Playing the Irrelevant Comparison Game

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The statement:
“Walking -> Horse -> Boat -> Balloon -> Space Shuttle -> Segway -> Airbus… What’s next?”
is as logically consistent as:
“Email -> mIRC -> ICQ -> MSN -> Forums -> Myspace -> Facebook -> Twitter… What’s next?”

In my example, each one can move people, but they all deal with different volumes, speeds, capabilities and efficiencies.  While the Space Shuttle might be ‘better’ than walking by a few degrees of magnitude, I won’t use one to get to the bus stop in the morning.  Should I wish to travel to Moreton Island, I would hardly use the advanced, cutting edge technology of a Segway to do so.  Despite its advantages, it may have some trouble with the water.

Comparing like with like is a good way to make a point.  Comparing two or more dissimilar objects or ideas can be just as effective, assuming that they are analogous.  As a technique of persuasion, it is used far more often than it really should.  The original author used a linear description of online modes of communication to demonstrate recent advances.  I suspect he failed to consider that most of the examples he chose cannot be compared in any meaningful way.  Open, closed, rich content, and text content channels were bundled together to create a linear progression of concurrent and dissimilar technologies.

However if you found that explanation of communication compelling, I would love the chance to explain, for a generous hourly consultancy fee, why bombarding Twitter users with adcopy from a business account is far better than putting resources into an SEO campaign.  After all, Twitter and SEO are both concerned with disseminating information online, and SEO is the older of the pair.

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