Saturday, February 16, 2008

On Internet-Fame

Android is the first project I've worked on that gets regular press coverage. This has been a wild experience so far, to say the least. It's at once weird, fascinating, amusing, and dismaying.

It's weird because occasionally I'll see stories or commentaries about Android that catch me off guard. For instance, when I did the Android introduction video that's on YouTube, I knew what to expect from the viewer comments. This is the Internet after all, and I'm a USENET veteran. What I didn't expect was to be compared to a Muppet.

Other times, I'll find myself fascinated by the latest detailed analysis of our "Android strategy." It's fascinating to read about your own plans and goals -- especially when they're wrong. The resulting cognitive dissonance ("is THAT what we're doing?") is not to be missed. My favorites are the advertising-related conspiracies. We've said repeatedly that Android is not about advertising, but I guess some people either haven't heard or don't believe us.

In fact, I've had to get quite used to not being believed. It's amazing how many times we'll say one thing and then see someone else repeat it, but with a preface like "Google claims that..." I think it's just that people are well-trained to mistrust companies. Sometimes no matter how flatly I state something, people assume I'm just a soulless spokesweasel. On occasion I take it as a sort of personal rhetorical challenge to see how many slightly different ways I can rephrase the same pointblank statement until someone actually believes me.

Ahh, good times. I think next week I need to write a lot of code to counteract all this. Hacking on some software is the universal antidote to the silly squishiness of the world of evangelism.

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