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Why App.net Is A Threat To The Free Social Media Landscape

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I’ve been on App.net for a few days now. Its Alpha iteration is basically a clutter-free Micro-blogging site that works very nicely. Nothing special to report so far, except that it’s kind of paying to have the privilege of being on Twitter in 2006.

But that may be the point.

People have written off App.net before it’s even begun. But even if it fails – and I don’t think it will – the service will still have proved a major point. The message is this; social media is virtually without financial value to consumers. Nobody wants to pay for it. They want it for free or don’t give a shit about it at all. In other words, if the fact that “we are the product” becomes too clear, we’ll know we’ve been stiffed and we’ll move on to another technology.

Ning was supposed to be – and frankly should have been – the answer to a serious problem in social media. It’s too damn public. Google + came along and enabled circling which, with management, definitely makes your feed your own, but that pesky organizational thing is an issue. And the elephant in the room, Facebook, has been busy mimicking G+ in order to keep its billion users happy.

Social media is a double time-suck for the most part. There’s the obsessive over-featuring on the one hand, along with the organization burden that comes with it. And on the other, there’s the constant and frankly pathetic human need for narcissistic validation that’s like a lead weight of insecurity following you around, like a slave’s ball and chain. We’re wasting our time with this stuff, and we know it. But it’s a drug. A social ME-dia drug. My guess is it will – ultimately – give way. And services like App.net will help fill a growing need for something more – or more accurately, something less.

Facebook is rapidly turning into a money machine, feeding on your content to satisfy its shareholders and big advertisers. Well done them. They’re bringing us the ability to buy more crap, and get into more debt, which we’ll be passing on to our kids. My guess is that over time it will get out of the Social Network game, and turn itself into a vast corporate bank, the Berkshire Hathaway of the future. And because money begats money in this grand old world, its future looks rosy indeed. The same is probably true of Google, which is diversifying into real world industries pretty fast.

And where will that leave the Social layer? Over time it’s likely to become transactional. If you value it, if the service is good enough, you will pay for it.

App.net is built on the same model as HBO. You pay for it, so you don’t have to dvr the ads out of the way. In other words your stream isn’t cluttered. It’s clean. You don’t pay much. Thirty-six bucks a year. But it’s money well spent if you like feeling emancipated from the frenzied, over-colonized, ad-obsessed world that social media has become.

So far the HBO model has failed to penetrate the world of social media and for that matter journalism to any meaningful degree, but if it does, and it could, then normal service could be resumed. Life and culture could be restored beyond a viral lurch this way or another according to the latest boring, repetitive meme.

And who pays the price if App.net and other paywalls work?

The celebrities and their microceleb cousins, the marketers, the publicity whores, the social media experts.

Seems like a good trade to put them out of business.

Written by coolrebel

March 10, 2013 at 10:21 am

The Onion Belongs In A Shit Sandwich. But Not Today.

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I have long believed that The Onion has totally lost its way, but today they clawed back a little of their tired and sullied reputation in my eyes with this utterly outrageous ditty on both 9/11 and the Google Doodle obsession.

While it’s a cheap way of generating a meta-controversy within a meta-controversy, the front page blast does the job, by highlighting the cheapening of the 9/11 moment by constant reprise of what has become a morbid fascination with an American Tragedy that we continue to exploit and, frankly, enjoy.

Both political parties are taking “the day off” from politics with a highly calculated and politicized move to de-politicize the day, while Social Media is full of ‘remembrances’ piled on to its daily RIPs of various dead celebs, scientists and nerd glory figures.

Death has never been as popular as it in today’s relentless Internet frenzy, but at least the Onion is at least trying to make the point that our celebration of it has perhaps gone a little too far.

Written by coolrebel

September 11, 2012 at 2:39 pm

API No Go. Twitter Makes The Right Move.

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Third Party Apps Be Gone.

LinkedIn, Tumblr, Instagram are likely to be the first of many to be cut off from some aspects of Twitter’s API. There will be more, and contrary to what many are saying it’s a good thing too.

Twitter has decided that in order to become financially more responsible it has to stop being part a wider social media ecosystem and forge a path as a distinct ecosystem in itself.

This may be the beginning of a wider trend. After a few years of open streams and cross platform sharing we may be entering a phase where each platform has its own distinct group of users. You can be a part of as many as you want, but they’ll no longer be connected to all via one.

This is what is generally known as competition. And in the media marketplace, competition is good – unless you’re a third-party app developer looking to cash in on free content that’s no longer going to be quite so free.

When the platforms established ground rules for colonizing the internet, they formed what essentially became a cartel enabling each to connect to the others so that could more successfully colonize every known web page in the universe. Those days are over. The job is done. Every page has share buttons for every platform, which leaves the platforms in a bind. What makes one distinct from the other other than a few key quirks ( like the 140 character rule), branding elements and UX gizmos.

The answer is how they make money.

Facebook has been the most efficient of the colonizers. It’s “like” functionality feeds right into its money-making potential by making its advertising that much more efficient. Google is catching up fast with “+1” which feeds right into their search and advertising dominance. The irony is that Facebook and Twitter can live on the same planet when it comes to colonizing the Internet.  But there’s one player that can’t.

Twitter. Twitter is different. Twitter is an anomaly.

What does tweeting a page link do for them? Nothing at all. It just clogs up the stream so people leave Twitter and don’t click on sponsored tweets or other money-making ventures. If you’re Twitter, this is not good, so you need to make sure you can separate and define yourself, to make people stay on your platform and click on your crap. Which accounts for the new-found muscularity of the company as it makes its play for more control.

One can understand how upset developers are that Twitter is putting up walls after so cleverly leaving them down for so long to attract users. Just about every aspect of the company’s success was created by users, from the hashtag to the retweet downwards. And how does the company reward its users.

By making them use Twitter’s own free functionality to Tweet. Not a big deal.

It’s a little nefarious, but nowhere near as seedy as any of Facebook’s shenanigans, and in order for Twitter to survive, and maybe even thrive, it has to move down this line. The truth is, that social media companies have to sucker us into helping them grow. They have to rely on our narcissistic, competitive urges to make money. And the developers who have earned a pretty penny working on third-party apps shouldn’t feel too bad. After all, this is just another form of creative destruction, and they’re sure to be in favor of that.

Written by coolrebel

August 23, 2012 at 2:08 pm

And this is racial profiling, Mr. Perry?

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So let me get this straight. A guy makes an illegal right turn from the left lane, then says that he did it because he’s famous and wanted to make sure he wasn’t being followed. Then the Cops get pissy with him because they don’t know who he is. Then another cop shows up, recognizes him and they let him go with their profound apologies. And this is racial profiling, Mr. Perry?

Hate to say it, but while racial profiling is clearly a problem that must be dealt with, it is not an excuse that a member of any minority can use when they’re justifiably arrested, pulled over or ticketed. Black people can and do commit crimes – just like white people – and should be arrested for it if they do.

What Tyler Perry did in this case was to arrogantly suggest that he was above the law, because he’s a well-known “filmmaker” (in the widest use of the term) whose “security detail” (don’t we all have one of those) suggested he make an illegal traffic move to find out whether he was being followed by photographers, fans or other undesirables. And when he got busted for his paranoia, and the cops thought he was jerking their chain for not knowing who he was, he decided it was because he was black that he got pulled over.  His poor, puffed-up ego just couldn’t take the thought that he wasn’t recognized. Needless to say, he was let go with a warning after a second car arrived and more cops did recognize Mr. Perry.

Seeing a golden opportunity to get some ink, Mr. Perry then used his out-sized influence to propagate his dubious version of story on social media. Reaching out to his millions of sheep-fans, who decided he must be right, Perry further fanned the flames of racial division, to cover for his own pathetic hissy-fit at the cops. His Facebook rant included the wisdom – provided by Mr. Perry’s mother apparently, that a black person should behave in the presence of a policeman in case they’re cuffed or shot or worse, something that, of course, doesn’t apply to whites, who can slap around a cop as they please and still walk off Scot free. What a lot of absolute tosh.

