March 27, 2006

The Shitting Point

It started when Joi Ito all but abandoned his blog for Second Life. Few bloggers were writing about the -- well, "game" doesn't seem to do it justice; perhaps: lifestyle choice? -- when Joi made a mad dash for the virtual new world order. But that would change. Within six months, Dave Winer would predict that second life might be the OS of the 21st Century.

Speaking of Dave, shortly before uttering that prophetic piece of web wisdom, he announced his retirement from blogging, sayng that he would quit blogging by the end of the year. The blogworld gasped for a nano second before launching into all maners of parody. God love the Interweb.

This week, when Microsoft announced the delay of Vista and estimates of a 60-percent rewrite hit the blogosphere, Scoble nearly burst a blood vessle. The Naked Conversations author and cluetrainian student admitted on his blog that he was wrong about the importance of "getting the story first" and now believes (channeling George Bush on Terror) that "we need to be vigilant against bad journalism."

These not so insignificant developments within the blogworld have some wondering: WTF?

I've remained optimistic about blogging's future on this site -- you know, when it's actually up and running and not just a white, empty screen (fuck you, Blogger) -- declaring my loyalty to the sphere and my little plot of land within it.

Fighting the good fight. Carrying on. Etc. Etc.

But something has changed.

Repercussions from Scoble's recent rant about Truth, Journalism, and The American Way -- combined with the exodus (and planned exodus) of high-profile thinkers and money makers from the blogosphere -- signifies something important for blogging.

The Shitting Point.

What is The Shitting Point? The Shitting Point is precise moment that a Brand-Movement-or-Medium shits the bed. Craps out. Gives in. Gives up.

One characteristic of The Shitting Point? When participants in a Brand-Movement-or-Medium begin to really believe what they say. And most of what they say is that theirs doesn't stink.

The Shitting Point is much easier to identify in the virtual world because, as we all know, Google remembers everything and hyperlinks don't lie.

Here are some signs that we've hit The Shitting Point with blogging.

1) People use more words than necessary when talking about it. Before The Shitting Point, folks involved in "the coolest new thing" have a secret, shared language used to discuss and describe it. New terms emerge and become part of our culture. Reach The Shitting Point, and these same folks are universally understood to be speaking assholese. They typically use extra words to cover up the fact that they have nothing new to say. Often you will see words like Transparency, Ethics, and Credibility rear their ugly heads.

2) Anyone who disagrees is an evil doer. Before The Shitting Point, a school yard fist fight over the last cigarette (okay, I started smoking early) -- and a few ad hominem attacks among friends -- were just another way to start the day off right. Once you reach the Shitting Point, challengers to blatent stupidity are labeled "Trolls" and "Flamers."

3) Hyperlinks morph from gems of discovery to unnecessary exertion of the wrist.

4) Everything Becomes Collaborative. This is BIG red flag for The Shitting Point. When you hear terms like "collaboration" and "commons," being used by Corporations, it means that you're about to be shat on. The shitting point ranges from five to seven years after these terms are first uttered. Always. When large numbers of people begin attending conferences that use these terms, Run Like Hell.

5) IBM.

It is with some sadness that I bring you this news today, this explanation of why things don't feel right just now. And yet it is with hope too that I come to you.

Because with knowledge comes understanding, and with understanding comes... understanding.

The Shitting Point is a natural part of creative evolution. It's something to be embraced (don't think about it) as much as mourned. It's a time for celebration and a time for grieving, for letting go.

It's a time to discover what's next.

Just don't forget to wash your hands.

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cindy said...

I think that shitting leads to growth. Some of these people sound so constipated. I think Scoble just blew a load, figuratively speaking. ;)

Robert Scoble said...

Heheh. The problem is I got Nick Carr on one hand saying "you can't shit all over the blogosphere" and I got you on the other hand telling me it'll just be OK. I think I'll go play more Second Life. :-)

clocke said...

I'm not exactly sure what you said here, but I concur 100%. Plus, I think this rant is probably more cogent than was Malcolm Gladwell's book proposal for The Tippling Point. Or, god help us, Blink. And just for the record, I hate everyone. I can remember back to when hating everyone was a perfectly reasonable position, a platform even. It was just a way to express oneself you knoow passionately without all this thinking that's somehow crept in. I liked the net better when it was more surrealistic and flaky and nobody thought it was all that important, because then it was funner and there weren't all these know-nothing conservative scumbags littering up the place with their fucking viewpoints and so forth. I have been trying, really, but I can't make head nor tail out of what's going on anywhere these days, online or off. I mean, is there a point to all this? is there a reason for people to write all this crap? is it healthy? is it lo-carb hi-fiber? does it promote responsibilty and good digestion? these are the questions I think we should all be asking ourselves in the privacy and privation of our own hearts instead of going around abusing other people's comments by inserting random noise into otherwise meaningful market-like conversations. -RB

Jeneane Sessum said...

So it moved you then, RB?

Ken said...

Apparently it moved him off the shitter anyway. hehehe

You da shit girl!

Jon Husband said...

Alan watts once described humans as upright wiggling tubes that piut stuff in one end and crap it out at the other, and that this was supremely representative of *life* in all its arbitrariness, mkessiness and animal-ness ... so with blogging .. shitting points are just signposts along the way to more of whatever comes next. all of which will be just more putting stuff in at one end and getting other digested, soft and gooey stuff out at the other end .. in the aggregate, so to speak.

And so it goes.

DeanLand said...

If Sherlock were not a man's name, this piece would be indication of your worthiness of being Dame Sherlock.

No shit!

WTF? Man's name, woman's name, interweb, gender issues -- the hell with all that. I do so dub thee.