Time: Bloggers react to *It’s all about You*

I probably shouldn’t be stunned that the LARGEST number of links and blog discussions I’ve yet seen on Techmeme were when Time magazine set their “Person of the Year: You”.

For most of us in the Web 2.0, internet and participation culture (the basis of my Rise of the Participation Culture report), most of what this article said was obvious since we’re living it. The important thing, however, is that the mainstream press is bringing it to the attention of the masses who are still amazingly clueless.

A year and a half ago I was talking to a C-level executive at a company about blogging, podcasting and virtual worlds. I admitted that the virtual world thing was a little far out…but then he looked at me and said, “What’s blogging?” This man headed marketing.

It wasn’t until BusinessWeek did a cover story on Second Life that senior executives and my close colleagues and friends stopped looking at me like I was some technoweenie goofball out of touch with reality or far too strategic to be practical.

To see participants (i.e., bloggers) participate in the Time magazine discussion seems appropriate, but if you read some of the perspectives it proves how people leap into the discussion and mold, shape and change public discourse. At least I hope the Time magazine folks are reading bloggers writings as I have. Some…not all…of bloggers’ perspectives have deepened my understanding of what Time published.

Friday evening I was at a gathering where two people (my wife was one of them) vociferously railed against the alleged inaccuracies of Wikipedia and “all those bloggers whose opinions I don’t care about” intimating that all of us out here were just ill informed spewers of opinion with little regard to facts.

Others there didn’t seem to see much import to the whole participation thing. During the discussion, I politely pointed all those places where I begged to differ, but realized that these people were still up in the stands watching (instead of on the field playing like we who participate) and are distracted and only peripherally watching the game. Unfortunately, these are people who are involved in trend, marketing, product and service ideations (though all 40+ so maybe it was age-related) and should’ve been right next to me pushing on the membrane of the future instead of fearing it or minimizing its import.

So it’s good to see bloggers react like this but then all of us — those who “get it” and those yet to — need to understand that 98% of the world is still unaware, doesn’t care, sees it as noise and inefficiency instead of what it is: connecting humankind to the next level of social, fun, creativity, problem solving and efficiency. Just like the train, car, and airplane transported our bodies, the internet is transporting our minds.

5 Comments

  1. davis freeberg on December 17, 2006 at 5:36 pm

    Steve I love your posts. You have a way of describing things so perfectly. “mold, shape and change public discourse”. You couldn’t have put it any better then that. It’s no longer about taking in the news, it’s about becoming a small part of it, changing it. Putting your own unique spin onto it. I may not be famous, but to my 14 RSS subscribers I’m a rock star and have the ability to make news relevant to them. This is the power of the participation culture and why so many find it so compeling even without the compensation or the large scale fame that the rest of the world feeds off of.

    On some levels, I think that blogging and other forms of participation tends to be over emphasized within the marketing community, but on many levels it’s still surprsing to see how many C-level executives still don’t understand that it’s about molding perception, not shaping it. By giving consumers the power to voice their own thoughts, to metamorphize the message, it turns them into evangelists that are collectively more powerful then just about anything that a company could do. It’s truly exciting to be able to have an opportunity to take part in this culture. Keep up the great insights.



  2. Matthew on December 17, 2006 at 7:54 pm

    Dear Steve,

    We would like to inform you that your blog has now been added to the Megite index. We kindly invite you to explore Megite’s latest version at http://www.megite.com



  3. Steve Borsch on December 17, 2006 at 6:57 pm

    Thanks for the kind words Davis.

    Rather than pound people over the head with what some of us deem obvious, I’m trying to ease people into recognizing what’s going on. That’s why the giving away of something that I was charging for (would do a 90 minute presentation and a 1-2 hour ideation on specific needs for an organization, ad or PR agency).

    Funny too…but the biggest piece of my guidance turns out to be a push into authenticity and truth. I tell them, “Forget the well scrubbed and polished messages. Be clear, be real, don’t spin, and accept criticism” among other transparency related strategies.



  4. Steve Borsch on December 17, 2006 at 7:01 pm

    Oops…that “giving away” thing is the Rise of the Participation Culture report at the top of my blog.



  5. Brad Hall on December 19, 2006 at 1:54 am

    Steve,

    I was recently sent a link to your blog and have only had a little time to start reading through all of your posts. I am hoping to make it through the last few months of archives in the next week or so. The holidays are a great time to catch up on some reading.

    But more to the point; not all of the chronologically gifted individuals out there are sitting on the sidelines. A great example is my dad. He is retired from Ford and now spends his time golfing and blogging. Feel free to check out http://hallofrecord.blogspot.com/ if you have time.

    I have always thought my dad had great ideas, but he never had the ability to reach an audience beyond the kitchen table. With his blog he has been steadily building a following of intellectuals at universities all over the globe. I couldn’t be happier for him and i look forward to each new post he writes.

    Unfortunately, there are still many more chronologically gifted individuals who will never blog or take the time to read some of the great posts out there. The disconnect in our society between bloggers and the blogless will be bridged in time. I see this gap disappearing as the participation generation ages. The participation generation will continue to “push on the membrane of the future instead of fearing it.”

    On a side note, the “push into authenticity and truth” as part of an advertising strategy is dead on in my opinion. I think in this day and age it is too easy for consumers to see through the smoke and mirrors. As the participation generation gets older it is only going to speed up the “push” for clear, simple, and honest advertising. The consumer backlash against companies that continue to blow smoke will grow faster and organize quicker. AOL is a great example of a company that promotes customer service yet doesn’t always deliver. Sites like the consumerist will become more popular because they give the power back to the consumer. (http://www.consumerist.com/consumer/top/the-best-thing-we-have-ever-posted:-reader-tries-to-cancel-aol-180392.php)

    I will continue to be a part of the participation culture and I look forward to reading your archived posts.



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Strategist. Learner. Idea Guy. Salesman. Connector of Dots. Friend. Husband & Dad. CEO. Janitor. More here.

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