It’s been 20 whole years since my hero, Sir Tim Berners-Lee wrote a paper that would change the world.
Now here we are, in the midst of an information, communication and conversation revolution. It’s so exciting that sometimes I can’t sleep. The way we do business, make friends, shop, eat and work has changed exponentially within just a few short years. The Internet is and continues to be the buzzword of the century.
Here we all are; chatting, connecting, communicating, networking, personally branding, and marketing to each other. We’re meeting and sharing and creating and celebrating with each other. And it’s great.
So why am I getting so sick of hearing about it?
Here’s a little moment of truth for you. I’m getting really, really tired of social media. I’m getting tired of the fishbowl and the echo chamber. I’m tired of Twitter, of blogs, of conferences, of gurus and experts. I’m tired of listening to the same stories over and over, and of listening to continuous chatter and seeing little evidence of any real work being done.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that there isn’t anything valuable or relevant going on in social media. There are still lots of people providing value and being extremely relevant. Mitch and Chris are still doing it. Though if you read their stuff you’ll see quickly that they are not really talking about social media, but they’re actually talking about marketing and communicating well. What they are saying is absolutely worth listening to.
At the end of the day, I think many people are missing the point of all this World Wide Web stuff. The Web isn’t about following, or leading, or fauxlebrity, or who is hanging out with who at which fancy conference. But these kinds of popularity contests are becoming more and more common, especially as services like Twitter start to hit the mainstream. The value is getting lost in the hype, and people are getting caught up in the wrong kind of attention.
I’m ready to start having a different kind of conversation now. Enough with the following, the auto-replies, the selfish expectations and the politics already! Let’s start talking about what we actually want to DO with this tool that Sir Tim gave us.
Let’s start talking about how information is going to be distributed and linked together and marketed in the future. Let’s start talking about semantics, and linked data, and how information is actually going to start to become meaningful in this space.
We’ve come a long way in a few short years. What’s most important is now, we’ve got each other. We can learn and explore and share and experience and invent together. We’re so fortunate to be in the position we are, because we’re already here. We have a voice. We can help shape the future of information.
It’s time to step out of the fishbowl and start doing some real work.