To make matters worse, Mr. Perry’s endless movies are successful precisely because they stereotype black people, digging the black community deeper into the very hole that it needs to escape in order to be free of the stereotyping that leads to, among other things, racial profiling. In other words, Mr. Perry, you are a hypocrite.

We are living in strange, strange times.

Embedded Link

Tyler Perry Pulled Over, Accuses White Cops of Racial Profiling via Facebook
Tyler Perry’s April 1 Facebook post about police pulling him over was no April Fool’s joke: The highest-paid man in entertainment is accusing a pair of white Atlanta police officers of racial profilin…

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Written by coolrebel

April 8, 2012 at 4:47 am

Posted in Google

Newt Reaches The End Of The Line

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Gingrich is done. Finally, after months of struggle, the GOP looks like its begrudgingly coalescing around its candidate. Newt fully expected to win this thing and to be honest, I thought he would too. But then Santorum erupted onto the scene, playing out the death-throes of a God fearing, blue-collar GOP that will soon be consigned to the dustbin of history. Now the chances of Romney not hitting the 1144 he needs are wafer-thin to none.

For all his baggage, Newt is a far stronger and more capable candidate than Romney will ever be, and I’m sure Rubio would have been only too happy to be his running mate. Luckily, for us on the left, that is not to be. There will be no spirited Presidential debates where Gingrich throws Obama back on his heels. There will be no radical Gingrichian ideas that come from nowhere and everywhere at the same time. This campaign season is now going to be very, very, dull.

I’m pretty sure that Romney will be the next Bob Dole. And Gingrich is pretty certain he is too.

Written by coolrebel

April 6, 2012 at 10:29 am

Posted in Google

Forget Buyer’s Remorse – We’re Suffering From Seller’s Remorse Too

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The rise of materialism that has metastasized into a religion over the last 30 years has a number of oddly pagan side-effects, not least of which is obsessive hoarding. That  has led to the rise of that eyesore of American life known as storage facilities. It’s well known that the ancient Egyptians would entomb the dead with their cherished belongings in the hopes of making their after=life as comfortable as possible. We’ve gone one step further. We simply entomb the chattels we don’t want to make our current lives more palatable. Bizarre.

The truth is that in these hard times, those unwanted impulse purchases that once seemed so central to who we were at that moment still have value to others. They can be sold, traded or given away. They can be given new life, rather than being buried at great cost to the owner. So go into your storage facilities and turn them into wannas. Because it’s almost certain they’re on another user’s got list.

Written by coolrebel

October 30, 2011 at 8:48 pm

Posted in Google

A Pavlovian Response To Global Warming

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First of all, let’s bring back the more precise description for what the world is experiencing. Yes, it’s “climate change”, but more specifically, it’s “global warming”. If you remember, “climate change” is a creation of the Bush spin team – it has the mark of Luntz on it ‘cos it’s so darned seamless, simple, insidious and clever – to offset the growing concern about how hot it’s getting here on Planet Earth.

Turns out he won. We need to point out that ‘change’ can be small, big, good or bad. So the term is about as useful as the, I don’t know, United States Congress.

Now onto the body of this post.

It’s pretty simple.

Global Warming isn’t just possible. It’s almost certain. The chances that we can reverse the onset of negative feedback that will lead to catastrophe are slim. Not because they’re not possible to avert, but because for us to stop them, we have to do stuff that requires all of us to change the way we live, eat, buy, sell, heat our homes, get around, power our electronic stuff, and make stuff, and make serious sacrifices in the process.

Not going to happen.

So what we need is to start creating agencies within say the UN (or a new world body that’s actually useful), and between national government, trading federations, and all the way down to communities, that start planning for the onset of disaster, and helping to mitigate and manage it Sea walls, insulation for homes, agricultural advances, national security planning, resource management, disease control. You name it.

And if we do that, people might actually respond.

If they see all these preparations for catastrophe, humans – being the funny contrarian bods they are – might say, why prepare for disaster? Why not try and avert it instead? Seems like the best way to deal with the problem before it’s too late.

Woof woof.

Written by coolrebel

October 23, 2011 at 7:19 am

Posted in Google