Twitter and the Metaverse

I've been reading Snow Crash and there's this great passage when Hiro is in the Metaverse and he explains:

The Movie Star Quadrant is easier to look at. Actors love to come here because in The Black Sun, they always look as good as they do in the movies. And unlike a bar or club in Reality, they can get into this place without physically having to leave their mansion, hotel suite, ski lodge, private airline cabin, or whatever. They can strut their stuff and visit with their friends without any exposure to kidnappers, paparazzi, script-flingers, assassins, exspouses, autograph brokers, process servers, psycho fans, marriage proposals, or gossip columnists.

This book was published in 1992!

This is what social media in general and Twitter in particular has done for celebrities. They can "hang out with their fans" online without "physically having to leave their mansion, hotel suite, ski lodge, private airline cabin, or whatever. They can strut their stuff and visit with their friends without any exposure to kidnappers, paparazzi, script-flingers, assassins, exspouses, autograph brokers, process servers, psycho fans, marriage proposals, or gossip columnists."

I don't think I've seen Twitter's value to the big names that increasingly make up its content consumption explained so well. And this was written 14 years before Twitter was created.

I am heading back to Snow Crash for more insights now.

#Web/Tech

Comments (Archived):

  1. John Best

    I don’t know if you’ve got to the passage about the “gargoyles” but they’re always what I picture when I hear the term “citizen journalism”.I think the quote there applies across a lot of networks, and more interestingly, those networks generate their own “celebrities”. As we become more connected online, the architects and influencers of those online connections attract their own following (and Twitter is a great example of that).I don’t want to spoiler too much, so I’ll leave that there, but it still raises interesting questions about our interaction with technology, and crucially, its interaction with us.

    1. fredwilson

      I should have been clear. Ive read it before but not in a long time.

      1. John Best

        Ah, well in that case I think there’s a mass of prescient stuff in there!- the Gargoyles, even if we seem to be aggregating the mass of functions into our phones and tablets.- the Interaction with our brains, I’ve been following some of the stuff Interaxon and Ariel Gartnen have been doing with interest- the segregation of sections of linked networks (which you’ve written about above).- the mutability of the concept of what makes nations It really is one of the defining books of near-future sci-fi.

  2. Dan Lewis

    The core of twitter’s value to a celeb (or brand, politician, etc.) isn’t really that they can hang out w/their fans, but that they can distribute a message to their fans without having to go through the media. It’s about direct-to-audience, not interactivity.That’s not to say interactivity isn’t great. In fact, the really awesome celeb etc. user of Twitter *are* engaging in conversations (or small versions of them) — it’s part of the reason why Cory Booker is so effective there, and I’m sure there are many others. I’m just saying that the conversational aspect isn’t the core value driver. The direct, permission marketing/communication channel is.

    1. fredwilson

      A lot of them engage and reply. More so than I would have thought

    2. JamesHRH

      @fredwilson:disqus I have it from someone in the marketing game (who I think is legit) that major celeb tweets are being resold.For example, ‘Charlie Kutcher’ will tweet about XYZ product for $50K.

      1. Dale Allyn

        This is actually pretty widely “reported”. Kim Kardashian was one of the early mentions on this front, but it’s been discussed a lot as a revenue source for celebs and promotion consideration for brands.

      2. LE

        I’ve always thought that gasp bloggers should have “post sponsors” and that there is nothing wrong with doing that. TV in the beginning had soap operas and even news broadcasts had the logos of companies on the podium (saw gulf oil last night in a retro broadcast for example). I don’t think the money has to be donated to charity either as a justification. Do what you want to monetize your blog.Fred could sell a post sponsorship on a daily, weekly, or per topic basis. What’s the value of that? I can see anywhere from $500 to $3500 of typical value. Per day. Do the math. This is in addition to the small ad that appears on the blog.To reiterate I’m not talking about “sponsor posts” as techmeme does. I’m talking about a post “sponsored by” a company or individual.

        1. JamesHRH

          How many sponsored posts can you do before your credibility takes a serious hit?

          1. LE

            A sponsored post only means that someone is paying you to mention their name at the top of the post and a link to their website.Let’s say http://www.dollarshaveclub.com wants to sponsor a post, any post. But http://www.bankofamerica.com wants to sponsor all “MBA Mondays”. And http://www.medievaltimes.com/ wants to sponsor 1 out of 5 “Fun Fridays”.How does that hurt credibility of either the blogger or the advertiser?Consumer reports takes no advertising. But PBS has little blurbs at the beginning such as “brought to you in part by a grant from the Park Foundation”.

          2. LE

            As a second point business is about making money. This blog is about making money. This is not a religious institution. But as a matter of fact if you’ve ever been in a church or synagogue (ever seen the fees that are charged for weddings or bar mitzvah’s?) you will see that money plays a large role everywhere. Nothing wrong with collecting money if you can. Then that money to take vacations or to setup a new school like afse if you want or some other purpose.My opinion is it doesn’t hurt the product or credibility. People will still read the blog. I also don’t think that it detracts from the agenda of promoting any USV companies any more than the little ad that runs in the upper right of the page does.I remember excite.com very clearly telling me that they were never going to allow people to pay for placement. It wasn’t ever going to happen. Well it did happen. An idea that was unthinkable became the key to google’s success. I don’t know why people on the net have such a hard on for things having to be free.

          3. JamesHRH

            Sponsorship versus placement versus endorsement.Definition of terms issue.Sponsorship is absolutely an internet revenue model of the future. It is the purest form of associative branding.Endorsement – ‘I use’ – can only be used in a limited way (I believe). It is overused and underwhelming in its effectiveness in, say, syndicated / satellite radio.Placement – a tweet that talks about a product or service without any definitive indication that it is an ad – has an even more limited lifespan I believe.FWIW πŸ˜‰

          4. Emily Merkle

            Coming from the money end of things – nicely done. Well said.

  3. LIAD

    If the value of social media to celebs is hanging with fans without having to leave the comfort and security of their natural environments think what a primitive stage we’re at now.140 character asychronous text messages with the odd image thrown in.Wake me up when I can have live 3D holograms beamed into my living room#opportunity

    1. fredwilson

      Tupac?

      1. LIAD

        Megan Fox.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          Live performances of any form, with anyone; With or without Megan Fox, clothing optional.

    2. Matt A. Myers

      I think this is where Google Hangouts will shine – though it’s fairly obvious the benefits; It’s much more than just “oh you can see me and hear me” …

    3. Matt A. Myers

      3D holograms, I can see happening within the next 10 years, and there’s potential for it being a mass-market product. Fuck, I wish I had access to more resources right now.

      1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

        I donno who said this … but looking at your frustration i thought i will mention here …”Give me a long rod and 100-youth i will roll the earth around”.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          I hope the rod is to help with pointing for management purposes, and not for authoritative purposes…

          1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

            @mattamyers:disqus sorry i misquoted Archimedes … I asked uncle Google and got the answer… It was Archimedes and he said “Give me a stick long enough and a pivot and I shall move the world. “

          2. Matt A. Myers

            That’s much better… though no one will give you a stick long enough to pivot the world, you need to find or build that stick yourself. Or I suppose take it from someone else, if you are a dictator-type.

        2. Matt A. Myers

          Also, I understand you have to first prove yourself that what your doing is worth 100-youth, unless you’re born into a position of power, with resources, or have access to slaves…

  4. William Mougayar

    That book sounds very Gibson-ish & I’m going to check it out.Β 2 weeks ago at LeWeb in London, Jamie Oliver repeated more than once during a stage interview that the #1 reason he goes to his online sites (including Twitter) is to read the comments left by his fans. That’s how he stays in touch with them.Β I loved that observation he made for more than one reason. The social conversations & discussions that social media engenders is part of that “meta” connection.Β 

    1. Shawn Cohen

      Reminds me of an article I read a while back about the CEO of Lulu Lemon. She regularly visits stores and just kind of exists there listening to customer comments. She does this on a weekly basis. You can learn a lot by listening to your fans.

  5. 2joshis

    The challenge is thin slicing and adapting such grand visions into what’s possible, without compromising the essence of the idea. “second life”, was all rage some year ago, but tried too hard while it was also tied to PC as platform. While twitter despite (or because) the constraints has succeeded.

    1. fredwilson

      Lighter is better

      1. leigh

        Paddy calls it “light weight interactions over time” a line i’m really diggin’

        1. William Mougayar

          I like that concept a lot. I met him last month in SF.

  6. Bruce Warila

    Just started Snow Crash after seeing it recommended here a few weeks ago. I almost didn’t make past page twenty. The pizza delivery opener was tough. I am into it now. Parts of the book make me think of Minecraft, and what Minecraft could become someday.

    1. fredwilson

      Very much so

    2. Matt A. Myers

      Thanks for the headups

    3. leigh

      oh see, i’ve never gotten passed page 20. I sense i might become a sheep and force myself to read it. Too many smart people i like tell me it’s brilliant.

  7. JimHirshfield

    But VCs can’t get away from entrepreneurs on Twitter! Which is actually a benefit, right? Accessibility without physical presence.

    1. fredwilson

      Similar thing in some ways

      1. johndefi

        Everyone can be a celebrity of sorts, in theory, if you have something to offer that supports a fan base.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          That is what Facebook’s aim has been, to let people show themselves off, they’ve just executed it terribly IMHO – and abused users too mcuh..

  8. William Mougayar

    I think this observation applies to social media in general, not only Twitter. Social media & the social web provide a meaningful “Meta Connection” between people that didn’t exist before.Β Take Foursquare. During the last 2 weeks, Fred and I were “meta connected” via our Foursquare Checkins. We were both on vacation mostly and only exchanged 2 emails but we were checking-in daily into parallel places in a similar time zone & liking or commenting on each other’s checkins was that connection. We weren’t together but were had that 5 second connection 2-3 times per day, and I’m calling this a “meta connection”.Β 

    1. leigh

      lol you are a secret marketer if ever i’ve seen one — but you need to push it a bit further if it’s gonna stick. like, flawsome — try metanection perhaps? — i’m thinking of starting a tumblr for them ….

      1. William Mougayar

        I’ll contact you πŸ˜‰

  9. John Revay

    “I am heading back to Snow Crash for more insights now”Sounds like some kind of virtual reality place that you go and visit.

    1. JimHirshfield

      The inside of everyone’s head is a virtual reality…and that’s where you are when you read a book. πŸ˜‰

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        Indeed – but such a shame that so many minds are squandered (with untapped potential) with daytime TV trash, game/reality shows, et al πŸ™

        1. Anne Libby

          You have to want to take the red pill.

          1. Carl Rahn Griffith

            So many media placebos being ingested by so many, Anne… πŸ™

          2. Donna Brewington White

            Good one, Anne.

      2. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Nice quotable! Actually, we’re always in our own virtual reality πŸ™‚

    2. Matt A. Myers

      I really should read more of the sci-fi book that have been suggested here.I can’t remember if there was a specific thread about sci-fi books? I know there was a “books to read” thread not long ago..

      1. John Revay

        I think Fred mentioned that he was in to reading Sci-fi, my sense is that it may be futuristic, helping him think about things to come, ( my sense only). I thought for some reason Steve Jobs was in to reading the same….but when I googled it a ways back – I did not find any thing.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          Naw, Steve Jobs saw the future, perhaps from all the acid it seems he did..

      2. ShanaC

        we’ve never done specifically sci-fi (can we do specifically sci fi in a media agnostic way [email protected]:disqus )

        1. Matt A. Myers

          That would be a great list of inspiration. πŸ™‚

      3. leigh

        i’ll have to get the 16 yr old to come on to that thread if we do. She eats them up for breakfast (she did however regret using Snowcrash for her English class as analysis on it proved very complicated πŸ™‚

        1. Matt A. Myers

          Maybe she can add to it too! πŸ™‚

    3. ShanaC

      All good stories are.

    4. fredwilson

      Pretty much

  10. Luke Chamberlin

    β€œWhen it gets down to it β€” talking trade balances here β€” once we’ve brain-drained all our technology into other countries, once things have evened out, they’re making cars in Bolivia and microwave ovens in Tadzhikistan and selling them here β€” once our edge in natural resources has been made irrelevant by giant Hong Kong ships and dirigibles that can ship North Dakota all the way to New Zealand for a nickel β€” once the Invisible Hand has taken away all those historical inequities and smeared them out into a broad global layer of what a Pakistani brickmaker would consider to be prosperity β€” y’know what? There’s only four things we do better than anyone else:musicmoviesmicrocode (software)high-speed pizza delivery” ― Neal Stephenson, Snow CrashThis is my favorite passage from the book. Especially the line, “a broad global layer of what a Pakistani brickmaker would consider to be prosperity”. Is that the fate of America, Western Europe and other developed nations?

    1. ShanaC

      No. I really think no…There is still arbitrage opportunity in the US – if anything Google is teaching us that.

    2. fredwilson

      I love that bit.

