Why the web is dead, this website sucks, and why you’ll see me on your Kindle soon.
Not only did they use a hashtag on the cover of the final print edition, probably the only way you can get a copy of the thing is on the Kindle.
I’ve been saying that the internet is dead for a while now, but apparently people only listen when you say this kind of thing if you’re Anil Dash. If you visit that link, please note the irony of the fact that his comment section is handled by a Facebook widget. But really, let’s face it. The web is dead. Google has turned search into an SEO-poisoned gutter of desperate web marketers paying to rank in Google so that Google will pay them for ranking. eBay is a shark-infested cesspool of hustlers and bidbots. And social networking? Puh-LEEZE. No one ever read your tweets anyway, and Facebook has served its only useful purpose, which was letting you re-connect with that long lost flame that previously you could only “Guilt Google” (when you weren’t busy Googlewanking) so you could either hook up, or finally remember why you lost track of each other in the first place. Why am I so adamant that social is dead? Well, about five years ago, while doing a little work I cringeingly called “Social Network Consulting”, I ran into a friend who actually had that printed on her business card! I asked her: “So what does that mean? You charge people to tell them to use Facebook and Twitter?” Our pockets – bulging with consulting fees – bounced as we had a belly laugh. Well guess what. There are now over 180,000 Social Media Experts on Twitter! Presumably, they’re all telling you how great Twitter is. At least they don’t waste entire paragraphs doing it, right? The last possible hope of the web getting interesting again was dangled before us not too long ago with the exciting label user generated content. I have a FEW things to say about THAT one. First of all, all you “users” have proven not only that you’re not capable of producing content worth reading, you don’t even stick to it! Just Google “I haven’t posted in a while”, and not only do you get 820 million results, Google conveniently suggests the more useful “sorry I haven’t posted in a while”. People also became disheartened quickly when they finally produced that book on Blurb or someplace, and even their FRIENDS didn’t by copies. Likewise when their Kickstarter campaign generated 200 bucks instead of the ten grand they had hoped for. Even the website you’re reading this article on sucks! It’s poorly-coded for mobile devices, the articles are too long, and thanks to the content scrapers – who prefer to call themselves “curators” so they don’t feel badly for building entire websites with other people’s original content – it ranks infinitely lower in search engines than it did even a year ago. (Insider secret: we’re shutting down to move to a new platform in the coming months)
But I’m not here to tell you how horrible life will be because of all this, I’m here to tell you how COOL it will be. A few interesting things happened last year. One was that while physical retail sales were soft, increasing by 2-4%, online sales were through the roof, growing by about 14% . You don’t need fancy market surveys to figure this out; you could see tumbleweeds in the malls this last holiday season, but it was common to run into a FEDEX or UPS driver at 7pm during that time, and if you did, they were sweating, panting, and on the verge of collapse. And you know one thing that was likely to be in those parcels they were delivering? A tablet. Sales were up ONE THOUSAND PERCENT last year. That means someone was buying a tablet EVERY SINGLE SECOND during the holidays. I can confirm this flurry of sales; I can’t tell you how many weird messages I received over the holidays until friends learned to turn off Spell Check on their Kindle Fire.
If you haven’t pieced together how these factors are going to converge to kick the last breath out of the web as we know it, you obviously haven’t struggled to get your tablet to show web pages in their non-mobile version. And you haven’t noticed that Microsoft not only ditched the desktop (something some users couldn’t handle) in their new operating system, but for the first time ever, they built their own hardware to deliver it, and it’s basically a tablet. And maybe you haven’t noticed (as my pal Nick pointed out to me the other day) that it’s been over a year since eBook sales on Amazon outstripped book sales . You also probably haven’t been reading something on your tablet, gotten curious about a book that is mentioned, and experienced the bizarre exhilaration of OWNING AND READING that book five minutes later. Here’s an example of one of the ways you may end up doing this. Below is a Beta version of a tool that displays the preview of a Kindle book, right in a web page. In this case it’s MY book. Tell me that – especially if you’re on a Kindle – this won’t lead you to buy a book eventually, pulling you off the web to actually READ something. Especially when print institutions like Newsweek are going digital only. Soon, the trick is going to be getting you back ON the web.
Check out the preview of our book. Then BUY it!
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