I was intrigued by the latest tirade from Leo Laporte, hoist of “This Week in Technology” (TWiT), a podcast I listen to every week. After discovering that Google Buzz had not been updating for a couple of weeks, he was more miffed by the fact that noone seemed to notice than the fact that Buzz wasn’t working. So, in his post, “Buzz Kill,” Leo essentially concluded that social media was useless and was quitting, much as he had earlier quit Facebook, and had much earlier left Twitter (and came back, though the reasons there had more to do with the “TWiT” trademark, I think).
By the time the weekly TWiT podcast had been recorded., it seemed that Leo had backed off his position a bit, which underscores my reaction: isn’t declaring social media useless due to the failure of Buzz something like declaring electricity useless because I am having problems with the charger port on my Motorola Droid? (Verizon is kindly sending me a new unit, by the way. Very nice of them).
So, here are my thoughts:
- Don’t blame an entire idea if one component fails. Even if the symptom- that noone noticed your missing points when Buzz went down- are telling, one incident does not indict an entire industry. Be scientific before you condemn something
- If something is not working for you, move on
- If something is not working for you, determine what is. People were apparently wither getting Leo’s show notes and notifications elsewhere- perhaps on the site or their podcast downloader- or, like me, rarely bother looking up the show notes at all. My podcatcher works fine, and actually display show notes should I want them. Maybe the effort putting them on Buzz isn’t worth it.
- Be wary of posting- and reading- kneejerk reactions. Leo, by his own admission, posted at 1:00 AM, and probably not long after he discovered the problem. It was a rant, and as I mentioned, he pulled back on his contention that social media was useless.
When I posted a reaction to this whole thing on Facebook, a nice discussion sprang up among myself, Antje Wilsch and Aaron Strout. I know Aaron pretty well, and don;t take lightly his dismissal of Google Buzz– but I use Buzz effectively, if not as the “social network” that Google may have hoped for: