April 28, 2008 |
I'm back in New York now after my week in San Francisco last week and am still adjusting to the cultural shift. Not only am I back in the suburbs where I have to drive everywhere, but how I use Web 2.0 apps is in stark contrast to how I used them last week, and it isn't just the difference between being at a conference and being back home and my regular work schedule.
The first thing I noticed in San Francisco was the walking: everyone had a to-go cup of coffee in one hand and some type of cellular device in the other, texting, browsing, or Tweeting away as they walk. And while I've seen some of the Twitter interactions that take place in the Valley in the timeline, I honestly couldn't see myself doing it until I was actually there. It was nothing to pull out my phone, check Fireball, then check Tweetscan, see where people were or were going to be, and change plans on the fly.
However, as RSSmeme creator Benjamin Golub notes in my image above, that doesn't fly in most areas of the country. I am sure that if I pulled out my cell and started Twittering when I was out with friends, they'd have absolutely no trouble slapping my cell right out of my hand. I probably used the Internet access more on my cell last week than I have in the past six months, when it usually gets used to look up information or test an app for review.
The resulting culture shock makes me wonder what the overall impact of Web 2.0 really is. There are definitely many facets of it that have become widespread, like user-generated content, but when it comes to apps like Brightkite and Fireball that may see heavy use in the Valley, will they really have that much of an impact outside of the tech epicenter? Silicon Valley's tech populace can't support all of these apps alone, and their continued success and usage will depend on more widespread adoption. So what will change, application development or the culture?