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What I learned about being rich

Saturday, April 18, 2009 by Dave Winer.

Interesting piece in the NY Times magazine about Twitter and how connectivity is for poor people. I learned about this when I made enough money in the late 80s to realize what wealth buys -- distance. Then it took a few years to learn that distance is not what I wanted, in fact I don't think it's human to crave distance. People are built to want to be among others, at least I was. Permalink to this paragraph

I bought a house with a 750 foot driveway in the middle of the woods. My neighbors built houses the size of high schools. You couldn't walk anywhere.  Permalink to this paragraph

Now I live among humanity, much more modestly and I'm happier.  Permalink to this paragraph

So it may be true that connectivity is for the poor, if so, the rich aren't happy. Permalink to this paragraph

Hefernan is right to bring this question to Twitter, because it is the struggle it's going through, as classes emerge. It won't be like other class struggles though, as the rich and powerful strive to make sense of Twitter, they will encounter the contradictions of 21st century decentral communications. Oprah hasn't really come to Twitter yet, it'll be interesting to see if she ever really does. Permalink to this paragraph

An interesting experiment for her, if she ever has alone-time, create an account that isn't attached to her media persona and mingle with the common folk, be one. It's got to be the rarest experience for someone so instantly recognizable. A way to collapse all the distance, to communicate with people who aren't employees, who don't want anything from you. Then when she sells the Twitter experience, if that's what she's doing, she'll have some idea what she's selling. Permalink to this paragraph

I have a feeling Oprah could be a good rep for Twitter, but not if she does it from inside her bubble. Then she'll miss the whole point. Its value is not only as a promotion machine, I think -- there's value elsewhere. Permalink to this paragraph

BTW, Paul Boutin reports that the media backlash against Twitter is beginning. He says it's fake, but everything about the media is fake, so it's as real as it gets. I don't think too many early adopters will come to their defense when the media turns on them. I never wanted to help build a network that would be turned over to the mainstream guys. I heard second-hand that Ev "isn't building a network for Scoble." Too bad. I think someone should. And someone will. Scoble is one of the most real and honest and effective evangelists anywhere. I think Ev will come to regret his snobbery. At least I hope so. Permalink to this paragraph

At breakfast this morning I found a way to explain my feelings about this to my mother who is a regular watcher of the Oprah TV show. She reads many of the books and uses products Oprah recommends. My mother was also a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton for President during the primary, and Oprah campaigned for Obama. I said that's how I feel about Twitter. I didn't sign on to help build a network for the big media, just as she hadn't supported Oprah so she could use the power to help Obama against Clinton. That's why Oprah probably came to regret being so vocal during the campaign, and why Twitter the corporation will probably regret that they took sides here. A new kind of media is booting up, and Twiitter should have been a leading proponent of it. Okay if the big media types want to use it, no problem -- but don't go on their shows and support them over the individual users. You're just inviting backlash.  Permalink to this paragraph


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A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 53, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

"The protoblogger." - NY Times.

"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.

One of BusinessWeek's 25 Most Influential People on the Web.

"Helped popularize blogging, podcasting and RSS." - Time.

"The father of blogging and RSS." - BBC.

"RSS was born in 1997 out of the confluence of Dave Winer's 'Really Simple Syndication' technology, used to push out blog updates, and Netscape's 'Rich Site Summary', which allowed users to create custom Netscape home pages with regularly updated data flows." - Tim O'Reilly.


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