Sometimes the Conversation is a Slap in the Face . . .

Man Slapped in Face with Fish Robert Scoble amazes me in many ways. In his recent post “Scoble can’t be more wrong” he links to quite a few posts of people ripping his videos from the day before in his post Why Mahalo, TechMeme, and Facebook are going to kick Google’s butt in four years.

I admire Robert’s willingness to recognize, acknowledge, and link to his own roasting and bad press. Some of the more scathing comments from Robert’s post:

SEOmoz (in a post where he ripped almost every opinion I had to shreds): “I used to respect Robert Scoble’s opinions.”

Uncov: “Robert Scoble Actually Makes You Dumber.”

Karl Martino: “Scoble can’t be more wrong.”

Paul Glaszowski: “How ridiculous it is would be for anyone – anyone with a decent supply of sense, anyhow – to think Google will be divested of its crown by entities like Facebook and Mahalo simply due to a lack of the human intervention or “supplication” in its search process.”

At least he wasn’t physically slapped in the face with a fish like the picture. There was also a negative comment from Valleywag, but that doesn’t seem to be anything new from what I have read. With some of the news I have seen, Valleywag appears to be the online, Silicon Valley based, equivalent of the Enquirer. I wouldn’t be surprised to read on Valleywag, in September, that Robert has fathered some kind of bat boy.

A comment on Robert’s post by Christian Burns kind of sums it up:

Oh, the ol, “Robert Scoble Sucks” meme

But these posts and comments make me wonder:

  • Are these really adding to the conversation, or just being sensational?
  • Is a point reached where the sensationalism of the post, overshadows the message?

Robert once again proves his skill of getting conversations started, demonstrated by the flurry of activity generated by his post. I just hope that Robert is wearing his flame retardant underwear.


20 Responses to “Sometimes the Conversation is a Slap in the Face . . .”

  1. vaspers the grate Says:

    I don’t have time to sit through 2 videos of 15 minutes each, so please summarize what Scoble is communicating. Thanks.

  2. moritherapy Says:

    the sad fact is that online communication is still often seen as an invitation to be rude. most people who are rude online would not be nearly as obnoxious face to face. perhaps this was always the case – i seem to dimly remember that this was similar in the old snail mail days.

    so scoble has an opinion on something, and some people disagree. a reason to haul out the ol’ stinky fish?

    what’s so distasteful about saying, “hmmm, interesting idea. i don’t agree, and this is why: …”

    let’s not forget, this is how wars get started. or, much closer to home, this is the beginning of what got kathy sierra off the blogosphere. do we really want that?

  3. Jonathan Says:

    I don’t know if you have not enough time to watch the 2 videos would you go read this post but this post at SEOmoz
    really goes through the videos very clearly

    Though the view presented to you at SEOmoz would be very different from that in the videos, i generally agree more with SEOmoz and I think maybe so has Scoble.

    I haven’t read the other posts that Robert put up that bashed him but maybe I’ll do that when I’m done.

  4. flaming vs. appreciative communication » change therapy - isabella mori Says:

    […] what is it that drives people to be rude online? of course, i’m not exactly the first person to wonder that, so i’ll give it over to john suler and his “psychology of cyberspace” site.[…]

  5. Thomas Says:

    vaspers the great, but who doesn’t like to watch 15 minute videos – I have to say I don’t blame you, I tend to like the smaller videos myself. Here is the gist of Scoble’s video:

    – Revolution coming in search – Social Graph based search will overtake Google, MSN, Yahoo, in 4 years. The reason you hit the video wasn’t from a search engine – search engine was unable to link to information embedded in the video. Robert says you hit the video due to social media, someone told you.

    – Google and the other search engines are susceptible to SEO issues that can skew results, and the results that are displayed are becoming irrelevant. SEO are skewing results, so you no longer get the information you want, but the information that SEO people want you to see.

    – These Social Graph based search technologies are resitant to SEO issues. Mahalo, Techmeme and Facebook can join together to beat old school search engines.

    moritheraphy – I have written before about civlity on the Internet. People are willing to be really rude online, and say things that they would never say to someones face. People use the mask of anonymity as a shield.

    Jonathan – SEOmoz and the other posts all seem relatively well thought out. This brings me back to the question of this conversation being a slap in the face. OK – Robert put out an idea – Social Search will overtake Google, and gave reasons to back his assumptions. Why do people with valid opinions have to attack Robert himself? Sure there is a bit of sensationalism to blogging and writing headlines, but that doesn’t mean the conversation can’t be civil.