      1. Guest
  11. jason wright

    “They can strut their stuff and visit with their friends without any exposure to kidnappers, paparazzi, script-flingers, assassins, exspouses, autograph brokers, process servers, psycho fans, marriage proposals, or gossip columnists.”Don’t these things define the culture of celebrity? Take them away and what’s left?P.S. What’s a “process server”?

    1. Luke Chamberlin

      They hand you a court summons (lawsuit) and say, “You’ve been served.”

    2. JimHirshfield

      @fakegrimlock is a celeb and he has none of those.

      1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

        Yes for everything except … marriage proposal …i am sure he would have got :-).

        1. Matt A. Myers

          He turned me down. πŸ™

          1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

            @mattamyers:disqus LOL.

          2. Matt A. Myers

            πŸ˜‰

    3. Carl Rahn Griffith

      P.S. What’s a “process server”? < Simon Cowell, I think. Though over here in the UK we call him many different things πŸ˜‰

    4. JLM

      .You, dear boy, have apparently never been sued.What a startlingly refreshing notion. So innocent.Just spoofing on you a bit.Process servers deliver lawsuits..

      1. LE

        “”private airline cabins””Which of course by that they mean “private jet”.

  12. kidmercury

    i think twitter and all the one world social networks benefit from celebrities more than celebrities benefit from them. because relationship with the celebrity is the true asset of value, i think social networks centered around celebrities and building relationships with them will prosper as we migrate away from one world networks and towards niche networks.

    1. Luke Chamberlin

      Isn’t a one world network an avenue to finding those niche networks? What becomes the Google of niche networks?

      1. kidmercury

        that’s the way it currently is, although i think the opposite will happen in that niche social networks will federate to create the one world network. i think a bottom up approach is ultimately more scalable, less susceptible to cyberwarfare, more capable of delivering each niche with the unique experience it needs, and financially more compatible with a world in which credit is increasingly scarce and thus large upfront spending with significantly delayed revenue (the dominant financing model for one world networks) is less feasible.

        1. Luke Chamberlin

          How do you know which niche you want to be a part of without some kind of niche discovery portal?

          1. kidmercury

            we currently have portals in the form of one world networks like twitter, youtube, google, facebook, etc. i think these portals will lead to niche networks. but when we ask ourselves how to create the next big portal, i personally believe it will be a federation of niche networks rather than the one world approach. i think google and amazon have already won the one world game (admittedly fb is putting up a much better fight than i ever thought it possible they could, although i still expect google and amazon to beat them at mobile, search, and most everything else that leads to revenue).here’s another way of looking at it: we currently have portals like google and the incumbent one worlders that provide us with discovery. yet they are increasingly cluttered by spam and such. what is a better method for discovery of anything? i believe it is a federation of niche networks. i anticipate the transition to this world will be gradual, in that the incumbent one worlders will retain their top spot, but as niche networks proliferate, they will be able to develop and gain momentum, they will pose a threat via federation that the one worlders will not be able to effectively defend against.

          2. Luke Chamberlin

            Does that federation of niche networks prevent their pages from being crawled by Google? How do they compete?

          3. kidmercury

            i don’t think they will prevent google from crawling their pages — or at least i don’t see the benefit. i think when they go to create their own search engine, though, they can simply crawl all the pages in their own federation, and perhaps some other stuff they link out to. and i think such a search engine could be better than what google has, and might be monetized differently than CPC ads. for instance, there might be no ads on the search pages, but since everything in the search engine leads to one of the pages in the federation, all parties are content to let monetization occur within the niche social network.in a way facebook or twitter could do this, in that twitter could create a search engine based on the content shared on its platform, as could facebook. but because they don’t have a niche approach, i think they are too susceptible to hackers and spammers. a niche approach can defend against small scale attacks characteristic of the internet. federation is how the niche becomes scalable, in my opinion.

          4. falicon

            hrm…I wonder if anyone is working on search in this general realm yet that might be able to take advantage of the opportunity you envision? πŸ˜‰

          5. kidmercury

            lol you know i just installed gawk.it on my blog and it’s been working great — i think they could be a real player in the future of media federations! folks should certainly get on board and give it a shot! πŸ™‚

          6. falicon

            Thanks…now I just gotta find more advocates and people that think like you! πŸ˜‰

          7. leigh

            hashtags

          8. William Mougayar

            Assuming that whoever put the hashtags was right. I think it’s a combo of hastags & a combo of serendipitous & targeted discovery.

        2. johndefi

          This is why I don’t really understand why social aggregation tools have struggled to gain foothold. Maybe the UI/UX that has been presented to date has not been good enough? It still seems to me there is an opportunity to pull together for consumers all of the touch points we might want to manage. I love the idea of niche social, but I want a social dashboard!

          1. falicon

            Every layer of abstraction added, is a layer of complexity that loses more than 50% of the market…The reality is that, for most people, social networks themselves are still complex beasts to understand…aggregation of multiple social networks adds a serious layer of abstraction (thereby making it EVEN MORE complex for the average user — which is the exact opposite thing these systems are designed to do!).Eventually ‘social’ will be easily understood by the masses…and then they’ll finally be ready to start the learning process on the next layer of abstraction…it’s just too early right now.DISCLOSURE: I came to this basic conclusion only after heavy reflection on a year plus of deep focus on trying to break knowabout.it (my former tiny entry in the social aggregation space) into the general market…

    2. William Mougayar

      I would add that celebrities benefit more than the fans themselves. Go to Google+, and the only users that are getting lots of engagement are the ones with thousands of followers. You need a critical mass of followers in order to start reaping the community/network effects value.

    3. Carl Rahn Griffith

      Was pleased (putting aside Open/API arguments) when integration with LinkedIn was abandoned. Seemed so bizarre seeing a stream of misc Tweets in the LinkedIn environment. As I said on Twitter the other day, those that auto-fed their Twitters to LinkedIn was akin to inviting strippers to their grandmother’s 86th birthday party.

      1. kidmercury

        lol

  13. Richard

    One one hand, Twitter is the great equalizer, as it makes everyone feel human. There are no stars. On the other hand, It makes everyone feel like a star, as it is virtually effortless.

    1. Dave Pinsen

      No, there are clearly stars on Twitter. They are the ones with huge, responsive followings (i.e., not unresponsive ones built by automatic reciprocal following).

      1. Richard

        Other than the politicians and other compromised individuals (who will abuse anything), Twitter is about being more human. For the celebrity, this is a rare venue that they can have a chance to be no more and no less than their followers. Look at the human experiences shares by Fred or Brad and you’ll see that twitter is a cathartic experience that allows them to be human and fallible.Β 

        1. Anne Libby

          So true about politicians. Tried to connect via phone/email Schumer and Gillibrand on a “constituent services” matter, no response. Same thing with Twitter. Unfollow.

  14. jason wright

    Are celebrity tweets authentically self-generated? Isn’t it just more ‘product’ manufactured by the agent, publicist, studio, label, et al?

    1. JimHirshfield

      In many cases, yes, except when said celeb is overly self-medicated at 2am.

    2. ShanaC

      some are.

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        I rarely delegate πŸ™‚

  15. mikenolan99

    Reminds me of Arthur C. Clarke’s “Imperial Earth” – released in 1976 for our bi-centennial. He describes the internet, an iPad like device, a black president and the phenomenon of people spending so much of their time recording every part of their life that they miss life itself.It is not that Science Fiction tells us the future – it is that it makes us think about the future through the lens of our own world view. Great science fiction makes us think about the human reaction to science.Has anyone every done a corollary study on great entrepreneurs and the habit to read Sci-Fi?

    1. mikenolan99

      “The ‘Sec was the standard size of all such units,determined by what could fit comfortably in the normalhuman hand. At a quick glance, it did not differgreatly from one of the small electronic calculatorsthat had started coming into general use in the latetwentieth century. It was, however, infinitely moreversatile, and Duncan could not imagine how lifewould be possible without it.”

    2. Kirsten Lambertsen

      Clarke was practically a seer. A positively astonishing person.

    3. fredwilson

      Very high based on anecdotal evidence

  16. Carl Rahn Griffith

    Rather than being a platform for a further display of ego, as one may expect with the rich and famous and their use of Twitter, more often than not it seems to be a cathartic medium, for many. And for many of us more obscure souls, also…

  17. Jan Schultink

    Celebrities are starting to figure out that regular human interaction (enabled by platforms such as Twitter) is actually far more useful (and fun) than managing gossip magazine journalists and paparazzi photographers

    1. JimHirshfield

      ’cause it’s more scalable.

    2. Albert Hartman

      Great observation. Value of Paparazzi declines when candid photos of your favorite celeb in ordinary life circumstances are available to you from the celebrity herself.

  18. awaldstein

    Thnx for surfacing it.I read the book in 94 when it was required reading for all employees of a very early community start up called Electric Communities.I’m going to reread.

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith

      Cool. Such a shame that most companies only have the company health & safety manual as their required reading…QED.

      1. awaldstein

        A crazy wonderful startup.Our motto was ‘we laugh at danger!’ and were attempting to do the then impossible.Turns out is was impossible actually;) Merged with The Palace and OnLive .

        1. Carl Rahn Griffith

          Lol.

        2. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

          @awaldstein:disqusattempting the impossible is what makes the ‘crazy wonderful people’ :-).

        3. leigh

          LOL

    2. ShanaC

      There is an initiative by the rhizome to save a lot of those early communities now because of the art made on them…

      1. testtest

        interesting site. do you know of any others that write about the crossover between art and tech?

        1. ShanaC

          http://www.nettime.org/arch…Note that they have a very old school marxist approach (or at least a lot of people on the list)Critical Art Ensemble publishes all their books on their site. Note, don’t access on a work computer, as one of members at one point was tried for bioterrorism (the US government lost…) That being said, I still think what they say is extremely poignant if somewhat negative about technology vs society.http://www.critical-art.net/The Neen Manifesto By Miltos Maneteas.http://www.manetas.com/txt/…(he did a digital anti-whitney biennial in 2002. his stuff is also just funny. he has a surrealist’s sense of humor)Hmmm, I have archives of this sort of stuff in places, email me – shana dot carp at gmail

          1. testtest

            that’s awesome, thanks. i’ll be sure to check them out

        2. ShanaC

          also, this is seriously one of my favorite digital art pieces of all time:http://www.wired.com/cultur…What would I do for one of the original t-shirts

      2. awaldstein

        rhizome?

    3. andyidsinga

      I was just talking about Electric Communities (and The Palace) in my comment to @daveinhackensack:disqus above πŸ™‚

    4. leigh

      Electric communities is a great name. Every read The Skin of Culture?

      1. awaldstein

        Eventually became communities.com after the merge and I had left for other endeavors.Paid homage to them in a post from 09:http://arnoldwaldstein.com/…I’ll check out the Skin of Culture. Need to find more time to read.

  19. Carl Rahn Griffith

    Reminds us to never underestimate the power of the written word – whether manifested as a business plan, a statement of political intent, or ‘simply’ (sic) as used in literature. And a myriad of other uses inbetween…What I love about works such as Harry Potter is how Rowling has inspired millions of people (not just children) to escape dreary daily thoughts and luxuriate in the beauty of the written word and fantasy, with allegories to be interpreted if one wishes – else, to just enjoy and be inspired.

    1. falicon

      +100

    2. Abdallah Al-Hakim

      well said and so true. The beauty of reading is that you allow your own imagination to draw the story in the book which I believe is a super important excercise for your brain. This is one of the drawbacks of watching a television show or movie about a particular book before reading it because they create the imaginative world for you.

  20. William Wagner

    I’m figuring snow crash is realized for the most part, we have seamlessweb for pizzadelivery, anti-rape female condoms, life-threatening computer viruses, video game murders, and the first world is turning into microstates of shopping centers and gated communities, ruled by an indifferent corporate oligarchy, well we just need some rocket skates and implanted computers, we’re coming around to both with new lithium ion batteries, and the implanted fuel cell recently out of MIT

    1. fredwilson

      Indeed

      1. William Wagner

        I am still waiting for my generations sci fi oracle, maybe I should keep up with the new crop of authors

  21. Brandon Marker

    it’s cool (and a bit odd) how people tweet at celebrities, gain no response, and STILL feel like they have a direct connection to them. All on the chance they might have read it. It has replaced the random “if this is your real e-mail I love you so much” subject lines.

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith

      It is very odd when some ‘celebrities’ use it as a power trip on their acolytes – eg, “What’s the weather like in London? I am heading there soon.” – and many more such lame examples from some of the more ‘shallow’ celebs, shall we say πŸ˜‰

      1. William Mougayar

        I’ve seen an internet celebrity say “What movie should I watch? I’m at home with my wife”, and get 120 replies in less than an hour.

