Just a thought about idea adoption.
This one is going to be a weird one. Bear with me though – I really want to hear your opinion about it.
Last week I read this interesting post on Seth Godin’s blog. It was about idea adoption:
Most of the time, most of us choose to be in the slot of mass. The masses wait to see the positive reviews, or they monitor the bestseller lists. The masses know they have plenty of time, that they’ll get around to it when they get a chance, and mostly, they are driven by what their peers (the early adopters, the ones who keep track of this stuff) tell them. “Why waste time and money on the wrong thing,” they argue, with some persuasion. So they wait for proof. Social proof or statistical proof.
You should really read his whole post, and while you are at it – subscribe to his blog and read it. (If you are by any chance subscribed to my blog and not his, I will see it as a small sign of success on my part – he is by far a better writer, even if on other topics).
Anyway, reading his post got me thinking – how does this relate to some of my recent activities? I looked at 3 of those: news, real time analytics and WebRTC. Not connected to each other, besides me being curious about them all.
News need to travel fast. So fast today that a lot of people believe Twitter is the news agency of the future. Only problem is, it is way too easy to game the system: to generate made up news that hit the larger news sites out there, becoming truth one moment and a flop the next.
Lauren Hockenson said it best on The Next Web about the future of journalism:
It’s been a busy month. My Twitter feed keeps me informed as news breaks, and I’ve been lucky to have a front row seat to many big stories this month. Here are a few:
The death of actor Morgan Freeman.
Teen sensation Justin Bieber’s cancer diagnosis (and encouragement of head shaving in unity).
The death of pop singer Ke$ha.
The “remembrance” of Paul Davis/Todd Jones, “The Navy Seal that killed Osama Bin Laden.”
Sharks swimming in the New York subway system.
Samsung paying the patent infringement damages to Apple in change.
The death of Bill Nye
… And really, the list goes on.
You may have guessed that this is a string of recent events vigorously propagated through Twitter that were subsequently proven false.
Most importantly, when dealing with news that is germane to a breaking world event, what kind of damage is done when an overeager reporter hits the retweet button in the name of being first?
But, somewhere along the way, this utility has been conflated with newswire resources such as AP, which is exactly what it’s not. Traditional newswires are thoroughly vetted resources that hinge on the information flowing through the channel being both new and accurate.
When it comes to news, as it seems, we’ve passed the point where idea adoption makes sense – being first might not be the best approach.
When I see something of interest happening in WebRTC, it will usually take me 3-5 days to get something published about it. The reason? It takes me time to think it over, to write something and to schedule it in-between my planned posts. Do I miss anything with that approach? Maybe page views, but this is not my main measure of success here.
Real time analytics
Real time analytics is what you do with Big Data. Not really, but that’s what we’re told.
Real time for analytics can be milliseconds, seconds, minutes or even a couple of hours to fit into the “real time” category. And yet… is it always worth it to go to the effort of processing and fetching these insights in real time?
Do we gain here something from idea adoption? Or is it better to wait?
When you do things in real time, you might actually lose accuracy in the process, which might cause more harm than good, depending on your use case.
Real time in this sense, works best when you act upon it automatically and not manually by humans looking at the data.
WebRTC is here because it is new. We are all early adopters – the people who talk about it, those that develop and even those that are adamant skeptics.
The main question I ask myself is when it will get adopted by the masses – where is the inflection point? But that’s probably a topic for another post…
Where do you see idea adoption taking hold in your domains?