After giving away its search business, Yahoo now hopes to become the next AOL by reverting to the portal strategy of the ’90’s. To promote the personalization features of its portal, Yahoo launches a new advertising campaign supposedly focused on “Y!ou“. CEO Carol Bartz wants Yahoo “to be at the center of peopleâ€™s online lives — to be at the place where their world meets the larger world.”
The problem with this campaign is that it’s based on attitudes from an earlier millennium, when people were defined by their consumption habits. In an age of self-publishing, your online identity is not defined by where you consume content. It’s defined by where you publish content. Your personal site, that is you. Your Facebook, your Twitter, wherever you publish most of your content — that is you.
The 1999 film Fight Club exhorted that you are not what you consume. Instead, you are “the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world”. That phrase was originally used to describe theater and early cinema. Now, with the rise of the Internet, we are all media. Now we have our own shows. Now we are the all-blogging, all-tweeting crap of the world.
Your consumption habits are not you. Your portal is not you. Yahoo is not you.