        1. Carl Rahn Griffith

          Exactly – that’s the sort of example I was thinking of – scary and utterly shallow. That’s not engagement, that’s patronising/wielding some form of puerile ‘power’ :-/

          1. Dave W Baldwin

            @BrandonMarker:disqus @wmoug:disqus kinda like Wizard of Oz. Hmmm, a start up that can handle the tweets for the egomaniacal celeb/wanna be celeb

          2. Brandon Marker

            …prioritizes them all by shallowness. The scoring metric will be “Lindsey Lohans”

          3. Dave W Baldwin

            Lol

          4. Carl Rahn Griffith

            Lol.

          5. Carl Rahn Griffith

            Let’s develop a ‘Piers Morgan’ App! πŸ˜‰

          6. Dave W Baldwin

            Good one! You don’t know how bad I would want to write a book/script for a movie mixing sharp satire where a lot of the celebs would want to take part. Make up for that rock star bomb.In fact, you can do the satire mixed with a conspiracy thriller- hmmm

          7. ShanaC

            People eat it up though

          8. Carl Rahn Griffith

            Seems so, Shana. I am trying to train myself away from feeling obliged to click ‘Like’ on stuff – I dropped Facebook a while back so that’s sorted but Instagram can train one into the same habit. In excess I suggest it is unhealthy conditioning almost NLP like. We thrive on approval from childhood and granting it in adulthood gives some visceral thrill. Odd times…

          9. Carl Rahn Griffith

            On iPad and typing is really slow in disqus for some reason – what I meant to expand on was how this is (as my wife pointed out to me – she lectures on such stuff) just our UX variant of positive reinforcement (eg, clicker training) in animal behaviour.

      2. Brandon Marker

        that example made me “lol”

  22. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

    I heard (my brother’s son joined that company a week back) of a company from Singapore … a twitter that actually tweets (makes sound πŸ™‚ ) …. monetize better with their voice twitter from celebrities.What is AVCers opinion about this company http://www.bubblemotion.com/

    1. falicon

      interesting…it reminds me of the old-school 1-900 numbers where you could call in to get the ‘tip of the day’ or the ‘joke of the day’…sure there is a market for it, but not sure how large overall it will be.I don’t really need/want to have to call in and listen to things (maybe listening to a stream of status updates could work if it’s properly packaged as a podcast — but even then it’s going to be such a random, and passive, activity that I don’t think it’s going to be a common thing for the ‘masses’)For me, the more interesting approach around sound is still just the voice-to-text stuff…ie. let me speak to the device…let the device properly convert that to text and then distribute it to the proper location (SMS, Facebook, Twitter, etc.).The beauty of asynchronous communication is that it’s all about my time and interest…I think reading is ideal for that…also, reading allows for more interaction (ie. repeat read, clicks, shares, etc.) than listening does (listening is great as a group activity where verbal discussion becomes the ‘interactivity’ spurred from the action)…Anyway just my 2 cents…either way, it sounds like an interesting/fun place for your nephew to be involved in. I wish him luck!

      1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

        thanx and will pass on your wishes @falicon:disqusI don’t know what do they do … but they advertise themselves as voice-twitter…and they moved Singapore from San Francisco because Asians and south east Asians are more inclined to listening than reading …. I think they guessed it right … i myself is inclined to talk rather than write…or listen than read :-).

  23. Abdallah Al-Hakim

    This is a valuable insight and applies to all social media as @wmoug:disqus mentioned. The value of twitter to celeberties to me became apparent two years ago when Conan O’Brien left the tonight show and was in hiatus for almost a year. He kept relevant and even grew in popularity be joining Twitter. Also, like other comedians – he finds the 140 character limit on twitter as almost perfect scenario for telling jokes!!His strategy can also be applied for people out of job or looking for a new job as twitter and other social media tools give you the opportunity to build “Meta Connection” that could develop into more proper relationship in the future

  24. Tom Labus

    Fiction whether it’s science fiction or just fiction doesn’t get enough credit for the value it provides our lives. A lot of our “bankers” would be making better decisions if they have a liberal arts infusion to their business degrees.

  25. Dan Goldin

    Too much emphasis on making too similar to the real world will turn this into SecondLife. I imagine the constraints provided by Twitter, 4SQ, etc are actually making those networks more usable.

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith

      SL seemed predicated – like many MMOGs – on the participant somewhat lacking a RL (real life). Twitter and 4sq become richer in parallel with the participants RLs – hence why I am pretty quiet on both, of late.Maybe I should boot up my old PC and join SL, lol…Then again, AVC is my SL πŸ˜‰

      1. Dan Goldin

        True – didn’t think of that difference but you’re right. I imagine as a celebrity would want to bring their fame to the online world to get the perks. I never really partook in SL – were there any who tried to connect it back to the RL?

        1. Carl Rahn Griffith

          Don’t know about celebs on SL but there were a number of global brands who invested some relatively crazy sums in having a SL presence. Suffice to say, didn’t work out, as I recall. I only briefly tried SL for my own market research purposes – found it tedious, sad, unhealthy. Weird.Somewhat Bizarre.

          1. Dave W Baldwin

            @dangoldin:disqus The other issue with SL was how long the power of VW would last before the emergence of RL or biological world. There were some interesting things accomplished via SL and its affiliates.That is where I kind of rankled some feathers with a design from ’08 pushing Bio/Vir together.

          2. Dan Goldin

            Yea I remember now. It was the cool new marketing channel and a bunch of brands tried to dive right in but failed pretty spectacularly. Based on your comment I imagine the failure was in part people wanting to be away from the RL and creating a persona elsewhere. Having brands on there went against that.I’m not entirely sure who’s on SL now. I wonder if it was a bit premature for the time. I imagine as bandwidth speeds get faster there may be a place for something like it.

      2. Ben Apple

        SL was more about creating some different persona than actually using the technology to enhance your real life

      3. ShanaC

        We’re not telling.

        1. Carl Rahn Griffith

          πŸ˜‰

      4. Dale Allyn

        Great comment, Carl. πŸ™‚

  26. Conrad Ross Schulman

    Fred, do you see this is as man’s ultimate insecurity?

    1. fredwilson

      Not ultimate

  27. BillMcNeely

    I can’t add interesting directly related to this post but it seemes you are reading books as of late.Last night my Dad shared with me his copy of SI. ( Something we have been doing since grade school. I am staying in his house as I start my new job selling cars) I found a book excerpt in it called “The Greatest Game Nobody Ever Saw”I would suggest Dream Team By Jack McCallum . Its about the play in game to get on the Dream Team 20 years ago. buy it here http://www.amazon.com/Dream… Here is Jack’s blog http://www.jackmccallum.net/

  28. Kirsten Lambertsen

    I’m thinking back to your post about your daily routine and wondering, “When does he have time to do all this reading?”

