is left up to each user to utilize his/her network effectively. Regardless of how weak your product might be, as long as you can claim to have an interested, excited audience, you can create a buzz and get people to project future success for your venture.

    The trick for the average Joe is to figure out how to leverage social media to reach the greatest number of potential customers for his particular product or service while wasting the least amount of time redundantly chasing 'bodies' scattered throughout the cloned walled gardens. That's not easy when new apps and sites are popping up every single month. You never know what's going to be the next big hit and grab market share.

    This year, it was status updates. If you were stuck in forum posting or blogging, you suddenly wondered "where'd everyone go? :/" because there's no reason to post to a forum and get a response by tomorrow, when you can post a status update and potentially get a response 5 minutes later. "The Conversation" has moved to a new venue. If you're not aware of this or your company isn't flexible enough to make the changeover, you get left behind.

  • kfir Pravda

    Bill, great post. I am worried with all those clones around - innovation is great in this field, but when does innovation stop to bring value and marketing start to bring in cash?

  • Frank Sinton

    Bill - excellent post! Very much enjoyed that summary.

    On the video side, my goal for 2008 is to make the video hosting TOS conversation irrelevant. Meaning, i'd like Mefeedia.com to be such an unbelievable Search & Discovery tool that was so effective, all you would have to worry about is that people can find you in the Search. Then you could go along posting to your videoblog and not have to worry about the various TOS and uploads everywhere. That is how websites and blogs work - why not for the Video Web? :)