December 06, 2004

I love it when I'm right

"It's NOT a manifesto and it's not revolutionary and it's not particularly moving." --jeneane sessum, Aug. 04, on Seth Godin & Kid's "Change This" 'manifestos'.

I hated this idea from the outset because I saw it as much ado about absolutely nothing--and at the same time I knew that the link hounds of blogland would swoop upon the chance to see their names in PDF.

My gripe with this project from day one has had more to do with the HYPERBOLE describing what's being done than with the format the writing is delivered in. I took issue with SethCo dubbing these downloads as "manifestos" (oh. god.) Just look at the sidebar on the site and revel in the marketing-speak. My responses, one by one, are in blue:

ChangeThis is creating a new kind of media.

No you're not. You're putting PDFs on the Web.

A form of media that uses existing tools (like PDFs, blogs and the web)...

No you're not--this is a non-searchable PDF file that we can download from your website. We've had those for a really long time. And the Web is more than "an existing tool." challenge the way ideas are created and spread.

Simply: WTF?

So now, a PDF by Halley inspired a useful rant about the uselessness of PDFs by Doc, to which Seth--Mr. Listen to Your Customers--says, tough titties.

DOC: I'm in a bad mood today about people breaking the Web. One way they do it is by taking writing off the Web and offering it only as a .pdf "download".

Seth: I know they're not in HTML. There are 6 trillion other web pages to choose from if you want that.
The neat thing about the Web is that pundits without substance can't sustain themselves over the long haul. They out themselves with poor thinking and their staunchness in defending it.

Seth, we have the opportunity to move things f-o-r-w-a-r-d here. You might do well to listen to some folks who've been around. Maybe offer more than one o-p-t-i-o-n for your partakers.... Hmmmm. What a concept. Landmark even.

For my part, I believe PDF's have a place on the web. They are handy for forms, for long documents, for samples, even for books. And of course, using them is your choice.

But please don't confuse breaking the web with a groundbreaking idea.

My other thought: Seth, shut up and listen.