Buzz Kill

Leo Laporte is a luminary of sorts, at least of the current Web 2.0 milieu. He is one of the few highly visible bloggers and pundits that actually earns a good living through his syndicated radio show, articles and podcasts. He certainly is in the top 2% of the sharing, blogging, streaming and advising social media elite.

I was aware of his sphere of influence, it would be difficult NOT to be, yet he never caught my interest. That changed a few days ago.

Leo Laporte wrote a very honest, very sensible post, full of wisdom based on a recent event in his own life:

Something happened tonight that made me question everything I’ve done with social media since I first joined Twitter in late 2006…. I sign up for every site, try every web app, use every service I can find. It’s my job, but I also love doing it. I believe in the Internet as a communication tool. I love trying the myriad new ways people are using it to connect and I believed that social media specifically had some magic new potential to bring us together. When Google announced Buzz last year I was one of the first to jump on the bandwagon…. I built a following of over 17,000 people. I was happy.

Then last night [August 22, 2010] I noticed that my Buzzes were no longer showing up. Nothing [had gone] public since August 6. Nothing. Maybe I did something wrong to my Google settings. I am completely willing to take the blame here. But I am also taking away a hugely important lesson.

No one noticed.  Not even me. 

It makes me feel like everything I’ve posted over the past four years… has been an immense waste of time. I was shouting into a vast echo chamber where no one could hear me because they were too busy shouting themselves. Thank God the content I deem most important, my broadcast radio shows, still stand. I’m very fortunate to have found an audience… I would have heard from people if there had been 16 days of dead silence [from my radio programs]… if we miss one show I get hundreds of emails! Social media, I gave you the best years of my life, but never again.  

Excerpted fromBuzz Kill.
Leo, thank you so much for your candor and humility. I can benefit from your experience, as I realize I need to focus on the things I do well, rather than chasing micro-blogging and long-tail interests. I wish you continued success. You deserve it. Less IS more. “Firehose” type activity is no substitute for author interaction.

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