I've been using social software for a few decades now. It started with dial-up BBS' (300 baud modems worked pretty good when you had tweets of text) and compuserve (user ID's were numbers and commas, IIRC). In the 1990's I used usenet and The WeLL to great delight, chagrin and all sorts of other things. In all of these goings about, the motivations to participate have ranged from voyeuristic curiosity, to chit-chatting and connecting, to utilitarian knowledge sharing, to being of service to others, to showing off in front of others or something else altogether social.
Lately, it seems to me that the blogosphere is buckling under the corrosive forces of greed. You can't trust voices to be authentic. PR firms and marketing departments are hiring bloggers or ghost writing for pretenders. You have buffoons (who may describe themselves as a "Dot Com Moguls") selling links to other blogs with prices based on their Technorati and Alexa ranks. There are all of these schemes like ReviewMe, Algoco and PayPerPost twisting our trust of the things we read. Is that blogger really talking about a great bike or was there some payola slipped in to pimp it? I don't know. My cynicism rises (further).
What's a "pro blogger" anyway? Are folks really discussing or dialing for dollars? SEO is increasingly turning publishing into a perverse sport. If I wanted to watch infomercials, Comcast is already piping a couple of hundred channels of crap through the coax in my living room, I could passively drink the nonsense all day if that's what I wanted.
But that's not what I want. It's a total cluetrain derailment. Instead of using social media to empower meme sharing and synthesis, as a way to expand the collective consciousness, I'm seeing it turned into another exploitation ploy.
Our country is in a brain-dead war, podcasts are published, urban public schools are in shambles, photos are being uploaded, illiteracy is rampant, a funny thing happened at the dog park, baseball season is starting soon, technology innovations are blossoming in our midsts, pandemics threaten us every flu season, tuition is going up (again), omega-3 fatty acids, look at this video of a 4-way tricycle collision, Osama is still who-the-hell-knows-where, Dick Cheney is still satan, Jimi Hendrix is still god, god is still dead, lives are beginning and ending all around us... lives are being lived. The rhythmic thrum of life, that's what I want.
(Disclosure: there are links on this site from AdSense and Amazon. They don't do much for me but then, I don't think they should, that's not why I blog. If you click 'em: thanks, maybe I'll get pizza next week)
Putting a few ads or Amazon links to benefit from the accidental tourist that Google sends you from time to time is one thing. Superficially making it the object of your publishing is just, well, bullshit!
BTW, this is not necessarily the opinion of my employer. In fact, it's probably not. I may be a cynical bastard but this is my authentic voice. You can't buy it.( Mar 28 2007, 09:52:17 PM PDT ) Permalink