Commenters should keep in mind that this is a real guy they're talking about. Have some friggin courtesy. I've actually met the guy at a party, so maybe it's easier for me to imagine him as a real human who reads the net too, and not just some TV celeb caricature. If you were introduced to him at CES or an industry party, would you say this stuff to his face? He's a nice guy, he's got a blog, and he's done a lot of other stuff since that 80's video.
Also, putting down someone who had a successful career in one area, and who is trying to reinvent themselves in a new role doesn't seem right to me. There are plenty of people who had careers in sports, music, movies, etc. and then go on to second careers in politics, wall street, real estate, etc. I think that's just great and should be encouraged.
But the worst conceit of the crowd's response is the assumption than this guy can't know anything about technology, and thus the idea of him doing a social network is silly. But the thing is -- there isn't really very much technology in social networks. You can build one of these puppies in a weekend, or have one built for you outsourced for $15-25k. It's commodity at this point. Success is based on boot-up and network-effects. So maybe, just maybe, is it possible that someone with a successful media and promotion background, with lots of contacts in those areas, with a name everyone recognizes, might actually have a decent shot at promoting something? Versus an unknown 20-something rails programmer freshly minted with their geek degree, and $20k in "VC"?
I met a bunch of music industry folks while I was at AOL Music, and many of them were savvy businesspeople and highly entrepreneurial. One aging rock dude, long out of contract, had even taught himself to program and built a subscription-driven site for his hard core fans where he posted tracks, videos, did live chats, etc.
It's hard to escape your stereotype I guess. Leonard Nimoy has done 20 things since star trek but he's got to keep doing that hand thing whenever people approach him in public.
I think Hammer's a great choice to make the event a bit less valley insular. And, as Renee Blodgett recently suggested about valley events in general, to liven things up a bit.
I have no idea what Hammer is up to, or if it's credible or not. But sheesh, cut the guy some slack.