Monday, June 20, 2011

[STATING THE OBVIOUS] Meet the Poop-slingers (or: how techbloggers killed Google Wave)

Before you start reading this article, I strongly recommend jumping to this post first:
[STATING THE OBVIOUS] The current state of the Social Web (or: why the bubble is about to pop)

So, now that we all are on the same page, we can get started.
But where do we start? Let's start with Google's so-called "failures" (which they are not)

Techbloggers are a unique species... Like in the real business world, there are a lot small fishes and some on the top. Who are fat. No.... Different approach.

Let's do that with apes.

Look at a group of apes:
The alpha male is either:

  • The smartest hunter that is able to adapt and also the dominant individual in the group
  • the biggest asshole that just succeeds through it's aggressive behavior, attacking everyone that endangers his throne. (usually by slinging his poop at his enemies)
Huh, that does sound familiar, doesn't it? :)
I won't cover now the first kind of techblogger... that wouldn't be fun, because they are totally ok for me. I don't read their blogs or listen to their podcasts, but they are ok for me.

Beware of the mighty Poop-slinger!

Well. Every time something new is introduced, they want to be the first to predict the "win or fail" of the product.
Millions of clueless people sacrifice goods to their prophets residing on the high mountains of the interwebs, looking down on the crowd crawling in the dust, eagerly awaiting them to spread their sparks of wisdom to enlighten the common "lesser" people. They whimper and cherish their holy prophets who will tell them if their crops will grow and if the plague will vanish.
Gods never fail. Gods are never wrong.

And their voice shakes the souls of their followers like growling thunder, spreading hope and fear...

But... what if it turns out that they were wrong? .... could that ever happen? Turns out no.

If they predicted bullshit, they'd never admit that they were wrong. If something doesn't work as THEY expect it to work (completely ignoring every official information of course and not willing to research or actually USE the product as intended due to their attention-span that is shorter than that of a puppy or even mine), it is of course the monumental failure of the company who created this miserable piece of garbage that insults the eye of Captain Crunch and others... Ohhhh noooo, they are not too stubborn to get it, not to inflexible to adapt to new, innovative usage... no it is of course the fault of the company! The companies failed at the design (because it isn't designed after what THEY imagined it to be AFTER it was already released).

So all jokes aside: They are just pissed and troll/bash a product when they completely fail to realize what it really is.

The power of the Poop-slingers.
Or: Killing technology we are not able/willing to understand in a few simple steps.

Sadly these "internet personalities" have a lot of sheep which follow them, mindlessly repeating what their all-knowing leaders say.
Yesterday night someone (again) failed to realize the difference between a Like and a +1 and after sending him a helpful link, he said something like 
"yeah I was so excited about +1 and I integrated it everywhere and all my friends on facebook talked about it, but now no one uses it anymore and I have no chance to see what my friends plusOne'd. And even if it might be useful if you stated, if no one uses it, it is like a facebook account without any friends"
After he said that I asked: "Might I ask you if you read techcrunch regularly?"... And he answered: "I don't know why this might have even remotely any relevance for this discussion."
That basically answered my question and I deleted the email conversation as I realized how hopeless my effort would be to convince this person, that +1 is indeed useful and gets used a lot.

The power of the major poop-slingers techbloggers is the ability to convince people that they are wrong if they enjoy a product. They bash a product until it's reputation is almost zero...
Typical conversation:
A: "Yeah I did that with Google Wave"
B: "Google Wave? Dude, that's total crap, why do you use it? It's a total piece of shit! Google failed so hard on that, I LOL every time I see it."
A: "Have you ever used it?"
B: "No, but I've read enough to never put my finger on that. Hey check out my new iPhone! I heard it's totally awesome!"

This whole thing gets so frustrating, that you don't tell anyone anymore if you use it or not, because you'll hear from everyone that never used it or refused to use it longer than 5 minutes, that someone said it's shit.

