When In Doubt, Make It Public

Just because we (including myself in that) think something is cool because it’s on a blog, on flickr, youtube, twitter, etc. doesn’t mean the general population does.

You may want to read this article then:


Hits the same nail, me thinks.

man = Wikipedia


"I think Brad is being a bit too cautious here. I’ll go one step further. Until you’ve…

Written a blog entry about X
Posted Flickr photos of X
Uploaded a video of X to YouTube
Typed a Twitter message about X
… did X really happen at all?"

Yes. Nobody gives a flying damn in a circus tent about what I had for lunch yesterday, or what it looked like 8 hours later hitting the water. Regardless of my not blogging, Twittering, and videoing it, the events still happened. (This is not some clever Zen/Heisenberg thing we’re discussing, after all.)

The problem here is that the particular philosophy espoused above convinces people that the excruciating minutiae of their individual lives are interesting in a compelling way.

They aren’t.

Everybody eats. Everybody poops. (There’s a book written about that.) Everybody breathes, farts, reads (or not), goes to work/school/daycare/etc., and frankly, it’s just not that interesting. Sorry, folks. What you do on a daily basis is only interesting to you and your grandmother. (And she’s interested because she has to be–it’s genetic.)

It’s as if people don’t just want to feel that they’re starring in the movie about their lives–they feel the need to have tabloid coverage of it as well.

Given the potential negative effects of publicizing too much of one’s life online, you’d think people would be more careful–but it turns out we’re not so good at that.

Dear Rock Howard:

I enjoyed your comment, but I enjoyed your name even more. Are you a superhero?

How about dd?

dd if=my_nasty_virus of=your_unpatched_server

talk, finger = ICQ? ICQ still exists? Try Jabber/GTalk or even MSN or AIM.

Forget “rm -rf”, I’m holding out for “su -” or at least “sudo”

tail = rss
cat = blog comments, feedburner
finger = facebook
ff = google
touch = ? Your Web 2.0 company here!
diff = ? Your Web 2.0 company here!

man = Wikipedia

How true!! That’s the best one yet!

nethack = WoW

bash = yubnub

Where’s my kill -9

You were doing pretty well until you got to the bit about “brick and mortar companies”. Out here in the real world where the big money is, secrecy is still alive and well, and will most likely stay that way for the foreseeable future.

Here are some illustrative numbers:

Google, Yahoo and EBay had combined net income of a little under 5 billion dollars last year. Those “big three” are a pretty good proxy for the sector - most of the rest don’t make much money and probably never will.

Goldman Sachs Group, which derives the bulk of its profits from “proprietary trading” activities whose details are kept rigorously secret (for good reason), had net income of 9.5 billion. Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch? Another 7.5 billion each. Coke and Pepsi? 5 and 5.6 billion respectively. Closer to home, Microsoft - not exactly a fan of making all its internal details public - had net income of 12.6 billion. Cisco and Intel - around 5 billion each.

“diff = ?”

diff = web.archive.org

Even Podcasts existed in Mexico in the year 1998 or so… There was a radio show you could download each day as an mp3 file!

There isn’t not going to be a statue of me eating a ham and cheese sandwich, because it’s not important.

But there could be, if we had infinite space, and the ability to instantly and easily filter to whatever statues we wanted.

Here’s one factor I think you’re ignoring: most people are too busy to make anything public.

The minimal amount of effort required to package something up for public consuption is a significant barrier. People that are making things public usually have a reasonable incentive to share, other than “I just ate a sandwich”. In the future if everyone is wearing head-cams and everyone has a one-click option to instantly upload the video footage anywhere, that might change. But for now and the forseeable future, making anything public is an effort barrier that 99.9% of people will never cross.

Also, I tend to believe that people generally have a reasonable (not perfect, reasonable) sense of what’s interesting and important to others. There’s no YouTube for people eating a sandwich, because the vast majority of people wouldn’t bother making anything that trivial public. And there’s also a disincentive to make crappy things public. If it sucks in public, people will let you know:

"Thanks for putting this online, douchebag"

That’s the quote of the decade. Well, this decade, anyway. :slight_smile:

I had never been to reddit or twitter before today. Reddit I get, people find stories that they find interesting and post them. A slashdot for everyone else I guess. But Twitter, WTF? is it really what it looked liked? People posting from their phones that “I’m on the 95 stuck in traffic” and other random thoughts. Maybe I’m hitting the grumpy old man stage of life (38) but is this supposed to be interesting? Someone fill me in what the point is…

And really professional content\service just sinks in tons of mediocrity.

Not if you believe in the TrustRank/PageRank fairy.

The mediocre content will eventually outnumber the good stuff by a 1,000,000:1 ratio instead of, say, the 100,000:1 ratio we have today. But I don’t see that as a significant difference.

Twitter is the Internet version of EMI…it’s all noise, no signal.

Err, deltree anyone? :slight_smile:

The Wet Pets ad, though, is a brilliant example of public-everything.


Wet Pets is a local pet store here in California, but I think the ad is entertaining no matter where you live.