Scoble has a productivity problem

They died for us

I received this letter the other day and have been thinking about it a lot.

From: Bob Bly
Sent: Mon 5/19/2008 4:41 PM
To: rscoble@fastcompany.com
Subject: Question from a reader

As a Fast Company subscriber, I occasionally read, with much bewilderment, your column.

What bewilders me is why you are excited about the things you write about.

I am not being facetious but ask the question respectfully — and I hope you might write a column to answer it.

I can’t understand why anyone would bother with or get excited about all the Internet and electronic stuff you talk about.

It seems to me that all these things — Twitter, Facebook, iPhone, Flickr — are a thundering bore and an utter waste of time.

I don’t have any of it — for that matter, I don’t own a Blackberry, iPod, wireless laptop, or even a cell phone — and I get along fine without them.

In fact, I’d say my productivity is greatly enhanced by not fooling with all these useless gadgets or reading the endless blather on social networking sites.

Can you help an old guy from the old school understand what he’s missing?

P.S. Your column is well written and there are obviously a legion of people who get all this stuff. I’d like to see if I could become one of them or at least understand what all the fuss is about.

Bob Bly
Copywriter / Consultant
www.bly.com

Ahh, we have a productivity problem!

Whenever I am faced with a productivity problem I ask myself “what do I want to get out of life?”

The answer to that question usually guides whether or not I’m doing the right thing. Er, the most productive thing.

Lately I’ve been asking myself a lot of similar questions that Bob has been asking me.

“Is it better to just take the night off and watch some TV instead of trying out that new Windows Mobile Smart Phone that arrived?”

“Is it better to change Milan’s diapers or answer another email?”

“Is it better to go have a nice glass of wine down at the Ritz or open up Twitter to see if it’s up again?”

“Should I start reviewing some Facebook applications or should I go for a walk?”

But I’m just being silly. The real thing I’ve been doing for more than eight years now is to try to arrange my life so that I have an interesting conversation every day with someone interesting.

A great many of those conversations have happened because of something I wrote here, or a community I participated in.

But why use all these things? Well, they help me start conversations with other people. Look at the photo above. I shot that on a little walk I did yesterday afternoon with my newfangled cell phone that lets me post that photo automatically from my cell phone to Flickr so you all can see it within seconds of me shooting that. I was thinking about my place in life and community. The Golden Gate National Cemetery is a powerful place to visit to do just that and to think about questions like the one that Bob poses here.

Why do I want to keep up with Flickr? Well, Flickr is how I share that photo with all of you, which, by the way was shot with a new cell phone that I’m testing from Nokia (the N82). Why do I want to use Twitter? Well, that’s how I keep up with the Mars Lander that’s sending back some interesting data that have scientists very excited this week. Why do I want to use FriendFeed? That’s how I study how early adopters are reacting to a number of interesting tools and services, not to mention the news of the day. Here’s a comment cluster there talking about Freshbooks and whether or not that’s any good.

Why do I like Qik? Because that’s where I can watch a Congressman, John Culberson, who put live video of what he was experiencing as the Mars Lander started sending photos on Sunday afternoon. Magical.

Yes, I do have a productivity problem. There’s too much interesting stuff to participate in on FriendFeed. Here’s a page that shows every single FriendFeed item that I’ve either “liked” or “commented” on. Warning, that’s thousands of things. You have been warned, a lot of my productivity has been spent doing that for you.

Facebook? Where else can I learn that Jim Long, NBC Cameraman who covers the President at the White House was born 18 days before me? (Seriously, I just learned that by looking him up on Facebook). Seriously, though, I have 8,000 business cards from all sorts of people like Jim, but I go to Facebook to see if I can find their email address or phone number before going through my large rolodex. Jim Long is on Twitter and one of its most active members, by the way.

DAMN IT SCOBLE ANSWER BOB’S QUESTION

OK, OK, I see that a few of you are interested in how I’d answer Rob’s question straight up. My answer:

“There is value in staying ignorant.”

Seriously. Think of the tradeoff to staying ignorant. You might have to go to school to learn something new instead of grabbing another beer out of the fridge and sitting on the couch and watching another CSI, like I did last night. Hey, sitting on the couch with your baby and your wife and drinking a beer while watching TV is a lot of fun, but it gets back to the question I ask myself often: “what do I want to get out of life?”

Hint: sitting on a couch and drinking beer isn’t going to help me get to my goal.

For ME playing with the latest social network, the latest cell phone, the latest laptop, etc will help me get to my goal.

Now, if your goal is different than mine, you’ll want to use your own tactics.

But let’s say you aren’t into the latest technology, but, rather, are a dress maker. Well, then you probably won’t care one bit about the latest cell phones, or whether you’ve gotten poked on Facebook today or not, but you probably will want to check out BurdaStyle, where they practice open source sewing.

If you want to be productive, focus your efforts on getting to where you want to go.

Bob, you say you are a copywriter. Now, I used to be one of those too. Worked at a magazine back in the 1990s and edited and wrote and all that — even did advertising copy for our advertisers. I used to use Microsoft Word. Are you still using a typewriter? Back in the 1970s, that was the tool of the trade. Then it switched to PCs and Word. Why? Because new kids like me came along and were able to do more with less. Why? I could write and edit far faster than anyone with a typewriter could (despite their protestations — I had proof on my side and, anyway, the new employers who were hiring wanted copy sent in digitally to lay out with Aldus’ Pagemaker, which I also learned how to use, and anyone who was sticking with typewriters caused another step to be inserted where errors could creep into copy).

Today I’d say the skill set is shifting once again. This time to something like Zoho Writer or Google’s Docs. Because if you visit Fast Company’s offices in New York, for instance, they want to work with you on your copy in live time. Fast Fast Fast is the word of the day. It’s in our title, after all. Now some people still use Word, but last time I was there one of the editors told me he was moving everything over to Google’s Docs because it let him work with his authors much more effectively.

And learning something new does seem to get you kudos, promotions, and all that. When I visited the New York Times last week I noticed that the executives there weren’t proud of people who did things the same old way, but rather were proudest of the people who were trying to do things a new way. Hey, how about putting the New York Times news on top of Google Earth? I bet that team gets considered first when raises come around.

But, like I said, I have a productivity problem. I spend too much time playing with all this stuff. So, later today, I’m going to interview the CEO of Dogster. What’s that? Oh, yeah, a social network for dog owners. My productivity is going to the dogs this afternoon. I think I’ll bring my newfangled cell phone and show you some video of the offices at about 1 p.m.

I have Bob Bly to blame for finally realizing that I’ve been so unproductive lately. He taught me that I could get ahead in life by staying ignorant of it all. Maryam, can you bring me another beer please?

Another way to close this post? Sorry to impede on your productivity, but how would you answer Bob’s letter?

UPDATE: We’re discussing this post over on FriendFeed.

UPDATE2: Is Bob Bly pulling our leg? Read this comment by BlogHer founder Elisa: “A little historical context here: In late 2004 Bob Bly famously wrote a newsletter dissing the potential of blogging as a marketing & communications tool, mocking it, some would say. Great link bait and blog fodder. He then, surprise surprise, started a blog himself. Talk about built-in attention & controversy. Funny thing, he maintains that blog pretty actively to this day. I’d say he’s planning to get on Facebook, Twitter etc. in about 2 weeks & just wants to make sure people are paying attention ;)”Elisa Camahort Page

Comments

  1. Robert –

    Great article that touches on some interesting and helpful productivity tips.
    The letter from your reader sounds like he is truly bewildered by all of the excited talk about gadgets, Internet, and the hot web talk of the day. It is also good to remember that there are many more like him around every corner. I appreciated you spending the time with him and his thoughts in your article. I really did love this quote of yours – please allow me –

    “The real thing I’ve been doing for more than eight years now is to try to arrange my life so that I have an interesting conversation every day with someone interesting.”

    Go Robert Go!

  2. Robert –

    Great article that touches on some interesting and helpful productivity tips.
    The letter from your reader sounds like he is truly bewildered by all of the excited talk about gadgets, Internet, and the hot web talk of the day. It is also good to remember that there are many more like him around every corner. I appreciated you spending the time with him and his thoughts in your article. I really did love this quote of yours – please allow me –

    “The real thing I’ve been doing for more than eight years now is to try to arrange my life so that I have an interesting conversation every day with someone interesting.”

    Go Robert Go!

  3. Hey Robert,

    For me, it’s all about choices. Each day we wake up and we are faced with choices. The decisions we make regarding these choices either leads to a fulfilled life or an average one. One day at a time time, we either develop a life of excitement and anticipation or we build a life of apprehension and worry.

    Spending every evening in front of a TV screen passively being told what to think / buy typically leads to the latter!

    You choose to focus 100% of what you are best at Robert – and that’s being ‘The Scobleizer.’ As Dvorak mentioned to me a few days ago; “Scoble’s a natural Jim, of course people will follow him.”

    Every new online service or product you explore and comment on is helping you deliver the kind of content that people like me need. I am a tech user and a tech blogger – BUT I also own and run a very successful marketing compan. No matter which ‘hat’ I am wearing, I need to know what’s working ‘out there’ and what’s dross!

    You help me filter the overwhelming ‘noise’ of the internet and allow me to refine my focus. Ironically, many see you as the cause of the noise, rather than someone trying to tune into it and read it, so you can blog it and save people like me the time and headache!

    I actually wrote a blog post called ‘The Scoble Effect’ and it’s the most read post on my blog my far. You can read it at the link below:
    http://thetechnewsblog.com/2008/05/19/the-scoble-effect

    Thanks for translating all that noise Robert – It REALLY helps a lot of people!

    Jim Connolly
    The Tech News Blog

  4. You really are brilliant and amazing, etc., etc., and I follow you just to inhale (twit-hale?) the genius of your mind, and your viral energy. I look forward to seeing responses to your ‘how would you…’ from those who think they can improve upon your response. I’m not one of those people.

  5. Hey Robert,

    For me, it’s all about choices. Each day we wake up and we are faced with choices. The decisions we make regarding these choices either leads to a fulfilled life or an average one. One day at a time time, we either develop a life of excitement and anticipation or we build a life of apprehension and worry.

    Spending every evening in front of a TV screen passively being told what to think / buy typically leads to the latter!

    You choose to focus 100% of what you are best at Robert – and that’s being ‘The Scobleizer.’ As Dvorak mentioned to me a few days ago; “Scoble’s a natural Jim, of course people will follow him.”

    Every new online service or product you explore and comment on is helping you deliver the kind of content that people like me need. I am a tech user and a tech blogger – BUT I also own and run a very successful marketing compan. No matter which ‘hat’ I am wearing, I need to know what’s working ‘out there’ and what’s dross!

    You help me filter the overwhelming ‘noise’ of the internet and allow me to refine my focus. Ironically, many see you as the cause of the noise, rather than someone trying to tune into it and read it, so you can blog it and save people like me the time and headache!

    I actually wrote a blog post called ‘The Scoble Effect’ and it’s the most read post on my blog my far. You can read it at the link below:
    http://thetechnewsblog.com/2008/05/19/the-scoble-effect

    Thanks for translating all that noise Robert – It REALLY helps a lot of people!

    Jim Connolly
    The Tech News Blog

  6. You really are brilliant and amazing, etc., etc., and I follow you just to inhale (twit-hale?) the genius of your mind, and your viral energy. I look forward to seeing responses to your ‘how would you…’ from those who think they can improve upon your response. I’m not one of those people.

  7. Hi Robert,

    I guess the question is what do we want to accomplish?

    for you, it is to network, and know the latest developments and gadgets in town. All these are your tools of the trade.

    The question is are we being productive ( or just amused) by following all these that you are doing — if what we want to accomplish is different than yours?

  8. Hi Robert,

    I guess the question is what do we want to accomplish?

    for you, it is to network, and know the latest developments and gadgets in town. All these are your tools of the trade.

    The question is are we being productive ( or just amused) by following all these that you are doing — if what we want to accomplish is different than yours?

  9. Great reply Robert! I also get tangled up in similar kind of conversations.
    Honestly, I have no idea why I get so excited about all the ‘new new’ things. I can’t help it. Sometimes I get frustrated when I hear all the pragmatists.

    But things change – laggards slowly ‘gets it’. For example, couple of year’s back I was desperately trying to convince folks around me (clients, friends etc.), about the great power of blogging. Now (almost) everyone gets the concept. Blogging is ‘mainstream’ now.

