Robert Scoble has a "Social Problem"

[update – it is taking an EXTREMELY long time for comments to post – and many are being held in moderation.  I am NOT trying to censor anyone.  But it is almost 5am, and I can’t watch the Spam filter anymore right now.  I’ll unplug your comments in the morning.  But almost 9K comments on this post, almost all spam, have caused my system to clamp down in self defense]

Robert is a reporter.  But he is also "drinking his own Kool-Aid".  He loves everything new on the web and often tells us how great it is.

Then he moves on to the next shiny lure – leaving everyone else to figure out how the last lure adds value (often leaving the company behind the technology wondering the same things).

Robert is great at finding the new shiny lures, and sharing them with us.  I just wish he would make the next (logical, I think) step – offer me some analysis.  How can a banker, or a broker – a webmaster or a PR Pro benefit from the shiny lure?  What does the lure offer beyond the initial allure?

Yes, I want Robert to think deeper and analyze things more.

And I want him to do it because I know that he can – he just has no time.  He flippers from one shiny lure to the other so quickly that he never let’s the hook sink in.  Nothing lasts longer than the first, fleeting strike.  The last video was the last video.  The next lure is the next video.

With a few exceptions, like QIK.  Maybe FriendFeed (but I think that lasts another three months for Scoble, tops).

FaceBook was THE INTERNET as far as Robert was concerned – and that lasted a long time. But Robert sees a lot of shiny lures.

I would like him to spend more time telling me (based on real research) which ones I should strike at.  Where my time and money are best spent, and why.

The "RSS Aggregator of the week" just isn’t it.

Robert’s "Social Problem" is that he can’t recommend everything to us and have us still find him credible.  And like any other "Sales Pitch" – people need to know how it will help them.  Not just Robert Scoble, but his viewers.  His "Social Problem" is that he is not having the conversation with his audience that they want.  They don’t just want a cheerleader – they want guidance.  And examples.

And finally, they want something that works for "real people" – and not just Robert Scoble.

And the most cool thing about writing this is that I know it won’t piss Robert off -  He saves that for the Gillmor Gang!


  1. @Robert – thanks for clarifying – I asked you before responding to @igor because I did not think he was correct, and I wanted your input.

    @Igor – Sorry, but you called this one wrong, and you really do have a handle that says, “Ban Me Now”. Rethink that, And get your facts straight.


  2. Not true Igor. I simply blocked you. I don’t want to have interactions with someone named “Igor the Troll.”

  3. Robert Scoble just made his Friend Feed private.

    That is an Elitist and in my book FAIL.

  4. PXLated says:

    rob – There’s the legal side (TOS, EULAs) and the practical side of challenging them. Depending on the law, a TOC may not apply (legally). But, in any case, a person probably wouldn’t take the time to challenge.

  5. @PXLated – I am not sure – you raise a good point. But here on my blog my Terms of Use cover the “ownership” of comments very clearly – and it has been that way for a LONG time. Of course, the issue has never come up. But if I deleted my blog today, would anyone have recourse against me, even without my ToU? I don’t think so.

  6. PXLated says:

    Are we certain that the creator of a comment really owns it or is it just an assumption?
    Years ago I was at a conference directed at designers/illustrators where they were talking about copyright law. As I recall, there were a few areas where the creator didn’t own their creation, one was when it was part of a compilation. In those cases the person/company compiling owned everything. Since it’s so long ago and at the time it didn’t apply to me, I can’t recall the examples used. Could comments be considered in that same class?
    If so, the blog owner, or FriendFeed (etc) would own all comments no matter the creator.

  7. FriendFeed has more than one flaw. Flaw #1 is that they do not respond to developer inquiries (been well over a week now). Flaw #2 is the “history” page does not allow you to retrieve data past page 11 – if you click on page 14, you get results for page 11. The API “works” in the exact same dysfunctional manner.

    And of course, they let me delete someone else’s content – with out my knowledge, or the content creator’s permission.

  8. Francine, the ‘golden retriever’ is a perfect analogy. That’s what I imagine when Robert starts going crazy over something.

