I’ve been watching this rush to Facebook as the new cool and it got me wondering – just how long is the life-cycle of cool in the tech bubble we find ourselves in. After all it wasn’t that long ago that blogging itself was the hot ticket item or that Twitter was on everyone’s laptop screen at SXSW and spreading like a viral gossip box. Then not even six months later Pownce is the new cool gossip box and Facebook is being touted as the killer social networking tool which is much better than just plain old blogging.
Even the venerable Technorati rating metric is under fire from a broad spectrum of bloggers .. err .. or is that social media journalists? Whether it be bloggers like John Chow questioning the very validity of the Top 100 or folks like Steve Rubel and David Brain; no light weights in tech circles, suggesting that there needs to be a totally new metric for this new social media that is gaining momentum.
Through all this we have Facebook being called the New AOL by some and other bloggers like Dave Slusher find they are suffering from the constant search for the newer and shinier (SNS). He found that being on that hamster wheel was costing him more than it was worth, even to the point that he was unsubscribing from Robert Scoble’s blog who is well known for his cool hopping.
While I certainly relate to Dave’s feeling of SNS fatigue I won’t find myself unsubscribing from Robert’s blog or any of the other cool hopper’s blogs. That doesn’t mean that one still has to rush out and join each and every hot new medium. We still need to be able to comment on it as it is still part of the larger technology most of the tech bloggers write about. Does it mean that we have to stay on that hamster wheel? No it doesn’t – just as we hopped on it we can still hop off at anytime. Much like how I hopped on the Pownce wheel when it came out but now I never turn it on regardless of whether Robert says it is where all the cool folks are; and chances are that until it comes out with an API it won’t get turned back on.
All this has made me wonder if the tech blogging world is coming to a point where we are going to see a shake out. A point where we as tech bloggers decide whether we want to be journalists or influencers because I don’t think the two will be able to co-exist. It all comes down to a matter of time and how you use it. If you are an early adopter influencer type of blogger you have the time to join all the new cool things popping up like dandelions.
You have the time to constantly be re-entering all your information behind new fancy web pages. You have the time to constantly be friending people left right and center in ever increasing social mediums. People are happy to read your Twitter’s or Pownce’s or Facebook wall graffiti or single paragraph blog notes about the latest thing to catch your fancy. You have time to travel in the Robert Scoble jet stream of new and cool.
However I think there is also a much larger tech world where bloggers don’t need to invest their time in repetitive data entry of user information or playing with the newest gadgets that most real people can’t afford. This fact was brought home to me by a very simple post by Rob Hyndman where he asked a question I had been wondering about myself – Why isn’t the ‘Sphere covering the Facebook lawsuit. The simple answer is that they were probably all to busy going ga-ga over it while entering in their user information and adding widgets.
Now while Stan Schroeder at FranticIndustries suggested that blogs are owning mainstream tech media I still think that we have a way to go. That means though that we have to figure out what kind of tech blogger we want to be or whether we want to hop on that hamster wheel of SNS for a long ride. Yes the lure of the new and shiny with all their invites flashing before our eyes is tempting but the truth of the matter is that no matter how hard we try we will never be a Robert Scoble or a TechCrunch – we just don’t have the name power or live in all the right places.
I don’t expect this shake out to happen over night but I do believe it will happen. Some will go with the Social Media Index and run the hamster wheel. Others will decide that it is more important to write about the news of our technological world.
I know I’ve made my choice.