The Reason Romney Lost …

Among all the reasons offered for why Mitt Romney lost the presidential election (and I think I have read ALL of them, from both sides, I really do) …

Just one stands out for beauty and comprehensiveness and ALSO for utter prescience, because this result was foretold.

Romney, by not having written a concession speech “just in case,” tempted “the wrath of the whatever from high atop the thing.”

President Romney: The First 90 Days

I thought I could sell one more pre-election humor piece … but I ran out of time. Rather than grumble, I thought I’d just post it where people might appreciate it:

President Romney: The First 90 Days

My own favorite line was about expanding the Navy with a “Cash for Clunker Yachts” program. But there’s something for everyone, just the way Mitt would have wanted!

Mitt Romney’s OKCupid Profile: Mittster Wants You

So on Thursday, in a spurt of lunacy, I created a fake OKCupid profile for Mitt Romney. The OKCupid Robot was not amused and the profile was deleted, which is entirely understandable … fake dating profiles being the scourge of the Internets, and all.

But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good idea.

So I sent a version of Mittster’s profile off to a guy I know and today I’m finally on the cover of the Rolling Stone

Oh, and, in case you were wondering, my own OKCupid username is scribblebot. ;)

Beauty from Afar will be going online …

bfacoverwebBeauty from Afar: A Medical Tourist’s Guide to Affordable and Quality Cosmetic Care Outside the U.S. will be going out of print soon, and the rights to the book have reverted to me, the author. This is a good thing, because I plan to offer the book online.

The site for the book, as before, will be at I’m switching to the blog format. It will take me a while to sort out how best to present the book. An e-book will be available for download … but today is the first day of this project, and I have a lot of decisions to make and work to do.

I’d be interested in hearing from other authors who have put their books online. And, as I said — the rights to the book are mine and I am willing to entertain offers for what could very quickly become one of the most trafficked medical tourism sites on the Internet.

The Next Insanely Great Thing …

While everyone is still twittering about the death of MySpace and the flight from FaceBook, I thought I’d take a few minutes to write down what I want from a social networking site, something that no one has yet provided. It could be the next insanely great thing.

Here it is: I want to be able to present myself online the same way I do in real life, and who I am often depends on where I am and who I’m with. Sure, I have a core personality. But I (and everyone else) have different personae.

  • I am this one guy when I am talking to a roomful of healthcare professionals about medical tourism.
  • I am another guy when I’m fixing a computer network or delousing a PC.
  • I am yet another guy when I am writing and researching a book on sexual culture.
  • I’m still yet another guy when … well, you get the idea.

And, online, I mostly have to be all those things at once. Sure, there are some ways around it. I have different web sites, different e-mail addresses; sometimes I rely on the pseudoanonymity of screen names. It’s not that I have anything in particular to hide — it’s that not all information needs to be available all the time. And I like to fine-tune what is available, be as nuanced as possible (and sometimes as brief as possible) in any giving setting. I do it about as well as it can be done, given the lack of appropriate tools.

FaceBook TRIES to address this by allowing you to place your friends into groups. Some can see all. Others can see some. And strangers can see anything from nothing to everything. But the privacy tools are ham-handed, clumsy.

What is needed, really, is a way to define myself in different ways, as opposed to a way to define my friends.

So the next really big, insanely great idea is a social networking site that will allow you to define different personae for yourself. Prisms.

There is a basic profile — how you would introduce yourself to anyone. “Hi I’m Jeff Schult. I’m a writer.”

Then I would have the corporate persona, available to people/and or web sites to whom I relate to that way. NOT necessarily available to Google, NOT necessarily searchable. Maybe I would list the persona on my main profile. Probably I would. But maybe I wouldn’t.

Then I might have my geek persona; my writer persona; my musician persona; my family persona; my flirting persona. Etc. And these would only be available to people and/or other web sites via my own choice; but would be controlled through one site, one interface.

My party animal persona — you know, the one that is demonized for college kids, the one where they post drunken, nude photos of themselves having sex while doing bong hits? No one could see that unless they were in my party animal persona tribe, which would be pretty damned small and trustworthy, by the way. There would be no hint that it even existed, to any potential employer or my mom and dad.

Get it?

Well, I bet some people do.

If anyone has some venture money and wants to hire me to help build the successor to Facebook, you know where to find me. :-)

FaceBook, Twitter have the same fatal flaw

Like a lot of people, I’m on FaceBook. I’m on Twitter. I’m fascinated and creeped out at the same time.

And I finally figured out why. The fatal flaw of both is embedded in the genius of both. Much of the commercial history of the Internet is about companies trying to PUSH. Push technology. Push information. Push anything and everything. The most interesting thing about PUSH is that companies keep doing it even though consumers, demonstrably want PULL. Let me choose what I want. Let me pick. Let me PULL what I want. Don’t jam things down my throat.

But FaceBook and Twitter have succeeded with PUSH because they’ve gotten consumers to accept PUSH … from their friends and from other consumers.

Increasingly, we are serving up our thoughts, conversations and information on FaceBook and in Twitter messages to our friends and other consumers in ways that these companies can monetize our communications.

And in the end, there is a limit to it. We’re creeped out by PUSH. I don’t know when we will hit the limit, but the backlash from early adopters has already started.