Thoughts Thought after Periscope?!?!

Above is an actual headline & title from a blog post by Chris Brogan. One of the most irritating yet wildly “popular” social media people. Whose writing, and claim to be a NYT Best-Selling Author, despite the constant word-salads he calls sentences defies any sort of logic. Having just spent an hour looking at his new “Rainmaker Platform” website, listening to a podcast recorded in his car & finding so much garbage he calls advice it seemed to me that the Department of Sanitation in his city must be on strike and there was the overwhelming stench of something left out to rot.

This newest post completely typified to me why he is popular. The more popular you are, the less you are held accountable. Chris is not held accountable by his readers or listeners for the most part. Except when it comes to this episode which is his first time using Periscope. This perplexed him, and he entertains us with bon mots like:

  • “great opportunities to move an emotional needle further into the territory it already holds”
  • “build some relationship-like connectivity by showing people your live and wobbly face”
  • “People want to feel seen.”


It was an interesting experience, having a bunch of negative people show up to see what I’d talk about. They were mostly mad that I said I didn’t like a piece of software that they like. It’s really funny to me. Just because I have an opinion that’s counter to their opinion about a software …

via Thoughts Thought after

This is simply the excerpt. Yet how anyone read past that very first paragraph is beyond me. Clearly off-the-cuff, in conversational style, but without even critiquing that approach, he is a big whiny cry-baby through the whole thing. Let me do you the reader a favor & edit the copy he wrote.

The original:

It was an interesting experience, having a bunch of negative people show up to see what I’d talk about. They were mostly mad that I said I didn’t like a piece of software that they like. It’s really funny to me. Just because I have an opinion that’s counter to their opinion about a software that neither of us created, I’m a jerk. That’s my first takeaway. People are pretty passionate about Periscope.

Edited for Clarity:

Having a bunch of negative people show up to watch me talk about why I don’t like Periscope was an interesting experience. Most of whom were mad only because I confessed not liking something they do. This is really funny to me, because I have an opinion that’s counter to yours, about software that neither of us created, and somehow I’m the jerk? My first takeaway is that people are very passionate about Periscope.

Even then, I’m all for scrapping this & starting over. It isn’t just having the sentences “It’s really funny to me.” & “That’s my first takeaway.” as conversational declarative statements alone. Both following or preceding what they are actually responding to, not sure which is which. Neither as part of an overall sentence to explain what either of those things mean. In fact almost like planned to ambiguously sandwich between things they could be referring to: Are you a Jerk? Is that your first takeaway, or is that people are passionate about Periscope?

Edited for Structure/Clarity

 My first takeaway is that people are very passionate about Periscope. Having a bunch of negative people show up to watch me talk about why I don’t like Periscope was in itself an interesting experience. Most seemed mad only because I confessed not liking something they do.  Somehow I’m the jerk for having an opinion that’s counter to yours about software neither of us created? This baffled me. (Hence why I made a word-salad out of this intro paragraph, so I created this last short declarative sentence for the simple reason that was his conclusion)

Not sure what the value proposition of basically calling the people who did show up mean or laughable. There isn’t one, and honestly for a podcaster it seemed to me that nowhere in here did he even fathom what this (some might call constructive feedback) might mean. Nope, he sticks to his guns as you can see from this screencap of the conclusion:
Just have to break this down bit by bit

It is included in its entirety along with share buttons because everything that is wrong with his advice, his website & writing are all there in a tiny neat little statement.

  1. That entire paragraph is actually a badly edited run on sentence. Makes no sense.
  2. He was so thoughtful as to embed the three “mediums” he is fluent in. Okay, why ON YOUR BLOG would you have a link to your root blog? I get it, linking is good, but anyone who paid an iota of attention to their analytics would not want a link to the root from this page when they just go to the top & hit the Home button. Link it perhaps to an article that talks about why blogs are still a winning proposition? Nope. Better to have just made a meta-reference not a link. Even if this is syndicated, and it may still be, it was a waste of time & clearly mired in his continued entrenched habits. Ending with “and this blog for now.” — would be sentinent that he is actually writing a blog post inside that blog.
  3. What is with the print icon at the bottom? ON EVERY PAGE! Makes so little sense at all, and he better have some real good numbers in his analytics to prove people do a lot of printing of his articles. Something I find incredulous if true.  Again, he doesn’t follow, and never has to my knowledge the best practices. Which is why to me his advice and writing always seemed like nails on a chalkboard. Proving again there is no accounting for taste.
  4. While this new blog is a vast improvement over his last few, his writing and his style seem heartily in decline. Something I’m not sure him, and a few others can grasp from what I’ve gleaned about his current advice, status, and posts.

He calls this (on his podcast he recorded in the car) his year of learning. Clearly the business model that he and thousands of others have built their version of the web on is eroding very quickly. Calling your detractors big whiny babies, mentioning their photoshopped Klout Score, and other things seems remarkably petty for a man who doesn’t offer much in the way of any real analysis about an emerging social platform. Let me boil down his rather long-winded and too emotional post into two sentences of actual advice:

  • Live Video only works for Breaking Real News
  • I’ve been wrong before (fanboi’ing for G+ so hard I wrote a book, but I got Twitter early so it’s a wash) and maybe this is one of those cases, yet it doesn’t seem to aid self-help gurus like myself.

Nowhere does he thoughtfully investigate why things like Google Hangouts, Skype, Apple’s FaceTime, etc… has made it more ubiquitous than ever that people want real-time connections via real-time video. While Chris Brogan and I agree it has limited applications, unlike him, I’ve watched about 10-15 of them, and here is more considered advice you might find useful:

  1. If you are in an image conscious field this might be for you.
  2. If you are considered attractive by the general population, this might also be very good for you.
  3. If you are entertaining & have a lot of followers this might a great way to “connect” with your audience.
  4. If you are easily distracted, haven’t done as much work as you’d do for a podcast, or aren’t generally pleasant to listen/watch this might not be a platform for you.
  5. Old Guard people are not going to “get it” this seems to work best with a much younger crowd. Obvious from the use of emoticon hearts when viewers express  approval.
  6. You can’t expect your first time to go off without a hitch?! There is a learning curve as there is with any new technology.
  7. People can bombard you with questions, it is best to have someone who can corral those and let you stay more engaged with the audience or on message. This is crucial for a smooth broadcast.
  8. Your audience might try to derail you, have a plan if confronted, don’t just end abruptly.
  9. Learn from old school media, study the way the man on the street interviews go on your local news broadcast to understand the dynamics. It is live, anything can happen. We’ve all seen the blooper reels become viral, so be prepared.
  10. Finally, it is an emerging platform – which means the tools it offers you the creator are evolving. Every one I’ve watched has included tons of confusion as the broadcaster/content creator got sidetracked. It doesn’t quite seem mature enough but shows great potential. The snapchat erasable nature of it is on trend, although I’ve watched a few that were available after the fact.

This will not go away anytime soon, as much as I’d like it to. It encourages the worst in an attention-defecit/attention-saturated content and will intersect with the trends in people watching more video from wherever they are. At this moment there are a bunch of early adopters, usually the same people I see adopting other trends, that they will soon cast aside when the next shiny thing comes along.

As to its application for true small businesses, it holds potential, very real potential. Like slightly more mature platforms (Instagram, et al…) it still is full of risk though. If you prefer your things new & shiny, or if your customer demographic does, then by all means dive in. If you know of any that are worthwhile or anyone who has written credibly about the applications, please let me know in the comments below.