    Nowadays when I try to convince someone about Twitter or Freindfeed – I get the same reactions I used to get during the early blog-evangelism days. Here goes an real chat transcript (just happened yesterday)

    she: @tweet = chat
    me: nope
    she: yes
    me: 1st major difference is – Twitter is asynchronous – chat is a synchronous medium. Following your definition – blog comments are also a chat
    she: Comment for blog is discussing about post
    me: that’s contextual – same in microblogging – no? the difference is – the initial context is 140 char OR context is defined somewhere else
    she: don’t tell people come for just microblogging many r personal tweets
    me: isn’t that the soul of conversational web – what mainstream calls Web 2.0? Mixing all up?
    And it goes on….

    To reply your question – my answer to any technophobic, ‘I-am-happy-with-my-non-digital-life’ type person is a one liner:
    Thank goodness not all people think like you; otherwise mankind wouldn’t even invented fire – forget about Blackberry!

  10. Great reply Robert! I also get tangled up in similar kind of conversations.
    Honestly, I have no idea why I get so excited about all the ‘new new’ things. I can’t help it. Sometimes I get frustrated when I hear all the pragmatists.

    But things change – laggards slowly ‘gets it’. For example, couple of year’s back I was desperately trying to convince folks around me (clients, friends etc.), about the great power of blogging. Now (almost) everyone gets the concept. Blogging is ‘mainstream’ now.

    Nowadays when I try to convince someone about Twitter or Freindfeed – I get the same reactions I used to get during the early blog-evangelism days. Here goes an real chat transcript (just happened yesterday)

    she: @tweet = chat
    me: nope
    she: yes
    me: 1st major difference is – Twitter is asynchronous – chat is a synchronous medium. Following your definition – blog comments are also a chat
    she: Comment for blog is discussing about post
    me: that’s contextual – same in microblogging – no? the difference is – the initial context is 140 char OR context is defined somewhere else
    she: don’t tell people come for just microblogging many r personal tweets
    me: isn’t that the soul of conversational web – what mainstream calls Web 2.0? Mixing all up?
    And it goes on….

    To reply your question – my answer to any technophobic, ‘I-am-happy-with-my-non-digital-life’ type person is a one liner:
    Thank goodness not all people think like you; otherwise mankind wouldn’t even invented fire – forget about Blackberry!

  11. >The question is are we being productive ( or just amused) by following all these that you are doing — if what we want to accomplish is different than yours?

    I think I don’t bristle so much at just wanting to do something else other than trying to be up to date on everything, but rather the celebration of remaining ignorant or behind the times.

    I can understand not having a cell phone, or not understanding the benefits of the latest shiny object, but if Bob had said “I’m interested in finding out if there’s any benefit for me, here’s what I’m trying to accomplish” then maybe I’d have a better reaction.

    Instead the tone of his letter is “I’m done learning and all you guys talking about all this newfangled stuff are stupid for using these new tools when I’m plenty productive with my old-fashioned typewriter.”

  12. >The question is are we being productive ( or just amused) by following all these that you are doing — if what we want to accomplish is different than yours?

    I think I don’t bristle so much at just wanting to do something else other than trying to be up to date on everything, but rather the celebration of remaining ignorant or behind the times.

    I can understand not having a cell phone, or not understanding the benefits of the latest shiny object, but if Bob had said “I’m interested in finding out if there’s any benefit for me, here’s what I’m trying to accomplish” then maybe I’d have a better reaction.

    Instead the tone of his letter is “I’m done learning and all you guys talking about all this newfangled stuff are stupid for using these new tools when I’m plenty productive with my old-fashioned typewriter.”

  13. Dario: now I understand why I got so much done last week. Twitter was down so much! Even now it’s 2/3rds down. XMPP on Twitter isn’t working, so Google Talk doesn’t work. Heheh.

  14. Dario: now I understand why I got so much done last week. Twitter was down so much! Even now it’s 2/3rds down. XMPP on Twitter isn’t working, so Google Talk doesn’t work. Heheh.

  15. BEST line of the entire post:

    “There is value in staying ignorant.”

    May I “borrow” that? Or quote you?

    Best analogy is comparing a typewriter to a computer.

    Let’s add to this – that Bob would not have been able to ask you
    that question so easily if he was still implementing “old school” ways
    of sending mail through a mail carrier after putting a stamp on it &
    mailing it to you, hoping you’ll send him a reply back in the mail where
    ONLY he would be able to enjoy your response – as opposed to your blog
    where millions have the opportunity to not only READ your reply – but add
    their $0.02 to it as well.

    If it’s an “utter bore” to hear what your market has to say – then I say –
    HooRah for all of us who “get” new media marketing, social networks, and
    care enough to participate with their clients & prospects.

    Perhaps finding the perfect answer to this question isn’t the right strategy.
    Rather it’s finding the better question to this dilemma, such as,

    “If you’re a copy writer, who wants to write relevant sales copy,
    how can you possibly do that, if you don’t even know what’s
    relevant to your market?”

    And it’s not just teenagers and the “20-somethings” who are using this
    technology. I have more baby-boomer clients than ever, because they are
    doing their search on the internet – and find me there more than they find
    me from my published book on new media marketing.

    Perhaps I’m answering the “Motivation” question that is the underlying
    question of Bob Bly’s written question.

    Afterall, who would you rather do business with?
    Someone who wrote a book about a need you have, or someone who wrote a book AND had a blog with videos on it, and who
    you knew because you went out to dinner with him/her?

    That’s all “Twitter” really is – a place where people can socialize with
    their prospects for them to get to know them better, just like they did
    “way back when” when sales were conducted face-to-face, belly-to-belly,
    on a golf course, or at a bar, instead of “over the internet”.

    Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, are all ways to stay connected with
    what’s going on in the world, stay connected with your clients, prospects
    and the marketplace to see the trends happening.

    As for the fact that Bob says he doesn’t have a cell phone or any of these
    other social networking profiles, and “gets along fine without them” – my question would be, if you want to “get along fine” then fine – stay that way.
    But if you want to get better than fine, and attract more raving fans who do
    your marketing and sales FOR you – then you may want to have a presence
    in the new media marketplace – if you want to stay relevant.

    Well that’s my $1.40 for ya.

    NOTE:
    Those who are “in the know” about Twitter will get the humor of that last
    sentence. Again – being relevant and knowing how to speak the right
    language – an important quality for any copy writer on the net. IMHO :)

    Coach Deborah Cole Micek
    Author of Secrets to Online Persuasion
    http://RPMsuccess.com

  16. BEST line of the entire post:

    “There is value in staying ignorant.”

    May I “borrow” that? Or quote you?

    Best analogy is comparing a typewriter to a computer.

    Let’s add to this – that Bob would not have been able to ask you
    that question so easily if he was still implementing “old school” ways
    of sending mail through a mail carrier after putting a stamp on it &
    mailing it to you, hoping you’ll send him a reply back in the mail where
    ONLY he would be able to enjoy your response – as opposed to your blog
    where millions have the opportunity to not only READ your reply – but add
    their $0.02 to it as well.

    If it’s an “utter bore” to hear what your market has to say – then I say –
    HooRah for all of us who “get” new media marketing, social networks, and
    care enough to participate with their clients & prospects.

    Perhaps finding the perfect answer to this question isn’t the right strategy.
    Rather it’s finding the better question to this dilemma, such as,

    “If you’re a copy writer, who wants to write relevant sales copy,
    how can you possibly do that, if you don’t even know what’s
    relevant to your market?”

    And it’s not just teenagers and the “20-somethings” who are using this
    technology. I have more baby-boomer clients than ever, because they are
    doing their search on the internet – and find me there more than they find
    me from my published book on new media marketing.

    Perhaps I’m answering the “Motivation” question that is the underlying
    question of Bob Bly’s written question.

    Afterall, who would you rather do business with?
    Someone who wrote a book about a need you have, or someone who wrote a book AND had a blog with videos on it, and who
    you knew because you went out to dinner with him/her?

    That’s all “Twitter” really is – a place where people can socialize with
    their prospects for them to get to know them better, just like they did
    “way back when” when sales were conducted face-to-face, belly-to-belly,
    on a golf course, or at a bar, instead of “over the internet”.

    Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, are all ways to stay connected with
    what’s going on in the world, stay connected with your clients, prospects
    and the marketplace to see the trends happening.

    As for the fact that Bob says he doesn’t have a cell phone or any of these
    other social networking profiles, and “gets along fine without them” – my question would be, if you want to “get along fine” then fine – stay that way.
    But if you want to get better than fine, and attract more raving fans who do
    your marketing and sales FOR you – then you may want to have a presence
    in the new media marketplace – if you want to stay relevant.

    Well that’s my $1.40 for ya.

    NOTE:
    Those who are “in the know” about Twitter will get the humor of that last
    sentence. Again – being relevant and knowing how to speak the right
    language – an important quality for any copy writer on the net. IMHO :)

    Coach Deborah Cole Micek
    Author of Secrets to Online Persuasion
    http://RPMsuccess.com

  17. We all suffer the same decisions about what to participate in, and what not to.

    Until a year or so ago, I was very much a “creator” on the internet – I developed and supported several open source projects and websites… one of which has several thousand users. Eventually I made the decision to step back and start participating.

    It’s been fun. I’ve discovered people like yourself and Leo Laporte, and great services that make my life much easier like FriendFeed.

  18. We all suffer the same decisions about what to participate in, and what not to.

    Until a year or so ago, I was very much a “creator” on the internet – I developed and supported several open source projects and websites… one of which has several thousand users. Eventually I made the decision to step back and start participating.

    It’s been fun. I’ve discovered people like yourself and Leo Laporte, and great services that make my life much easier like FriendFeed.

  19. Productivity is a very personal subject.

    Sometimes I go completely off-the-grid with just my Moleskine notebook and a pencil to a nearby café and do my brainstorming. And yes that productive too. But when someone says – I don’t even need a mobile phone, I wonder, what’s the exact job description of the dude in this connected, conversation-driven world?

    Well, it’s OK to ask – ‘why you guys are after shiny new things always?’ I admit – I drank the kool-aid. I love trying out new things. You might get your kicks from the soccer game or soap opera, and I get mines from latest gadgets and web apps, anything wrong with that?

    But this guy’s tonality is completely different. It’s like re-incarnated Buddha’s sermon, “I figured out all of these – you silly kids”. Duh!

  20. Productivity is a very personal subject.

    Sometimes I go completely off-the-grid with just my Moleskine notebook and a pencil to a nearby café and do my brainstorming. And yes that productive too. But when someone says – I don’t even need a mobile phone, I wonder, what’s the exact job description of the dude in this connected, conversation-driven world?

    Well, it’s OK to ask – ‘why you guys are after shiny new things always?’ I admit – I drank the kool-aid. I love trying out new things. You might get your kicks from the soccer game or soap opera, and I get mines from latest gadgets and web apps, anything wrong with that?

    But this guy’s tonality is completely different. It’s like re-incarnated Buddha’s sermon, “I figured out all of these – you silly kids”. Duh!

  21. “It seems to me that all these things — Twitter, Facebook, iPhone, Flickr — are a thundering bore and an utter waste of time.”

    Here’s an example to show that they are not:

    “On a game drive one morning, the ranger stops his car in front of a herd of antelopes and whips out a camera. “I have never had a Coke’s Hartebeest on Flickr,” he says, taking a picture… Before he finishes tagging and naming his pictures one Sunday in April, there are already adoring comments from a woman in the United States about his pictures of cheetah cubs.”

    A wildlife park in Kenya, suffering a lack of funds due to the collapse in tourism, raised $40,000 in March through online tools such as blogging and Flickr. A waste of time? I don’t think so.

    Full post – http://www.joiningdots.net/blog/2008/05/life-death-and-twitter-in-africa.html

  22. Can’t wait to hear what the results of the Dogster interview are… I used to be dep ed of a technology blog and am now Dogs Trust’s web editor. My job is largely to get us active and involved on social networking sites, including developing our own dog-owners community site (www.doggysnaps.com).

    For me it would be impossible to achieve my work goals without all these tools but it would now be unthinkable to achieve personal goals without them because I’m so accustomed to this world. And still I’m learning about a new tool, site or interesting gadget every day.

  23. Can’t wait to hear what the results of the Dogster interview are… I used to be dep ed of a technology blog and am now Dogs Trust’s web editor. My job is largely to get us active and involved on social networking sites, including developing our own dog-owners community site (www.doggysnaps.com).

    For me it would be impossible to achieve my work goals without all these tools but it would now be unthinkable to achieve personal goals without them because I’m so accustomed to this world. And still I’m learning about a new tool, site or interesting gadget every day.

