Wednesday, January 27, 2010

#133 - Get ready for the "Splinternet"

Hold on to your seats folks, everything is about to change. Believe it or not, we've been on a fairly cushy ride for the last 15 years with the rise of the Internet. As the Web produced more and more and more convenient technology for us to consume, we got used to the fact that it was being developed under the premise that devices/programs/hardware/software/applications - everything - should, could and would work together. Does anyone besides me remember the dark ages when we couldn't even file share between a Mac and a PC? Oh, the horror!

But seriously, weren't we all happier when our technologies started to mesh? Now, it appears we are headed backwards, sideways and in every other direction. Competition has reared its ugly head and it's making my life more confusing and more complicated. How about you?

Google led the way in the technological revolution that made searching (and finding) anything and everything on the web - soooo easy. All our "stuff" started working in unison and it was good. Today, a number of prominent bloggers, like Seth Godin, and Josh Bernoff at Groundswell, have dubbed the Internet, the "Splinternet," as new technology spreads our accessibility in different directions. Clever, clever. I loved Seth's posts yesterday, too. (And highly recommend his new book" LinchPin - available at

The catalyst for change this time is Apple. What am I talking about? Well, if you haven't guessed by now, it's the hot story of the day - Apple's dramatic introduction of the new iPad - their Tablet device - which competes with Amazon's Kindle. Before you shake your head and think this is just another non-event, just peruse some of last night's buzz. I read so many posts on the subject that my head started to spin like Linda Blair in The Exorcist - but the experts seem to have reached concensus. These competing technologies are not a good thing.

Here's a good Huffington Post article succinctly giving us the five W's (that's Who, What, When, Where, and Why, for non-journalists). Check it out:

After reading all the blogs, columns and webzines, I get it. This is a major change and it will ultimately affect us all.

For instance, did you know that Apps for the iPhone won't necessarily work on the new Google droid? Or, that a book published for the Kindle isn't readable on the new iPad? Didn't this really start with the introduction of Blu-Ray? (My DVD player was working just fine; then HD came out and, like so many, I just had to upgrade.) Why can't all of these technologies just get along? And no, you can't play a Blu-ray disc on anything other than a Blu-Ray player. So, just how many ways do I need to be able to watch a movie?

Major corporations have invested millions to develop mobile applications that now - suddenly - will not work for everyone. Let's make up our minds. Even better, let's go back to "sharing" and collaborating on technology that works interchangeably - on every device. That's what the World Wide Web was all about. We wanted to make things easier, not more confusing.

My heart goes out to all the software developers, brand managers and marketing directors who are dealing with the fall-out from these new mobile platforms. It feels like something new is being introduced every week. When some users have iPads and others have Kindle, then the challenges of both production and marketing become more difficult - for everyone.

Life lesson: The best piece of advice for consumers (and companies), is to choose your platforms and your devices very carefully. You need to know exactly who supports what before you respond to the hype, rushing out to buy the latest and greatest. As with everything in life, the choices you make today really do matter tomorrow.

Follow up to my previous post - Check out this link which summarizes Google's decision to pull out of China. I couldn't possibly write it better, so I'm sharing this brief article which ties up the issues outlined in my previous post:

Home School Producst from Jostens

no one deals like we do!


  1. Didn't Apple introduce the iPad?

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  3. EB - thanks for the heads up! That was a "find and replace" induced typographical error - my apologies!

    And Jet, I sure appreciate the compliment.

    To anyone interested, here's a GREAT follow up blog on this topic from Josh Bernoff - the Forrester Research superstar. Check it out at: