Last week’s Women 2.0 seemed to strike a nerve with a lot of people and most of them were women. Glad to see the fellas jump onboard, but I digress. Two comments about 9rules and myself struck a nerve with me this weekend and it made me realize how much people still don’t get the web. Wait, let me rephrase that, how much geeks and the web elite still don’t get the web.
The first comment I won’t link to since he didn’t link to us and I never liked him anyways. This comment was made in response to FeedBurner launching feed “networks” which I guess are competitors to 9rules if you think 9rules is just about grouping sites together to place them in a feed with some ads.
…interesting move, sort of FM or 9rulesish…well 9rulesish if 9rules either gets it’s act together and offers advertising options…
I’ll have to remember that. After 14 months in existence we still haven’t gotten our act together because we don’t offer a solution to advertise on our Member’s sites. Go figure. Sure it would be great if 9rules was making millions right now and a kickass ad solution for all our members would rock as well, but we haven’t developed one (admittedly back in the day we did talk about one and start on it). If 9rules fails for not making money then that’s just bad business, but if we fail because we don’t understand people and don’t do what we set out to do then that’s just bad common sense.
Let’s not get into the details of the resources needed to run an effective ad network because if you think advertisers just pop out of no where to sign up you have a few business books to read up on.
This next comment was made by the great Tomas Jogin and is in reference to this video I made on online lingo spoken out loud.
You are making a fool of yourself. Not just with this video, but with _all_ your videos. You don’t come off as funny, just dumb. I’m telling you this because I think that if _I_ was making a fool of myself like you are doing now, I’d want someone to tell me so. Seriously.
Now what in the hell do these comments have in common? They ignore the people element that is so crucial to 9rules and the web in general. To me, 9rules getting its act together would mean that we weren’t helping Members connect with each other and readers or helping readers find sites in the genres they are looking for. Me acting a fool is simply that, me acting a fool. Mark Fusco calls it shock value, but I just call it me being me.
What you see in that video is what you would see if you met me in real life. Certain geeks and web elite might not appreciate it. I (which also means 9rules) do not follow conventional methods of “doing” the web. I don’t get paid to be funny, smart, annoying or any other adjective. I get paid to be me and the same goes for my team.
So many people love the web because they can pretend to be somebody they are not or maybe they get to connect with other geeks like themselves. The problem is the geeks all of a sudden think they are god’s gift to the internet and instead of being the outcasts have cast themselves as the superstars. But that’s not the web and that’s not real life. We love Flickr, but there are bigger photo sites out there. We love del.icio.us as well, but how many of your family members know about it?
Mike coined the term Deaf Echo two weeks ago and it’s the part of the blogosphere where people only comment on the same sites that are part of their circle of friends. Nothing wrong with that, but don’t start to think that your circle has all of a sudden become the whole web. Business and life in general revolves around the relationships you make and that means that people have to understand you. These videos, no matter how foolish I look or how stupid you may think they are, help me connect to people I otherwise couldn’t.
You can’t honestly think that anyone else besides geeks (it’s okay, I’m a geek as well) and people knee deep in the web follow this site right? I could go back to secluding myself and sounding pretentious (maybe I still do that anyways…), but there are interesting people out there who wouldn’t be able to relate to me. I used to be the 35 year old white guy on Whitespace and now I’m the 12 year old kid on 9rules. Funny thing is, both of those personas are me and that’s what I am trying to get people to understand.
Why people wish to classify Web 2.0 as one that involves tagging, RSS, XML, APIs and other technologies that the general public just doesn’t care about is beyond me. You don’t want a web 2.0 site. You want a people site. Sit down and look at the largest sites on the web today and show me how many of them can claim that their coolest feature is tagging or RSS. I can’t connect to the first commentor or to Tomas because we just don’t see eye-to-eye, but if they can’t relate to what I do then honestly those aren’t the people I want to connect to. Many people who read this won’t relate to that because they will think you have to be a certain way to succeed and that has never been the case. Go ahead and be you, some will like it and some won’t, but isn’t that how the real world works anyways?
Final question: How big of a role do the web elite and geeks play in the success of Google, Yahoo, YouTube, MSN, MySpace, Amazon and eBay?
Originally posted on August 7, 2006 @ 2:17 pm