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December 5, 2007 / compassioninpolitics

Criticism of Social Media and Web 2.0: Time to Put down the Web 2.0 Koolaid for a Productive Redirection


Beware of friends and media mavens bearing Koolaid:

I don’t want to be want to drink the koolaid but I also don’t want to be a rabid chicken little…so heres my middle ground:

Problem 1: Blogging Away in an Echochamber

There is a sense that as much as web 2.0 and pr folks talk about important issues in the social networking environment that its still an echochamber. That whatever we determine about Beacon is still just bouncing around 350 or so Blogs. While that can have a trickledown effect, its hardly news in mainstream media and if someone searches for Facebook…I don’t imagine anything comes up

Problem 2: The Disconnect to the Audience/Search Gateways

SEO is a dirty word. But content + SEO = success. Certainly content + community = success. But without SEO (or at least top search ranks) important info is being lost from the public. Its like the tree that’s falling with no one around.

A search for Facebook + Beacon on Google=s Techcrunch and Giga Om along with Download Squad and an article from Moveon.

A search for Facebook + Privacy on Google =’s Weinberger from Huffington Post (near the very bottom) and some old posts from 2006 including Dana Boyd.

Problem 3: Information Overload

There is a serious way in which Jeremiah’s desperation with keeping up is real. Very real. I think this has been echoed on virtually every other major blog on some level. If it hasn’t, I’m sure folks are thinking it—or just holding it in because they think it will scare clients away.

Problem 4: No Watercool. No Wiki. Where do great old posts go to die??

Does the best in the bloggosphere end up partially in delicious, stumbleupon, and digg never to be seen again. (certainly they all get ranks in the search engines—but there isn’t a central place for say best practices of Facebook and no place to put the best practices of Twitter post) I don’t know if delicious or wiki is the answer)

Problem 4: The Overload Blowback

A consequent problem from number 3, is lack to time to make connections. Lack of time to visit all my friends blogs and facebook postings. Lack of time to make creative media. Lack of time to make quality posts that will have value over the years. Lack of time for family. And the ultimate feeling of spinning your wheels.

I hope this is not overwhelming—and I hope it doesn’t sound too dire. I also hope its clear and to the point. I think one and three are probably the most important, but I think that they an interconnected issue.

Concluding reflections:

Believe me. I am confident that things will get better and will improve. I just hope its sooner rather than later.

I have some solutions, but I’m curious what other folks think…. So what do you think? Do you agree and how can this be rectified? What needs to be done to move forward? Are their productivity and GTD hacks that can allieviate the fourth issue I identified? Are you guilty of being perplexed with the fourth issue?

For more posts on Web 2.0 click here.


thanks to this dallas photographer


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  1. Valeria Maltoni / Dec 6 2007 3:12 pm


    I believe we’ve chatted before from The Blog Herald. Well, now that so many publish you know what you are missing because it is out there… and that is also the reason why you don’t know what you’re missing — there is too much out there. Or is there? It depends.

    On what you’re trying to accomplish — being noticed? Making more friends? Helping someone? I agree scale helps with all these and more goals.

    However, one plus year into it and I find myself a better writer (sometimes ;-), and a more informed marketer learning something new from someone (famous or not) every day. This in turn allows me to educate folks inside my organization, when they ask, read, or I can share a topical post. Communication is key, along with not assuming people don’t or won’t get it without having a chance to figure out why it matters for themselves.

    Are blogs an echo chamber? Sure thing. Often out of a desire to be noticed, for people’s ideas to be furthered, to start counting vs. being counted. Nothing new here, human nature at work. Thank you for the thought-provoking conversation spark.

  2. Matt Searles / Dec 6 2007 3:38 pm

    Ok, well here’s my thoughts:

    I don’t think cool aid is meant to be uncritically consumed.. though that might just have something to do with my temperament.

    I think SEO doesn’t have to be evil.. I mean there’s a lot of just best practices as far as standards and semantics that can get you part way there.. before you even engage the SEO stuff.

    I have mixed feelings about the echo chamber issues. I think a lot of the echo chamber hype is cool aid hangovers.. I think the question is how does blogging fit into a larger strategy.. the issue of the echo chamber varies depending on how blogging / etc, fits into your larger strategic outlook.

    I think people are crazy for talking about information overload. Here’s the solution to the problem: Ask yourself what you’re into. Another words.. yeah, infinite information.. if what you consume is defined by some sort of external force.. like growing up with teachers telling you what to do.. then I think overload is an issue.. but if you’re a rebel deep diver type.. It’s just awesome. So I think it’s just that we were brought up in a world without infinite information.. so knowing how to deal with it isn’t so built into our DNA, but I still don’t feel like it’s a real issue.. but I know no one agree’s with me.

    I mean.. I just think we have to define our selves.. I think that is what all this is fundamentally about in the long term.