Yeah, Google Wave is different, but it is none-the-less an awesome, powerful tool, I'd love to continue using.

So why has it come that far? Well... The tech media went totally nuts when they heard about wave and just assumed "Google will make eMails obsolete with Google Wave" or "Google will change the way we are communicating forever" I think I even heard something about replacing text messages (SMS) or something...
All in all... It was total ridiculous stuff.

The media predicted it would be the ultimate tool, mainstream compatible of course, and so on. And what happened when the techbloggers were disappointed? They went into troll mode, bashing Google-Wave and predicting Google would shut it down.

After "Average Joe" realized that it was too complicated for him and he let of his rant by resharing every Wave-bashing article on facebook (or myspace back then?), a lot of users remained, using Wave productively and loyally.
But the bash continued. The techbloggers needed more Troll-bait headlines and articles like "Why Google should shutdown [insert every imaginable Google product here] immediately" were posted daily (Click whores anyone?)

And we know today: Google shut it down. But not because the product was bad... no. It was shut down because the techbloggers spread doubts among the userbase. Strong doubts. And the usage stalled.
Yeah, after the initial explosion in usage, a lot of people who simply had no use for Wave (Average Joe) stopped using it. But the major decline came from the uncertainty if Google would really shut down Wave.
So people were worried what would happen with all their Waves when Google would really shut it down...
Would it be worth to invest hours and hours into waves without knowing if one day the data would be gone forever?
And so even a large percentage of loyal users left. And I've to shamefully admit, that I was one of them.
Everyone refused working with Wave... And there I was left on the platform.
Teamwork without team?
So I had to leave too.

It was a self-fulfilling prophecy. ("You will think of Santa-Clause in a bikini!")

The product wasn't bad. In fact it was ingenious, but the sheer pride, ignorance and narcissism of the media killed it.

Not every product is intended to be usable for the whole world. (especially a product that is clearly marked as "Experimental"... But some people cant decipher words that are longer than 5 letters, obviously) 
To assume that something will work for everyone is probably the most stupid assumption you can make.

The huge problem is, that the gossip-trash-sites that call themselves "techblogs" use the power of the masses to shape the world like they want it to be. 

The RDF isn't just an exclusive Apple thing ladies and gentlemen.

P.s.: Fascism & Propaganda, two terms worth to be looked up in Wikipedia.

Discuss on Buzz


David Knowles said...

I think you are being a bit mean to the media here, just a bit. Yes they had it in for Google Wave because it was not what they wanted or imagine it to be. They expected it be brilliant, however when it was first launch there was a lot of rough edges.

The product also suffered from Google mantra of release early and developed fast, to me there was just to many rough edges when it first role out.

Part of the problem was also how wave was developed, it seem to have developed in complete isolation from the rest of Google products. An given the lack of features coming from Wave to the rest of Google products one got to wonder if there underling incompatibilities between them.

If Google had allowed an other 6 to 9 months or even a year of development, i think it would have been better received.

I personal abandon wave a couple of days after it was release, there was no one on there and very little interaction going on and to many incomplete features. The service was much more complete when I went back about 6 months afterwards. Unfortuantly there was still no one on there to interact with.

I just hope most of its features arrives in Google other products sooner or later.

I consider Google Wave, Google first big and very public mistake or series of mistakes that the media could go after them for, and they went after Wave like there was no tomorrow.

Florian Rohrweck said...

@David Yep you have some valid points, but... Google made it clear that it is a "Labs Project", sadly they assumed that someone would think about what that really means. Back then, the wide public haven't had any experience with beta software (beta software back then is not even close to the stability of beta's nowadays)
If you followed my blog longer (I think you are rather new), you might have seen my chrome extensions ^^ I pretty much had these issues with the public in mind when I wrote the release notes :)

Google was a little naive, but naivety should never be punished in the way the media did that.

AL said...

Freaking +1nd!

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