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Is tech industry perceived to be more important then it is?

by paintguru / April 3, 2008 10:27 AM PDT

Ok, perhaps this is just me, but I am really getting the impression from listening to a variety of podcasts and reading tech related material online that the tech industry in general really thinks it is much more influential and important then it actually is in mainstream America. This came up again as I was listening to TWIT and the discussion about the "death of the newspaper" and how people will soon just get their news from blogs or *shudder* Twitter. Thankfully, Molly jumped in with a reasonable view, which the group eventually agreed upon, that EVENTUALLY this may happen but it is not gonna happen anytime soon. Leo went on about how he gets most of his stuff online and doesn't get the paper anymore (and seemed to flip flop to Molly's position at the end). While this may be true for some, I will be honest, I know of no one who even has a Kindle, uses Twitter, or only reads blogs for their news. I'd be shocked if they knew was RSS was. I would imagine it is not true for just me either.

A second example of this is TV via the internet. I have been hearing for the last year or two that the death of cable is coming and that this is the future. The way the tech industry makes this sound is that, in the next year or two, watching TV on my computer will be the norm, or at least downloading shows streamed to the TV will be. Sorry, I don't see it, and again, I know of no one who has ever watched anything on their computer beyond Youtube, nor do I know anyone that downloads things to a media center. I can see very few people over the age of 35 ever moving away from cable or satellite because of the fact that they are used to having it this way. Perhaps this is a generational thing (I am only 30), but even those that I know as young as their 20s know nothing about this stuff, nor do they show interest. And just because the kids are doing it doesn't mean it will be the norm. I know, just because it is true for me doesn't mean that it is true for everyone, but that is why I am posting this. Do you really know that many people who are actually doing these media "shifts" that the tech industry seems to be proclaiming? Do they listen to podcasts? Watch TV/movies online? Seek out Tekzilla or some other "made for the net" TV show? I mean, I work with PhDs who are in research and development, so I would consider them to be pretty "nerdy". We all love gadgets, computers, and consumer electronics, but I am the only one that listens to podcasts or is even semi-interested in the whole "media" revolution that is allegedly going on. Podcasting did not take off as people thought it would. Yes it has its place, but radio isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Satellite radio has a better chance of folding then it does succeeding. Perhaps I am just jaded or something, but I am curious to hear other people's thoughts. Granted we all may be a bit biased, as we are the people who have embraced (to a certain extent) the "new media", but are all your friends, coworkers, and family doing the same? I would think this would be necessary for all these old businesses to die off and be replaced by the newer media models. Sorry for the long post, hopefully it is a reasonable question.

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I agree
by fordo123 / April 3, 2008 12:18 PM PDT

My friends are all fairly tech-savvy and none of them listen to podcasts. Or move their shows sitting on tivo onto their ipod to watch. Or twitter. None have ever heard of Hulu or Mahalo. I watch tv online and no longer touch a real newspaper and feel lost w/o my email and IM. But not so for my friends. I think we who listen to podcasts like BOL are under the mistaken impression that most other people care about this tech stuff the way that we do. But they dont. Consumers havent even heard of net neutrality and the only way they will ever know about it or care is if they see a sudden change in their monthly ISP bill.

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2 things...
by robstak / April 3, 2008 12:45 PM PDT

1) everyone wants to be the first to predict something. so that prolly explains the preemptiveness...

2 i agree, it's a next generation thing, maybe 10 yrs or so is more realistic, but just cuz some 20 somethings dont use the internet now for everyhting, doesnt mean they won't in 10 years... even my mom has an ipod now.

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One more thought...
by paintguru / April 3, 2008 10:11 PM PDT
In reply to: 2 things...

I agree that people tend to adapt to new thing (like buying ipods, or using email), but it seems to me that media is a different beast in general. If people are happy with the way they are getting it, I don't see someone changing to the "new thing" (wow I use a lot of air quotes in my messages!). The iPod/mp3 players are clear advances over cd players and Walkmans because they allow you to carry more music at once. I don't think, if CD players had the same capacity as MP3 players, you would have seen the seismic shift that you did. The only thing I can see the people massively switching toward is if they can get a la cart cable channels on THEIR TV easily, whether it is through a cable box or some streaming device that is EASILY setup on their PC. They won't do it if they have to hack something or do some other funny computer install. I feel that this would be done because it is simplifying the person's life by getting only the channels they want (especially if it saves them money) and because the media would still be accessible from their TV, which is how I think 99% of the US still WANTS to watch their video media (we did just get to HD programming). There is too much complexity in getting podcasts and buying TV shows on iTunes. People (mainstream US) want access to just be THERE and not have to go in, pick the TV show you want to download...wait for it to download...and then watch it. I guess OnDemand movies are kinda like this, are they that popular over DVD/PPV/premium channels? I seem to be rambling again, but thanks for the replies thus far.

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eaxtly what i was thinking...
by robstak / April 5, 2008 2:11 AM PDT
In reply to: One more thought...

it depends on the product. my mom would get a la carte cable box, but shell never blog Silly

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Even tech people *don't* listen to podcasts or anything
by DaveBinM / April 6, 2008 2:06 PM PDT
In reply to: One more thought...

