Be Amazed

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Every time you try an application or even get online be amazed that it works at all.

Think back to how the Internet actually started and you might laugh at the fact that you accessed it from the phone line in your home or office. When you order a book from Amazon and it shows up on your doorstep, take a moment to respect the fact that you bought something physical through a pure digital channel. And while technology evolves and gets better, don’t ever kid your self into thinking that it’s not a miracle each and every time something actually works online.

This is why I don’t get mad when Twitter is down or when Technorati does something wonky.

Joe Thornley (from Thornley Fallis and the Pro PR Blog) had a recent Blog post titled, Technorati And Me. As you can guess from the title, he’s giving up on Technorati. Too many glitches, jumps in ratings, funky search results (or none at all), etc… He does a much better job of distilling the challenges we’ve all encountered with Technorati than I ever could. Joe tagged me (amoung others) at the end of his Blog post by asking:

"Are there social media tools and apps for which you once had high hopes that you now find yourself using and visiting less often?"

There are some I’ve been using less of (Second Life comes to mind) and some I don’t use enough of (like FriendFeed). With all of the hooplah over Technorati, the "fail whale" that is Twitter, and the recent Gmail outage, I’ve come to realize two things:

1. I can’t put any serious reliance on any free tool of Web-based application. I’d love to wax poetic about how I "live in the cloud", but right now, it’s just not possible. I always sigh when people get frustrated by free Web-based applications that they are using (and relying on) for business purposes. So, while I use them and enjoy them (or hate them with every fibre of my being when they are not working), I don’t rely on any of them. I love Google Reader more than the next person, but if it crashed and burned right now, I’d be the first to move on and find something else, because my expectations are very, very low.

2. Application are like fashion – they change with the seasons. Nothing is here to stay and you can double the resonance of that statement when it comes to anything coming out of the Internet culture. For all the Facebook, Twitter and FriendFeeds of the world, there were the ICQ, Friendster and Prodigy‘s of the past. I’m not saying that anything and everything that we see online changes, but who would have suspected that Google could overtake Yahoo! they way it did? Someone, somewhere right now is watching all of these conversations and working on a better mousetrap (there’s also somebody watching that person for mousetrap 3.0).

I don’t expect any of these tools to ever be available or work the way they should. This way, when they do, I’m amazed, thrilled and have that "I can’t believe this is free" feeling that I love so much.

Are you someone who gets amazed or disappointed?


  1. You have some valid points and I tend to agree that while free services are great, they are not 100% reliable and there is a chance that disappointment will arise. Also, when it comes to blogging, the platform you choose will form a solid foundation for growing that blog. When using blogs for business, it is probably wise to not become too dependent on free services. It can also be limiting.

  2. Love the simplicity of this …
    When you think about it it’s almost funny that we get upset at FREE web based applications when they falter in some way.
    They are FREE … we do nothing to support (monetarily that is) the companies trying to put out a great tool.
    What is amazing is that these companies, for the most part, do an incredible job building and supporting free applications & tools that both make our lives on the web easier and more exciting.
    Thanks for the positive post. I subscribe the the ‘half glass full’ way of life my-self!

  3. Appreciate the simplicity with which you’ve approached the subject matter. It is true that we get mad at anything & everything that the Web has to offer and more so when it is free.
    But truly we are not supposed to get mad at it since all this time we promised ourselves that it’s gonna be alright, forgetting that IT’S FREE, FREE!

  4. I think it also has to do with an escalation of expectations. As the availability and performance of applications continues to grow, so will our expectations.
    I remember with free email, when it was a 3 MB limit, then 5 MB, then Gmail blew it all away with 1 G. Now, the gig that Gmail offers doesn’t seem that amazing anymore. It’s expected, because our expectation of norms have increased.

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