    1. William Mougayar

      I know…I didn’t get past page 60 of Reamde during my vacation.

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Guess I better go read “Have you fallen into the busy trap?” Was it helpful?

    2. fredwilson

      Planes and trains and bedtime

  29. Ben Apple

    Who would’ve thought that the simple question “what are you doing?” would spark this revolution?

    1. Ben Apple

      I guess @fredwilson:disqus did!

  30. Patrick Dugan

    The thing I find striking about all the 90s/early00s sci-fi on “virtual worlds” and the latter day academic discourse, is how in our realized history, the 3D interface that defines these worlds ended up being cast aside for highly efficient and minimal UIs (Twitter being one of the best examples) that have been artificially selected for maximum memetic propogation.In other words, we ended up going with things that hardly describe the term “world” and are “virtual-lite” at best because these things are much cheaper to build and much easier to click-through.

    1. Dave Pinsen

      We actually have both: the “virtual worlds” exist in MMORPGs such as World of Warcraft, where it’s more useful to see avatars move around. In the late ’90s, there were chat rooms with avatars that shuffled around a little, but I guess people realized they didn’t add much to the text discussions.Snow Crash’s Metaverse was both a series of chat rooms and an MMORPG of sorts, where avatars could fight with swords or ride motorcycles. We seem to have had a divergence between chat and action since then.

      1. andyidsinga

        I wrote software at one of those companies (startup) in the 90s : http://www.thepalace.com/he…It was a fin gig but eventually it couldn’t sustain itself and merged with electric communities … those folks were apparently really into snow crash (from what I remember hearing)[edit: PS. @awaldstein was involved with electric communities πŸ™‚ ]

        1. awaldstein

          Mark Jeffrey, founder of The Palace, now well known sci-fi writer is still a good friend of mine.http://www.harpercollins.co

          1. andyidsinga

            I definitely remember Mark – but didn’t know him well or work with him. Very neat to see the harpercollins link!

          2. awaldstein

            He was involved in a bunch of ventures for a bit.He’s really a talented writer and his series is taking off. Super happy for him.We got to know each other when The Palace acquisition happened back then.Hoping when I’m in Portland this summer we get a chance to meet.

        2. Dave Pinsen

          Interesting. I remember Arnold mentioning electric communities.Also remember Quark’s Bar, which was a chat room set in the eponymous fictional drinking establishment from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. You could shuffle your avatar around, and there was a background soundtrack of cocktail glasses clinking and murmured conversations, but I don’t recall any interesting conversation there. It seemed like more of a novelty.

    2. ShanaC

      I don’t think we should rule out 3d interfaced worlds though. I think that is coming, Miscrosoft connect and all….

    3. fredwilson

      Yupppppp

    4. andyidsinga

      I used to love playing totally text based muds. The fewer the graphics the better – I can imagine a lot πŸ™‚

  31. Dave Pinsen

    Stephenson’s description of movie stars in the Metaverse differs from your description of celebrities on Twitter in a subtle but key way: you write about hanging out with “fans”, and he writes about hanging out with “friends” (i.e., other celebrities, presumably). Most celebrity interaction on Twitter seems to be with friends (e.g., TV writers and actor/writers exchanging tweets; well-known VCs publicly corresponding, etc.). But as your phrase “hanging out with fans” suggests, Twitter also allows celebrities to interact directly with fans occasionally without opening the door to stalking or spam.A comedian who would never answer fans’ emails might deign to respond to an occasional fan tweet. That little dose of interactivity gives Twitter a different character than a Metaverse where the celebs just hang out with each other in view of fans. That would be more like a cyberspace equivalent of the Atlantic’s recent party, as described by Gawker.

    1. Aaron Klein

      But it is interesting where Twitter takes that. If you follow two celebrities who talk to each other, you can see those conversations and even engage in them.I’ve always felt the key to this was the 140 character limit and the openness of Twitter. There isn’t the social contract to respond to every tweet, but when you do respond, you know it’s impossible to get sucked into a really long discussion because of that constraint.I don’t see this kind of celebrity engagement on Facebook or Instagram.

      1. Dave Pinsen

        Right, that’s what I meant by “dose of interactivity” above. It’s limited, but it’s there. You make a good point about how the 140 character constraint facilitates it.

      2. ShanaC

        It might be overload – I keep thinking that the world will turn more into Twitter style discussions. At some point user behavior will change and force celebrity culture to take it serious after all the practice they’ve had on twitter.

        1. Aaron Klein

          That’s an interesting idea…

        2. BillSeitz

          I don’t think that scales very well.A more hopeful is that people will choose real interaction with each other over a glance from Ashton.http://webseitz.fluxent.com

    2. JLM

      .Very astute observation. Well played..

    3. LE

      “A comedian who would never answer fans’ emails might deign to respond to an occasional fan tweet. “Responding to a fan tweet requires much less effort and results in might larger bang for the amount of time spent by the celebrity which is one of the reasons it is a popular way to interact. Little friction with plenty of benefit. You can also selectively cherry pick a particular tweet to respond to in order to frame what you might have wanted to say anyway.

      1. Matt A. Myers

        In fact the reduction in friction allows the mentor / celebrity / artist to own themselves, to own their image, to eliminate third-party middlemen – if they want.

      2. Matt A. Myers

        P.S. I’d love to do a Skype call sometime. πŸ™‚ Not sure if you’re following me on Twitter (@mattamyers) – but tweet me and I’ll DM you my Skype email/account name. πŸ™‚

    4. Austin Clements

      It’s interesting that now there are two different types of celebrity. 20 years ago, you couldn’t get in contact with Michael Jackson, and that’s part of what made him seem larger than life. Today, there’s a chance that the biggest stars out there will publicly respond to you, which makes them more human.Not sure that one form of ‘celebrity’ is better than the other, but Twitter has reshaped how we view them.

      1. leigh

        digital culture has reshaped how we view celebrity

      2. Dave Pinsen

        “It’s interesting that now there are two different types of celebrity. 20 years ago, you couldn’t get in contact with Michael Jackson…”Well, you could if you were a pre-pubescent boy.

    5. fredwilson

      I misunderatood that

      1. Dave Pinsen

        Where’s that sign located?

        1. Donna Brewington White

          Malibu

    6. David Semeria

      Wow. The Atlantic party was seriously sad, both for the pitchers and the catchers. Crazy.

      1. Dave Pinsen

        Indeed.