I'm a 19 y.o. IT student at University, and *none* of my friends at University listen to podcasts at all, I'm the only one, and only one of them uses Twitter, and I introduced them to it. I have only two friends who are even on the same level of tech awareness/care. And I'm only talking about people who read the likes of Engadget, Lifehacker, Slashdot, etc. Tech is important, but it's not *that* important. And I stopped listening to TWiT because of all the trumpet blowing "look at me" people, sometimes there were good ones, (I believe one week there was Ryan Block, Veronica and Tom), but I got sick of the rest.

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Don't you hate that.
by udayan71 / April 6, 2008 11:12 PM PDT

I too am totally bereft of Web 2.0 realworld friends. Super annoying. Luckily folks here and welebrities in SF are amazing people and very welcoming, so getting to know them is easy, but I wish I had more folks in my life that know Web 2.0 - people I can meet for drinks and meals.

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by DaveBinM / April 7, 2008 2:20 AM PDT
In reply to: Don't you hate that.

Yeah, I have about 2 friends that are into the whole "Web 2.0" stuff as much as me, Twitter, Google Docs, blogging even, and all that kind of stuff. My girlfriend just shakes her head at me when I'm "twittering" on my phone while we're out. And where I am, there's no real meetups at all, not for Google, Engadget, or anything else I'm interested in. (I'm not expecting anyone from SF or the like to come over here to Australia, but we don't have *any* reader meetups). Still, it means I'm relegated to talking to few people about the web, tech, media, Apple, Microsoft, Google and everything else. But hey, there's always blogs, and of course the Buzz Out Loud Lounge and the IRC chat!

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Is tech industry perceived to be more important then it is?
by thriftyT / April 4, 2008 8:39 AM PDT


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It's really just a question of how long it takes for this stuff to happen.
Progress doesn't stop because of mainstream ignorance.

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There is a difference...
by paintguru / April 4, 2008 11:06 AM PDT
In reply to: No

...between progress and total acceptance. I don't deny that this media is progressing, but like I said, tech pundits seem to think that the revolution is immanent. How long have we been listening to podcasts? Weren't we told that this would soon replace radio? Is it? I contend no, and that it is in fact, flattening out. It just seems to me the tech industry thinks things are moving faster then they really are.

I also contend that progress DOES stop because of main stream ignorance unless a plan gets put into place to tell mainstream people about it. People will not change to something if they don't know it exists. If the main stream people don't know they can get the NY Times on their Kindle (not that they know what that is), then why would they ever stop getting the regular paper? Therefore, why would the paper die. I contend that many of these people aren't even making the choice to still read the paper...they still read it because they don't know (and perhaps don't care) that alternatives exist.

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Technology progresses down..
by Nicholas Buenk / April 4, 2008 11:40 AM PDT

Through to people slowly progressing from one skill/experience level to the next. Eventually mainstream will be aware of it.
Just observe the history of the desktop computer, from geeks in the 70's to offices in the 80's to consumers in the 90's.
Or digital music, from geeks in the 90's, to everyone today thanks to the iPod.
We're just in the early stages today, the revolutions coming are already seen by the geeks.

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It's slower than we're led to believe...
by ibcrandy-2120454356981420 / April 7, 2008 9:47 AM PDT

but it still comes. A year ago most of my friends didn't even know what a podcast was. Just this last Friday a friend and his wife came over to watch the Battlestar Galactica premiere and he mentioned something he heard on a BG podcast. I had to have him repeat it since I was so surprised he was listening to a podcast that I missed the comment he made entirely. If I had to rate the tech savvyness of my friends this guy would be in the mid to low range, so it helped me realize that podcasts are at least starting to catch on.

The point that tech commentary might take itself a little too seriously seems true to me though. But then I wonder if it's just because I live in Kentucky and maybe things are quite different in, say, the bay area. I seem to recall hearing about craigslist when it only served that area long ago and how popular it was. Now it's national (maybe international?) and in my town hardly anyone uses it. I think when you live in an area where technology is one of the major industries and thus are surrounded by tech people you might lose perspective on how important the rest of the country thinks tech is. I know on BOL they often talk about how nice certain devices are for commuters, but here the public transit is so lousy that you either drive or you take public transit as a last resort. If you're in the latter bunch it's not likely you're going to be able to afford a kindle or iphone.

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your right
by mementh / April 7, 2008 11:10 AM PDT

mass transit is horrable in most major cities.

i drive in nashville to work and back.. its just not practical to even think of public transportation.

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I love to listen to Leo Laporte but have to admit
by minimalist / April 6, 2008 6:12 AM PDT

that sometimes the self-congratulatory BS can reach epic proportions on podcasts like TWIT. I've noticed it most often happens when someone like Jason Calacanis is a guest and its a slow news week. Then the show devolves into Calacanis arrogantly bragging about his latest expensive gadget and overblown speculation from everyone on the show about how Twitter has "changed everything."

If you listen to enough of these podcasts and read enough blogs the Web 2.0 echo chamber creates the illusion that much of what's discussed is more important than it actually is.

This is one of the reasons BOL is one of my favorite podcasts. Molly Tom and Jason temper everything they discuss with a healthy dose of skepticism.

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Yes It is.

If you live and breath "tech" it's important. If you don't. It's not.

There is a lot of "if all you have is a hammer, everthing looks like a nail to you" in the world. Including Web 2.0 stuff.

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