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Scoble Just Doesn’t Get It

Yeah, I know, it’s not exactly a shocking revelation; but every now and then Scoble comes up with something that makes even a battle hardened veteran of the New Media Douchewars like myself sit back, shake my head, and go “huwazat‽”

In this particular instance it’s a bit that Robert wrote regarding the Facebook Terms of Service Copyright Landgrab. Linky here. Here’s a quick review, for those of you with actual things to do with your time. Recently Facebook posted a change to their Terms of Service that said, in essence, you are giving them a permanent and irrevocable license to all content that you post to Facebook and that Facebook can effectively use that content in any way they see fit.

I’m not going to comment on the specifics of the situation; mainly because I don’t care, and this sort of crap is exactly what I expect of an outfit like Facebook. But I am going to comment on Robert’s reaction; because I think that reaction is a prime example of what most of us already know: Robert Scoble is completely out of touch with reality.

Robert’s reaction can be summed up in one quote from the article:

Truth is it doesn’t matter.

Robert’s inability to grasp the issues here is manifest in two distinct ways. I’ll address each separately.

Social Networking Does Not Equal Marketing.

Social Networking is not Marketing; but the inability to grasp that fact is the defining characteristic of the New Media Douchebag. To a NMD like Scoble, every interaction; from posting a Twitter update, to talking to a person in a bar, to uploading a picture of their cat is an opportunity to promote the semi-mythical “personal brand” that they’ve built around themselves. This is something that makes the New Media Douchebags almost tragic figures to me; and is the main reason why I don’t bag on them as much as I could.

See, what the Robert and The New Media Douchebags never seem to get is that, for every one of them, there are millions of people using services like Facebook in order to do mundane things like reconnect and keep in touch with friends and family. These are people who are uploading content to share with the people that they care about and who, rightly, balk at the idea of a corporation asserting ownership of that content in order to make a buck.

Scoble’s advice to these people; which essentially boils down to either give up your ownership or host your own content is farcical when you consider his needs and resources as opposed to the needs and resources of the actual average Facebook user. It may be easy for Robert to relinquish control of his content in his overwhelming quest to push his personal brand; but I, and the majority of Facebook users have no brand to push; and no desire to use my snapshots to push it if I did.

Not All Marketing Is Created Equal.

The second way in which Robert misses the point is, honestly, not one that occurred to me as I read the initial article. It was something that was pointed out in this comment by Jim Goldstein. Here’s an excerpt:

I am continually perplexed by your stance on issues such as this. Your needs and use of social media sites are not one size fits all and your approach of guiding others to do the same of giving everything away for free is troubling. If it were so simple FastCompany wouldn’t be so concerned about protecting the work you do for them. Individuals who strive to leverage social media to make a name for themselves, market and pick up clients as a sole proprietorship or LLC suffer from such a blanket recommendation.

I’ll admit that this argument doesn’t resonate with me since I’m not interested in marketing; but it’s valid nonetheless. Unfortunately for those who are attempting to market themselves via social media, the sort of advice offered by the high priests of New Media Douchebaggery only really applies to other New Media Douchebags. Unless you’re willing to become a full-on Scoble; this sort of advice will hurt more than it will help.

More to the point; this attitude exemplifies one of my biggest criticism of the New Media Douchelite. They are incapable of understanding that they are in no way representative of the average user of the services they promote. They peer into the crowd, and see only their own face shining back at them. It’s no wonder that I sometimes pity them.