Thursday, May 28, 2015

The DE-Evolution of TWIT


4 Days....

You Have 4 days (assuming you care) to enjoy the last few hours of the TWIT you knew.  Starting June 1st TWIT is changing the rules.

"...we have recently decided to make a few changes that are going to affect our live audience.

Part of this is the TWiT chat room, which offers direct access to our hosts and guests. Our volunteer moderators have always been diligent 
[AKA draconian...] in keeping the chat on topic and not letting a few troublemakers [non-fanboys]
derail the discussion. But it's gotten to where moderating the chat and people's frustrations with that have become a distraction..." insideTWIT 5/27/15

You heard that right.  Gone will be the live chat room and with it a shakeup of the schedule (again) that will preclude the goings on behind the curtain that faithful viewers have come to expect. 

"This level of behind-the-scenes access also has another serious downside: Not everyone wants to spend their working hours under a microscope." inside TWIT 5/27/15

Uh, if you don't like people watching you then why are you working in a broadcast medium?

I've said before that the turning tide against TWIT likely came about because we saw too much of the sausage being made.  A privilege that showed us the stark contrast between who we thought we knew and who they really were.  The episodes of  sometimes callous and often creepy behavior were there for all to see free of any video editor's sanitizing.  Episodes of which Laporte frequently played a starring role.    

That can have an effect over time...

Most of us came to the network with a longing for what we'd lost when TechTV left the airwaves.  We missed the warm and friendly Laporte and co. solving all our techie woes.  It was with a gentle hand and a kind word that TechTV could console our geeky insecurities with the affirmation of, "It's not your fault!"

It was the first time that anyone bothered to embrace the geeks.  That guy on your TV actually knew what he was talking about without relying on the teleprompter for the answers.  He was one of us...

But perhaps that was just the naiveté  of someone who believed that anything they saw in a heavily scripted TV show could reflect the reality of its hosts.  It was a TV network after all albeit a small one.

It's a rare celebrity whose personality matches their public persona.  Sadly, that truth was evidenced by simply watching TWIT the past few years.  Many fans went from disillusionment to outright hatred of Laporte when the family friendly teddy bear of tech appeared to be anything but.

"The term "troll" gets thrown around a lot. We get it: it's the Internet, and trolls, snarkiness, and differing opinions come with the territory. But it seriously crosses a line when it becomes targeted harassment, cyberstalking...
" inside TWIT 5/27/15

Increasingly anyone with a modicum of intelligence would soon realize that despite claims to the contrary, TWIT was becoming less about the fans and more about the product.  A product based on a facade with Laporte plastered on it like Orville Redenbacher on a box of microwave popcorn.


Speaking of popcorn.  We've born witness to a network whose advertising used to be dominated by the likes of Ting and IFIXit now pushing mattresses and mail order gourmet whose only claim to tech is a website.

If the technology marketplace doesn't believe in what TWIT's doing why should anyone else?  Where are the Lenovo, HP, Apple and Microsoft ads?  You'd think the de facto "President of the Internet" would have tech companies beating down his door to buy advertising.

But Laporte claims there's a higher standard at play.  Apparently one that values shaving kits and granola bars over tech.

Perhaps the best evidence of the impending doom of TWIT comes with an ever increasing paranoia...

" As some of you may know, we received a bomb threat a few weeks ago--and this isn't the first, second, or even third instance of the sort that we've had to deal with. 

We've also had people show up at our house, we've received threatening phone calls and emails, had our comings and goings tracked, been doxxed, and had our personal information distributed. This isn't limited to our hosts: our guests, mods, staff, families, and sponsors have also been the targets of these threats and abuse."

and...

" ...there are threats of violence--especially when your children are in the crosshairs. "Trolling" you can ignore, "stalking" is a different matter.

We take all of this very seriously. Being a target is scary and emotionally trying in a way that I wouldn't wish on anyone--and even more so when your friends and family are put at risk. We ask that you please respect any safeguards we must put in place as a result. Ultimately, we do believe this will result in a better TWiT experience for all.
" inside TWIT 5/27/15

We've moved from the delusional to the ridiculous.  TWIT has gone from the "CNN of tech" to the Fox News of tech.  

As though somehow criticism is equivalent to some Clear and Present Danger.  Sure, bomb threats happen and so does cyberbullying but everyone knows that if you put yourself out there it comes with the territory. 

I mean c'mon now, has Leo never looked at the comments on any of TWIT's YouTube videos?  Is a down vote now cause for a restraining order?

Or is Laporte finally circling the wagons in a desperate attempt to recapture the glory of his Tech TV days using this "abuse" as an excuse to shield TWIT from criticism.


In the end, we see TWIT moving toward the same "video on demand" model as other podcast providers meaning it's rapidly losing its niche.  

Ask all the former hosts of Revision 3 how well that model worked out for them.

There are far better sources for tech news (Have you seen Elgan?) and tech lifestyle programming out there.  TWIT has simply lost too much talent to survive on its content alone.

When the end finally comes for the podcasting network, shed no tears for TWIT. 

Leo's no Ben Kenobi and these are definitely not the droids you were looking for...