Over the last several days I have been thinking a lot about the disconnect between thinkers in
I personally don’t have an opinion on whether A-list bloggers matter or not but one comment to the Digg post on this page struck a chord with me. The response to the question about why there has been no mention of RSS support by Mysapce was that the reason nobody covered it or that nobody frankly cared was that MySpace was full of the “omglolkewl” crowd. I loved the comment but it also started my mind thinking about how transformative wireless will be/is and how the general ignoring of the youth market as trivial will be the Achilles heel of a lot of the companies that are focused on mobile.
Kids live on their phone. The Myspace kids and the Xanga kids and the Live Journal kids. They have grown the ringtone market place to the point that it is saving the record companies from years of declining CD sales and P2P networks. These kids use SMS messaging all the time. These kids don’t own smart phones. They don’t own Symbian series 60 phones. These kids don’t want the web on their phone. They have the web on their computer. They do other stuff on the phone. Kewl stuff. ROFLMAO stuff.
These kids have taken a geeky technology called IRC and turned it into something cool ala AIM, Y! Messenger, etc. Not that they invented it mind you, but they helped to drive adoption. They helped to drive the user base of sites like those mentioned above into the 10s of millions, not millions. There is a whole generation that is alive today that knows that their phone isn’t just for making calls. It is an advanced communication device that does a bunch of things, even if it is just a cheap phone.
When I think about all the web 2.0 companies and all the brilliant people who have created all the amazing things that I have been using in the last couple of years like RSS, Blogger, Podcasting, etc. I know that these people, like me are in their 30s and 40s for the most part. We grew up with the first PCs or had access to mainframes and really wanted to push the envelope at the time where the envelope was small. I recall fondly how I screwed with a guy in my Fortran class who was an ass by sending him messages over the PDP1145 without him knowing what was going on. I loved that shit. It made sense to me.
Most people my age don’t use their phones they way kids do today. They don’t really feel comfortable typing messages on their phones. They don’t really understand why people would buy ringtones (personalization, which by the way is a big part of the success of Myspace). They want to put their Yahoo on their phone. The problem is that my phone isn’t a Series 60 phone. Or frankly, I don’t want to do CERTAIN things on my phone when I have a much better tool called a laptop. The problem with my laptop though is that I can’t take it to The Mars Volta concert. I can’t send a picture of it to my friends RIGHT now while it is happening.
My general point though, getting back to what struck me, is that I don’t see much discussion on the fact that the first generation of people who are walking around with mobile connected camcorders are in our midst. They are using a technology that many of us assume to be mere pre-cursors to a wireless handheld computer when in fact it is something else different. The use cases are being created today by people who live in that medium much the same way many of us were tinkering around with assembly language programming of the Z80 and the 6502.
Which leads me to the conclusion that somewhere in the back of a classroom somewhere some kids are hacking their BREW or J2ME phones and trying to figure out what is really cool and what really matters to impress and share with their friends. With all due respect to Gil Scot-Heron I would offer that the Mobile 2.0 Revolution will not be televised. Or rather…
The Mobile 2.0 Revolution will not be syndicated via RSS. You won’t be able to download an OPML file of all the things you read or listen to as a podcast. You won’t be able to download all your settings and stuff. Because the revolution will not be syndicated.
The Mobile 2.0 Revolution will not be syndicated. It will not be brought to you by AdWords from Google, or Ad sense. It will not be presented in a dazzling array of Flickr photo streams. It will not be reported on by the Daily Source Code or The Gilmor gang or any other podcast on iTunes. The revolution will not be syndicated.
There will be no discussion of text messages of ASL? KEWL, LMAO, LOL, LMAO or ROFLMAO. There will be no commentary on Emo trends in music or the rise of Neo-Progressive rock bands and the return of Led Zeppelin. There will be no discussions of pre-paid phones, or Ying Yang twins ringtones. The revolution will not be syndicated.
There will be no highlights of Myspace Widgets, of goofy emoticons, of kids texting on their phones, day after day after day. Long after the discussions of
Ok. So I may not be a poet. I think that the point of all of this is truly that there is something really big going on with kids and with phones and with communications and the creation of content and podcasting and videoblogging etc. But where it takes off, is with this generation that is more a content creator than a consumer. A generation that is more interested in seeing a funny flash show on ebaums world than on MTV. Ignoring that those who will decide which technologies are truly useful are large in number, long on time and short on attention will be a mistake. They are right in front if us but not many of us are watching.