Much like neoconservatives who are trying to hasten the End Times by pushing for invasions of every Middle East country, we are doing our best to hasten the popping of the social media bubble by writing as much about Twitter and Facebook as possible. It helps, of course, that athletes keep doing dumb stuff on their Twitters and Facebooks and all that - y’know, to keep it entertaining.
(Social media stupidity? Bring on the Fail Whale!)
But at some point, all this hype about social media is going to collapse in a cloud of dot-com dust when people realize that most basic of capitalist tenets - there’s not really any way to profit off of it. The latest sign that the social media apocalypse is nearing ever closer is possibly the worst idea for a startup company since the Jump To Conclusions mat. A group of entrepreneurs had the great idea to start up a database of every sports accomplishment ever, editable by fans. In other words, they had the great idea to start up Wikipedia. Which already exists. And therein lies the problem.
The NEW YORK TIMES today covered unskeptically the story of Fanbase.com, the dumbest idea ever, and one that could only exist in this crazy hyped-up world of social media:
A new Web site called Fanbase, backed with $5 million from venture capitalists, is creating an almanac of every professional and college athlete and team, no matter how obscure.
The company and its investors are betting that sports fans — and the players who hung up their cleats and goggles long ago — will want to review and update Web pages devoted to their thrilling victories and bitter defeats.
“Our long-term goal is to be the definitive source of information on all athletes,” said Nirav Tolia, chief executive of Fanbase and a veteran Silicon Valley entrepreneur with a colorful past of his own.
The site now contains varying amounts of information, like rosters and game scores, on 21,000 teams and 1.73 million athletes. Stars like the former Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman have pages, of course, with photos, YouTube videos, trivia and articles written by fans.
Again, all these things already exist. Hell, their homepage is basically just a jazzed-up wiki page, available to anyone. And yet someone gave them actual, real startup cash? How do we get in on that scam? Take it step by step:
- Rosters and game scores exist at football-reference.com.
- YouTube videos exist at…wait for it…YouTube.com.
- Trivia and fan articles? That’s called a blog, son, and you’re reading one now.
Sure, not all these places exist in one place. But that’s why the good Lord Xenu invented Google for us to find these things. The idea that this sort of aggregation could exist and be profitable is just ludicrous, and we’re completely blaming the sports media’s (including us!) breathless coverage of all things Wikipedia and Twitter over the past couple years. The social media apocalypse can’t come soon enough.