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Scobleize Me Please!

by Sachin Balagopalan on March 7, 2009 · 1 comment

As I was info-snacking on Saturday morning, I came across two posts that reiterated the state we’re in right now and what we should be doing about it. First was the NY Times headline screaming … Job Losses Hint at Vast Remaking of Economy… about February’s unemployment numbers, the highest it’s ever been in twenty five years at 8.1%.

“These jobs aren’t coming back,” said John E. Silvia, chief economist at Wachovia in Charlotte, N.C. “A lot of production either isn’t going to happen at all, or it’s going to happen somewhere other than the United States. There are going to be fewer stores, fewer factories, fewer financial services operations. Firms are making strategic decisions that they don’t want to be in their businesses.”…

… For decades, the government has reacted to downturns by handing out temporary unemployment insurance checks, relying upon the resumption of economic growth to restore the jobs lost. This time, the government needs to place a greater emphasis on retraining workers for other careers …

In the past during economic downturns if you lost your job your skills were not necessarily obsoleted. When things got better they were back in demand and you could easily find a job. Apparently it’s different this time - “Fewer stores, fewer factories, fewer financial services … these jobs are not coming back..” . So what do you do if you’re an obsoletee (new word, I made it up!) ?

Robert “Scobleizer” Scoble @scobleizer - a Tech Blogger who works for Fast Company TV - has a huge presence on Twitter and FriendFeed. He has around 67,000 followers on Twitter and has pretty much made a career out of “putting himself out there”. He calls it “branding” which brings me to the second post I read this morning which seems to tie into the NYT’s article. Andrew Keen who wrote the book “The Cult of the Ameteur - How the Internet is killing our culture and assaulting our economy” is now doing a 180 flip and wants us all to be Robert Scoble.

As Linked-In CEO Reid Hoffman argued in the WAPO this week, America is most likely to get out its economic mess through the innovation of start-up entrepreneurs. But as the US increasingly becomes a nation of the self-employed and the self-promoting, as we build our professional careers and reputations on networks likeTwitter and Linked-In, so the business of Americans will become the business of self-promotion and self-branding.

Like it or not, the wrenching restructuring is going to effect everyone. For all of us — the unemployed and those fortunate enough to still have jobs — it’s time to get that Twitter account, time to sign up to Linked-In, time to aggressively hunt for online friends and followers. We are all Scoble now. The world, for better or worse, has been Scobleized.

I don’t care too much for Keen’s assertion that “the internet is killing our culture blah! blah!” and now the obvious hypocrisy. But does he have a point that with more and more meaningful employment being either outsourced or obsoleted Americans are pretty much left with nothing? We now have to resort to superficial relationships on Twitter and LinkedIn so we can self promote or brand ourselves? He may have a point after all!


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

CaliforniaSuper 03.19.09 at 7:09 pm

Really cool article. and I agree with you about it.

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