    However, as Robert discovered, his analysis of FriendFeed is a little bit flawed, particularly when he suggests it as a replacement for Twitter. (Though today, a gaping black hole might just be a Twitter replacement, it’s so unstable).

    It’s unfortunate that it took a public volley of accusation and denunciation full of absolutes to arrive at the conclusion that yes, FriendFeed has a flaw and no, Rob did NOT intentionally delete Robert’s content, and finally, that there is a real issue about who controls content on some sites, with FriendFeed leading the way when it comes to elements of conversation.

  9. Why ask Robert for advice or guidance? Ask a social media consultant. That’s what Chris Brogan is. But it’s not what Robert is. Robert’s a golden retriever. He comes back to you with something he found in his mouth. Then it’s your job to check it out and find out if it’s edible.

    Truthfully, I usually try everything the way Robert does, but I can’t fit a lot of things in my life, so I leave them. If they are useful, I don’t leave them. Isn’t that the way technology should be seen? You try it. If you see the use case, you stay there. If not, you move on. Most things have a use case and weaknesses. The next company rectifies the weaknesses, so you move on. I mean, I’ve been communicating with readers since bCentral, but I sure don’t stay with it. However, I do still use YahooGroups. Why, because it does some things very well. That doesn’t mean I won’t try Twitter, Friendfeed, or whatever.

    And I’m not a geek. Just a person. And pretty soon I will be a grandma.

  10. Robert is among the earliest of early adopters. He always has been the champion of the next big thing (NBT). This guarantees him stats like Babe Ruth. He simultaneously leads the league in home runs and strikeouts.Sometimes it’s hard to tell for a while which a Scoble Pick will be. Robert is currently in lovewith FriendFeed, and a good number of technically adept people have followed him there with gratitude. Less geeky friends of mine tried FriendFeed and are confused by it. For those of you tell clients to instantly follow Scoble as he bops from one NBT to the next, I’d be careful. For those of you who like to be early to the part, so you can influence others on new cool stuff, I’d advise you to follow Scoble everywhere. That’s not who I am or how I adopt tech, so that’s why Robert & I seem to be such a balanced match.

  11. “I just wish he would make the next (logical, I think) step – offer me some analysis.”

    There is PLENTY of analysis done. You need to do a search on things like Facebook. Even if in some instances, there was not, who cares. I can sample features and services for myself. I don’t need someone to spend every hour they have breaking every technology they find interesting down.

  12. “FriendFeed is also growing FAR FASTER than Twitter ever did. I already have more than 10,000 followers. It took me many more months on Twitter to reach that level than it did on FriendFeed.”

    Robert do you think that the quick growth of your followers on FF might be influenced by the fact that you already have 20K+ followers on Twitter? You have a larger base on Twitter to promote FF on, so I could easily see how you could quickly get Twitter followers to subscribe to you on FF.

  13. PXLated says:

    Hmmm…Interesting thread.
    On the topic of commenting…My rule (personal) is if I want to have a conversation “WITH” someone, I comment wherever they are (their blog or whatever) and they then own/control it. If I just want to comment “ABOUT” someone/something, it can be wherever I choose and I own it. I always try to give the creator/originator the traffic where they chose to post. To me it’s just respectful.

  14. Sally Church says:

    Going back to Rob’s original question about in depth analysis versus following new trends, I am astonished that people need to be spoonfed and told what to do or what’s what. What happened to innate curiousity and finding/trying things out for themselves?

    For the record, I’m not a tech geek or even an early adopter – I’m a scientist interested in new things and figuring out for myself what works for me and what doesn’t. I like what Robert does, pointing out new tools and technologies; I can go play with them myself. We shouldn’t suppose that what works for one person works for another, and nor do I like being told what to do by someone else. I do like hearing about things and figuring them out for myself.

    Everybody’s busy, whether it be Rob, Robert, the bankers, the readership here or me. Surely we all owe it to ourselves to test things out and see what’s useful in the context of our own situation and environment? Facebook, for example, works for some and not for others. Same with Twitter and Friendfeed.