  6. Svetlana Gladkova Says:

    As an editor of the Profy blog I think I should leave a comment here as well. Personally I think that Robert often acts out of self-promotion reasons. I can hardly believe he can really believe what he says in the videos (at least, I can not believe he is 100% positive about it). But I guess this is a good way to start a nice conversation with the blogosphere. I have found this post today to be very interesting (, I do believe it rings true at least to a certain extent.

  7. Thomas Says:

    Svetlana – Thank you for commenting, and for clarifying where you are coming from on the Profy blog.

    I will have to admit, that after reading the comments, the overall tone of the posts are more well thought out then the snippets Robert used. That being said, there were some personal attacks included in the responses I saw, which is what prompted me to write my post.

    I think the conversation Robert started was interesting, and I understood his underlying idea. He thinks that traditional search engines have problems with results being skewed by SEO, and feels that Social Graph Search will correct this problem.

    I think you are right that How To Understand Scoble’s Return is an interesting idea. It makes sense that Scoble would want to plan a high proflie comeback, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the message he is coming back with is wacky.

  8. Opal Tribble Says:

    I read through a lot of this when you posted it a few days ago. Svetlana’s got a point he only posted the most inflammatory attacks.

    I’ve checked him out a few times, but mostly I don’t read his blog it seems to me. I do think he offers great content and he does a great job connecting with his readers. He has a fairly large audience. That’s impressive!

    I was wondering how he would make a comeback after leaving in a huff. The article mentioned above seems on point to me. People are so caught up with his *crazy idea* that they won’t take shots on his quick comeback. 😉

    That being said I eventually think the Big G will eventually get some real competition. I’ll be happy when that happens because maybe they won’t come across as “godlike” in some of their practices.

    At time, they can be very hypocritical with their “Do As I Say Not As I Do” mentality. I’m speaking as a Adsense Publisher and observing their set of “rules” that can change depending on who is involved.

    I read Aaron Wall blog. He is the author of the SEO Book. He differs from many SEO bloggers that I’ve checked out because occasionally he points out their hypocrisy. He has talked about a few of the problems I’ve seen with the Big G, and I’m very new (about three months) to SEO.

  9. Scripting News - We Fact Check Your Ass « Thomas - Technical Blogger Says:

    […] list starts to address some of the issues I raise in Sometimes the Conversation is a Slap in the Face, where I question if using overly colorful language in the message overshadows the […]

  10. Thomas Says:

    Opal – I think that the idea Robert propses is relatively well thought out and I believe has merit. As I delve more deeply into this overall issue, I think that you are right, that Robert is only linking the most inflammatory posts.

    That said, I think this topic generated a lot of conversation, but when does the ‘colorful language’ get in the way of the conversation. When posts and comments become too sensational do we lose the message because of the words?

    I will be interested to see how this pans out. I do see that SEO is kind of corrupting search results. I am not saying SEO in itself is bad, there are just some bad practioners.

    Hopefully we as consumers will benefit by better features and functionality as well as more robust and efficient services on all the search engines with this competition. I hope the this ends up being a win for the consumer.

  11. Opal Tribble Says:

    I will be interested to see how this pans out. I do see that SEO is kind of corrupting search results. I am not saying SEO in itself is bad, there are just some bad practioners.

    I definitely agree with you on this issue. When I became interested in CEO I wanted an idea of what search engines look for through my readings it showed me why using keywords was very important. I never put much thought into them before, lol.
    If I’m interested in learning how something works I’ll spend my time learning as much as I can about the subject.
    I did the same with hacking it had me curious so I learned as much as I could about the subject and successfully hacked into a few of my own systems.

    It’s not someone I would do to others but I wanted to see how easy it could be done. I wanted to learn how systems could fail and work on ways I could improve the security in my own system and the ones that I worked with when I worked out of the home.

    I’ve seen sites rank high on keywords where it’s definitely not relevant to their website. I’ve always found that “interesting”.

  12. Civility and Blog Comments « Thomas - Technical Blogger Says:

    […] accused Rob of being overly sensational, and just writing a post for link bait. I wrote in my post Sometimes the Conversation is a Slap in the Face, where I ask the following questions: But these posts and comments make me […]

  13. What I Learned From 2007 - Isabella Mori | Middle Zone Musings Says:

    […] vs. appreciative communication was a reaction to reading a post by Thomas at Microsoft about unfriendly comments on Robert Scoble’s blog. A bit of research on the topic introduced me […]

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