March of the PenguinsLuc Jacquet, director
Well done, but – given all the buzz about this movie – a disappointment.
My review: A really, really well done National Geographic-type special, about an animal I knew little about, filmed extremely well under what must have been brutal conditions.
But that’s it. I borrowed the DVD; I doubt I’ll ever watch it again.
Maybe all my Disovery/History channel watching has tainted me…
Over at ongoing, Tim Bray has a good (high-level) review of Robert Scoble’s (and Shel Israel’s) new book, Naked Conversations.
Bray’s review is good (and the first I’ve read so far), but it brought up the related and non-related impressions with me. Most have little to do with the book, so bear with me, I’m just venting/spouting:
- Scoble’s book (Israel is essentially his editor/translator, and I’ve no problem with that) is about business blogging, about how it can help businesses. Bullshit.
- Blogs – like RSS, SuperBowl ads and so on – are solutions in search of a problem. I’ve already seen enough of the rise of both splogs (spam blogs), spam comments on blogs and ads in RSS feeds to realise that those businesses, uh, leveraging these tools are not leveraging: They are obfuscating and removing value from same. Yes, blogs can have a very positive impact on businesses – both Scoble’s and Bray’s help their associated companies (Microsoft and Sun, respectively) in very positive ways – but that does NOT mean every business should have one. Sometimes you need a Yellow Pages’ ad; sometimes you don’t. Yellow Pages are a powerful tool, but not for everyone. Sometimes you need a billboard/TV ad/etc; sometimes you don’t. Ditto for business blogs. (Full disclosure: I’ve always been a fan of telling every business to get a domain name and have – at least – a one-page site with some contact info/company info. Low cost, reserves your company name for future expansion, what’s the harm?)
- Splogs are a real problem, especially until search engines can figure them out and rank accordingly. Both Bray and – especially – Scoble are not afraid to be honest about their respective companies and ding them when needed, and that’s good for tech companies. For makers of baking equipment, or Payless Shoe Stores (etc), I dunno. (And that’s just because I don’t know…you know?)
- RSS: If you have something to list, hell, get it out there. RSS is opt-in, so that’s powerful from a user point of view (makes marketing cringe, agreed). And if no one links to the feed, well, you lost the time creating the feed, but…you’ve also learned something. So that’s something. But DON’T expect it to be the silver bullet to solve all your company’s ills. It’s just another tool.
- The problem with business blogs is the same as with (many business) web sites: Once corporate reads a WSJ article about it, there’s this rush to develop same and for the first couple of months the site/blog is updated and then…isn’t. Stale content is worse than no content in some ways, especially with blogs. And I’ve seen the stale-content-syndrome over and over on a first-hand basis dozens of times. Honest. Intranet/extranet/Web site/blog/newsletter and so on: The focus so-often seems to switch to something else.
While I totally agree with Scoble that blogs can help some businesses, it all goes back to the Abraham Maslow quotation:
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.
Ever notice how lots of average folks like/love Google Maps, but there isn’t a lot of talk of “monetizing” them?
Little (if any) smaps (spam maps; my term)?
Yet the integration of Google Maps, as well as Wikipedia, as quietly continued, is producing value for the end users as well a site owner and – for the most part – had not been subverted(the false entries; self-editing etc. are still issues on Wikipedia).