Yes, I wrote about iPad, but not here

Not posting here for a week makes it look like I’ve vanished. But increasingly, more of my work is elsewhere. Like my Crikey piece It’s called iPad, and the Kindle is rooted. Like the 2000-word feature I’m slaving to finish today for Look in the sidebar under “More Stilgherrian”. My online presence is now scattered amongst so many streams of data!

There’s an essay here about the meaning of all this fragmentation. But if I write that essay, I’ll end up having to admit this is precisely why Facebook has been so successful. So much of your life can happen through Facebook and its myriad third-party data-sucking privacy-perverting applications, from organising a BBQ to marketing a business.

The ease with which Facebook can become your all-encompassing social portal means Facebook will win.

That means I’ll probably never write that essay. I don’t want to admit Facebook will win. Because it’s ugly. And because they’re cunts.

7 Replies to “Yes, I wrote about iPad, but not here”

  1. being a stingy bastard and not owning a crikey subscription I’ll leave my comment over here. Apple are getting better at making the first version of something a good one. But I think there is a high speed technology trajectory going on here so I will stand by the side lines for a few more years. I am still of the belief that you need to wait until about version 3 of something, maybe version 4 before the manufacturer has enough development time and the benefit of hindsight to make a model really suitable. As for everything else, well I’d agree. A world run by apple, google and facebook. At least there is three of them and they will be uncomfortable bed fellows.

  2. I find it interesting that Facebook initially resisted the idea of importing data from other services. It didn’t want to import Flickr, it wanted you to use the photo gallery. Ditto YouTube and video. Blogs and Facebook notes. Eventbrite etc and Facebook Events.

    I think this demonstrates another reason Facebook continues to dominate – a willingness to adapt.

    On the other hand, when it come to other things like respecting the privacy of user data, or retrieving original quality user generated content, or scrutinizing who it sells advertising space to, they are decidedly dodgy and shifty.

  3. @yewenyi: Apple is far from the only company which releases “version 1” products which look wonderful but which on further use or analysis seem… lacking in some way. However they’ve made an art form of making those products truly desirable. Somehow they manage to find the balance — at least for their core customers — of delivering an inspiring product while at the same time limiting the disappointment caused by the supposed lack of certain features.

    The comment stream over at Crikey is fascinating. Some people really are worked up over the lack of USB ports. And yet the iPad has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, which is plenty of connectivity for attaching a personal or local network device. Sure, you can’t attach the USB devices you currently have, but you’ll be able to connect to the Bluetooth devices that you’ll soon buy.

    Apple has proved very canny in the past for dropping older technology, such as 3.5-inch floppy drives, ahead of the industry — looking forward into the future rather than back into the past — suffering criticism for doing so, but ultimately being proven right.

    P.S. You can create a Crikey WordPress account to log in and comment without being a subscriber. They need to make that clearer.

    @Shane: Facebook does seriously want to control every aspect of their users’ usage, but they do know to bow to pressure when it’s there. I notice, for instance, that their terms of use now clearly state that you own the copyright to your own content (well, der!), whereas previously they’d claimed to own it.

  4. @Stil: I agree that Facebook want to own all of the content, and that it doesn’t want to share. Beacon showed that it considers users’ data generated outside the garden (i.e. shopping habits) as fair game, too. As you say, cunts.

    If I recall correctly, the copyright thing was fobbed off as a legal drafting error, much the same as Google did in the end user licence agreement for Chrome in the early days. More likely an unexpectedly public indicator of predatory instincts (and that goes for Google, too).

    Just think, Friendfeed was launched as a competitor to Twitter, Jaiku and even Facebook as the ultimate aggregator of content that no-one actually needed. I guess it should be no surprise that when the hype died down Facebook quietly snaffled up its nearest competitor in the user data collection game. I think all that leaves is the “roll your own” lifestream themes for WordPress (I’m reluctant to suggest Lifestream for WordPress on the grounds that the demo page won’t load). Even Norwegian outfit Second Brain has scaled back its lifestreaming service to social bookmarking service.

    I suspect I’ve drifted well of the original topic. Sorry about that. I think I should go away and try and cram these thoughts into a blog post of my own somewhere.

  5. While it might be useful for the lifestreamer to have one master feed that contains everything, I doubt it’s of much use to anyone else. Except perhaps their very closest friends who do want to know everything that happens in their life. But even then…

    There seems to be a school of thought that this is all OK as long as everything’s properly categorised and tagged. That way the audience can decide for themselves which items they want to get and which they skip. But I’m not so sure.

    We’ve had the ability to filter and categorise email in our email clients for years, yet the proportion of people using any of those organisational tools is pitifully small. Even those using RSS is a small subset of the Internet-using population.

    So my dilemma in trying to create a central spot for “my stuff online” is how to present the full range of the things I do for new visitors to this website, while at the same time making it easy for people those choose just the stuff they’re interested in — all without making it messy while I explore the many, many new possibilities.

  6. Finding a place to publish once and broadcast to many/all would seem to be the answer here, via the various “plug-ins” e.g. FB to Twitter, with both embedded in your blog/website as live content.

    But as I don’t have a FB profile and my blog only shows my tweetstream, and I haven’t been bothered to check if it can plug into FB, what do I know?

    And yes, when it comes to privacy and “data sucking”, FB wins hands down (except for the stuff almighty G does/will do, that we don’t know about yet …)

  7. @CassieST: You can pretty much plug anything into anything else. If a plug-in doesn’t already exist then a new one can be created very easily.

    But the question remains. Do we want to plug everything into everything else? I reckon the different social spaces serve a real purpose: providing conversations more tailored to the particular social group. Someone who’s only interested in my longer writing probably won’t be that interested in my high-volume Twitter feed. Someone who enjoys what I hope are witty quips on Twitter many not be interested in a long essay on academic language.

    That said, I can see value in a personal archive of everything one does, if only to make it easier to re-use content in the future.

    Everything you do online is already indexed by everyone anyway, or at least can be. We lost that battle when we first bought a modem.

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