Blogfire of the vanities

Robert Scoble mentioned a new term for this whole OpenLife thing that’s been happening lately, where if you want to, you can subscribe to every single facet of someones digital life. You can read their inane Twitters about what hairball their cat coughed up 5 minutes ago, and how many sugars they just put in their coffee. You can subscribe to what they read in their newsreaders, you can subscribe to their YouTube videos, their Flickr photos, what music they are listening to on LastFM and even what they bookmark on delicious. This is the narcissystem, as coined by Chris Pirillo and it is going to get worse.

Since our analog lives are becoming more and more digital, it is scary what people are sharing and surely a boon for our stalkers. New services are now out there to help stream videos of ourselves wherever we are. Robert Scoble was in his car driving down the highway and you could ring him and chat to him via video while he was in the passenber seat belting down some highway. Robert used the new enough service.

Right now all these lifestreams/vanityfeeds/unifiedfeeds are mostly noise and mostly personal stuff. I don’t think you’d get a lot of subscribers for all of this unless you were famous or were on Channel 4. Big Brother anyone? Look at the sheer number of people who clicked on to the Big Brother live feeds on E4 for the past few years. My god that was boring. Yet, an unknown lifestream wouldn’t get any viewers, but how many viewers would tune in for Paris Hilton or Britney Spears. Hell, during Britney’s breakdown I’d be a subscriber. “Next on carcrash TV…” I do agree with Deep Jive Interests in that it is all relative.

In this day and age though, it seems even mainstream news media are obsessed with all this flotam. Last week when I turned on the TV in my hotel room (I don’t watch TV at home) it was wall to wall Prince William and his breakup with yerwanno. To quote Robert Scoble again

Everyone who thinks this stuff is boring. I guess you aren’t watching CNN or the news lately either, right? So, do you find 24-hour-a-day of Anna Nicole Smith interesting?

When blogs started, the personal lives of catladies outweighed business blogs, tech blogs and all other types of blogs. That’s changing quite a lot now. These people, no matter what they were writing about, helped test and improve the blogging platform and made it into another communications layer. I see Twitter doing the same. It’s going to be another multi-way broadcast layer. Same goes for UStream which makes it very easy to be a video broadcaster. (That’s how Scoble broadcasted from the car). YouTube bedroom broadcasters were the same. Nearer to home, I can see MySay helping to create another niche communications layer. [MySay allows you to phone in and leave voicemail which can be marked friends only or public and can be emailed to friends or they can ring in and listen or they can listen in via a widget on your blog.] Another communications layer.

So while all these lifefeeds are chocka with “Ohmygoshness” at the moment, that will change and different and more appealing content streams will emerge. Whereas tech’s first adopters years back were very rich companies and the uses were always business uses (telephone, cars, mobiles, computers) nowadays the first adopters seem to be the always-on social people. Business now moves into the areas where it first started as something social. Correct me if I’m wrong but was email more academic in use when it started? The net was the same I think? Blogs were personal life outlets at the start as were all the social networking sites and now companies are begining to see the uses of them. The inane and personal comes first, then maybe comes that quality that the elitists demand.

4 Responses to “Blogfire of the vanities”

  1. Adam says:

    I’ve no interesting at all in most forms of “social media” coming out of this “web 2.0” malarkey… I never saw the point of bebo and was frankly put off by the level of intrusion it allows (but more importantly the level many people seem comfortable with allowing it, especially when that intrusion overlaps on lives other than their own).

    Twitter also doesn’t interest me, but I can see it being useful to some areas of life – I’m sure the smarter and more tuned in will figure out what areas exactly!

    I’m happy with my blog and I try to steer clear of personal posts (and the most personal ones tend to be in relation to my career rather than my private life).

    I would say I prefer the simple blog because it allows me control over what I put out there, but no more than twitter or bebo or flickr does.

    What does concern me slightly is the way young people tend to use these tools – I wonder if some will regret archiving their lives online… I’m not trying to be alarmist, but perhaps parents should make sure they make their kids aware of the dangers of being too open with strangers.

    I’m not even talking about the potential to be groomed, just the potential to be embarrassed or burdened in later life… look at it this way – when I was a moody and moapy teenager I wrote a fair few moody and moapy poems. They eased my mind at the time and were certainly therapeutic, but am I happy that I didn’t put them out in the public domain? God yes.

  2. Liam Daly says:

    Damien, I think Blogs were definitely technical first before the inane and personal claimed them.

    It was tech heads who built their platforms and then used them, gradually logging the weird and wonderful web, and from there it was an easy slip into the inane and personal especially as by then they had made the tools so much easier to use.

    Maybe it will be possible for the non-famous but talented to harness Twitter and some of the newer self-documenting technologies in a way that the public could genuinely be interested in – much the same as what happened to blogging where you don’t have to be famous or on Channel 4 to be interesting.

  3. Yes, email was less social when I started (GreenNet [] in 1988, since you asked).

    But that’s mostly because you had no right to expect that any message you sent would be read any more quickly than if you’d posted it – in the UK at least, modems maxed out at ~ 2400 baud, the phone call cost money and there was a per-minute connection charge as well. Nobody I knew was rich enough to check mail every 10 minutes.

    Hell, GN’s link to the US was a unidirectional UUCP session via satellite at 9600 bps. And we didn’t have DNS yet so inter-network mail was extremely annoying because the bang@path!addresses!listed!every! computer!en!route.

    And all this were fields.

    Um, my point being that none of this stuff works unless it’s always on. Probably social use will now always come first because of home broadband.

  4. I think with the uptake in broadband around the world (incl IRL – eventaully 🙂 and moreso the cell/mobile-phone always-on’s (via GMS/text/VoIP/Twittr and the like) this is gonna become more widespread.

    Which means more crap with a few hidden gems.

    It also means a lot more ‘channels’ feeding the whole system and as each new inovation happens (e.g. Twittr) it adds another layer (and system) to the ‘cake’.

    For those that can filter that ‘mess’ will become the next ‘messengers’

    Keep on filtering….