What Do Malcolm Gladwell And Kleiner Perkins Have In Common?

Chris Dixon starts by suggesting that Malcolm Gladwell might lack a deep understanding of Twitter, and that led him to an unsupportable argument in his recent ‘the rvolution will not be tweeted’ piece. In a nutshell that real revolutions require hierarchical control and strong ties, and that Twitter doesn’t have that or support it (I have a longer version of this, too, called Weak Ties And revolutions (With A Little ‘R’).)

But then Chris goes on to suggest that others might have a similar lack of understanding of the social revolution going on:

Chris Dixon, You need to use social services to understand them

I made some jokes on Twitter the past few days about Kleiner Perkins’ new social fund. These were meant to be lighthearted: I only know one person at KP and from everything I’ve seen they seem to be smart, friendly people. But underneath the jokes lies a real issue: the partners there don’t seem to really participate in social services (something they only underscored by announcing their new fund at a press conference that targeted traditional media outlets).

I’d love to engage in a debate with smart people like Gladwell about the impact of the social web on culture, politics, activism and so on. I also think it’s great to see savvy investors like KP allocate significant resources to the next wave of social web innovation. But it’s hard for me to take them seriously when they don’t seem to take their subject matter seriously.

I agree that knowing where to invest in this market will require deep understanding, and one of the places that can be gained is through usage. Regarding the fund, I am betting it will do no better than the market as a whole.

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