Web 2.0 and Short Attention Spans

I wrote a post earlier this week about being tired of Facebook.

An interesting comment was how my view on Facebook reflects the fact that as someone really involved with the Web (aka online way too much!), I was hungry to try out new services/applications, and at the same time, impatient to move on to the next cool thing. This approach contrasts with probably 99% of online users who move slower and take more time to embrace a new service such as Facebook.

So as the “cool kids” such as Jason Calacanis ditch the “old” to move on to the “new”, most everything else is just starting to get used to the new or hasn’t even tried the new out yet.

Realizing the chasm between the leading/bleeding edge and the mainstream is important because they are two distinct groups with different needs, behaviours and roles.

While the in crowd may set the tone and determine whether a service is valuable/useful/needs improvement, the mainstream will eventually determine whether the service is going to be commercially viable.

More: In keeping with the theme of this post, it’s interesting to read about Pownce in today’s New York Times, and how it’s got “street cred” by opening itself up on an invite-only basis.

It’s interesting to see Pownce get this kind of coverage given it’s really just another social networking/P2P service – albeit started by an entrepreneur – Digg’s Kevin Rose – with a relatively high profile.

Having used Pownce, it’s an interesting service but I don’t share the enthusiasm that Om Malik (an insider’s insider within the Web 2.0 landscape) exudes in the NYT story.

To me, the most interesting part of Pownce is how you can share files (music, video, etc.) with friends using P2P technology. For content producers worried about the economic threats of P2P, Pownce could be a huge nightmare if it gets any kind of traction.

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    Hey, Mark. Glad to see that my comment the other day helped in the creation of a brand new post on the subject. You will recall that we had a similar exchange back when you and Mathew declared that Web 2.0 had “jumped the shark”. In my opinion, as things stand today, the masses haven’t even seen the shark. They know it’s out there – but haven’t seen it yet.

    Case in point. I’ve given speeches and sponsored a couple of investor conferences lately. One of them was a Reverse Merger conference right in San Francisco. My Web 2.0 approach to online investor relations caused such a stir of enthusiasm that one delegate declared me/my company “the rockstar of the event”.

    At another conference in Vancouver, a demonstration of my iGoogle page full of RSS feeds simply blew away everybody who saw it.

    Finally, I walked into a junior stock exchange this week to meet with members of the exec and biz dev teams, all of whom were aware of W20 tools but unable to understand how to deploy them for their benefit.

    The important thing to understand here is that a cross-section of these audiences included attorneys, fund managers, small-cap executives and regulators. By and large a very intelligent audience. Yet, I only met two people that were actually deploying W20 tools for their organizations.

    Why? I continue to contend that W20 “geeks” have done an incredible job (A +) of deploying great tools and applications. However, they have done an outright terrible job (D -) with respect to the following:

    - Providing layman demonstrations on how Web 2.0 tools work (W20 For Dummies);
    - Providing layman demonstrations on how those same tools can be applied to the benefit of business and individuals.

    Om Malik, at the very first Mesh Conference in Toronto in 2006, warned everybody about this in his morning interview.

    As such, I continue to say that mass use of web 2.0 tools such as RSS Feeds, Blogging and Podcasting is still 12 – 18 months away.

    To this end, if I wasn’t busy growing AGORACOM, I’d capitalize on the opportunity and become the evangelist between W20 and the people…I see a huge opportunity.


  • Aswath

    I don’t think Pownce uses P2P technology for file upload/download. In my experiment, it seemed to me that the file is uploaded to one of Pownce’s server and a notification i sent to the recipients. Subsequently, they download from the server. As such Pownce is facilitating file sharing. I m not sure they are exempt from copyright related issues because sharing is done to a limited group of friends is beyond me. But it doesn’t seem to use P2P technology.

  • Mark Evans

    Aswath: Thanks for the info. I guess that gives Pownce the ability to comply with copyright demands if and when they come.

  • Aditya

    Aswath and Mark : Pownce uses Amazon S3 service to store all the files and I personally feel that Pownce will be inundated with DMCA notices once it goes public.

    Currently, pownce members are web-aware and hence arent uploading any copyrighted stuff but that’ll change as soon as service goes public.

    Aditya Mhatre