The corruption of Robert Scoble

This year at Davos I'm not working as hard as I did last year, when I interviewed 22 people live using audio. Last night I was spotted at the piano bar by +Bloomberg News's +Tom Keene who tweeted I don't just attend the piano bar, I sit up front and make the most of the experience:!/tomkeene/status/162470374687252481

This is my fourth year to Davos, and was my first time to the Piano Bar (at a restaurant in a hotel, there's a great single-player piano guy, I might post video soon about that). The bar is the unofficial party spot for Davos. There's a rumor that Mick Jagger might show up tonight (he made it to several parties last night and was one of the major topics of conversations at the piano bar).

So, what did I learn last night? Dropbox CEO +Drew Houston could be a professional singer. I took video of him too, which he begged me not to share online. That might cost him.

Speaking of Tom, and getting to the point of my corruption, there's a shuttle system in Davos for attendees of the +World Economic Forum. Yesterday when I got in Tom was interviewing the CEO of China's biggest airlines.

Of course Apple and all the stories about mistreating workers and taking American jobs came up. for more. The New York TImes is doing a series of wonderful reports. The CEO explained how China is in a different place than Western Countries and explained that they will go through the same process the west went through in the Industrial Revolution. +Tim Bray who works at Google and was one of the inventors of XML just made the same point.

I reminded Tom that not all American jobs were lost. I looked at the CEO and asked him how many planes his company owned. 350. Most were Boeing jets. I said that's the way we keep manufacturing jobs in America: we make things that people want. That said, making a 747 takes dramatically fewer people than making an iPhone (everyone should visit the Boeing factory up in Everett, Washington -- it really is the best corporate tour in the world).

So why have I been corrupted? I used to be a much better user advocate than I have been lately. I used to be much more concerned about lockin, fairness, and all that. Lately I've become much more cynical.

I had hoped that social media would lead to a meritocracy, where the best ideas would float to the top like the ice cubes in my drinks last night were. But instead we've ended up in a world of suggested user lists and Klout and, at DLD, while Jack Dorsey, who runs Square and product at Twitter, was on stage, +David Kirkpatrick asked who had the most followers in the audience. Once again reminding us that this world has been corrupted (the number one person in the room was on the suggested user list over there, and was gifted hundreds of thousands of users).

So, I find myself cynical now. Corrupted, even, as I see tens of thousands of new followers here on Google+ because I've been added to this list again.

What does that cynicism and corruption lead to? I find myself far less sympathetic to Twitter than I would be otherwise. They messed up this world which could have been so great. Last night as I walked to dinner +Loic Le Meur and I noted that Twitter's engagement and following counts have slowed way down when compared to Facebook and Google+. If Twitter had built a meritocracy I would have been much more angry about what +Vic Gundotra is doing by putting Google+ results into Google's search engine.

+Dave Winer explains that this feature creep is creeping him out: I might have joined him if I wasn't corrupted. But instead I'm taking advantage of Google's reaction to its fear that Facebook is taking over the world. Not unfounded, I might add. Lots of conversations here in Europe about how powerful Facebook is. Some governments, like in Germany, are actually going to push laws (I think they are way overstepping, and if I hadn't been so corrupted I might actually care to speak out on Facebook's behalf) that really try to box Facebook's business model into a place where Mark Zuckerberg doesn't want to be boxed into.

Which brings me to Forbes top social media influencers list. I'm #6 they say.

In earlier years I worked a lot harder to get and stay on these lists. Lately I've been just, well, corrupted and more likely to go to the piano bar to have fun. That said, this morning I'm feeling, well, a bit guilty about my corruption so I'm asking myself "what should I do with this influence?" I think the answer might come later today when I meet with an NGO that's using technology to help get food distributed around the world. Maybe that will cleanse my soul. Detox my veins.

Or maybe I will just give into my corruption and show up at the Time Magazine party and look for some free food and drinks. It's fun work being corrupted, but someone has to do it!
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