The Internet is about fads. Whether it be MySpace, Turntable.fm or Vine, they’re hot for a while and then people move on, they’re the movies of the twenty first century.
Remember when we went to the flicks to be part of the culture? So when we went to parties we’d have something to talk about? And then everyone agreed the movies sucked and stopped going and we started spending our time on Facebook. And if you still go to see the comic book flicks or the foreign cinema…kudos to you, you’re keeping a dying industry on life support while the rest of us are cherry-picking streaming TV and spending time on the web.
Everything runs its course.
It’s just that it’s must faster online. We can all get the word, utilize it and then be done with it. The game is to sustain, which is nearly impossible. Which is why Facebook bought Instagram and WhatsApp. Because after you’ve reconnected with all your old school buddies and built a monument to yourself, why go back to the social network? As a matter of fact, youngsters never do, they populate chat apps. Which is why Apple beefed up iMessage, opened it up to apps itself. Because there’s a coming war, and they want to win. And the way you win today is to build up enough capital and mindshare that you can purchase the latest and the greatest, can you say Oculus Rift? Facebook bought that too. As for Snap, er, chat… An overvalued turkey that does not have the cojones and mindshare to justify its valuation. It’s GoPro without the hardware.
That’s right, after all the active athletes buy a GoPro who’s left? The company is trying to pivot but will probably fail. It’s just not a mainstream product.
Nor is Snapchat. Evanescent messaging…that’s a feature, not a standalone item. Just ask Twitter… Real time news is a feature, not a standalone item, which is why they’re trying to sell the enterprise. As for Snapchat’s vaunted entertainment options…you can view content on any platform, it doesn’t have to be on Snapchat. But the media loves the story and the investors have to cash out and it keeps the dough rolling in Silicon Valley but do we really have room for one more horseman? After all, there were only four at the apocalypse.
Apps, which kids rarely download today, are the one hit wonders of now. You use ’em and discard them. They’re Pokemon Go. They don’t have a run as long as the Backstreet Boys. Why do we think virtual is forever when it can so easily be eclipsed? Want to last? Build hardware, but that takes forever, with a huge investment. Which is why we revere Elon Musk, who added the Mars dream on top of that…but can he beat the usual suspects with deep pockets? Can anybody beat the usual suspects with deep pockets?
That’s the story of today. The consolidation of power in so very few. Not only in the public, but in our corporations. The rich get richer and don’t want the poor to rise up. If you’ve got something worth buying the empowered will purchase it, otherwise it’s just a matter of when it dies on the vine…
Short media clips. A brief mania. Kinda like the Flip mini camcorder. A huge breakthrough from the bulky video cameras of the past, but just a feature once the smartphone appeared.
The game is to last.
But it’s harder than ever today. Hell, it’s hard to even get noticed. Remember when there used to be a viral sensation every couple of months? Remember “Gangnam Style”? Now we don’t even have that, because people have seen the trick and the pros got in with their marketing and the whole thing became phony and what sells, what delivers mania, what shoots up like a unicorn, is inventive authenticity. You’ve got to be different, and you’ve got to be honest. And we’ve got a duplicitous me-too culture. Everybody with a brain is playing it safe. The proletariat wants to buy, but enterprises are risk averse. Imagine if Facebook came up with evanescent messaging. Imagine if Universal signed an act with no radio potential that blew minds. But bean counters won’t allow it. Which is why disruption comes from outside. But now the powers-that-be are so powerful it’s hard to get traction, which leads to public frustration.
We’re just on an accelerated path. We’re chewing up and spitting out ever faster. That’s what digitization has allowed. The newspapers are on life support, they still need a rethink. And if you believe you’re gonna own a car in the future, you’re still watching television in real time, you’re unaware of the on demand culture.
Meanwhile, the public is on overload. Which is why experiences have become so big. They’re one of a kind and they’re flesh and blood. They make you feel alive. Whereas sites like Vine are bits and bytes, cold assemblages we can easily discard. It’s the people who remain, not their tools.
But we like the tools to make our lives better.
That’s what Steve Jobs had right, he was building tools. Now those developing online take their cues from the entertainment industry, where it’s all about flash and personal glory, whereas online it’s the public that’s the star.
Expect fewer unicorns. I’m not sure whether Silicon Valley has run out of ideas or we’re just burned out on the trick but the era of internet excitement has run its course. The internet is a distribution platform, a place to host endeavors. Your goal is to put your imprimatur upon it. To create something that people want to interact with. We’re living in the era of the content creator. The stars are those who touch souls. But too many are bunting. Utilize the tools to deliver something that blows minds. There will will always be a platform to exhibit it.