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Remembering Scobleizer's First Tsunami

Along Kalutra Beach as the Indian Ocean pulls back

I EXPERIENCED MY FIRST Scobleizer tsunami while watching an actual event in parallel ravage Sri Lanka seven years ago. And if Jeremiah Owyang is right, millions of us won't share the vantage point of articulate bloggers anymore.

Owyang believes the world is witnessing the Golden Age of Tech Blogging. He may be right on one level because the plumbing of blogging has changed. We no longer need to depend on RSS feed aggregators to hear about big natural events or seismic changes in world politics. The information percolates across social networks that did not exist when I watched the Indian Ocean tsunami on a plasma screen in Berlin while simulataneously reading about it on Scoble's blog on my Nokia 9210. And I didn't read Jeremiah's thoughts on a blog. They came as a Google Plus post to my Sony Xperia Arc while I was in an Irish chip shop. Nothing goes better than a little salt, vinegar and owyang with fresh fried Irish potatoes. I learn things from Jeremiah Owyang and agree with the third point he makes about the Golden Age of Tech blogging.

The audience needs have changed, they want: faster, smaller, and social.

Jeremiah asked Ben Metcalfe for his opinion and he says: “Attention is too fragmented now. There are just so many blogs/news websites/sources vying for your attention that you can’t read them all and build up the kind of relationship that you once could when the size of the universe was degrees of magnitude smaller.”

While that may be true, there is no definitive causality between a social media diet and a decreased attention span. If that was true, then my attention span would be waning, along with fellow blogging pensioners Euan Semple and Neville Hobson. I do agree that those who grew up watching Top of the Pops, MTV videos and reality TV want smaller, shorter bits of content. Sociologists like Jyri Engstrom have been saying this before Google went social. And many of the engineers behind successful social networks accommodate  commenting, sharing, and image uploads. In my experience, there is greater social currency to be found when pushing thoughts out to Google Plus, Twitter, Facebook, Audioboo, Flickr, YouTube, Picplz, and Instagram. I get immediate feedback in those places--if I shape the message to fit those channels. I'm following the changes that are occurring in how we publish and share by using three different forms of web analytics. As a result, I know that if this blog post attracts 100 reads, it means a footprint larger than 1000 other views in complementary channels. However, I have to curate the content for the media where the content flows.

People like Robert Scoble have moved from merely sharing thoughts on big events to trust agents who can actually influence events. That's evolution in the reach of a person's voice and that evolution did not come at the expense of blogging. The golden bloggers that Jeremiah cites might push off into other spaces, but as one of the minions of little people left behind, I'm not going to stop reading long-form blog items. My Amazon account shows that I often continue reading the blogger on my Kindle as the book deals, PDFs, white papers or Kindle Specials drop into my "recommendations" list.

I think Jeremiah has fingered the behaviour of the average punter very accurately but omits an important form of crowd behaviour. The big distinction between the era of blogging and the era of social media is in the call to actions today. Back during the Indian Ocean tsunami, days passed before the blogging community coalesced around donating money to the Red Cross but I reckon a similar natural disaster would have a mechanism in place on Facebook within hours because all the recognised charities have a viable presence there as well as an active conversational presence on Twitter. That's a welcome evolution and one I hope becomes more sophisticated in the future. I would like to know that my mobile phone operator would let me directly debit my account for the purpose of buying an African well, repairing a Sri Lanken wall broken by flood waters, or feeding homeless on an Irish street. The ultimate value in sharing is sharing yourself. Let's get started on that initiative and make it as easy to donate through your phone as it is to buy a book on Kindle or to vote for an XFactor contestant over the air.


Jeremiah Owyang -- "End of an Era: The Golden Age of Tech Blogging is Over", on Web Strategy, December 27, 2011.

Frederic Lardonois -- "The Golden Age of Tech Blogging is Just Getting Started" on Silicon Filter, December 28, 2011.

Steve Faktor -- "The Journalist's Last Laugh"  in the Idea Faktory, December 27, 2011.

Brian Solis -- "Is the Golden Age of tech blogging over?" on his blog, December 28, 2011.

Other tsunamis covered on my blog.

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