Scott Adams, author of Dilbert, has discovered an essential truth of blogging: "Mention them and they will come." In a recent post on his blog, Adams challenges bloggers to identify things that are "Too frickin' cool" and offers his own opinion that Google Alerts fits the "Too frickin' cool" category. Adams, a recent convert to Google Alerts, is enjoying the pleasure of being able to receive a notification whenever he's mentioned on the blog of any one of his millions of fans. He says, in part:
Any time that 11-year old Vijay sits at his Dad’s computer in Lucknow, India, and blogs about his favorite Dilbert comic, Google finds it, and sends that link directly to my left front pocket. I reach in, pull out the Blackberry, click the link, and Vijay’s blog opens. ... From Vijay’s perspective, he’s writing about his favorite cartoonist who lives on the other side of the world. As soon as Vijay presses the “publish” button for his blog, it sets in motion a chain of events that ends with his words delivered to that author’s left front pocket. And in all likelihood, that author will read those words while his wife is scrolling up and down through the DVR’s online guide in some sort of shopper’s trance.
That is, of course, pretty frickin' cool! But, what's really cool isn't the technology... The cool part is the fact that the technology has enabled a radical restructuring of the traditional relationship between author and reader. Between "elite" and "public..." Today, we can anticipate that when we write about authors or any other actors in a public space, there is a reasonable chance not only that they will read our words, but that they will do so within minutes or hours of our having written those words. This low-latency access is enjoyed whether or not we know their private email addresses, are members of their social/professional circle or are otherwise known to them. The result is a democratization of access that is simply unprecedented in our history.
What will come of it?