    Each to themselves and their own lives. Take ownership of your own experiences, try new things and experiment but don’t expect others to tell you what’s best for you.

  15. “rob, the first half dozen posts I made here were without any trouble and then all of a sudden they started getting moderated. It made me feel like you decided to delete my posts. I’m sorry for making that assumption, but you can certainly see how I’d get to that assumption, especially after you deleted all your stuff from FriendFeed. It made me think you didn’t want to have a conversation with me anymore because you could see I was talking about you all over the place.”

    BTW I had several of my comments moderated. Rob and I were actually discussing this on Twitter, and he explained that he was getting so many comments so quickly, that they were being flagged as potential spam.

    I can see how you could have jumped to the wrong conclusion, but then again the situation was clearly explained by Rob on Twitter.

  16. “Chris Brogan? He’s a great guy. But does he hit any of the early adopter walls I hit with Facebook or Twitter or FriendFeed? No. He can’t tell you the rules of using Twitter if you’re following 10s of thousands of people. I can.”

    I wasn’t saying that Chris was a better guy that you Robert, I said that for ME, I get more value from what Chris is doing, than from you telling me how to effectively manage following 20,000 people. You are offering advice that isn’t valuable to me, while Chris is.

    Early adopters no doubt love ‘the thrill of the hunt’, and want to hear about the new toys ASAP. I think most of us just want advice from power users on how to better use these tools.

  17. *record screeching noise*

    Brogan is no Scoble, Scoble is no Brogan. They offer different perspectives, they have very different backgrounds and they communicate with their readers in much different ways. Correct me if I am wrong but Brogan doesn’t try to be the a shiny toy finder. And when he *does* find something new he is very analytical, very purposeful, and seemingly cautious. I’ve never seen Brogan turn fanboy over something, at least not without some serious justification.

    *turns record back on*

  18. And Robert – I don NOT want you to change your videos! I love your videos – even some of the QIK ones (If I am in them). I just want what I stated about 8 non-stop hours ago – depth. I know you can provide more than time allows you to. And I know you would be good at presenting some more depth on companies.

    And that wasn’t a negative 68 comments ago, and it is not now.

  19. I think, that is exactly what I like of Robert Scoble’s postings. Just to get informed a new great thing is up on the horizon.
    I don’t need no advices or major critics. I want to know about the existence of new stuff… I go and check myself, and might even blog on that 🙂

  20. OK, it is past 4am here – and I did find that comments coming in through FriendFeed are taking a LONG time to get through my Spam filters – but I am not blocking anything.

    I need to sleep. I’ll check in the morning and make sure anything in the moderation queue is cleared, and will comment on anything new.

    But honestly folks – I just wanted Robert to build a “business end” to his “video business”. Nothing more. And I still think it makes sense for him to do that.

  21. >why do “bankers, brokers and PR Pros” need to be shown benefit from a tool for it to be either useful or newsworthy?

    On our new show, starting in June, that’s exactly what we’ll do.

    But this whole thing shows why my opinion of tools changes over time. I get excited by things. Like I’m excited by FriendFeed right now. Then I hit the edges. People point out problems with the toolset, or I hit problems that I never would have hit if I didn’t use the tool and really become expert in it.

    No one else has hit the issue that Rob caused tonight (one of deleting top-level posts also deleting all the conversation underneath that post).

    So, tonight my opinion of FriendFeed changed. I’m now a little more careful about where I get involved in a conversation. If I do that on my own comment cluster in FriendFeed no one else can delete my words.

    Now, it might be that if I keep hitting different problems, and if something better comes along, that I’ll start hating FriendFeed and moving toward something else.

    That’s how this process works. An intern is NOT going to help there.

    By the way, I have some help on the new show to do more research and get better guests and be more prepared because we’re going to be very buttoned up on this new show, not loose like I am with my cell phone.

  22. @Scoble, comment #38. Read my ToU. You leave a comment and I own it. And I didn’t have to go anywhere to get it. You left it here.

