Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

19 Dec 2008, 22:24 p.m.

Cynical Aha

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2008 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

I was discussing social media, social networking apps, and what have you in a job interview*, and mentioned that I don't really see the immediate value. Sure, you might be able to build tenuous community or brand approval, but it's the rare Facebook app whose popularity or usefulness will actually convert to value for its sponsor. You can precisely track clickthrough, but not the fuzzy connection between enjoying the app and caring about who paid for it.

While discussing this with Michael R. today, I realized: that's the point. Marketers and ad agencies must LOVE that they can spend and charge to build Facebook apps, and BS about brand recognition when asked whether it's effective. They get to import the conversion uncertainty from the analog world into the digital world.

* Incidentally, it bothers me to call these things "job interviews" when they're discussions that might lead to cofounding a nonprofit or being a CEO in a subsidiary/shell corporation. A pithy replacement is solicited.


20 Dec 2008, 12:05 p.m.

cf. the movie Gattica --

Ethan Hawke character: "so when is the job interview"<br/> (dropping hair into genetic checker machine)<br/>Lab Manager: "that was the interview. you start monday."

22 Dec 2008, 2:23 a.m.

Perhaps you have stumbled upon the proper definition of that word in the slightly dated IBM TV spot - you're not "interviewing," you're "ideating." Renounificating the term would yield "career ideation," of course.