  24. “It seems to me that all these things — Twitter, Facebook, iPhone, Flickr — are a thundering bore and an utter waste of time.”

    Here’s an example to show that they are not:

    “On a game drive one morning, the ranger stops his car in front of a herd of antelopes and whips out a camera. “I have never had a Coke’s Hartebeest on Flickr,” he says, taking a picture… Before he finishes tagging and naming his pictures one Sunday in April, there are already adoring comments from a woman in the United States about his pictures of cheetah cubs.”

    A wildlife park in Kenya, suffering a lack of funds due to the collapse in tourism, raised $40,000 in March through online tools such as blogging and Flickr. A waste of time? I don’t think so.

    Full post – http://www.joiningdots.net/blog/2008/05/life-death-and-twitter-in-africa.html

  25. I’m an oldie that can’t ‘grasp’ all of the new-fangled stuff out here in the ether. But I absolutely love following your posts and links on twitter. Checking out your photo’s on Flickr etc. I feel that I’m being educated by an expert, and to be quite honest, I can’t for the life of me work out how you find the time to do ALL that you do.

    Whatever YOU want out of life. I hope you get it. There must be few more deserving cases based on pure EFFORT!

    (Your fingers must be bionic).

    Pete.

  26. I’m an oldie that can’t ‘grasp’ all of the new-fangled stuff out here in the ether. But I absolutely love following your posts and links on twitter. Checking out your photo’s on Flickr etc. I feel that I’m being educated by an expert, and to be quite honest, I can’t for the life of me work out how you find the time to do ALL that you do.

    Whatever YOU want out of life. I hope you get it. There must be few more deserving cases based on pure EFFORT!

    (Your fingers must be bionic).

    Pete.

  27. Bob is right and your post is are far too long for the few things that I could learn from it. I nearly subscribed to your RSS feed for this blog, but again I didn’t. Please don’t bother with your train of thought, just the results please. The reason why I don’t use Twitter is that the knowledge has not yet settled. Too much communication and to few beef.

  28. Bob is right and your post is are far too long for the few things that I could learn from it. I nearly subscribed to your RSS feed for this blog, but again I didn’t. Please don’t bother with your train of thought, just the results please. The reason why I don’t use Twitter is that the knowledge has not yet settled. Too much communication and to few beef.

  29. There can be tremendous value in “ignorance.” Ignorance of some things allows us to focus on other things that (for whatever reasons) matter to us more. We all choose to remain ignorant of a vast array of what’s out there so that we can pursue the goals we’ve chosen. For Mr. Bly and many others, fast-paced technology and a participatory network doesn’t seem to have value, while for a lot of us, it’s very important despite the signal-to-noise ratio, because it’s the future. Therefore, I remain ignorant of pencil design concepts. That’s the past. But as your photo of the cemetery so poignantly illustrates, someone has to be caretaker of the past, while others architect the future.

  30. There can be tremendous value in “ignorance.” Ignorance of some things allows us to focus on other things that (for whatever reasons) matter to us more. We all choose to remain ignorant of a vast array of what’s out there so that we can pursue the goals we’ve chosen. For Mr. Bly and many others, fast-paced technology and a participatory network doesn’t seem to have value, while for a lot of us, it’s very important despite the signal-to-noise ratio, because it’s the future. Therefore, I remain ignorant of pencil design concepts. That’s the past. But as your photo of the cemetery so poignantly illustrates, someone has to be caretaker of the past, while others architect the future.

  31. Markus: I think we have a reading problem here. I can’t help it if you can’t read fast.

    Hint: look for the links. That’s where the value is for you.

    Twitter has noise? Really? You don’t say!

    :-)

    Why do you think I’m so into FriendFeed? Just read the posts I’ve “liked” if you don’t want any noise. That’s a very effective noise filter.

    But, I really wish you’d go back and read this post and understand it. I wrote it for people like you.

    Stop getting hung up on Twitter and RSS.

    What do you want to accomplish with your life? Start there and we can have an interesting conversation.

  32. Markus: I think we have a reading problem here. I can’t help it if you can’t read fast.

    Hint: look for the links. That’s where the value is for you.

    Twitter has noise? Really? You don’t say!

    :-)

    Why do you think I’m so into FriendFeed? Just read the posts I’ve “liked” if you don’t want any noise. That’s a very effective noise filter.

    But, I really wish you’d go back and read this post and understand it. I wrote it for people like you.

    Stop getting hung up on Twitter and RSS.

    What do you want to accomplish with your life? Start there and we can have an interesting conversation.

  33. There are two kinds of people when it comes to all these social media tools & gadgets
    – people who use these tools to lead a more interesting & fulfilling life (aka normal people)
    – people who obsess about the sheer newness & the technology aspect of it (aka geeks and industry watchers)
    Lets face it. SCOBLE IS A GEEK (with all due respect, by the way). It’s his job to find out about the newest stuff & gadgets. But for the majority of people (read: 99%), it would be utterly and completely useless to spend that amount of time & energy on it.
    I, for one, would choose drinking a glass of wine, going out with friends, and basically leading a fulfilling life EVERY SINGLE TIME to checking out the latest social networking start-up or mobile gadget.
    But then again, I do obsess about other stuff, so everyone has his/her own demons….

  34. There are two kinds of people when it comes to all these social media tools & gadgets
    – people who use these tools to lead a more interesting & fulfilling life (aka normal people)
    – people who obsess about the sheer newness & the technology aspect of it (aka geeks and industry watchers)
    Lets face it. SCOBLE IS A GEEK (with all due respect, by the way). It’s his job to find out about the newest stuff & gadgets. But for the majority of people (read: 99%), it would be utterly and completely useless to spend that amount of time & energy on it.
    I, for one, would choose drinking a glass of wine, going out with friends, and basically leading a fulfilling life EVERY SINGLE TIME to checking out the latest social networking start-up or mobile gadget.
    But then again, I do obsess about other stuff, so everyone has his/her own demons….

  35. I have do agree with the guy who wrote the letter. I’m using a notebook, and I’m even studying computer science, but these platforms are a huge time burner. They burn time en mass; because if you want to keep track with all of them you are quite busy just reading things; and a lot of them are not having any value…

    Still there might be reasons why people are addicted to them but in general reading a good book or reading a documentation (to stay with reading) or speaking to people in real life is way better.

  36. I have do agree with the guy who wrote the letter. I’m using a notebook, and I’m even studying computer science, but these platforms are a huge time burner. They burn time en mass; because if you want to keep track with all of them you are quite busy just reading things; and a lot of them are not having any value…

    Still there might be reasons why people are addicted to them but in general reading a good book or reading a documentation (to stay with reading) or speaking to people in real life is way better.

  37. It’s not all quantifiably productive experiences for everyone, in fact personal progress seems to come when people just do their thing, find their groove….. and if Bob prefers to find his groove without engaging with the Twitters and Flickrs of the world then I say – good luck, enjoy your free time (probably alot of it spent waiting for the post)….if on the otherhand like me productive means immediacy, fulfillment, collaborative insights then you can’t do much better than the web (and said apps) right now…not right, not wrong, just whatever floats your boat…

  38. It’s not all quantifiably productive experiences for everyone, in fact personal progress seems to come when people just do their thing, find their groove….. and if Bob prefers to find his groove without engaging with the Twitters and Flickrs of the world then I say – good luck, enjoy your free time (probably alot of it spent waiting for the post)….if on the otherhand like me productive means immediacy, fulfillment, collaborative insights then you can’t do much better than the web (and said apps) right now…not right, not wrong, just whatever floats your boat…

  39. Christian:

    If you read my book I wrote it on a computer. I blogged the book before it was sent to the editors. That made it a lot better quality. Hundreds of things were fixed by people around the world and new sources were suggested to us. Then the editor fixed it, using a computer, then it was sent to publishers using computers, etc.

    You wouldn’t have nearly as good a quality of books available if it weren’t for computers.

    Oh, and distributing paper is expensive, thanks, but no thanks, I’d rather read online.

  40. Christian:

    If you read my book I wrote it on a computer. I blogged the book before it was sent to the editors. That made it a lot better quality. Hundreds of things were fixed by people around the world and new sources were suggested to us. Then the editor fixed it, using a computer, then it was sent to publishers using computers, etc.

    You wouldn’t have nearly as good a quality of books available if it weren’t for computers.

    Oh, and distributing paper is expensive, thanks, but no thanks, I’d rather read online.

  41. This is amazing…brilliant…spot on….you must be god. Just kidding. I read you regularly, but I don’t drink the scoble kool-aid. Bob raises interesting questions and you insult him with the sarcasm of your response. Believe it or not, people can find and create value in their lives without iphones, facebook, twitter, etc.

  42. This is amazing…brilliant…spot on….you must be god. Just kidding. I read you regularly, but I don’t drink the scoble kool-aid. Bob raises interesting questions and you insult him with the sarcasm of your response. Believe it or not, people can find and create value in their lives without iphones, facebook, twitter, etc.

  43. David: OK, so how would you answer the question?

    Insults are going all around. It’s insulting to me to ask the question that way. I guess you are sticking up for ignorance. Have another beer!

  44. David: OK, so how would you answer the question?

    Insults are going all around. It’s insulting to me to ask the question that way. I guess you are sticking up for ignorance. Have another beer!

  45. What make is your new cell phone? I urgently need a new one, and I could imagine you would choose the best, since you look at a lot of fancy devices hitting the market.

    So please tell!!! ;-)

  46. What make is your new cell phone? I urgently need a new one, and I could imagine you would choose the best, since you look at a lot of fancy devices hitting the market.

    So please tell!!! ;-)

  47. Here’s my answer:

    Mr. Bly,

    It has nothing to do with the gadgets and applications and softwares. It’s about the people that are using it. I have learned my lesson when Orkut came to Brazil and I thought it would be just like a breeze passing by. I have learned it once again when I chose Jaiku over Twitter and I had to backtrack.

    All the gadgets are different means to reach different people, that may have something to learn from you, or to teach you, or that might simply want to have a conversation. They’re tools, generally simple, but extremely powerful.

  48. Here’s my answer:

    Mr. Bly,

    It has nothing to do with the gadgets and applications and softwares. It’s about the people that are using it. I have learned my lesson when Orkut came to Brazil and I thought it would be just like a breeze passing by. I have learned it once again when I chose Jaiku over Twitter and I had to backtrack.

    All the gadgets are different means to reach different people, that may have something to learn from you, or to teach you, or that might simply want to have a conversation. They’re tools, generally simple, but extremely powerful.

  49. I would say to Bob:

    Scoble’s column is to technology, what a Paris fashion parade is to clothing.

    With both you get a hint of what’s to come for “real” people. Sure everything is a bit puffed up and exaggerated. And the people involved in the industries seem more like creatures from another world than actual humans.

    Of course, no real people will actually end up with objects that look like those up there under the noise of the camera flashes. Most people can’t stand fashion parades (myself included) or the many dead ends that any innovation requires. It seems like an incredible waste of time and terribly unproductive to try all those different looks – just to discard 99% of them. But then look at how Scoble disarded Facebook. Will even FriendFeed last another season?

    Most people just want to have a pair of pants that look OK and don’t fall down. But if you are interested in the future of technology, information or business you might want to try from the Scoble range sometime. ;-)

  50. I would say to Bob:

    Scoble’s column is to technology, what a Paris fashion parade is to clothing.

    With both you get a hint of what’s to come for “real” people. Sure everything is a bit puffed up and exaggerated. And the people involved in the industries seem more like creatures from another world than actual humans.

    Of course, no real people will actually end up with objects that look like those up there under the noise of the camera flashes. Most people can’t stand fashion parades (myself included) or the many dead ends that any innovation requires. It seems like an incredible waste of time and terribly unproductive to try all those different looks – just to discard 99% of them. But then look at how Scoble disarded Facebook. Will even FriendFeed last another season?

    Most people just want to have a pair of pants that look OK and don’t fall down. But if you are interested in the future of technology, information or business you might want to try from the Scoble range sometime. ;-)

  51. Robert: You say that your book is better because hundreds of people participated in its creation. This reminds me of a story. An ad agency pitching a new account promised the company owner that if he hired the agency, they would put 100 copywriters on his account. His reply: “How about one GOOD one?” Your premise is that a collaborative effort is necessarily better than the effort of a single mind concentrating on a problem for a prolonged period. I disagree with your premise. Remember the old saying: “a moose is a cow designed by committee.”

    Also, your comment about copywriting shows you know very little about this craft. The type of software you write copy on has absolutely nothing to do with how persuasive or successful your copy is.

  52. Robert: You say that your book is better because hundreds of people participated in its creation. This reminds me of a story. An ad agency pitching a new account promised the company owner that if he hired the agency, they would put 100 copywriters on his account. His reply: “How about one GOOD one?” Your premise is that a collaborative effort is necessarily better than the effort of a single mind concentrating on a problem for a prolonged period. I disagree with your premise. Remember the old saying: “a moose is a cow designed by committee.”

    Also, your comment about copywriting shows you know very little about this craft. The type of software you write copy on has absolutely nothing to do with how persuasive or successful your copy is.

  53. I’m in the age range of people who generally don’t use social media and don’t use the internet heavily – and I’m finding some of my contemporaries more and more boring because of it. Yes, there are people who keep learning and being interesting every day with an off-line centered life, but this is becoming much rarer. For most fields, there isn’t any way to gain as much information and knowledge as from being heavily on-line. I’d be really interested in Mr. Bly describing how he does it – his website describes him as a “landing page guru,” on-line marketing specialist, and says “He earned more than $700,000 last year from his freelance writing and Internet marketing.”

    This will undoubtedly sound snobby, but I think that this new age really has been aptly named The Age of Cognition. It is not only being comfortable with on-line tools, but having the ability to learn how to filter, analyze, and synthesize masses of information that is going to separate those who see the value in the richness of on-line content and those who are unable to use it effectively.

  54. I’m in the age range of people who generally don’t use social media and don’t use the internet heavily – and I’m finding some of my contemporaries more and more boring because of it. Yes, there are people who keep learning and being interesting every day with an off-line centered life, but this is becoming much rarer. For most fields, there isn’t any way to gain as much information and knowledge as from being heavily on-line. I’d be really interested in Mr. Bly describing how he does it – his website describes him as a “landing page guru,” on-line marketing specialist, and says “He earned more than $700,000 last year from his freelance writing and Internet marketing.”

    This will undoubtedly sound snobby, but I think that this new age really has been aptly named The Age of Cognition. It is not only being comfortable with on-line tools, but having the ability to learn how to filter, analyze, and synthesize masses of information that is going to separate those who see the value in the richness of on-line content and those who are unable to use it effectively.

  55. Here goes:

    Hey Bob

    Isn’t successful copywriting all about finding and pointing out something fresh, new, and interesting about a “normal” product, service, or solution? Something that will make that “normal” offering stand out from the clutter?

    Now if you are uninterested enough to call iPods and the like “useless gadgets” and social networking sites “endless blather” how are you going to get on with “finding and pointing out something fresh, new, and interesting”?

    Regards,

    Jay, from Bangalore
    http://ideaburger.blogspot.com

  56. Here goes:

    Hey Bob

    Isn’t successful copywriting all about finding and pointing out something fresh, new, and interesting about a “normal” product, service, or solution? Something that will make that “normal” offering stand out from the clutter?

    Now if you are uninterested enough to call iPods and the like “useless gadgets” and social networking sites “endless blather” how are you going to get on with “finding and pointing out something fresh, new, and interesting”?

    Regards,

    Jay, from Bangalore
    http://ideaburger.blogspot.com

  57. Victoria: It’s a matter of focus. There are dozens of aspects to the Internet — from viral video and Twitter, to blogging and Instant Messaging. You cannot possibly master or keep up with them all. So I concentrate my attention in one area: profitably marketing information products on the Internet, for which the key tool is landing pages (see http://www.thelandingpageguru.com).

  58. Victoria: It’s a matter of focus. There are dozens of aspects to the Internet — from viral video and Twitter, to blogging and Instant Messaging. You cannot possibly master or keep up with them all. So I concentrate my attention in one area: profitably marketing information products on the Internet, for which the key tool is landing pages (see http://www.thelandingpageguru.com).

  59. I reckon Tom Himpe hit the nail on the head.

    It’s part of Scoble’s job, and he absolutely loves his job is all. And he enjoys it so much he spends a lot of “non-work” time doing it is as well.

    Me? I’m a 99% guy (the normal type as Tom said)

    I dip into Scoble and others blogs quite frequently, simply as “latest tech news”.

    At the moment i am completely ignoring Twitter and FriendFeed as I don’t “get” them yet.

    Maybe I will eventually, maybe I won’t, but I know they are there.

    I will say I thought Scoble’s post was a little snooty and “i’m smarter/better than you” but that’s what you get with him sometimes.

  60. I reckon Tom Himpe hit the nail on the head.

    It’s part of Scoble’s job, and he absolutely loves his job is all. And he enjoys it so much he spends a lot of “non-work” time doing it is as well.

    Me? I’m a 99% guy (the normal type as Tom said)

    I dip into Scoble and others blogs quite frequently, simply as “latest tech news”.

    At the moment i am completely ignoring Twitter and FriendFeed as I don’t “get” them yet.

    Maybe I will eventually, maybe I won’t, but I know they are there.

    I will say I thought Scoble’s post was a little snooty and “i’m smarter/better than you” but that’s what you get with him sometimes.

  61. Bob: I know that the act of copy writing can be done on stone tablets, but if a copywriter is going to work with other people I think that Zoho might be a little more productive.

    >>You cannot possibly master or keep up with them all.

    I can. But even if I buy into your premise, I ask again, what is your goal in life? Is it marketing products? Well, then, ask Loic Le Meur or Gary Vaynerchuk which tools they use. I can already tell you: Twitter for keeping in touch with a wide number of people. Seesmic for communicating with them through video. Both also use Flickr for communicating via photography. Both also use Facebook for planning events (and Upcoming.org too). I see both on FriendFeed joining in conversations, too. Who’s Gary? He runs a $50 million wine store in New Jersey.

    Landing pages? That’s so 1998. :-)

  62. Bob: I know that the act of copy writing can be done on stone tablets, but if a copywriter is going to work with other people I think that Zoho might be a little more productive.

    >>You cannot possibly master or keep up with them all.

    I can. But even if I buy into your premise, I ask again, what is your goal in life? Is it marketing products? Well, then, ask Loic Le Meur or Gary Vaynerchuk which tools they use. I can already tell you: Twitter for keeping in touch with a wide number of people. Seesmic for communicating with them through video. Both also use Flickr for communicating via photography. Both also use Facebook for planning events (and Upcoming.org too). I see both on FriendFeed joining in conversations, too. Who’s Gary? He runs a $50 million wine store in New Jersey.

    Landing pages? That’s so 1998. :-)

  63. >I will say I thought Scoble’s post was a little snooty and “i’m smarter/better than you” but that’s what you get with him sometimes.

    Hmm, yes, there is a little tone of that and I’m not going to apologize for it. If you’re an Amish farmer who believes that technology is something to be avoided, you probably won’t feel comfortable here, just like I wouldn’t feel comfortable at one of their family meetings.

  64. >I will say I thought Scoble’s post was a little snooty and “i’m smarter/better than you” but that’s what you get with him sometimes.

    Hmm, yes, there is a little tone of that and I’m not going to apologize for it. If you’re an Amish farmer who believes that technology is something to be avoided, you probably won’t feel comfortable here, just like I wouldn’t feel comfortable at one of their family meetings.

  65. >Your premise is that a collaborative effort is necessarily better than the effort of a single mind concentrating on a problem for a prolonged period. I disagree with your premise.

    That’s fine. Our book is better rated on Amazon than any other book about corporate use of blogging and it also outsold every other book about corporate use of blogging. Those are the things I cared about in the end.

    We worked very hard on the book, interviewing 188 businesses about how they used blogs. But you can’t plan for everything and one thing I’ve learned is that the bigger your audience the more likely there’s someone in it that knows a lot more than you do.

    That was certainly true when we put the book’s chapters on our blog. One guy grammar corrected the whole book. Hundreds of people added their thoughts. One guy ripped us so hard we actually had him write a couple of pages in the final book. It was a dramatically better product for going through that process.

  66. >Your premise is that a collaborative effort is necessarily better than the effort of a single mind concentrating on a problem for a prolonged period. I disagree with your premise.

    That’s fine. Our book is better rated on Amazon than any other book about corporate use of blogging and it also outsold every other book about corporate use of blogging. Those are the things I cared about in the end.

    We worked very hard on the book, interviewing 188 businesses about how they used blogs. But you can’t plan for everything and one thing I’ve learned is that the bigger your audience the more likely there’s someone in it that knows a lot more than you do.

    That was certainly true when we put the book’s chapters on our blog. One guy grammar corrected the whole book. Hundreds of people added their thoughts. One guy ripped us so hard we actually had him write a couple of pages in the final book. It was a dramatically better product for going through that process.

  67. There are so many holes in your arguments, I don’t know where to begin. When I say “you” can’t master all of these social networking fads and tech gizmos, I don’t mean you personally: that’s your job. I mean your readers, who have too much to do and too little time to do it. It’s simple math: if spend 2 hours a day blathering online, that’s 2 hours of work you don’t get done. Also, if you think landing pages aren’t relevant, how do you explain the outrageous success of Joe Vitale, Agora Publishing, University Publishers, Internet Marketing Center, Strategic Profits, and hundreds of other entrepreneurs who are making millions with them?

    As for Gary, he has a retail location in a town near my office. So many factors other than social media drive traffic. For instance, there was a big feature article about him recently in the Record, the biggest daily newspaper serving our region (northern NJ). Only direct marketers (like the folks I mention above) can track their marketing ROI to the penny … so they know better than anyone what works online and what doesn’t.

  68. There are so many holes in your arguments, I don’t know where to begin. When I say “you” can’t master all of these social networking fads and tech gizmos, I don’t mean you personally: that’s your job. I mean your readers, who have too much to do and too little time to do it. It’s simple math: if spend 2 hours a day blathering online, that’s 2 hours of work you don’t get done. Also, if you think landing pages aren’t relevant, how do you explain the outrageous success of Joe Vitale, Agora Publishing, University Publishers, Internet Marketing Center, Strategic Profits, and hundreds of other entrepreneurs who are making millions with them?

    As for Gary, he has a retail location in a town near my office. So many factors other than social media drive traffic. For instance, there was a big feature article about him recently in the Record, the biggest daily newspaper serving our region (northern NJ). Only direct marketers (like the folks I mention above) can track their marketing ROI to the penny … so they know better than anyone what works online and what doesn’t.

  69. >if spend 2 hours a day blathering online, that’s 2 hours of work you don’t get done.

    Yup, agreed. I have a Fast Company column due and I’m not working on it right now cause I’m talking with you.

    >Also, if you think landing pages aren’t relevant, how do you explain the outrageous success

    I didn’t say they aren’t relevant. I was having a little fun with you. Something else came along in 1998. It was called Google. You should relax and smell the roses a little more.

    Gary was also on Mad Money. His stores did $50 million a year BEFORE he got into social media. It may or may not work for you. But I don’t get why you need to abuse those who decide it’s for them. When you write “It seems to me that all these things — Twitter, Facebook, iPhone, Flickr — are a thundering bore and an utter waste of time” it seems to me that you’ve already made up your mind and that you feel that people like me are boring and wasting our time.

    Seems like you can’t take your own medicine.

  70. >if spend 2 hours a day blathering online, that’s 2 hours of work you don’t get done.

    Yup, agreed. I have a Fast Company column due and I’m not working on it right now cause I’m talking with you.

    >Also, if you think landing pages aren’t relevant, how do you explain the outrageous success

    I didn’t say they aren’t relevant. I was having a little fun with you. Something else came along in 1998. It was called Google. You should relax and smell the roses a little more.

    Gary was also on Mad Money. His stores did $50 million a year BEFORE he got into social media. It may or may not work for you. But I don’t get why you need to abuse those who decide it’s for them. When you write “It seems to me that all these things — Twitter, Facebook, iPhone, Flickr — are a thundering bore and an utter waste of time” it seems to me that you’ve already made up your mind and that you feel that people like me are boring and wasting our time.

    Seems like you can’t take your own medicine.

  71. Ignoring all the chest-thumping…Essentially Bob is ‘wondering what he’s missing’ and I’d like to answer him; Robert tells us about the new stuff, we try it and see if we like it. It is a collaboration.

    How do you know Twitter wouldn’t improve your life if you don’t try it first? Robert’s enthusiasm/excitement is what helps lead us to the stuff that makes our lives better.

    There’s no point saying ‘I won’t like it’ when presented with a new taste. Have a nibble and if you don’t like it, wait a bit, Robert will present you with the next taste sensation. But if you don’t try it, like my Mother said, you’ll never know.

