I have met Robert Scoble and I like him. He’s a good guy, and somewhere I have a photo and video of him with an AmigoFish sticker on his tripod, so that right there puts him close to my heart. I’ve followed him on and off for years, and am currently subscribed to his Scobleizer blog. However, I’m dropping him. The thing that sent me over the edge was an inoccuous enough post but something that is emblematic of my problem not just with his blog but with the whole Silicon Valley mindset.
In it, he says that he gets too much email and that is ineffective for getting PR releases to him. He suggests that what you should do know is to leave him a message on his Facebook wall. Dear god and/or Bob. In the time I’ve followed Scoble, I must have seen something like this a dozen times from him. Don’t email, Twitter me. Don’t Twitter, Pwnce. Jaiku me. Leave a wall message, send an SMS, just call me, email me, don’t email me, don’t call me. Enough already. I’m not even trying to get in contact with him, and I find this constant migration from platform to platform to be a load of shit that just wearies me. I felt the same way when I dropped TechCrunch, well over a year ago. I got so tired of hearing about another slightly different way of doing what we were already doing and why that tiny difference was worth dropping everything and moving over.
I officially renounce the search for the newer and shinier.
Will this cost me cool points? Undoubtedly so, and I have few enough of those to spare. However, getting out of the ever escalating rat-race of keeping up with whatever the hot site/service/Web 2.0 gimcrack of the moment is carries a lot of benefit to me. It’s the opposite of an opportunity cost, it’s an opportunity profit – the gain I get from not spending all my time redoing my efforts in a new system. I suppose I could try to take whatever small notoriety I got from podcasting and then try to go get a following in Second Life, then try to get everyone to stampede over to my MySpace page, and then use it to suggest that everyone subscribe to my Twitter feed, then move to Pwnce because Twitter is too slow, then get those people to friend me on Facebook. Or, I could do none of that and instead do, oh, ANY FUCKING THING ELSE which would ultimately be more fun and less wasted busy work.
People invite me to services all the time. They want to connect to me on LinkedIn, Twitter, FaceBook. I appreciate that anyone cares and I get a little warmth from the sentiment. I’m not joining anything that I’m not already a part of though. People ask me why I’m not on FaceBook since that’s the cool, hot thing. That’s precisely why I am not. I’m not interested in coolness or hotness. I am interested in friends, true friends that matter to me and that miss me when they don’t see me for a long time. I’m uninterested in virtual friends that are trying to out-compete everyone else by being the first person on the SNS du jour to have 1.7 kajillion connections. I’m uninterested in duplicating work from siloed system to siloed system, to joining any network that encourages many shallow links instead of a few deep ones. I joined LinkedIn years ago, and I’m thinking about getting out of it or possibly just rejecting any future requests out of hand. It’s a bunch of busy work that has never done one thing for me and I wish I had never started.
Basta. Life is short and true friends that will go to the mat for you are scarce. The energy spent in chasing some sort of glorious future from service to service is friction in my life, not any sort of addition. If I had that kind of time, I’d be at the beach more often and reading more books or cuddling up on the couch with my wife and my dog for more of my day. Sometimes these services really add to our lives and allow us to build communities that we can’t get in our every day corporal lives. Other times, like now, they are just more bullshit in a world overflowing with bullshit. I don’t need them, I don’t want them and the burden on anyone inviting me to any service is to prove to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that this will improve my life and make me happier. If you can’t do that, I’m out. I’ve had plenty of shiny for one lifetime, now I’m looking for the old and worn that will put a smile on my face.
Update: I forgot to cite this post from Steve Rubel on similar issues which helped drive my thinking. In comments, CJ says “I feel sorry for you man. Not wanting to join something great just because it’s new and popular. . . . is sad.” and questions why I want to avoid FaceBook precisely because it is new and hot. It’s because those correlate strongly with ephemeral. When it isn’t new and isn’t hot but still useful, that’s when you know it is going to last. I’m not making any more investments of my time in the SNS du jour and then seeing that one slowly get abandoned. Tribe.net, anyone?