I’ve been watching the tech bloggers quite closely for some time now. Here’s a database of more than 17,000 of my favorite posts, Tweets, and videos from them. But I’ve noticed a few things.
1. They are AWESOME at covering news. For instance, watch how TechCrunch, VentureBeat, Steve Gillmor, Louis Gray, Hutch Carpenter, and a variety of others ask questions at the friendfeed press conference (part I, part II, part III, part IV, part v).
2. They are pretty good at explaining how to use a particular technology. For instance, here’s Marshall Kirkpatrick explaining how to use Yahoo Pipes to build an RSS and news site for your project.
3. They are really good at aggregating attention. Louis Gray even noticed that TechCrunch is making sure its headlines work well on Twitter. Why? Because lots of people hang out on Twitter and click on links.
But what don’t the tech bloggers do well?
Bring home all these new shiny objects and explain why they matter to a mainstreet business.
Yes, there are a few that are trying, like this blog that focuses on social media and your business, but notice the difference between that one and, say, TechCrunch. The headlines are boring. The text is uninteresting. There aren’t very many videos or graphics. And very little engagement on comments.
Or, on the other side, are “pro” sites like About.com that also try, but notice how bad their layout is and how much color and advertising there is surrounding their content.
It’s to the point where I’m wondering if I’m missing something. Is anyone doing a good job of explaining how to bring a business into the modern age?
Last week I was talking with Graham Weston, chairman of Rackspace (I now work for Rackspace) and I asked him whether he knew of anyone looking out for regular everyday businesses. I showed him the Web site of KSCO, a small radio station in Santa Cruz, and noted that it sucked, but that it is emblematic of a whole raft of businesses. Most of whom really don’t get the Web and understand how their customers are using it.
Heck, just yards from Facebook’s main building on University Ave is a great restaurant, Junoon. Do you think they get the modern Web? Absolutely not.
They have tons of Facebook employees as clients. Do they have Facebook Connect built into their Website? No. Do they have any real people on their website? No. Do they have any real interactivity? No. Do they have a mobile client? No. Do they have a community, er, forum? No. Do they have Twitter integration? No. Do they have a way to get people into the restaurant during dead times? No. Did they have any SEO help so people can find them easier? No (their site is largely Flash).
Now, if the business right by the front door of Facebook isn’t getting it right, what are the chances that any of the other millions of businesses around the world are getting it right?
And why aren’t the tech bloggers helping them?
On the other hand, this shows the opportunity open to Twitter, friendfeed, Google, and Microsoft.
Facebook has NOT sewn up the business market yet. Heck, they haven’t even gotten the business right by their front door to use its Connect technology yet.
This market is wide open for anyone to snatch it away from Mark Zuckerberg.
Is anyone showing businesses like Junoon or KSCO why they should use social media and how to do it? I keep thinking I’m not following the right bloggers.
Who should I be following that’s helping out real businesses figure this stuff out?