  72. Ignoring all the chest-thumping…Essentially Bob is ‘wondering what he’s missing’ and I’d like to answer him; Robert tells us about the new stuff, we try it and see if we like it. It is a collaboration.

    How do you know Twitter wouldn’t improve your life if you don’t try it first? Robert’s enthusiasm/excitement is what helps lead us to the stuff that makes our lives better.

    There’s no point saying ‘I won’t like it’ when presented with a new taste. Have a nibble and if you don’t like it, wait a bit, Robert will present you with the next taste sensation. But if you don’t try it, like my Mother said, you’ll never know.

  73. And as to two ‘wasted hours’. The crux of the argument here is that you consider those two hours wasted, some consider those two hours well spent. Horses for courses.

  74. And as to two ‘wasted hours’. The crux of the argument here is that you consider those two hours wasted, some consider those two hours well spent. Horses for courses.

  75. robert, i love your blog and think you’re incredibly insightful. but i have to say, i think with this one, you’re slightly off the mark.

    twitter etc are great, useful tools, but those who think they’re the end all _already_ fail to realize just how many people, like bob, haven’t yet been evangelized. what i don’t hear enough talk about from people with keen, forward-thinking minds like yours is how we create a truly inclusive community that takes into consideration the various different levels of immersion in web 2.0. there seems a to be a willful blindness on that subject, and it should be dissected with greater precision. it’s the elephant in the tech world room.

  76. robert, i love your blog and think you’re incredibly insightful. but i have to say, i think with this one, you’re slightly off the mark.

    twitter etc are great, useful tools, but those who think they’re the end all _already_ fail to realize just how many people, like bob, haven’t yet been evangelized. what i don’t hear enough talk about from people with keen, forward-thinking minds like yours is how we create a truly inclusive community that takes into consideration the various different levels of immersion in web 2.0. there seems a to be a willful blindness on that subject, and it should be dissected with greater precision. it’s the elephant in the tech world room.

  77. I’ve stopped trying to explain why I enjoy being online and on social networks to people who don’t get it. (Or why I have two iPods, a laptop, a cell phone, a digital camera and drool over the latest issue of Wired).

    Trying to explain it to people who don’t have that same passion? That is the real waste of time. ;)

    Great article though Scoble, you had me at “conversation”. And I think the people don’t get it, don’t realize the power of “conversation” with people you may never meet in person or really know that well. I adore it, other people just scratch their heads and yell, “get off my lawn with your crazy rock and roll people.”

  78. >those who think they’re the end all _already_ fail to realize just how many people, like bob, haven’t yet been evangelized

    Alex, I don’t think ANYONE is saying that Twitter is the end all. Heck, they can’t even stay up for more than a few hours and, even today, many of their features are still turned off.

    Also, when I get excited about something, that doesn’t mean I expect that normal everyday people will also get excited about the same thing. Heck, most people will never care about RSS the way I do, but for a news junkie there’s just no other way to do it.

    This stuff takes time.

    If we were back in 1977 we’d have had the exact same discussion about whether normal people would use personal computers or not.

  79. I’ve stopped trying to explain why I enjoy being online and on social networks to people who don’t get it. (Or why I have two iPods, a laptop, a cell phone, a digital camera and drool over the latest issue of Wired).

    Trying to explain it to people who don’t have that same passion? That is the real waste of time. ;)

    Great article though Scoble, you had me at “conversation”. And I think the people don’t get it, don’t realize the power of “conversation” with people you may never meet in person or really know that well. I adore it, other people just scratch their heads and yell, “get off my lawn with your crazy rock and roll people.”

  80. >those who think they’re the end all _already_ fail to realize just how many people, like bob, haven’t yet been evangelized

    Alex, I don’t think ANYONE is saying that Twitter is the end all. Heck, they can’t even stay up for more than a few hours and, even today, many of their features are still turned off.

    Also, when I get excited about something, that doesn’t mean I expect that normal everyday people will also get excited about the same thing. Heck, most people will never care about RSS the way I do, but for a news junkie there’s just no other way to do it.

    This stuff takes time.

    If we were back in 1977 we’d have had the exact same discussion about whether normal people would use personal computers or not.

  81. Is Bob Bly actually pulling our leg?

    Read this comment, left over on FriendFeed, by BlogHer founder Elisa Camahort Page:

    ++++

    A little historical context here: In late 2004 Bob Bly famously wrote a newsletter dissing the potential of blogging as a marketing & communications tool, mocking it, some would say. Great link bait and blog fodder. He then, surprise surprise, started a blog himself. Talk about built-in attention & controversy. Funny thing, he maintains that blog pretty actively to this day. I’d say he’s planning to get on Facebook, Twitter etc. in about 2 weeks & just wants to make sure people are paying attention ;)

  82. Is Bob Bly actually pulling our leg?

    Read this comment, left over on FriendFeed, by BlogHer founder Elisa Camahort Page:

    ++++

    A little historical context here: In late 2004 Bob Bly famously wrote a newsletter dissing the potential of blogging as a marketing & communications tool, mocking it, some would say. Great link bait and blog fodder. He then, surprise surprise, started a blog himself. Talk about built-in attention & controversy. Funny thing, he maintains that blog pretty actively to this day. I’d say he’s planning to get on Facebook, Twitter etc. in about 2 weeks & just wants to make sure people are paying attention ;)

  83. “Hmm, yes, there is a little tone of that and I’m not going to apologize for it. If you’re an Amish farmer who believes that technology is something to be avoided, you probably won’t feel comfortable here, just like I wouldn’t feel comfortable at one of their family meetings.”

    Robert, I wasn’t talking about technology, just the way you put some things across. Your use of “Why?” as a 1 word question is particularly annoying IMHO, and the way you name drop people is very “high-school”.

    but hey, I still read your blog :-)

  84. “Hmm, yes, there is a little tone of that and I’m not going to apologize for it. If you’re an Amish farmer who believes that technology is something to be avoided, you probably won’t feel comfortable here, just like I wouldn’t feel comfortable at one of their family meetings.”

    Robert, I wasn’t talking about technology, just the way you put some things across. Your use of “Why?” as a 1 word question is particularly annoying IMHO, and the way you name drop people is very “high-school”.

    but hey, I still read your blog :-)

  85. >the way you name drop people is very “high-school”.

    This is the World Wide High School. Now, do you want to be taped to a tree? I can arrange that. :-)

    Remember my goal: an interesting conversation every day with someone interesting. You won’t get there if you don’t name drop. Why? Something about interesting people. They want to know what other interesting people are thinking or who they are having lunch with.

  86. >the way you name drop people is very “high-school”.

    This is the World Wide High School. Now, do you want to be taped to a tree? I can arrange that. :-)

    Remember my goal: an interesting conversation every day with someone interesting. You won’t get there if you don’t name drop. Why? Something about interesting people. They want to know what other interesting people are thinking or who they are having lunch with.

  87. > This stuff takes time.

    >If we were back in 1977 we’d have had the exact same discussion about > whether normal people would use personal computers or not.

    ain’t it the truth. unfortunately, though, those of us in the media world don’t have the luxury of just waiting for those who are “behind” to catch up…we actually have to think about different audiences and constituencies, and try to include them.

  88. > This stuff takes time.

    >If we were back in 1977 we’d have had the exact same discussion about > whether normal people would use personal computers or not.

    ain’t it the truth. unfortunately, though, those of us in the media world don’t have the luxury of just waiting for those who are “behind” to catch up…we actually have to think about different audiences and constituencies, and try to include them.

  89. Dear Bob,

    I’m 62. Is that old? I got my degree in 1968 from a brick and mortar school, and did my graduate work 1972-1974 in another brick and mortar school. Is that old school?

    I make my living with technology. Always have. I do not find it difficult to keep up. I do use social software, plus the gadgets you disdain. I also have time to walk the dog, play footsie with my wife, and entertain the grandchildren. Even sit on the couch and drink a beer.

    I don’t use social software to blather. I use it to communicate with my authors, to find people who know what they are talking about, and to keep up with trends. All very important to my success. Collaboration does in fact enable me to produce better knowledge and information products, and to do it faster. I don’t have to know it all. I don’t have to write it all. I do need to be smart enough to vet the information that my collaborators provide. My job and my goal is producing. My authors, my copy editor, a one-person production department, and I grind out an online magazine every week, and an e-Book every 2 to 3 months, plus a shelf full of dead tree editions. We serve a global community of 30,000 professionals, and we are adding to that number every day. We couldn’t do that your way.

    If you are happy with what you do and the way you do it, bully for you. Like Scoble says, it’s all in your goals. If your goals are just big enough for one person to accomplish by working alone and with a minimum of technology, great. Mine are big enough that it takes more than me, and they would take more than 24 hours a day of my time if I went your route. I will guarantee you that I am both productive and happy, in both my business and my personal life.

  90. Dear Bob,

    I’m 62. Is that old? I got my degree in 1968 from a brick and mortar school, and did my graduate work 1972-1974 in another brick and mortar school. Is that old school?

    I make my living with technology. Always have. I do not find it difficult to keep up. I do use social software, plus the gadgets you disdain. I also have time to walk the dog, play footsie with my wife, and entertain the grandchildren. Even sit on the couch and drink a beer.

    I don’t use social software to blather. I use it to communicate with my authors, to find people who know what they are talking about, and to keep up with trends. All very important to my success. Collaboration does in fact enable me to produce better knowledge and information products, and to do it faster. I don’t have to know it all. I don’t have to write it all. I do need to be smart enough to vet the information that my collaborators provide. My job and my goal is producing. My authors, my copy editor, a one-person production department, and I grind out an online magazine every week, and an e-Book every 2 to 3 months, plus a shelf full of dead tree editions. We serve a global community of 30,000 professionals, and we are adding to that number every day. We couldn’t do that your way.

    If you are happy with what you do and the way you do it, bully for you. Like Scoble says, it’s all in your goals. If your goals are just big enough for one person to accomplish by working alone and with a minimum of technology, great. Mine are big enough that it takes more than me, and they would take more than 24 hours a day of my time if I went your route. I will guarantee you that I am both productive and happy, in both my business and my personal life.

  91. Robert, I follow you on twitter, in FC magazine to keep up on the latest trends in tech, and I thank you for all the work you do. With that said, can I suggest an answer to your questions at the beginning of your reply to Bob?

    Yes, take a night off. Yes, change your childs diaper. Yes, have a glass of wine with your wife and yes, go for a walk. These things are truly important, more so than any facebook app or new cell phone OS.

    To be honest with you Robert, when I get up in the morning here on the East cost and turn on my computer and see you and Mike Arrington still going at it on twitter, it kind of creeps me out. It’s OK to go to bed, we’ll all be here in the morning, waiting for your insight on the world of tech. Regards

    It sometimes feels like you

  92. Robert, I follow you on twitter, in FC magazine to keep up on the latest trends in tech, and I thank you for all the work you do. With that said, can I suggest an answer to your questions at the beginning of your reply to Bob?

    Yes, take a night off. Yes, change your childs diaper. Yes, have a glass of wine with your wife and yes, go for a walk. These things are truly important, more so than any facebook app or new cell phone OS.

    To be honest with you Robert, when I get up in the morning here on the East cost and turn on my computer and see you and Mike Arrington still going at it on twitter, it kind of creeps me out. It’s OK to go to bed, we’ll all be here in the morning, waiting for your insight on the world of tech. Regards

    It sometimes feels like you

  93. […] Subject: Question from a reader As a Fast Company subscriber, I occasionally read, with much bewildehttp://scobleizer.com/2008/05/27/scoble-has-a-productivity-problem/Teachers win 165,000 in back pay at Odyssey Middle School Sun-SentinelThe Palm Beach County teachers […]

  94. Mr. Scoble: I originally e-mailed you privately, suggesting you write a column that could help me and others like me understand what all the fuss is about. You were the one who chose to post it on your blog, thus making my private comments public, not me. So Tomi’s notion that I did this to promote myself is incorrect, as is your implication that I did the same thing in blogging.

    The truth is, I did and still do feel that blogging is greatly overhyped as a marketing tool. That’s why I wrote my column. Not as some deliberate plot to get attention; at the time, I had no intention of starting a blog.

  95. Mr. Scoble: I originally e-mailed you privately, suggesting you write a column that could help me and others like me understand what all the fuss is about. You were the one who chose to post it on your blog, thus making my private comments public, not me. So Tomi’s notion that I did this to promote myself is incorrect, as is your implication that I did the same thing in blogging.

