I see these kinds of headlines almost every week. I always hold my breath when I read them and get all mentally unsettled each time as I gear up to watch. It's flattering to receive the comparisons yet also a bummer - even though its just a personal, subjective opinion, I've been in a funk all weekend on the Techcrunch article just knowing that they think Rocketboom is not interesting.
A lot of people have left comments to Rocketboom's defense and many people posted about it to their own weblogs. Michael's post received more comments than most of his other posts I think and the next day he posted again along with a defense for liking the show.
The sentiment that we all feel each time a new Rocketboom killer comes along (probably Michael's feelings as well), is damn, it's been almost three years now since Rocketboom came around and despite the explosion in personal media, we still dont have much out there that has struck a major chord. Our options for valuable, entertaining and independent information in a daily is really limited.
In the meantime, I dont think we need to pit Rocketboom against other shows like football teams, there is plenty of room for anyone who can put the pieces together. The harshness of the effect can be positive as it certainly helps to keep us trying as hard as we can - complacency is death - though there are positive ways of supporting growth.
While important comparisons to other popular shows like Geek Brief and CommandN (classics) can be made, the hope for Webb Alerts, which really does make it a compelling and fresh entry, is the adoption of a regimented, daily, regular schedule. That's smart. Very few independent productions have been able to commit to a full time, regularly scheduled show and by doing so, the show enters into a wide open market with a lot of demand.
It will be important for this show to not follow in the path of a prior Rocketboom killer, Yahoo 9, which in my opinion is still weak for feeling fake on the "fake-to-real" feeling scale. With everything else in place, as long as Webb Alerts can develop it's own personality with the writing and a personable presentation, it should become really popular in no time at all.
Zero-sum thinking and talk of "killers" is everything that's wrong with Silicon Valley. (See also.) Don't feel bad -- the existence of other shows legitimized the whole medium, and anybody who doesn't get that doesn't get to play in the big leagues anyway.
Webb Alert is fine - feels too much like TV for my taste, but I'm sure it will find an audience. Rocketboom is far superior and kinda doing something different in my biased opinion. For example, I can (maybe) tell when Joanne really influenced a casual friday episode. And hey, how about those correspondents. :-)
No worries... I've seen a number of Webb Alert episodes and while the program is ok and Morgan is fine for the gig (and I will be a subscriber), I think it fills a different niche than Rocketboom. Rocketboom is a much more creative program, and I love that I never know what to expect. Tried watching Webb Alert on a CRT TV? They don't respect the title safe area, which makes the lower-thirds unreadable, and Morgan is WAY too close to the camera -- which I never thought I would say about Morgan. :)
Posted: August 23, 2007 10:44 PM
I was shocked when I read the TechCrunch article. It didn't change my appreciate of neither RB, nor WebAlert. However, it did significantly diminish my appreciation of TechCrunch.