It all started when Fonzi literally jumped the shark in one of the last episodes of Happy Days. This small act of selachimorphaic aerobatics effectively heralded the end of a cultural era, forcing us to admit that it had all gone horribly mediocre. What once had been the cornerstone of pop culture had simply just popped. And now, “Jumping the shark” will be with us forever as a painful reminder of a phenomenon that just went a little to far.
More recently, Tom Cruise can be credited with updating the
concept via his much publicized Oprah appearance.
If you’ll remember, at one point in the show he bounced up and down on her
furniture professing his love for Katie Holmes. As a random side note, I met
Katie Holmes at Sundance a number of years back and yes, even in her private
moments she has that adorable crook in her mouth. Regardless, bloggers and press
alighted at this incident and quickly labeled Tom Cruise (who by most accounts
has become a complete caricature of himself anyway) as having “Jumped the Couch”.
Well, it dawns on me that if “jumping” can happen to TV shows and celebrities then it should be able to happen to technology and technology executives. Arguably the executive version of "jumping " occurred first. In fact I mentioned it once before in a blarticle I wrote, “The Increasing Tail”. When Steve Balmer went bouncing around the stage at one of his developer conferences screaming “Developers, Developers, Developers”, I think he effectively “Jumped the Podium”. There are probably countless other conference stage flame-outs that I don’t know about, but I’m going to credit Steve with having the most widely known and launching the trend.
And then last night I saw what I think probably takes the
"jumping" cake. It was in the wee hours that I read an article on Wal-Mart's new entry into the social networking space. The Hub is a social networking site only thinly veiled of its corporate sponsor.
Created under the auspices of a cool social community of very cool kids doing cool
things at their cool schools with their cool friends – all accidentally recorded on high end video of course - Wal Mart
has waltzed its way into their cool wallets. Being a big fan of the potential
of Web 2.0 to change the way we discover things and people, I am really
disappointed that Wal Mart showed up and effectively "Jumped the Meme", sacrificing our precious Web 2.0 on the alter of the mid-teen spending demographic. All good things, I suppose,
must come to an end.
However, I must admit that I am avidly waiting for Barnes and Nobles to hand out personal tagging stickers at the front door. What fun it will be to label things with my own categories as I browse through the store.