    The truth is, I did and still do feel that blogging is greatly overhyped as a marketing tool. That’s why I wrote my column. Not as some deliberate plot to get attention; at the time, I had no intention of starting a blog.

  96. BilltheEditor: If you want to get into a pissing contest, I am 50, own and operate over 70 web sites, produce 2-3 new info products (e-books, audios, and DVDs) per month, have over 60,000 e-zine subscribers, write two weekly e-mail alerts, a monthly e-zine, columns for Target Marketing and Early to Rise, have made millions of dollars as a direct marketing copywriter (mainly direct mail and landing pages), give an occasional speech, and am the author of over 70 books with major NYC publishing houses (John Wiley, McGraw-Hill).

    I do not own a cell phone, beeper, Blackberry, iPod, wireless laptop, or Bluetooth.

    I do not use Twitter, Facebook, or MySpace. I do not particiupate in LinkedIn or any other online networking. And unless I am a speaker, I do not attend meetings or networking functions.

    I occasionally do look on YouTube to relax at the end of my 12-hour work day by listening to jazz clips.

  97. BilltheEditor: If you want to get into a pissing contest, I am 50, own and operate over 70 web sites, produce 2-3 new info products (e-books, audios, and DVDs) per month, have over 60,000 e-zine subscribers, write two weekly e-mail alerts, a monthly e-zine, columns for Target Marketing and Early to Rise, have made millions of dollars as a direct marketing copywriter (mainly direct mail and landing pages), give an occasional speech, and am the author of over 70 books with major NYC publishing houses (John Wiley, McGraw-Hill).

    I do not own a cell phone, beeper, Blackberry, iPod, wireless laptop, or Bluetooth.

    I do not use Twitter, Facebook, or MySpace. I do not particiupate in LinkedIn or any other online networking. And unless I am a speaker, I do not attend meetings or networking functions.

    I occasionally do look on YouTube to relax at the end of my 12-hour work day by listening to jazz clips.

  98. Bob, you young guys are always looking for a fight. I am not. I have work to do. Have a nice day.

  99. Bob, you young guys are always looking for a fight. I am not. I have work to do. Have a nice day.

  100. Bill, you dear old hypocrit, you! You fired the first shot with your comment. I set some facts straight, and now you say “I have work to do” as if I don’t. You truly crack me up. Thanks for the chuckle!

  101. Bill, you dear old hypocrit, you! You fired the first shot with your comment. I set some facts straight, and now you say “I have work to do” as if I don’t. You truly crack me up. Thanks for the chuckle!

  102. Bob, I was relating to you what I accomplish with my use of technology. If your objective is to prove you have a bigger d**k, hey, you win. Happy?

  103. Bob, I was relating to you what I accomplish with my use of technology. If your objective is to prove you have a bigger d**k, hey, you win. Happy?

  104. Thanks for the brilliant article, I think it’s a good story how we should think about things.
    Everyone has a different point off view on topics, and this will continue forever. But I think it’s always good to read someones thoughts and learn from each and another.
    Thanks again.
    cheers

  105. Thanks for the brilliant article, I think it’s a good story how we should think about things.
    Everyone has a different point off view on topics, and this will continue forever. But I think it’s always good to read someones thoughts and learn from each and another.
    Thanks again.
    cheers

  106. Now now boys. Back to the original point…Bob wanted to know what he was missing, ie, why the lovely Mr Scoble is so excitable about new tech, and what is so good about it, then I think some of us have answered it.

    Because it can improve one’s productivity. Maybe not yours, and maybe not everyones. If you try some of it that may appear to be appropriate, then you may discover something very useful.

    It takes time to sift through the new stuff, Robert does that for me and helps me connect with a community I cannot find in the ‘real world’.

  107. Now now boys. Back to the original point…Bob wanted to know what he was missing, ie, why the lovely Mr Scoble is so excitable about new tech, and what is so good about it, then I think some of us have answered it.

    Because it can improve one’s productivity. Maybe not yours, and maybe not everyones. If you try some of it that may appear to be appropriate, then you may discover something very useful.

    It takes time to sift through the new stuff, Robert does that for me and helps me connect with a community I cannot find in the ‘real world’.

  108. Geez, Robert, what a long winded way to answer a simple question! :-) The short answer is, “It’s simply human to want to 1) know more, and 2) be known more.” AWARENESS is the key. Without it, there would be no UNDERSTANDING. First comes self-awareness, which is what makes us human. Then comes awareness of others, which is what the web and social software enable in a very efficient way and broad way. Lastly, it’s helping others to become (more) aware .. by blogging, friending, writing books, going to conferences, etc. This is the virtuous cycle of BEING HUMAN! Anyone, who doesn’t get this is simply not living up to his/her full potential.

  109. Geez, Robert, what a long winded way to answer a simple question! :-) The short answer is, “It’s simply human to want to 1) know more, and 2) be known more.” AWARENESS is the key. Without it, there would be no UNDERSTANDING. First comes self-awareness, which is what makes us human. Then comes awareness of others, which is what the web and social software enable in a very efficient way and broad way. Lastly, it’s helping others to become (more) aware .. by blogging, friending, writing books, going to conferences, etc. This is the virtuous cycle of BEING HUMAN! Anyone, who doesn’t get this is simply not living up to his/her full potential.

  110. If productivity means to just sit at my cube and do what I’m told to each and every day, day in and day out, I would say – stay away from the facebooks, the twitters, the digg’s and the flickr’s. But is that what you want to do?

    I want to learn about all the technology out there that people are experimenting with and then figure out what makes sense for me. For instance, I am the only person in my office that I know of that uses RSS feeds from our internal knowledge bases to see what the latest things that people are running into are. As a result, I become the go-to person for all new issues. Am I less productive? Perhaps. But do I get more done faster? Absolutely. The two are mutually exclusive. While Bob’s question is very interesting, it is also not well define. Your definition of being productive may be different than mine. The future waits for no-one. Don’t be the western union of the world. Be the AT&T of the world – or better yet, the Apple. Look to where the industry is going. Look at the threats of new entrants and figure out if you and your company are well position or not.

    While I agree that many technologies we interface with today can be disruptive, it is up to us as individuals to figure out what the right balance is.

  111. If productivity means to just sit at my cube and do what I’m told to each and every day, day in and day out, I would say – stay away from the facebooks, the twitters, the digg’s and the flickr’s. But is that what you want to do?

    I want to learn about all the technology out there that people are experimenting with and then figure out what makes sense for me. For instance, I am the only person in my office that I know of that uses RSS feeds from our internal knowledge bases to see what the latest things that people are running into are. As a result, I become the go-to person for all new issues. Am I less productive? Perhaps. But do I get more done faster? Absolutely. The two are mutually exclusive. While Bob’s question is very interesting, it is also not well define. Your definition of being productive may be different than mine. The future waits for no-one. Don’t be the western union of the world. Be the AT&T of the world – or better yet, the Apple. Look to where the industry is going. Look at the threats of new entrants and figure out if you and your company are well position or not.

    While I agree that many technologies we interface with today can be disruptive, it is up to us as individuals to figure out what the right balance is.

  112. Tone young man, tone.

    A whole lot of sound a fury to not even bother to simply state that you go hunting for the new tools that make it easier for folks to do what they do already. (You say it, but sweet and merciful you can be a bit more concise ;) )

    You enjoy the hunt, and whack the new and shiny with a stick to see if they work, and what they’re good for.

    For others – for the hypothetical, and apparently very productive Bob. He doesn’t need any additional or improved tools to get his job done, so the service you provide is of no use to him.

    But there’s no need to be throwing around hateful words like ignorance because the tools he has are good enough for him.

  113. Tone young man, tone.

    A whole lot of sound a fury to not even bother to simply state that you go hunting for the new tools that make it easier for folks to do what they do already. (You say it, but sweet and merciful you can be a bit more concise ;) )

    You enjoy the hunt, and whack the new and shiny with a stick to see if they work, and what they’re good for.

    For others – for the hypothetical, and apparently very productive Bob. He doesn’t need any additional or improved tools to get his job done, so the service you provide is of no use to him.

    But there’s no need to be throwing around hateful words like ignorance because the tools he has are good enough for him.

  114. The elephant in the room.

    Scoble makes his living fiddlin about on all these things.

    Thats his motivation.

  115. The elephant in the room.

    Scoble makes his living fiddlin about on all these things.

    Thats his motivation.

  116. Here’s what I see…. All these things are tools to get something done, which I think is Mr. Bly’s point. Does a mechanic use every tool in his toolbox every day? Mr. Bly is simply asking why a specific tool has value over a tool he may already be using. Scoble, otoh, uses the tools for the sake of using the tools. Overall the new bright shiny object unlikely makes even a measurable improvement over the one he previously used. Many of these apps are answers to questions no one is asking.

    Finally, I have to agree with Mr. Bly on your writing, Scoble. With the use of “cause” instead of “because”; your use of “why” and “hint” is intended to insult the intelligence of your reader, it boggles the mind you were and continue to get paid to write

  117. Here’s what I see…. All these things are tools to get something done, which I think is Mr. Bly’s point. Does a mechanic use every tool in his toolbox every day? Mr. Bly is simply asking why a specific tool has value over a tool he may already be using. Scoble, otoh, uses the tools for the sake of using the tools. Overall the new bright shiny object unlikely makes even a measurable improvement over the one he previously used. Many of these apps are answers to questions no one is asking.

    Finally, I have to agree with Mr. Bly on your writing, Scoble. With the use of “cause” instead of “because”; your use of “why” and “hint” is intended to insult the intelligence of your reader, it boggles the mind you were and continue to get paid to write

  118. Awesome post; even more awesome comments! LOL

    It all boils down to this: We must *master* our productivity tools (technology included) in order to maximize production of our quality work in a time manner.

    So how do you use technology to accomplish this? Are you an advanced user that has figured out how to organize, sort, filter and glean the best data from all your tools? The person who is best capable of using each tool with mastery, will achieve the highest productivity ratio.

    So, what do you want to do with your time? Are you productive? Meeting your Goals? For some, we use technology as a means to achieve our goals. However, there are times that overuse of technology will become a time stealer. Find the balance! Know your limits. Learn to SKIM and FILTER data. Then, technology tools are awesome for helping one to achieve maximum productivity. Like any tool, one must master how to best glean all that you can in the shortest time possible. So, one must master use of ALL tools no matter what form, in order to become productive and competent in their work; tha is, when you use ANY tool whether it be stone, paper, computer.

    I use my new BlackBerry (frees me from my desk!), LinkedIn, Plaxo, FriendFeed, twitter, Facebook, Blogs, IM, etc. to maximize my professional network and to LEARN new things!!! VERY KEY to my use of these tools. If I wasn’t learning, sharing and growing I would NOT use these tools. So, Bob is in affect really closing his eyes to the world and denying himself a marvelous opportunity to learn, share and grow. He may want to consider sharing his wealth of knowledge with the next generation. I am and that is worth my time!

    Susan Beebe
    @smbeebe

  119. Awesome post; even more awesome comments! LOL

    It all boils down to this: We must *master* our productivity tools (technology included) in order to maximize production of our quality work in a time manner.

    So how do you use technology to accomplish this? Are you an advanced user that has figured out how to organize, sort, filter and glean the best data from all your tools? The person who is best capable of using each tool with mastery, will achieve the highest productivity ratio.

    So, what do you want to do with your time? Are you productive? Meeting your Goals? For some, we use technology as a means to achieve our goals. However, there are times that overuse of technology will become a time stealer. Find the balance! Know your limits. Learn to SKIM and FILTER data. Then, technology tools are awesome for helping one to achieve maximum productivity. Like any tool, one must master how to best glean all that you can in the shortest time possible. So, one must master use of ALL tools no matter what form, in order to become productive and competent in their work; tha is, when you use ANY tool whether it be stone, paper, computer.

    I use my new BlackBerry (frees me from my desk!), LinkedIn, Plaxo, FriendFeed, twitter, Facebook, Blogs, IM, etc. to maximize my professional network and to LEARN new things!!! VERY KEY to my use of these tools. If I wasn’t learning, sharing and growing I would NOT use these tools. So, Bob is in affect really closing his eyes to the world and denying himself a marvelous opportunity to learn, share and grow. He may want to consider sharing his wealth of knowledge with the next generation. I am and that is worth my time!

    Susan Beebe
    @smbeebe

  120. Sounds like Bob Bly uses things that he finds useful to him. Cell phones aren’t on his list. Nor is Twitter. But he has a blog and obviously connects to the Internet and uses email and by inference uses a browser and probably Google. Fine by me.

