I think Tom Foremski‘s a damn smart guy who really knows the Valley, but I disagree with him on this one. I think Google understands the crucial thing about the 21st century; if you keep opening bottles, some of the genies won’t go back in.
Not every new technology gets adopted. But the barriers to adoption aren’t about etiquette or what’s cool, or even what’s sensible or safe. It’s extremely interesting that Mr. Foremski is encountering an attitudinal shift about video and image recording- what he succinctly describes as “Don’t record me, bro!”- but it’s not a deal-breaker for Glass.
Foremski makes the case that there’s a growing stigma about casually recording and sharing images of people.
I’m not surprised that there is, in the Valley, at the tech press events he attends. Because who knows better than Valleywags how vulnerable our culture of instant-oversharing has made us? But mass adoption, the iPad-level ubiquity Glass is primed for, isn’t going to happen because of how the Valley feels. Whether adoption-diffusion-integration occurs will be determined bottom-up, by consumer mandate.
And we all know most consumers are idiots.
Heaven knows I am. Every time I’m suckered into spending money at Whole Foods, I think to myself, “Why are you giving these genius marketers too much money for goods, marketing professional?” I’m vulnerable, as a consumer, to certain things. Most technology consumers are vulnerable to shiny things, and really don’t give much consideration to consequences. The Early Majority adoption that Glass needs will be driven by a groundswell of Early Adopter enthusiasm. 1 in 5 Americans now wants to be considered an Early Adopter. It will happen too quickly for social modifiers like legal restrictions, public scolding and bans.
If we’re trying to “Stop The Cyborgs“, cyborgs have already gone from being a joke to a threat. And what’s cooler than being scary?
For the ladies, we’ve got images of Diane Von Furstenberg demonstrating impenetrable sang-froid in Glass. He kinda looks like a dork, but she looks like she might still have sex in a nightclub lavvy and then order tapas. If she can sell American women 25,000 wrap dresses a week, she can probably sell them a device you wear on your face.
We’re currently at the “Persuasion” stage of adoption with Glass, as defined by Everett Rogers’ “Diffusion of Innovations“.
And Google is plenty persuasive. While nobody wants Google+, because inertia – they already have plenty of things that do what it does – we don’t have anyone above the waterline yet offering us what Glass does. Or what we think Glass does. Because remember, Glass is a platform for Google, not a platform for us.
I think we’re evolving too fast for social constraints to stop Glass; too much has already changed. On ZDNet, Adrian Kingley-Hughes takes his turn at bat with the “can’t unring the bell” position. I agree with this viewpoint; I already tune out my awareness of satellite cameras recording my backyard and the fact that I’m visible in the background to tweens Skype-dating at the coffeeshop.
When there’s too much information and not enough time, adaptation means just not caring.
We’re already behind the 8-ball. Filter failure is why we won’t stop Glass, even though we want to be more present to our loved ones. Even though painted cakes don’t satisfy hunger.
this post originally appeared on the T324 blog.