We are all Scoble now

Last night A-list twhirler-in-chief Loic Le Meur, twittering from a Burger King dinner with some of Silicon Valley's most illustrious networkers, sent out an intriguing couple of tweets:

-- "There are very few people like me with so many friends and followers" just said @scobleizer

-- @scobleizer is explaining why he is racing to get more followers. He says it is key for your branding.

@Scobleizer, of course, being none other than Robert Scoble, the head of Fast Company tv, Silicon Valley's most skilled networker, a man with "so many friends and followers" that over 67,000 people have subscribed to his Twitter feed. Hmmm, I thought to myself last night, why does Scoble want more friends and followers -- isn't 67,000 enough? And I wondered why should Scoble care about his own "branding" -- after all, his gig at Fast Company tv required him to work not for himself but for a corporate brand.

This morning all my questions were answered. The big news today is that Scoble is leaving Fast Company tv. Along with the 651,000 other poor souls who lost their jobs in February, he is newly unemployed. Now, of course, unlike most of America's millions of unemployed folk, the extraordinary well connected Scoble is eminently employable and has already hinted that he has a new gig in the works. But it still explains Scoble's remarks at the Burger King the previous evening. To repeat:

-- @scobleizer is explaining why he is racing to get more followers. He says it is key for your branding.

This brings me to the headline in this morning's NY Times about February's bloody unemployment numbers which screams: JOB LOSSES HINT AT VAST REMAKING OF U.S.ECONOMY. According to The Times, it's all about something called a "wrenching restructuring" of the US economy:

“These jobs aren’t coming back,” said John E. Silvia, chief economistat Wachovia in Charlotte, N.C. “A lot of production either isn’t going to happen at all, or it’s going to happen somewhere other than the United States. There are going to be fewer stores, fewer factories, fewer financial services operations. Firms are making strategic decisions that they don’t want to be in their businesses.”

Fewer of everything, except people of course -- people who need jobs in order to feed themselves and pay their rent. And that brings me back to Scoble. As Linked-In CEO Reid Hoffman argued in the WAPO this week, America is most likely to get out its economic mess through the innovation of start-up entrepreneurs. But as the US increasingly becomes a nation of the self-employed and the self-promoting, as we build our professional careers and reputations on networks likeTwitter and Linked-In, so the business of Americans will become the business of self-promotion and self-branding.

Like it or not, the wrenching restructuring is going to effect everyone. For all of us -- the unemployed and those fortunate enough to still have jobs -- it's time to get that Twitter account, time to sign up to Linked-In, time to aggressively hunt for online friends and followers. We are all Scoble now. The world, for better or worse, has been Scobleized.