    I have two very bright friends that are somewhat like Bob and who both work in the tech industry. Neither owns a cell phone. One owns a single black and white TV he last used on 9/11 and the other uses WiFi not to connect to a notebook about the house but rather as a bridge across it to connect to trusty wired CAT cables on each end. However, they both are a bit of a conundrum because one uses Forums heavily and the other YouTube as a means of keeping connected with the latest trends in old-time music.

    Point is that people use the technology that benefits them to the degree they want it to. There’s no doubt in my mind that both of them could benefit from using technology to communicate more and better (in terms of networking to find a new job or staying current), but neither wants to–especially when it comes to their work. They’ll read the red rag or some other print publication thank you very much for what they need on the technical side. There’s too much junk out there to waste their time they argue.

    At times it pains me to see them say No to so many things that they can benefit from, but try as I might, I’m not going to be the one to persuade them. Their other non-early-adopter friends may….eventually…but not me.

  121. Sounds like Bob Bly uses things that he finds useful to him. Cell phones aren’t on his list. Nor is Twitter. But he has a blog and obviously connects to the Internet and uses email and by inference uses a browser and probably Google. Fine by me.

    I have two very bright friends that are somewhat like Bob and who both work in the tech industry. Neither owns a cell phone. One owns a single black and white TV he last used on 9/11 and the other uses WiFi not to connect to a notebook about the house but rather as a bridge across it to connect to trusty wired CAT cables on each end. However, they both are a bit of a conundrum because one uses Forums heavily and the other YouTube as a means of keeping connected with the latest trends in old-time music.

    Point is that people use the technology that benefits them to the degree they want it to. There’s no doubt in my mind that both of them could benefit from using technology to communicate more and better (in terms of networking to find a new job or staying current), but neither wants to–especially when it comes to their work. They’ll read the red rag or some other print publication thank you very much for what they need on the technical side. There’s too much junk out there to waste their time they argue.

    At times it pains me to see them say No to so many things that they can benefit from, but try as I might, I’m not going to be the one to persuade them. Their other non-early-adopter friends may….eventually…but not me.

  122. My advice, Bob Bly: take a bite, and if you don’t like it, spit it out and you never have to try it again. But you have to taste it before you tell me you hate it. This is what I tell my children and it applies to you as well. Don’t tell me something isn’t useful if you don’t experience it.

  123. My advice, Bob Bly: take a bite, and if you don’t like it, spit it out and you never have to try it again. But you have to taste it before you tell me you hate it. This is what I tell my children and it applies to you as well. Don’t tell me something isn’t useful if you don’t experience it.

  124. at least this email helped you to rethink about everything. and then you found what you are doing is right and thats who you are. personally, i’m very inspired by you. and i believe lots of other people like me being inspired by you as well.so keep doing what you are doing…all the best.

  125. at least this email helped you to rethink about everything. and then you found what you are doing is right and thats who you are. personally, i’m very inspired by you. and i believe lots of other people like me being inspired by you as well.so keep doing what you are doing…all the best.

  126. Hi Robert, Hi Bob. I’m a long-time fan, Robert, but this is my first comment on your blog. And since I’m also a long-time fan of Bob’s work, this thread has replaced the Clinton-Obama saga as my entertainment of choice. I had to way in.

    Bob, you’re one of the copywriting greats…highly respected in my office…but I have to disagree with your claim that the new media innovations are too much to keep up with and should thus be ignored. That may be true for many businesses, but just like the press release or the website, these tools are part of a marketing arsenal. Whether you use one tool really well or use many in combination will depend on the nature of your business, your customer, and your personal style.

    One reason I use these tools is because influential people are using them. The Scobles, Rowses and Huffingtons of the world can do as much for my company with a single mention as the Rathers, Jenningses and Brokaws. Mastery, or at least a working knowledge, of the tools they use is the sine qua non of connecting with these influencers.

    Robert, while I agree with most of your argument, unfortunately (or fortunately, for those of us on the front edge), most businesses haven’t figured out Twitter, Flickr, videoblogging, et al. They’re powerful tools, for sure, but we’re just barely into the experimental phase. The really exciting stuff — entrepreneurs and working-class buffoons like me inventing new uses for these tools — is still ahead of us.

    Great running debate, guys…best read I’ve had so far this week.

  127. Hi Robert, Hi Bob. I’m a long-time fan, Robert, but this is my first comment on your blog. And since I’m also a long-time fan of Bob’s work, this thread has replaced the Clinton-Obama saga as my entertainment of choice. I had to way in.

    Bob, you’re one of the copywriting greats…highly respected in my office…but I have to disagree with your claim that the new media innovations are too much to keep up with and should thus be ignored. That may be true for many businesses, but just like the press release or the website, these tools are part of a marketing arsenal. Whether you use one tool really well or use many in combination will depend on the nature of your business, your customer, and your personal style.

    One reason I use these tools is because influential people are using them. The Scobles, Rowses and Huffingtons of the world can do as much for my company with a single mention as the Rathers, Jenningses and Brokaws. Mastery, or at least a working knowledge, of the tools they use is the sine qua non of connecting with these influencers.

    Robert, while I agree with most of your argument, unfortunately (or fortunately, for those of us on the front edge), most businesses haven’t figured out Twitter, Flickr, videoblogging, et al. They’re powerful tools, for sure, but we’re just barely into the experimental phase. The really exciting stuff — entrepreneurs and working-class buffoons like me inventing new uses for these tools — is still ahead of us.

    Great running debate, guys…best read I’ve had so far this week.

  128. Bob Bly, I agree with you on Twitter, Facebook, Blackberry, iPod, and the iPhone. Their cost and/or time investment is not worth the benefit for me at this time in my judgement.

    I have tried Flickr and do like the feature where you can order photobooks from qoop. For me that is easier than putting the prints in an album myself. What I don’t like about Flickr is that they limit free-account users to just three albums at a time stored on their site.

    At a previous job, I was issued a laptop and do appreciate it’s portability vs a desktop. Since then, I’ve purchased one and enjoy blogging outside on the screened-in porch.

    Also, I avoided purchasing a cell phone for a long time, but my wife finally talked me into it. It’s a pay-as-you-go plan that costs $100/year which isn’t too bad. I have it in case of emergencies or other times when it occasionally comes in handy. But in general, I keep the phone turned off.

    Robert S., I believe you are wrong to suggest that those who choose not to spend their money/time on the latest unnecessary hi-tech gadgets and services are ignorant. More on my site if interested…

  129. Bob Bly, I agree with you on Twitter, Facebook, Blackberry, iPod, and the iPhone. Their cost and/or time investment is not worth the benefit for me at this time in my judgement.

    I have tried Flickr and do like the feature where you can order photobooks from qoop. For me that is easier than putting the prints in an album myself. What I don’t like about Flickr is that they limit free-account users to just three albums at a time stored on their site.

    At a previous job, I was issued a laptop and do appreciate it’s portability vs a desktop. Since then, I’ve purchased one and enjoy blogging outside on the screened-in porch.

    Also, I avoided purchasing a cell phone for a long time, but my wife finally talked me into it. It’s a pay-as-you-go plan that costs $100/year which isn’t too bad. I have it in case of emergencies or other times when it occasionally comes in handy. But in general, I keep the phone turned off.

    Robert S., I believe you are wrong to suggest that those who choose not to spend their money/time on the latest unnecessary hi-tech gadgets and services are ignorant. More on my site if interested…

  130. The sad thing, that I’ve discovered in being in this industry for at least as long as you, Robert, is that besides the constant sugar high of getting something new every day, that it doesn’t confer any advantage, so unless the journey is it’s own reward, so it’s just not worth running like a hamster jumping at each new idea coming from twitter or techmeme. For a long time, I used to think that somehow getting it first would somehow give me the leg up, and I found that it didn’t, and worse, that the truism of the pioneer getting the arrows in his back was correct. There’s room for one Scoble, you get to be the food taster that chokes on the poison burrito, but there’s no need for anyone to emulate you, we’ll be able to capitalize on your great discoveries and avoid your dismal failures. You’re the Russian roulette player who pulls the trigger again and again and again…

  131. The sad thing, that I’ve discovered in being in this industry for at least as long as you, Robert, is that besides the constant sugar high of getting something new every day, that it doesn’t confer any advantage, so unless the journey is it’s own reward, so it’s just not worth running like a hamster jumping at each new idea coming from twitter or techmeme. For a long time, I used to think that somehow getting it first would somehow give me the leg up, and I found that it didn’t, and worse, that the truism of the pioneer getting the arrows in his back was correct. There’s room for one Scoble, you get to be the food taster that chokes on the poison burrito, but there’s no need for anyone to emulate you, we’ll be able to capitalize on your great discoveries and avoid your dismal failures. You’re the Russian roulette player who pulls the trigger again and again and again…

  132. […] A lot of people have become sick of this noise and are trying to filter a lot of it out. Social aggregators like FriendFeed don’t filter, though, they just take ALL the noise and put it into one place. I like to think of it as turning up the volume (and yes, 11 really IS louder than 10!). Just thinking about all the noise that I am going to hear tonight, tomorrow and the next day gets me excited because I think of all the new things I will learn. It’s also how I get ideas for most of my posts. There are exciting news stories from Bloglines, though-provoking snippets from @ChrisBrogan on Twitter, and news from friends on Facebook. If you really want to hear from the master of noise, check out this post on productivity from Robert Scoble. […]

  133. […] Does Scoble have a productivity problem? Old-school copywriter Bob Bly asks why Robert Scoble spends so much time on all this social networking stuff? Robert’s answer is worth reading. There’s also ferocious discussion happening on Friendfeed as well – you’ll find the link in this post. (tags: blogging facebook socialnetworks socialmedia wasteoftime productivity geek) Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. […]

  134. Great place for people with differing ideas to spend a great deal of time unsucessfully convincing others they are right. Thanks for the 4 minutes of entertainment. I’ll wait until the movie comes out to see how it ends.

  135. Great place for people with differing ideas to spend a great deal of time unsucessfully convincing others they are right. Thanks for the 4 minutes of entertainment. I’ll wait until the movie comes out to see how it ends.

  136. LMAO

    Quote by Scoble:

    “Markus: I think we have a reading problem here. I can’t help it if you can’t read fast.”

    ooooh i can SO attest to how Twitter has turned me into SUCH a better speed reader!

    I can’t believe how much I know about new media technology & resources for my clients ever since I joined TWitter & followed the early adopters. WOW! I never read this many blog posts before – b/c they often were “long” and I didn’t think I had the time for them.

    But Twitter is actually a time SAVER for me in regards to getting all the latest & greatest resources out there FAST!

  137. LMAO

    Quote by Scoble:

    “Markus: I think we have a reading problem here. I can’t help it if you can’t read fast.”

    ooooh i can SO attest to how Twitter has turned me into SUCH a better speed reader!

    I can’t believe how much I know about new media technology & resources for my clients ever since I joined TWitter & followed the early adopters. WOW! I never read this many blog posts before – b/c they often were “long” and I didn’t think I had the time for them.

    But Twitter is actually a time SAVER for me in regards to getting all the latest & greatest resources out there FAST!

  138. Somehow, social media “tools” have spawned a religion. It’s no longer good enough to look at a tool and assess it’s purpose and suitability. No, you have to believe that it is “the answer”. You have to believe that being an early adopter somehow imbues participants with insight which reaches beyond the specifics of a tool’s utility and into the very fabric of social quality. No longer are tools “suitable for some and not for others” but instead there are “new exciting tools” and “outmoded tools”. Tech tools have become the varsity badges of the winning team these days. It seems that typewriters are useless and new social technology tools are supremely good no matter how they are applied.

    To me, this is utter horse shit.

    If your job is to communicate, then you need communications tools. If your job doesn’t involve communication but, let’s say, requires that you invent new characters for a work of fiction, or derive a new chemical formula, or paint a landscape, you may require endless weeks of uninterrupted time. Some people thrive by being on top of things. Others thrive by being on the bottom of things.

    Maybe some of those who use Twitter are the ones who don’t get it. Maybe they have never done anything which required six months of silence and uninterrupted concentration. The tech culture of absorb, regurgitate, and mash-up has its value. But, let’s not make it the only answer.

  139. Somehow, social media “tools” have spawned a religion. It’s no longer good enough to look at a tool and assess it’s purpose and suitability. No, you have to believe that it is “the answer”. You have to believe that being an early adopter somehow imbues participants with insight which reaches beyond the specifics of a tool’s utility and into the very fabric of social quality. No longer are tools “suitable for some and not for others” but instead there are “new exciting tools” and “outmoded tools”. Tech tools have become the varsity badges of the winning team these days. It seems that typewriters are useless and new social technology tools are supremely good no matter how they are applied.

