Mac fan Lesa Snider King is understandably none too pleased with Apple’s decision to pull out of Macworld Expo as of 2010. She’s come up with a unique way to express her ire: She’s organizing Silent Keynote, an effort to get folks in attendance at Phil Schiller’s Macworld Expo keynote next month to remain silent as a form of protest. (Lesa says she’s not ticked off that it’ll be Schiller up there instead of Steve Jobs, incidentally.)
My first impulse was to scoff at the idea–why try to damage Schiller’s demo in reaction to an Apple business decision? But Apple fans are entitled to respond to Apple doings as they see fit. And I can see the logic behind trying to deny Apple one of its most powerful marketing tools: The intense, bordering-on-the-scary enthusiastic response to Apple news. If you’re not happy with Apple, you might not reward it with clapping, hooting, hollering, and/or repeated standing ovations. That makes sense. Nobody can demand that someone express pleasure if that person is, in fact, really angry. (And Lesa King isn’t advocating booing, hissing, or the hurling of rotten fruit and vegetables. That, I think we can all agree, would be inappropriate.)
The strongest argument against Silent Keynote is probably this: It’s very, very unlikely to make Apple reconsider its decision to end support of Macworld Expo. It might even make it dig in its heels.
Of course, Phil Schiller will be operating at a severe disadvantage anyhow, having been born with a handicap shared by most of us: He’s not Steve Jobs. One suspects that the reaction to his presentation would have been on the subdued side regardless of whether there were organized efforts to make it so.
Me, I’m most likely not going to applaud or cheer Schiller’s news, even if he unveils a $200 Mac supercomputer-class netbook that doubles as a personal jetpack: As a member of the press, I almost never give the people I’m covering so much as a polite clap or two, regardless of whether I’m impressed or not. (Hey, it compensates for the throngs in Macworld Expo keynotes who go into ecstasy when Steve Jobs announces things like the fact that Apple wasn’t going to include a keyboard or mouse with the Mac Mini.) As far as I can remember, the last time I applauded Mr. Jobs was in the mid-1980s, when I went to a demo of his NeXT cube–I wasn’t a tech journalist at the time, and therefore let all of my enthusiasm hang out.
But I’m a contrarian to my core, so who knows? I may give Schiller a brief round of dignified applause when he comes onstage. The poor guy will probably need the support. One way or another, it’ll be fascinating to be in that room, even if Apple’s news that morning isn’t fascinating in the least.
Here, by the way, is a preview of what the Philnote may be like if Lesa King’s protest takes off–starting at 2:58 (looks like WordPress won’t let me embed part of a YouTube video):