Friday, 25 May 2007

Fight Club


Floating around London town recently, and talking to a lot of interesting, likable and smart advertising people, it’s plain to see that there’s a need for some input on the whole idea of social(ist) media. Most of the people I talk to simply don’t have the time or the inclination to log on and check out a smattering of the 200+ RSS feeds I have coming in each day. It is an addiction but its not quite the same dedication as working though 300 pages plus of Les Miserables before something cheerful happens.

Along with my daily RSS sprints, I’ve been casually jogging around the latest round of social networks since 2002 when the original
Friendster went big Stateside, spread out to Europe and is now a dominant force in Asia. They should realistically relocate their pampered U.S. asses out of San Francisco to Singapore. Its this hubris that led them to having their lead stolen by myspace. I’ve been watching straight faced as the plannersphere piles into Facebook of late but the interesting social sites are in Gaia and Habbo Hotel at one end of the spectrum and Secondlife at the other (Mekong Charlie if you must ask). Yes the first two are for kids but those kids are the first generation virtual world builders/social media networkers on the scene and they’re going to be quite demanding if myspace wants to win them over in just a few years. Anyway News International and Roop Murdoch will probably just buy them when as he knows all too well what the conditioning element(s) of using a media format can be in selecting the next one.

My blogging chum in Singapore, Marina raves on about ecircles which closed down in 1997 and was a little too early for it’s time, but for the real deal on sharing conversation, pictures, mp3’s as well as changing status, quasi tweets and building community with likeminded people it was/is and always will be IRC for Internet Relay Chat or mIRC as it’s better known. Cheap as chips and basic ‘code-monkey’ software mIRC is very usable and easy on the processing power resources.

Want to leap into a conversation with Baghdad and/or Boston? It’s IRC that has the full spectrum of seasoned veterans from the 80’s as well as newbies up for a bit of digital conversation and of course there’s a twitter channel on there too for those who wander why the list of people who follow my twitter twaddle is up in the 90’s.

I do concede that the original BBS people are the Daddy when it comes to practically all shades of early internet life but why would you want to know something about a format that is still only huge in China? OK, I’ll do a post on that another time, what with China having the largest internet and mobile phone market in the world right now and they aren’t even in second gear.

So what’s my point? Well I’d be the first to advocate for social(ist) media, as indeed Fightclub did that there are no rules. Main stream media (MSM) is so obsessed with imposing old revenue models on new media that its in danger of getting out the invoices for the telegraph-wire which kicked off this whole media-at-the-speed-of-light-gig.

Or maybe its just sheer fear that makes MSM want to impose the old rules of interruption in the new environment, which in a way is fine (and part of the ‘no rules’ dictum), because after all it is in precisely this manner that we rather patronisingly conditioned the post war (ahem) ‘consumer’. Rather disconcertingly, there’s a sizable segment that actually like it that way and which Faris did a post on cheekily calling them the passive massive? But anyway it’s looking like not for much longer. We’re on the edge of something new and to bring an old mindset to a new media really is indicative of how uncreative, stuffy (or scared) we have become. After all, if the discovery of the Americas has resulted in a new Europe being built, I doubt if the internet would even exist. Its time to take the gloves off and get stuck into socialist media your own way; make friends, be authentic, honest and useful but ‘monetizing’ socialist media is precisely why nobody has really done it yet. Groundwork needs to be laid, and fortune favours the brave.