  32. ShanaC

    Except I actually don’t have my martini here (or a great sword) :PMore importantly, I happened to love that description because it describes an in between place – it isn’t raw digital, where the data flows through it (we see that later) and it isn’t raw real (it is in the digital landscape). it is an in between place, and it shows that there is a shortage of those sorts of place.And I don’t think Jack Dorsey is going to turn into Hiro anytime soon….

    1. Mark Essel

      Oh cool, didn’t get the email yet. Checking it…*edit* awesome interview Rohan. Interesting to read how Daniel’s first job was his first startup!

    2. Matt A. Myers

      Will definitely read this when I have a chance — looking forward to it! πŸ™‚

    3. leigh

      I feel like we should have Daniel create a Rohan feature for disqus called “edge notes” πŸ™‚

      1. Rohan

        Heh. What are edge notes Leigh??? :-DAnd glad @mattamyers:disqus and @VictusFate:disqus . Hope you enjoy it!

  33. whitneymcn

    A few years ago I ran across something you shared that suggested that you’d just heard In The Aeroplane Over The Sea for the first time, and I’m having the same reaction right now: I’m incredibly jealous that you’re getting to dig into something phenomenal for the very first time.Stephenson doesn’t always nail it, but Snow Crash and The Diamond Age are foundational.

    1. fredwilson

      I am sorry. Ive read it before.

      1. whitneymcn

        Ah, okay — then I’m much less jealous, though I’m starting to want to go and reread it.

  34. Joshua Cyr

    You should also check out Ready Player One. Imagine Snow Crash meets Willy Wonka, with an obsession about 1980’s trivia. Good stuff.

  35. Brandon Burns

    The personality trait I believe is the mark of true intelligence, yet so few people have, is the ability to extract an insight from anywhere. Early ’90s sci-fi lit included.”Discovery consists not in seeking new lands, but in seeing with new eyes.” – Proust

    1. Donna Brewington White

      I’m not claiming true intelligence, but I will say that some of my greatest insights and revelations come while reading or viewing a good film, or talking to children.

  36. bfeld

    I’ve read Snow Crash every few years since it came out. It and Diamond Age are Stephenson’s defining books that everyone doing anything around innovation in the Internet should read carefully and regularly. Think of all the places in the investing world you can apply the notion of “poor impulse control” to.

    1. Anne Libby

      I feel the same way about Neuromancer…worth revisiting every few years.

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        Ditto. And 1984.

      2. laurie kalmanson

        bought the hardcover reissue after the original fell apart. yes. “the sky was the color of tv tuned to a dead channel” is the “call me ishmael” for the digital age.ishamael, call me, maybe

        1. Anne Libby

          I might have to add it to my summer (re)reading list…

          1. laurie kalmanson

            i’m reading “distrust that particular flavor,” gibson’s collected essays, commentary, etc. a piece on ebay — pre paypal — and short-term otaku mentions casually that the platform would be improved if they hosted their own images and you could pay in some way other than mailing a stranger a check. it’s like watching the future happen.otaku about otaku:The term was popularized by William Gibson’s 1996 novel Idoru, which has several references to otaku.β€œ The otaku, the passionate obsessive, the information age’s embodiment of the connoisseur, more concerned with the accumulation of data than of objects, seems a natural crossover figure in today’s interface of British and Japanese cultures. I see it in the eyes of the Portobello dealers, and in the eyes of the Japanese collectors: a perfectly calm train-spotter frenzy, murderous and sublime. Understanding otaku -hood, I think, is one of the keys to understanding the culture of the web. There is something profoundly post-national about it, extra-geographic. We are all curators, in the post-modern world, whether we want to be or not.[9] ”— Modern boys and mobile girls, April 2001 edition of The Observer

          2. Anne Libby

            He went on a book tour for this one — which I haven’t gotten to yet — and I saw him speak in NYC. He had a kind, gentle presence (and surprised me with a hint of a particular southern US accent that sent me to Wikipedia, where I found that he grew up not too far from where my dad did…)He’s an awesome twitter follow, @GreatDismal.

          3. laurie kalmanson

            omg awesome, biggest author rockstar on my shelves.

          4. Anne Libby

            What I loved was how present he was, and kind, during the Q&A, where some were so excited, nervous to ask him a question that their voices were shaking. Definite awesomeness,

          5. laurie kalmanson

            i would faint of awesome

          6. Anne Libby

            Haha! They didn’t have EMTs on hand…

          7. laurie kalmanson

            dead of awesome; slain

    2. Abdallah Al-Hakim

      books are now noted – added to reading list

    3. Adrian Sanders

      Short on the dollar, long on hong kong bucks. Got it!

      1. bfeld

        Truth that.

    4. Matt A. Myers

      I need to become a VC so I have more time to read… :POr need to learn to read faster, though in some books every sentence has my brain go off thinking through the implications and integrations of whatever else is already stuffed in my head.

      1. bfeld

        Stop watching TV. Read instead.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          Except for this past weekend, I spend no time watching TV; Canada Day long-weekend I did watch a few hours – I went way up North to a tiny town, and other than the Canada Day parade and fireworks at night, there wasn’t much else to do. :PNow yes, I understand there are YouTube videos or other work-related content that get watched, though I’m not sure I’d want to eliminate any of that.I do think I need to become more efficient in this area, setup a ‘read later’ / ‘watch later’ – which I believe Boxee allows (?) without having the physical product. Could free up the time to allow an hour or two of reading per day.. 7-14 hours of reading per week is probably all I’d need or want.Edit: I probably should spend less time on AVC too. πŸ˜›

          1. Abdallah Al-Hakim

            I personally would put AVC last on the list of things to cut. The community is very interactive and informed

        2. JamesHRH

          Bazynga!

    5. fredwilson

      Stamped on your forehead!

  37. LE

    “without any exposure to kidnappers, paparazzi, script-flingers, assassins, exspouses, autograph brokers, process servers, psycho fans, marriage proposals, or gossip columnists.”My wife saw a reality TV star running on the boardwalk over the weekend. At first I doubted the sighting as they tend to be at a different Jersey shore area not our area. Then I checked twitter and sure enough they were in town for a party that the celebrities wife (also a reality TV star) had tweeted about. We then launched into an entire discussion of psychologically why it was exciting to see a celebrity irl.It takes a special person to be able to deal with all the muchering (approx. yiddish for poking, annoying type attention) that a celebrity receives. But being a celebrity is one of those things that many people aspire to be and wouldn’t turn down even if they knew the downside of being a celebrity which they are well aware of. Everyone is in your grill all the time. It would totally be distonic to me. (That said if I had the opportunity I might fall for it as well..)I think the behind the scenes type celebrities have the best thing going. They get enough smoke blown up their ass by people in the business that know them but not the fly over country people who must hold them hostage every place they go and make them feel uncomfortable. I’d imagine it would be difficult to even be Fred. I’d imagine if you go to a restaurant in an area that you are well known (as you have blogged about gotham gal being bothered by people interrupting your dinner) you must be starred at quite a bit.

