Are you over-concerned with “shiny”?

Ethan Zuckerman (and I) think you probably are.

Some of my geek friends seem concerned that I’ve lost my sense of
shiny. Talking with friends at South by Southwest, they were concerned
that Global Voices wasn’t very appealing to the social software geek.
You can’t vote, you can’t edit our articles, you can only read or leave
a comment. Not very shiny. “Maybe you should add a digg-like mechanism
to let people rank articles? Or add a spinning globe that shows where
posts appear around the world in real time and deliver those updates
via Twitter?” It felt like an intervention: “Ethan, your lack of
shininess has become a problem for you and your friends. We care about
you, and we want to make sure that you understand that you seem to be
missing the shiny.”

The journalists – the primary audience for Global Voices – doesn’t
seem to be complaining about the lack of shiny. And I’ll happily admit
that the pretty maps are, at least in part, shiny and designed to meet
your shiny needs. But I think there’s something very deep to JC’s
diagnosis – there’s a good chance that underneath the shiny is
something that isn’t very interesting. (Not always, but often.) And
that some of what’s deeply, truly, long-term transformative isn’t shiny
at all.

2 thoughts on “Are you over-concerned with “shiny”?”

  1. musing… Sometimes I worry I am too focused on the prize…. My one track mind… Can leave me frustrated with the randomness of 2.0 apps… Meaning… I want to see how the action I am asking someone to take online or offline translates into deepening our relationship… moving us toward a point of shared mission… rather than seemingly disconnected transactional actions that don’t appear to move the dial. What strategy is this activity connected to? That’s how my brain works… from that foundation is where I can then move to shiny… with our strategy in mind… what fun can we have… where can shiny serve?

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