Widgetry Needs To Go Back To School

I think that Rodney Dangerfield had it right in the classic 1986 comedy, Back To School, when he asked the following question:

Dangerfield: "What's a widget?"

 Professor: "It's a fictional product"

Dangerfield: "Yeah, try tellin' that to the bank"

It does seem as though this fact has been told to the bank (or at least the investment bankers), and they are listening.  Why shouldn't they?

After all, comscore reported a 24% growth in widget reach to 230 million (I cannot seem to find the press release but it seems to be quoted everywhere).

I have a few questions:

  • Are we really getting to the heart of the matter when we focus all this attention towards something that economists once used as a word to describe a variable, or a fictional product?

  •  Is it possible we are looking too closely at the surface and not examining the engine that is powering this new widget craze?

  • The nature of this recent game change does not lie in the widgets themselves.

  • The shift is in the way we are beginning to consume media, and this new mode of media consumption is not endemic to the widgetosphere (yes, I heard someone use that term. I believe that I heard this term last week at WidgetCon).

If my memory were a bit better I would be able to tell you who said the following:

 “Widgets are no more than RSS with a dress”

Verdino, did you say that at Widgetcon?

Even if you did not, you should claim it as your own as it was the most poignant thing that was said all day (I also enjoyed Ian Schafer of Deep Focus’s proclamation that he was changing the entire nature of his business to widgets)!

When looking at content syndication, it is imperative to consider the dynamic between form and function and the importance of the power structure between the two in modern media. The widget is merely a form by which the function of pull style syndication is carried out.

Without the widespread desire for the function, the form would not be needed.

So are widgets a game changer or are they a product and a symbol of a larger game change?

(Insert your comments here, please!)


Be creative!

Consider your overall position, story and goals. Then decide what vessels are essential in implementing your overarching strategy.

  • Widgets are not a strategy, they are a media vehicle

  • Podcasting, Blogging and Second Life are not strategies

  • New Media is not a strategy

All of these things are simply vehicles to drive your strategy. Do you know what your strategy is?

If so, remember that you are, were and always will be in the driver’s seat. For your own sake you better hope that a widget cannot possess the ability to drive your strategy, as you may very well find yourself out of a job.

...and now for you viewing pleasure, the triple lindy!

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