  38. Jay Zalowitz

    Fred Wilson: Hiro Protagonist

    1. fredwilson

      I cant use a sword

      1. Jay Zalowitz

        Does not matter if you cant use a sword, on twitter, all that counts is a sharp writing style

  39. Jason Goodmen

    Great insights, thanks for sharing.

  40. David Shellabarger

    I just started reading Snow Crash on the way back from Google I/O. I’m not sure what I expected in this book but it’s very different from anything I’ve read before.I read Delivering Happiness on the way to Google I/O. I can’t recommend that book enough. It is fantastic.

  41. Cima

    Speaking of Twitter, Dan Frommer has a post about understanding Twitter on his SplatF blog. http://www.splatf.com/2012/

  42. jason wright

    celebrity is a human weakness

    1. awaldstein

      I don’t know…Weakness is a strong word.We all need heroes. How you treat them and they you is another thing.But heroes that inspire is core to behavior and culture. It’s part of the fabric of groups.This one as well πŸ˜‰

    2. Matt A. Myers

      Ego is the weakness here, though in a way necessary for contrast.Power that celebrity brings with it, through influence, is important to have distributed.We need leaders in order for there to be followers, otherwise everything would be so much work, and the only thing we’d individually trust is what we’ve discovered to be safe on our own (which actually likely be good overall, though not in terms of evolutionary success of the tribe).As @60fcda604728355d4b53a62cc60e08b4:disqus suggests we all need heroes, and it’s how you act as a role model that is [email protected]:disqus had mentioned the other day not liking being marked as ‘special’ or differently, due to her beautiful green MOD tag, and my response to that was that as long as she doesn’t act as if she’s special, then she’ll be fine.A problem that persists today with celebrity is that responsibility and accountability are detached from people. People forget easily, are entertained easily.Hopefully once good reputation systems are in place, this will start to facilitate a culture, a desire for a culture, that will lead to people caring long-term and remembering long-term how they treat the world, treated the world, and how those around them treat the world.

  43. hypermark

    Snow Crash has held its own for me for 20 years, based on three cornerstone ideas.One is the idea of the Metaverse as a realm where not everyone has the same level of access to VR richness. Most basically, some have cruddy avatars if they must access from public terminals vs. from their own richer personal systems, where they can manifest full 3D richness. I can see a similar stratification playing out based on the push-pull between “universal access,” bandwidth constraints and monetization.Two is the idea of burbclaves, surban-style enclave communities separated by members-only boundaries. This is something you see in third-world countries where the line between who can afford (and thus has a reason to be at a given shopping center, for example), and those who can’t is black/white. This certainly could be a future for master planned communities (or economic zones).Three is the idea of a babble-inducing linguistic virus. On some level, memes are mini-virus concepts that lock into one’s brains, but I can see science advancing materially in this area (for good and bad).SC and Diamond Age are Stephenson’s best books, IMHO.

  44. steveplace

    i’m still waiting for my goggles and smartwheels ™ skateboard

  45. Donna Brewington White

    I may just have to start reading science fiction.

  46. vruz

    Maybe have a look at Monalisa Overdrive too.Spoiler: The celebrity marries the nerd and leave that stupid waste of life and breathing air that is celebrity, forever.

  47. george

    Surprised to know it’s available in ebook format. 1992 – Bill Clinton, Van Halen, Dream Team, Euro Disney Opens, Rodney King, dated an Esprit model; no Twitter. Lots going on that year, no wonder I missed it…

  48. Robert Holtz

    Fred, all of what is happening in social only now is but one of Adam’s ribs in context of the larger vision of the Metaverse.

  49. Prokofy

    It’s funny to see you reading Snowcrash now. Snowcrash is of course the bible of Philip Rosedal, inventor of the virtual world Second Life, and all the employees of Linden Lab would read it and enthuse about it — and more to the point, attempt to build it. There was a total cult around this book in SL. There have been any number of boardwalks and Black Suns and all kinds of Hiros born. There is even a Hiro Protagonist, as Protagonist is one of the last names given back when names were given out to people as they joined.I remember first hearing about this book from the Lindens in 2005 and reading it then and finding it truly a horror story, not anything to emulate at all. It’s a dystopia.But what’s funny is that this very point you’re making about celebrities on Twitter was *exactly* the point made about celebrities in Second Life in its boom period in 2007 or so. A number of bloggers wrote about this exact same point — eventually I will find the links but I do recall this theme.Celebrities from Kurt Vonnegut to Susanne Vega were brought into Second Life and were told that here they’d get exposure and interactive audiences but without the annoyances of fans too close, stalking, paparazzi, etc. They could come and go any time. In fact, usually they were “puppeteered” — they would get a “solutions provider” company to run the avatar with their name while they might then get on voice. Some of them would run their own avatars, it isn’t that hard.I remember when Cory Doctorow dropped into his fan club/book club briefly while travelling in London, and that was supposedly the affordance — keep those fans satisfied with “personal appearances” that don’t cost that much or need that much exertion of energy.Somehow, it never gelled though. People do like real life and celebrities in real life.With Twitter, you can never be sure they don’t just have an intern running the account.

    1. fredwilson

      twitter never “brought” celebrities into its service

      1. Prokofy

        Oh, come now, Fred. Can you really say that, hand on heart? They never did any PR? They never did any evangelizing to AplusK? He did it all on his own? And then they made it easy for them to get lots of followers — they let them use scripts in the early days (like Scoble did) and then they put them in the “devs’ recommended” list. That helped a lot.Twitter should get rid of the 2,000 ceiling. There’s no technical reason for it. It creates a very skewed, hierarchical world.PS Celebrities came on their own to SL too. Like the guy in The Office, remember? What was his name, Dwayne? And John Edwards. When I say “brought” I mean that people organized events like concerts or readings.

        1. fredwilson

          i swear. they did nothing. the celebs came on their own. i am not bullshitting.

    2. fredwilson

      and i am re-reading snowcrash.i read it for the first time back in the 90s

  50. kidmercury

    just found this — looks like a director has just signed on to make snow crash the movie: http://www.scifimoviepage.c…i hope so. i could only get 30% of the way through the book before i had to give up on it. too long and boring, like almost all fiction. but the movie i would love to see because i agree with so much of stephenson’s view of the future.