The Scoble Effect

12 Jun ’06

The grip that news of Robert Scoble’s departure from Microsoft has on the hive mind continues, at least as measured by Techmeme and Technorati (at the time of writing, the #2 search) prominence. Kedrosky notes that the fascination says more about the ‘sphere than it does about Scoble, and gets called on it, including by Mathew, who thinks it says more about Microsoft. While I take Mathew’s point I’m inclined to agree more with Paul – Scoble’s celebrity has long had its own momentum, and I think the buzz has at least something in common with the fact that “Heather Mills” is now the #4 search on Technorati. The ‘sphere is an intensely social medium – in some respects, high school on amphetamines. It’s a herd at least as much as it’s a hive.

Other lessons from this story? First, it’s certainly at least mildly ironic to see all of this buzz in the wake of Scoble’s recent complaints of the intense attention that Google generates from releasing simple web apps. And that irony points to one of the larger lessons of this story for me – the remarkable potency of the ‘sphere as a PR medium, at least among the digiterati. Notably, after Steve Rubel and Tara Hunt, Scoble is the third (are there others?) high-profile tech/geek/biz blogger to be offered an opportunity because of – or at least much facilitated by – blogging visibility. Paul’s right to note (see the comments) that very few people outside of the hive have likely ever heard of Scoble, but the surging popularity of YearlyKos among MSM searching for America and politicos searching for money and buzz suggests that this too shall pass.

Scoble has worked very hard to get where he is now, and I expect he’s enjoying the attention rather a lot, which he should – even from a distance it’s obvious that it’s a genuinely impressive accomplishment (though, judging from the buzz over Vloggercon he’ll need some recovery time before he gets down to business). Where it goes, now that he’s left the mother ship (as he wonders in his latest), is the real question.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Neil Crespi June 14, 2006 at 02:02

What really is the Scoble Effect? You mean there i something big going on in Microsoft than just turnover?

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Tris Hussey June 12, 2006 at 15:32

Yeah … the Scoble effect. It is about the rapid transmission of information more than a cult of personality.

Wonder if we should start a betting pool for who’s next?

Accutually thinking about it, I think Niall Kennedy formerly of Technorati and now Microsoft got his job, to some extent, from blogging.

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