Seth Godin Gets It Wrong

I usually wouldn’t bother, but since no one (as far as I can tell) has presented a dissenting opinion, I’d like to add one.

I stumbled across Seth Godin’s post on the “new digital divide this morning. It’s an interesting concept, but one that seems to completely ignore history and the nature of people.

Seth says that the ‘net is dividing into “Digerati” and “Left Behind”, distinguished by Firefox-using, Google News-reading, RSS-attention deficit, caffeine-high geeks vs. the IE-only, television watching, blogless dirty masses (okay, I embellished a bit) . I think this is catchy but completely useless.

First of all, this “divide” is not new. People have said the same thing about Windows vs. Linux users, internet users vs. the offline, McAfee vs. Norton, whatever. Believe it or not, there are people who consciously choose to, say, use Windows or who won’t use Firefox. There are even people who don’t use RSS because of RSS spam. I think the hype about the bleeding edge drives its adoption, but it isn’t necessarily the case that people “without” are deprived: SUVs anyone?

Secondly, a lot of people still prefer to watch the news instead of reading it, largely because watching the news is media-rich and a bit easier for people who don’t read a million words a minute. Likewise, not everyone cares about Flickr; I don’t. I glanced at it when it came out a few months ago, uttered a “Meh.” and went on with my life. I’m sure it has great productive uses, but I can’t think of any offhand.

And the final point I disagree with: blogging vs. reading. It’s all well and good to say that if you don’t blog, you’re left behind. But let’s be realistic. Blogging is time-consuming – very much so. It takes quite a bit of time to gather links and properly put everything together, assuming that you want to do more than write about what you had for breakfast. A hell of a lot of people don’t have the time; if you’re working two jobs trying to pay the bills, no way are you going to blog if your jobs aren’t blogging-related.

In summary, it’s great to be “digerati,” but unless your job involves working closely with technology, you may just find that you don’t have the time. You’ll be better served in the long run by spending time talking to your friends in the manner that is most comfortable for you (cell? SMS? coffee shop? IM?), instead of wasting it trying to play “keep up with the Digerati.”

One thought on “Seth Godin Gets It Wrong”

  1. The new age of “keeping up with the Joneses”? Not!

    Reasons why I blog do not include some insecure belief that I’m going to be left behind in this new age. The main reason why I blog is so that people who visit my website (including my friends) can get to know me a bit better.

    Another reason is because I don’t have time to say the same thing to 10 or more different people on a regular basis. So, if they want to check up on me – there I am (

    But as I said, “keeping up with the Joneses” – not! I don’t feel pressured to write everyday some little tidbit about my life that invariably people will find boring. If something interesting that is related to my site comes up, it will be posted (all in good time, when I get the chance).

    All that being said, I do have to update my blog as there ARE some interesting things that have come up (if only I can remember exactly what… my mind gets all boggled sometimes).

    Well, it’s late. Got to grab some sleep.

    Nate’s sweetheart (aka Cassandrah)

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