Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Note To Politicians Planning to Take August Off

August is much in the news lately. We've come to the point where months get two weeks of promotion just like new movies.

What we're told about August is that the Iraqi parliament plans to take it off. So does the President. So does the U.S. Congress. But not, of course, the soldiers and marines serving in Iraq.

So here's something to think about during the month of August. The month is named is named for the Roman emperor, Augustus Caesar about whom Edward Gibbon wrote:
... it was easy for him to discover that Rome, in her present exalted situation, had much less to hope than to fear from the chance of arms; and that, in the prosecution of remote wars, the undertaking became every day more difficult, the event more doubtful, and the possession more precarious, and less beneficial.
Know any current "remote wars" that might apply to? "... the undertaking became every day more difficult, the event more doubtful, and the possession more precarious, and less beneficial."

Mickeleh's Take: Hey, Bush: Still looking for legacy? Try peace. You've already demonstrated you're hopeless at war.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Scoble fires back at Nielsen.

Did Jakob Nielsen actually attack anyone in his recent Alertbox?

Doesn't really matter. Robert Scoble, took it personally and worked himself into a high dudgeon. (BTW: Do dudgeons come in low and medium, too? or is it only high?)

(Cue Carly Simon: "You're so vain. I'll bet you think this blog is about you. Don't you? Don't you?")

OK, here's da ting: Suppose that Nielsen had advised people to be like Scoble. That advice would be impossible to follow. Scoble is a force of nature. He never stops. He's relentless.

When I was ten, my piano teacher told me that in my entire lifetime I could never even copy all of the music that Bach composed in his lifetime. Likewise with Scoble. I could never just watch all the videos he produces. I could never even read all the posts he writes, all the tweets he tweets, and I don't even want to think about keeping up with him on Facebook.

Robert Scoble is generous and open, often wrong and insufferable, but right more than wrong. If journalism is the first draft of history, Scoble's blog is the zero draft sketchbook. But that's okay, because he's gathered an audience of friends, fans, boosters and detractors who provide corrective wisdom or unbridled inanities that make Scoble appear wise by comparison.

Mickeleh's Take: Here's why Nielsen's advice is better than Scoble's: a mere mortal has a chance of following it. There's no point in trying to be Scoble. The job's taken. (Oh, and by the way, didn't Scoble actually follow Nielsen's advice when he worked with Shel Israel to write Naked Conversations?)

PS: I read Scoble much more often than I read Nielsen. But I have a t-shirt with Nielsen's picture on it.

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Can I Post on Jakob Nielsen's Advice Not to Post?

Usability Guru Jakob Nielsen makes a cogent case for slowing the pace of discourse. He favors writing serious, well-researched articles rather than snappy blog posts. (Scoble, Winer, Israel, et al. not withstanding.) Whether your aim is to promote yourself as an individual expert or to promote your business, Nielson argues for quality and substance over quantity. (My favorite blogger who embodies this philosophy: Guy Kawasaki)

Nielsen may be right. But it doesn't matter any more. Our brains are hopelessly scrambled and scrunged. After a decade of blogs, two decades of PowerPoint and SMS, six decades of TV—both programming and advertising—and a century of research and development in how to by-pass logical discourse that runs from from Hopkins to Bernays to Goebbels to Luntz, it's just too late. If people don't get it in a quick emotion-charged hit, they're on to the next thing. We're always reaching for the clicker—whether it's the remote or the mouse.

Jakob is standing athwart history. The game was over before it began. The late Neil Postman nailed it in his 1985 classic, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Discourse in the Age of Showbusiness. We've moved on to the age of the sound bite embodied by Twitter, Jaiku, and Pownce. (If they merged, they'd have a great name. But is it for a law firm? ad agency? or do they do repo for auto loan companies?)

Update: Scoble fires back at Nielsen. (But did Nielsen actually fire at Scoble?)

Mickeleh's Take: It's the age of the dot-com meets the dot-dot-dots. Walter Winchell, Herb Caen, you left too soon.


Saturday, July 07, 2007

iPhone Parody Ad: The Real Internet (minus Flash)

Thanks to Scoble for the pointer. (Scoble is prowling and posting from the iPhoneDevCamp being held at the Adobe offices. Y'know Adobe... the folks who sell Flash. But this isn't Adobe's conference; they're just one of a couple dozen sponsors of this BarCamp. Oh, and it's most certainly not Apple's conference, either.)

Mickeleh's Take: I knew I was wise to wait. (Keep telling yourself that, Mickeleh. How long will you be able to hold out?)

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Friday, July 06, 2007

On the Soapbox: Top Ten Rants on the Scooter Commute

Over on the political side, I've linked to the top ten rants I've seen on the Scooter Commute. (It goes to eleven and includes some bonuses.)

Mickeleh's Take: They knew we'd be outraged. But they're counting on the outrage to fade quickly as some other news crowds this out of the headlines. The best ways to keep it in the headlines: write to Congress. Encourage inquiry. Blog about it. Write letters to the media. Post on Other blogs. And stay informed.