Thursday, April 25, 2013

Why Google Reader Is Really Shutting Down: A Frog's Eye View.

Google announced a while back that they were pulling the plug on Google Reader. Feedly got half a million sign-ups in the next 48 hours. I don't know what percentage of Google Reader users 500,000 people is, but if you have a commercial website, I bet you'd love to have and keep even that fraction.

What site with half a million (actually, probably several million) customers shuts down?

The one that isn't making money.

I remember Richard M. Weaver, an old mid-century American metaphysical philosopher who inspires me at some points and enrages me at others, saying in his Ideas Have Consequences that the stereopticon (if he was writing in the hipster vernacular he would have called it "The Man") tries to keep us dumb and miserable because the philosopher is a "notoriously poor consumer."

Smart people don't click a lot of ads.

With a market that big that wants something, and with people who can deliver, this sucks, and it seems like a tractable problem. Maybe they should charge for Google Reader? Nope. I wouldn't pay.

There's not enough genius, world-wrecking shit out there for me to pay. Because content producers, even ones like me who do it not for money but out of psychotic zeal, don't want to do it if no one is reading. And not enough people are reading. Because there aren't enough genius world-wrecking writers to produce enough content to support a product that they'll pay for.

Good writers and people who see the value of wisdom, insight, and poetry are too rare, and lost in the margins, for now.

People who sling real thought for a living are like old trannies doing their best in the circus as bearded ladies.

So we get philosophy-as-comedy with the likes of Carlin, or analysis-as-comedy with the likes of Jon Stewart. If you can latch onto a market that's alive, maybe someone who's listening will happen to be in the crowd. If the true religion ever comes, it will have to start as a hilarious joke.

I've discovered the secrets to life and the trajectory of civilization, but there's not a good subreddit to put it in. Lol. #fifthworldproblems.

No comments:

Post a Comment