Debunking this Gesture Nonsense

gesturesRobert Scoble posts today about the gesture business Steve Gillmor has been talking about for some time now.

It’s time to debunk this gesture nonsense once and for all.

Scoble tells of how someone emailed him about a fire in Montana near the town where Scoble’s mom lived before she died. The emailer knew Scoble would be interested because he read Scoble’s blog posts from when he went to visit his mom when she was sick. Somehow the fact of this email explains and supports (at least to Scoble) the whole gesture business.

To call posted or emailed content gestures is the worst sort of nomenclature for the sake of nomenclature. It is “pre-owned cars” times infinity. The only algorithm you need to find these so-called gestures are the web addresses for Google and Technorati. The “information retrieval system” is in place right now, and it has been for years.

The fact that someone who knows Scoble has a connection to a town in Montana emails him a link to an article he might be interested in does utterly nothing to support some revolutionary gesture concept. This sort of thing happens a million times a day. To say that such an email supports the gesture business is like saying the fact the sky is blue supports the fact that I am the King of England.

Lots of people find out lots of things every day via emails and water cooler conversation before they read about it on Google or in the paper. All this proves is that people tell other people things they might be interested in.

More importantly, the gesture theory can be debunked mathematically.

Scoble says he doesn’t have to link to a post he mentions by Fred Wilson, because:

“I didn’t link to Fred Wilson’s blog. Why? Cause if you really cared you’d have read it by now, right? I assume my readers know how to use Google and TechMeme. Cause you’re smarter than me and I can find Fred in both places right now.”

and because:

“Yeah, Steve Gillmor explained to me why NOT linking is better than linking. Tell me Fred, did your traffic from search engines go up today?”

It is a mathematical certainty that at least some people who read Scoble’s post and are interested in what Fred has to say will NOT go to the extra effort to do a Google or Technorati search to find Fred’s post. So the gesture nonsense will frustrate not only those people, who could otherwise have accessed Fred’s post by clicking a link, as well as Fred, who presumably would like interested people to read what he writes. In sum, the theory that it’s better not to link to Fred’s post is void on its face.

It is self-serving bullshit dreamed up by some guys to support their efforts to recreate an internet oligarchy that is both outdated and inconsistent with the beauty and purpose of the new internet. In many ways it is the reaction of the old to the advances of the new. Somebody moved their cheese and they are trying to build a time machine to help get it back.

If you want further proof, ask yourself this question. Why is this gesture business being promoted in lieu of linking, as opposed to in addition to linking? Couldn’t linking and gestures co-exist peacefully? Of course they could. But not if you treat the blogosphere like the Winchester House and obsess on building it and rebuilding it to your tastes to the extent that you never get to the point of enjoying what you have built.

I can’t tell if Gillmor and his crew really believe in this gesture business, or if this is some L. Ron Hubbard-like attempt to meld science fiction and mythology into a new internet religion.

What I can say is that this gesture/non-linking business is the most extreme form of arrogance I have seen in a long time.

The bottom line is that these guys don’t want to link, and they are working like mad to create a philosophy that will support their refusal to do so. That or this is some epic inside joke at the expense of the rest of us.

Either way, the only gesture I see is some guys who, for one reason or another, have the microphone waiving their middle fingers at the rest of us.