    To me, this is utter horse shit.

    If your job is to communicate, then you need communications tools. If your job doesn’t involve communication but, let’s say, requires that you invent new characters for a work of fiction, or derive a new chemical formula, or paint a landscape, you may require endless weeks of uninterrupted time. Some people thrive by being on top of things. Others thrive by being on the bottom of things.

    Maybe some of those who use Twitter are the ones who don’t get it. Maybe they have never done anything which required six months of silence and uninterrupted concentration. The tech culture of absorb, regurgitate, and mash-up has its value. But, let’s not make it the only answer.

  140. I don’t want to see your cemetery photos nor does the age of a cameraman matter to me. Please stay focused on technology!

    These new social media make the people bring up so much noise, simply because it’s technically possible. I see no difference in Twitter or Friendfeed.

    Please no more tagging, hyperlinks and additional information! I am missing the good old technology magazines on paper, because they didn’t have distracting hyperlinks which always give me the feeling to miss something.

    I hope they still exist.

  141. I don’t want to see your cemetery photos nor does the age of a cameraman matter to me. Please stay focused on technology!

    These new social media make the people bring up so much noise, simply because it’s technically possible. I see no difference in Twitter or Friendfeed.

    Please no more tagging, hyperlinks and additional information! I am missing the good old technology magazines on paper, because they didn’t have distracting hyperlinks which always give me the feeling to miss something.

    I hope they still exist.

  142. […] Robert Scoble & Productivity I don’t see Robert Scoble having any productivity issues, but is still explaining and replying on his blog why he is so active in the blogosphere. He explains why he uses the latest stuff and also activity talking about those – it’s ultimately tied to what you want to do and what are your goals. I agree with Robert, for example I am not a great blogger and I don’t care if you don’t like it – I link to any random stuff that I like on the web, but it’s also my searchable diary, notepad and index of my interests. […]

  143. It is good that Scoble has not lost the abilty to think and he is not totally blinded by twittery things.

  144. It is good that Scoble has not lost the abilty to think and he is not totally blinded by twittery things.

  145. Wonderful, well-written post. Wish I had been able to read it earlier. How we define productivity is what it comes down to. What you do is productive for you because you seem to enjoy doing it and it apparently ‘pays the bills.’

    I think is trying to figure out what you really like to do and even if it appears non-productive to others it is productive to you and for you. I think ‘time’ is the element that we often overlook to figure that out for ourselves and our companies. It just takes time!

  146. Wonderful, well-written post. Wish I had been able to read it earlier. How we define productivity is what it comes down to. What you do is productive for you because you seem to enjoy doing it and it apparently ‘pays the bills.’

    I think is trying to figure out what you really like to do and even if it appears non-productive to others it is productive to you and for you. I think ‘time’ is the element that we often overlook to figure that out for ourselves and our companies. It just takes time!

  147. Technology is great for a number of reasons, including productivity and connecting with others.

    At the end of the day with all things said and done……here’s the real true reason why we should use technology:

    FROM: http://bullfrogsnbutterflies.blogspot.com/2008/05/power-of-mac.html

    I dropped DH (dear husband) off at the airport last night for his 15 + 2 hour LA trip to Sydney, Australia. He is working over in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne for two weeks and then he heads to Malaysia and Singapore.

    The girls and I miss him already!! I have to say though, I absolutely love my MacBook! DH landed a few hours ago safely and we just got done chatting via video iChat! I was sitting in my kitchen in suburbia Texas and he was at an Italian Cafe having a cappuccino outside in the heart of Sydney, Australia.

    Isn’t that incredible?? It’s Sunday morning there…

    Also, hubby’s cell phone died and he wasn’t at the hotel room so we communicated via our MacBook’s! As an added bonus, DH already took some great pictures of his view from the hotel room and already uploaded them to Flickr. Now when the girls wake up in the morning I can show them pictures of where daddy is at on the AppleTV. It just keeps getting better…

    Thank you Apple!

    BTW…tell terrystorch from lifechurch.tv I said hello….hope the Google conference is going well.

  148. Technology is great for a number of reasons, including productivity and connecting with others.

    At the end of the day with all things said and done……here’s the real true reason why we should use technology:

    FROM: http://bullfrogsnbutterflies.blogspot.com/2008/05/power-of-mac.html

    I dropped DH (dear husband) off at the airport last night for his 15 + 2 hour LA trip to Sydney, Australia. He is working over in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne for two weeks and then he heads to Malaysia and Singapore.

    The girls and I miss him already!! I have to say though, I absolutely love my MacBook! DH landed a few hours ago safely and we just got done chatting via video iChat! I was sitting in my kitchen in suburbia Texas and he was at an Italian Cafe having a cappuccino outside in the heart of Sydney, Australia.

    Isn’t that incredible?? It’s Sunday morning there…

    Also, hubby’s cell phone died and he wasn’t at the hotel room so we communicated via our MacBook’s! As an added bonus, DH already took some great pictures of his view from the hotel room and already uploaded them to Flickr. Now when the girls wake up in the morning I can show them pictures of where daddy is at on the AppleTV. It just keeps getting better…

    Thank you Apple!

    BTW…tell terrystorch from lifechurch.tv I said hello….hope the Google conference is going well.

  149. Hmmm. Looking at my comment again, I realize it’s unclear.

    Bob made a solid point in his original letter to Scoble. His followup comments reveal an argumentative attitude towards a respected person. I’ve lost respect for him, which means I plan to avoid his work from now on. Might be good stuff, but I personally don’t put up with that.

  150. Hmmm. Looking at my comment again, I realize it’s unclear.

    Bob made a solid point in his original letter to Scoble. His followup comments reveal an argumentative attitude towards a respected person. I’ve lost respect for him, which means I plan to avoid his work from now on. Might be good stuff, but I personally don’t put up with that.

  151. […] Subject: Question from a reader As a Fast Company subscriber, I occasionally read, with much bewildehttp://scobleizer.com/2008/05/27/scoble-has-a-productivity-problem/Sparrows Pt. coke plant proposed Baltimore SunBetter technology averts pollution, mill’s new owner […]

  152. As to the comment that Mr Bly started his blog AFTER his comment on blogging, that is simply not accurate. It was the first comment ON his blog.

  153. As to the comment that Mr Bly started his blog AFTER his comment on blogging, that is simply not accurate. It was the first comment ON his blog.

  154. Bob is a friend of mine so I have some bias on the subject, but I think what Bob is looking for is how social media and gadgets help a blogger/copywriter/author.

    Not to say that he has no benefit in getting a facebook or twitter account (infact, I think Twitter is a great way for authors to sell books), but really, I think what Bob is missing is how SOME of this new technology is really about marketing more than anything.

    Until you have a network of friends in social media, it’s really hard for someone to understand the benefit.

    As a copywriter, he doesn’t necessarily need Google Docs or the latest cellphone to satisfy his copywriting clients. Everyone must stil use Microsoft Word in his client industry. If he had clients asking him to use Google Docs, he’d be using it by now.

    And I think he might be probing you a little more than he is letting on in order to get a full response, as Bob has a blog and has copywritten, very well, on Internet marketing for some time now.

  155. Bob is a friend of mine so I have some bias on the subject, but I think what Bob is looking for is how social media and gadgets help a blogger/copywriter/author.

    Not to say that he has no benefit in getting a facebook or twitter account (infact, I think Twitter is a great way for authors to sell books), but really, I think what Bob is missing is how SOME of this new technology is really about marketing more than anything.

    Until you have a network of friends in social media, it’s really hard for someone to understand the benefit.

    As a copywriter, he doesn’t necessarily need Google Docs or the latest cellphone to satisfy his copywriting clients. Everyone must stil use Microsoft Word in his client industry. If he had clients asking him to use Google Docs, he’d be using it by now.

    And I think he might be probing you a little more than he is letting on in order to get a full response, as Bob has a blog and has copywritten, very well, on Internet marketing for some time now.

  156. Bob sounds like he should be reading me and not you. I wonder about what excites you as well sometimes. Let’s discuss in front of the camera today at the WorkFast rehearsal.

  157. Bob sounds like he should be reading me and not you. I wonder about what excites you as well sometimes. Let’s discuss in front of the camera today at the WorkFast rehearsal.

  158. Life is a very short journey and we are not here to waste it in using Twitter, Facebook, iPhone, Flickr,ETC.. then simple die.I just don’t get it how do we benefits the community and the people by using these things what is the meaning of these things in life. people are dying all over the world and we are using Twitter to stay in touch with friends.

  159. Life is a very short journey and we are not here to waste it in using Twitter, Facebook, iPhone, Flickr,ETC.. then simple die.I just don’t get it how do we benefits the community and the people by using these things what is the meaning of these things in life. people are dying all over the world and we are using Twitter to stay in touch with friends.

  160. Bob’s letter could apply to many of us… and he might be right. There are more serious matters the world over and people that love us that go without during times of tech. obsession. Its a drug, like heroin.

  161. Bob’s letter could apply to many of us… and he might be right. There are more serious matters the world over and people that love us that go without during times of tech. obsession. Its a drug, like heroin.

  162. […] Subject: Question from a reader As a Fast Company subscriber, I occasionally read, with much bewildehttp://scobleizer.com/2008/05/27/scoble-has-a-productivity-problem/Network news feels pain of fractured audiences San Diego Union-TribunePRIME-TIME NEWS BY THE NUMBERS […]

  163. I’ve been a big fan of Bob Bly for a long time, I give him credit for my copy writing career as I have read about 10 of his books. He is old school and I did notice that he asked for clarification in his letter to Robert, not to be attacked.

    While I don’t want to be on anybodies side I think we should share why and how technology has brought us all together as a society. I have no doubt that he gets more done than I do because I’ll spend more time on things I shouldn’t, like forums. They will sure suck up your time! But they also have their marketing benefits that I contribute a lot of work to.

  164. I’ve been a big fan of Bob Bly for a long time, I give him credit for my copy writing career as I have read about 10 of his books. He is old school and I did notice that he asked for clarification in his letter to Robert, not to be attacked.

    While I don’t want to be on anybodies side I think we should share why and how technology has brought us all together as a society. I have no doubt that he gets more done than I do because I’ll spend more time on things I shouldn’t, like forums. They will sure suck up your time! But they also have their marketing benefits that I contribute a lot of work to.

  165. […] simpatico: hace 21 min Robert Scoble publico un post explicando su uso de estas herramientas. Muy recomendada lectura. Sabias que el Mars Lander esta en Twitter explicando “Que esta […]

  166. […] simpatico: hace 21 min Robert Scoble publico un post explicando su uso de estas herramientas. Muy recomendada lectura. Sabias que el Mars Lander esta en Twitter explicando “Que esta […]

  167. “an email asking him why he wastes so much time with Web 2.0 services and technology gadets, Scoble wrote: Lately I’ve been asking myself a lot of similar questions that Bob has been asking”

    Yes. Thanks

  168. “an email asking him why he wastes so much time with Web 2.0 services and technology gadets, Scoble wrote: Lately I’ve been asking myself a lot of similar questions that Bob has been asking”

    Yes. Thanks

  169. Social networking is a fine outlet for social people. Maybe Bob is the type that still takes photos with a Polaroid like my father-in-law and doesn’t have many people who want to chat with him online. It is possible that he isn’t much for socializing on or offline. I think Elisa saw right through the letter.

    I have, relatively few friends on Facebook, a conservative LinkedIn connections page, a blog that only gets comments from me, and a Flickr site with cute kids, but rarely a comment, but I am hardly a celebrated author. It doesn’t bother me because I’m a nobody.

    Bob is a big time author and I really like his books and he has a lot more to lose to have a less than stellar social network. So keep your eyes out for his next book. This has been a pretty damn good publicity stunt.

  170. Social networking is a fine outlet for social people. Maybe Bob is the type that still takes photos with a Polaroid like my father-in-law and doesn’t have many people who want to chat with him online. It is possible that he isn’t much for socializing on or offline. I think Elisa saw right through the letter.

    I have, relatively few friends on Facebook, a conservative LinkedIn connections page, a blog that only gets comments from me, and a Flickr site with cute kids, but rarely a comment, but I am hardly a celebrated author. It doesn’t bother me because I’m a nobody.

    Bob is a big time author and I really like his books and he has a lot more to lose to have a less than stellar social network. So keep your eyes out for his next book. This has been a pretty damn good publicity stunt.