The Technology Doesn’t Matter

Imagine what the adoption curve for books would be if the conversation about books dealt with typesetting and font intricacies and the compelling features of a particular kind of binding.

Shirky has a remarkable ability to put a skewer through a million things and get to the essence of the broader question that isn’t even articulated: “social tools aren’t interesting until the technology becomes boring.”

As Clay Shirky recently remarked on the Colbert Report, so it must be true, “social tools aren’t interesting until the technology becomes boring.” And more to the point “the social effects are more important than how the technology works.” This might be disconcerting to people in the technology business an hopefully they come realize they aren’t in the technology business. But we are still in the early stages of social software. Case in point is how we still using the rudimentary language of features. Like “wiki” or “blog” or “social networking.” Techcrunch posts and Facebook apps are a constant stream of feature porn.

[From Plexus Beta: Collective Genius: The Technology Doesn’t Matter]

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5 thoughts on The Technology Doesn’t Matter

  1. Jeff, quite right!

    When the supplier “gets’ his focus back” and start delivering value whatever it takes – that’s when the tech becomes valuable instead of only amazing.

    Thing is; there is something called “peer pressure”, aka “strokes” which is more important for the individual than anything else – and when all your peers goes “ahh” and “ooh” over a some nifty tech solution it’s hard to forget.

    Some years ago I was involved in the games industry and spent much time at trade shows (E3 in LA was one) where it was abundantly clear that amazing graphics and framerates gave peer strokes and free beer while the kids (who never were allowed at the shows!) only wanted gameplay, gameplay. And those who delivered that before whizzing new tech did win at the end of the day. Nintendo was one…

  2. Jeff, what’s your bet on the company that most moves the technology to “boring”? Microsoft introducing a “fire and forget” RSS reader in its next version of outlook?

  3. Apple is already doing that with Safari and Apple Mail. Microsoft is doing it in IE today. I don’t know if RSS becomes boring as a result of the reader end points being ubiquitous, but I would be enthusiastic if they did and it happened.

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