  23. @rob so i’m going to kind of repeat myself here, attempting to rephrase in the interest of clarity. let’s say that you had a … blog, for instance, and decided to take it offline. the comments would go with it, yes? so if you have a profile on a social site, you take it down, the comments go with it yes? and in both cases you have placed content on the interwebs, and decided to withdraw from (whatever it is).

    so let’s hypothesize that you deleted your account, but it did not affect the comments left on your posts. however, having been deleted, there are no posts, and there is no user. how, exactly, would we expect FF to archive these comments, in absence of any context? are we expecting them to leave up just the comments, without there being a central place the whole discussion would be displayed?

    how exactly would the comments have any relevance outside of the original thread, which was part of your profile and your decision to delete? just wondering, please let me know if i’m missing something obvious.

  24. @r8lobster – that is the question I wish would have been asked first. Robert is in a unique situation that I think could be used to educate as well as entertain. And some of that education includes background info on the companies he reports on.

    People can disagree with me on that – and that is fine. But that has nothing to do with how FF uses my data (something I didn’t really realize until this post and comment thread).

    So I removed my feeds from FriendFeed. And THEY in turn removed the associated comments – without warning me that would happen. That is THERE bad, not mine.

    All I wanted was for Robert to hire an intern. Someone to do more background, provide quality links, etc.

  25. rob, the first half dozen posts I made here were without any trouble and then all of a sudden they started getting moderated. It made me feel like you decided to delete my posts. I’m sorry for making that assumption, but you can certainly see how I’d get to that assumption, especially after you deleted all your stuff from FriendFeed. It made me think you didn’t want to have a conversation with me anymore because you could see I was talking about you all over the place.

  26. That social problem (which really is a problem for him) is the reason why TechCrunch is in the top 100 Time list and Scobleizer is not.

  27. r8lobster says:

    leaving the kerfuffle behind and getting back to the point, here’s one i don’t understand: why do “bankers, brokers and PR Pros” need to be shown benefit from a tool for it to be either useful or newsworthy?

  28. @Karoli good point. also, i can see the logic in deleting comments made directly on posts, when deleting someone’s account. and deleting an account after one has decided, for their own reasons, that they no longer wish to use the service, is their right.

    i don’t get the logic of expecting FF to archive comments made to items in deleted accounts. where, exactly, would you go to read these comments? with no context? just curious, please inform me if i’m missing something.

  29. @rob Perhaps they need to do what is doing with their CPP program:

  30. @rob Perhaps they need to do what is doing with their CPP program:

  31. NOT a single comment posted here has been blocked in any way whatsoever. Don’t believe what your read on FF – I am *NOT* blocking comments to this post. There is a delay in processing – and Robert Scoble owes me an apology.

  32. @Thinking Serious. We’ll see. If they actually replicate the conversations they are hijacking BACK to the initiating blog, they might survive. Odds are not in any startups favor. Even the ones Robert favors.

  33. I answer this post further in a place that I control:

  34. @Karoli Yet Robert’s last-standing Twitter post makes me out to be a “deleter” 🙂

    Who do *I* trust with my conversations? Me, or FriendFeed?

  35. …and in looking at this more carefully, I see that the messages Robert posted to you on FF and cross-posted to Twitter are still on his feed.

    It’s worth noting that if a twitter convo had taken place via @replies and you deleted your twitter account, those replies would still be available because they each stand alone without any interdependency.

  36. @Karoli – blocking Robert? No way. Maryam would kill me!

    Who owns your comment here? Read my Terms of Use – I specifically make that clear.

    And yes, FriendFeed is totally fubar’ed because they don’t just let me delete MY data – they let me delete YOUR associated data. But that wasn’t my bad – FF didn’t tell me they were doing that. They just deleted part of Internet History.

    And that is THEIR bad, not mine.

  37. The combination of powerful “sneezers” migrating to FriendFeed and the need for better aggregation of our Social Media feeds (which I think they will improve on due to the large amount of feedback they are now receiving) will help make sure FriendFeed does not go to the DeadPool. That, and because Scoble said so…


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