    I don’t know that I believe any of these issues are issues accept in the short term. LOL, so I guess I’ll be holding onto my irrational exuberance for a little while longer.

    But I think that’s kind of important.. I mean what are the presumptions that underly the questions we ask.. that functions to frame the debate in a particular sort of way.. And sometimes we don’t fully appreciate how this works.. how what we see can be a product of what we are asking to such an extent that sometimes our experience reality can be like a horshack test. Thus the value of Hindu metaphysics for social media strategery.

    What we are asking has to do with things like how we measure success, what our success metrics are, etc, etc, etc. Another words.. I just have this feeling like everyone’s coming into this space the a legacy that contextualizes there experience here in a particular sort of way… and people speak of the disruptions and cognitive dissonance of the space.. but that has more to do with contextual legacy then here and now..

    What I see is infinite possibilities.. but I see the role our conceptual frameworks play in our seeing of these possibilities as being problematic.

    So I see the route problems in psychological / philosophical terms..

  3. compassioninpolitics / Dec 6 2007 4:05 pm

    Matt you bring up some interesting issues. Thanks for adding to the discussion. Initially, I have nothing against “white hat” SEO my post is merely an acknowledgment of its import. Second, I experience info overload in two ways. Due to a new Macbook that can’t keep up, which I brought earlier this spring. I think 1 hour of my day is shot due and creates abrupt starts and stops throughout vital tasks like publishing posts and saving documents. [true: this gives me a moment to step away from the computer for R & R, but the random times it occurs aren’t helpful] Second, personally, I experience less astute driving and interaction with my family due to the barrage of info I deal with and process. To the extent that it erodes my ability to listen and be present–it seems to take away from the love expressed.
    I think being passionate, but maintaining a zen that will allow some information by…perhaps can be helpful and can be more productive in the long run. Getting some fresh air and learning to relax can make work seem a lot less like work..

  4. Jonathan Trenn / Dec 6 2007 4:17 pm

    Great post Nathan.

    While I often agree with the idea of the echo chamber, here I see two differences:

    One is that the way Beacon is disclosed beyond those 350 blogs is bit-by-bit logging on after you just happened to have purchased an item on from one of their partners. Unlike the previous mess of the newsfeed, there wasn’t a massive discovery as millions logged on over a few days. So I’d say the lack of outraged beyond the 350 blogs and 60,000 signers of MoveOn’s petition is more a reflection of most not knowing that the thing exists.

    The second point is that key partners of FB on Beacon put things on hold – and may have been ready to bail. That’s not to be taken lightly.

    But yeah, we all get too caught up in some of this social media stuff…we link to prominent bloggers who may lightly cover a subject while not link to others who are less well known but write more substantially.

  5. compassioninpolitics / Dec 6 2007 5:46 pm


    Interesting point:
    But yeah, we all get too caught up in some of this social media stuff…we link to prominent bloggers who may lightly cover a subject while not link to others who are less well known but write more substantially.

    I think this points to the importance of B-list bloggers perhaps creating aggregators or platforms together. There is the risk of a little personality being lost in the mix, but on balance its a net gain. Collaboration and community are the sweet spot. Thats the only way that bloggers can compete with the likes of Giga OM. And ultimately platforms. I think Marketing Conversation is one step in that direction. Thats also explains some of the success of Marketing Profs.

    And certainly a platform alone isn’t enough…the SEO I discussed and community creation (perhaps even non blog related) both on and off platform–seems to be the sweet spot.

  6. compassioninpolitics / Dec 6 2007 6:00 pm


    >>>On what you’re trying to accomplish — being noticed? Making more friends? Helping someone? I agree scale helps with all these and more goals.

    I think you’re apt to point out the importance of motivation or purpose. Sharing information I would assume is the motivation for 75-85% of bloggers. Perhaps a community platform that covered Social News in the same way that the Blog Herald covers blog related issues, with some community features to promote quality content (from diverse sources–perhaps a feed spot of good stories).

    I wouldn’t doubt that we’ve chatted on Blog Herald as I know I’ve read a host of your columns there. It would be interesting if Blog Herald had pictures–so that I could have a more direct connection to who I’m reading.

    I think it may be the case that it may be hard for humans to have a tight circle of friends over a certain number. I wonder how folks who manage to transcend that both on and offline do it….

    Thanks to everybody who stopped by and thanks to Chris Brogan for showing this post some Twitter love.

    Just my thoughts. Thanks to everybody who stops by.

  7. compassioninpolitics / Dec 6 2007 11:51 pm

    I’m curious if this Digg clone is helpful:

    I noticed that Shel Israel used it for his
    blog, which should be a good indication.

    Perhaps it could be a model for other niche
    digg-like sites.


  1. Books News » Blog Archive » Time to Put down the Web 2.0 Koolaid
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