f you've ever had the inclination to reflect on deep philosophical questions, or possibly just suffered through intense boredom or insomnia -- all very similar pursuits -- you may have pondered the age-old question, "If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" Or perhaps you prefer the more modern version of the question once posed by the late George Carlin, "If a man speaks in the forest and there is no woman there to hear it, is he still wrong?" (I assume his question was rhetorical.)
Yankee Stadium last week hosted the All-Star game because this year will be the last before a new ballpark replaces it. The extraordinary "Home Run Derby" event and the All-Star Game itself was an ongoing homage to great Yankee Stadium moments, along with much debate over the pros and cons of razing the "Cathedral of Baseball." To me this raises issues analogous to Web site design, usability and advertising sales. But first let me refer to a tipping point in the relationship between usability and sales -- in baseball.
Being "connected" sucks. It is highly overrated and getting old fast. I am tired of people using their BlackBerries in meetings. I am really tired of getting useless social networking updates on people I barely know ("Bob is playing with his dog."). I don't care about Bob, or his dog. I also don't care about the boring conversations of Bluetooth-wearing loud talkers. Collectively, we need to get rid of technology as fashion accessory and demand a little peace and quiet.
One highlight of this past holiday weekend for me, was watching a four-and-a-half-hour sporting event that took nine hours to complete. It was an epic sports experience a tennis fan could spend an entire column defending as a worthy consideration for one of the greatest sports dramas of all time. Nothing can kill this drama quicker than knowing the outcome ahead of time -- and NBC got away with murder last week, with ESPN an accomplice.
I am admittedly late to the party with regard to the social media explosion. The MySpace and Facebook revolution hit about 20 years too late for me to become immersed in profile pages and virtual friends during my high school and college years. Nevertheless, working in this industry continuously pushes us to stay current, so I took the plunge and created my own Facebook page several months ago. Feeling emboldened by my newfound hipness, I began to explore the site to find out for myself what makes a publisher like Facebook such a desirable destination for marketers, aside from the …