Category Archives: Internet

Move along – You can’t Like that here

According to this article the Facebook Like button has been one of the guiding forces of defining how we interact with content on the web today. To be honest I can’t remember what the article said but I thought it was a decent enough lead in, so I went with that. However what I said isn’t really such a bold claim if you take into account all the sites that already have the Like button somewhere on the page. I’m sitting here, trying to think of non-sterotypical hyperbole of how frequently the like button is used on the web as a way of avoiding doing any form of research on what I am writing about. The problem being, I am not really in the most verbally creative states of mind just yet… so lets just say it’s a lot… like really a lot… like over 12.

As much as I want to hate on Facebook, the idea of a Like button is a simple and intuitive concept, it’s difficult to see why it wouldn’t work. Without doing any research or caring about whether I am right or not, the Digg button existed long before the Like button. If things were different and Digg was a little more cautious with it’s version 4 overhaul and it’s users weren’t so whiny, we may have still been Digging stuff. I’d like to think that the Digg button was the precursor to the Like button. The concept is not new by any means, but being in the right place at the right time has seen a huge uptake of the like button.

As an aside I find the corporate Like culture quite weird. It’s used as a form of currency, Like me and you can have this download. Like me and you can enter this competition, you had to make a purchase previously. You have to like me before you can interact with me. What is that shit all about? Companies are collecting them, kind of like XBOX achievement points but for corporates – to see who has the biggest dick. I am not saying that is all it’s good for, as a content provider I can see how it may have value as a feedback system. But… I’m getting sidetracked.

The undeniable success of the Like button has spawned some Like clones. Google’s +1 is an obvious one, while Behance has the Appreciate This seal of approval at the bottom. There is also Flattr, but that’s different. It’s the put your money where you mouth is of Like buttons, the put up or shut up – there are direct real world consequences for clicking a Flattr button. That’s just three examples, I’m sure there are many others and I have no doubt many others will follow suit.

Hmmm... Do I Like this or is it Tits?

With everyone wanting to cut out their own little wordy real estate on the web, I was wondering why we can’t reuse. Will I be allowed to like stuff in a non Facebook way? They probably won’t, but why can’t Microsoft, Google or Apple let users Like stuff? I am not saying they would want to either but I sure would like to see someone try. What would happen? Litigation? Even if the button were branded differently so there was no confusion? I don’t know? A Nike Like or something? I mean, people were liking stuff long before the internet. Liking something has always been a natural form of expression. Why can’t we reuse it? Surely you can’t hold a monopoly on liking stuff?

What about the rest of us?

Update: Facebook and other third party measurement firms reports are in conflict with previous statistics and indicate that overall Facebook numbers are still growing. Three of the firms’ figures do indicate a decrease in the Facebook user base for at least two non-consecutive months. Rightly so, some are saying there is not enough information to call it a trend.

I attempted to quit Facebook the other day. I say attempted because Facebook does not actually let you delete your account. I just deactivates it. Meaning the data is all there. So when you come back in it’s as though you have never left. It’s as though the digital you has just been asleep and everything has carried on around you.

That’s not actually what I wanted to talk about but let me continue down this way for a bit longer. There are both good things and bad things about being in a digital coma. The good thing is that because my account was only deactivated I still have the opportunity to get information I have on there. For instance I had a few appointments sitting in Facebook that I had not yet put in my Google calendar. I logged in to diarise these before deactivating again. Technically I would not have been at that much of a disadvantage if my account was actually deleted, I could have called/emailed the person and I’d have it again. Facebook however, does make it easier. The bad thing is that I feel as a person I’d be much better off from not having a Facebook account at all. To me being slightly less connected feels like a breath of fresh crisp mountain air.

WHY YOU HERE? YOU LEFT US! WHO NEED WHO NOW MUTHAFUCKA!?

 

The other thing to consider is I am by trade, a WEB developer. I develop applications for the WEB. With Facebook being such a large part of the web, is it really plausible that I cannot have a Facebook account. Is it professionally irresponsible? Is it my professional duty as someone who enjoys what he does to have a Facebook account – Arguably to give myself a better reflection of what is happening on the web?

And with Facebook trying to cement itself in every facet of the web, with the bulk of the current web having nearly 5 Like buttons per page, Facebook orientated commenting and also a lot of newer sites using Facebook connect instead of having native registration.

So with the last sentence in the last paragraph, I’m very nearly on the topic of what I want to say. I heard of a new social music experience Turntable.fm today. It’s description was quite compelling so naturally I wanted to try it out. The thing is, I had to sign up using Facebook. This being the other major reason I have been reactivating and deactivating Facebook since I left. The two services I wanted to look at both required an active Facebook account.

This is a worrying trend for me. Well, “worrying” is the wrong word, it doesn’t fit my lifestyle. I understand that everything is better with friends. I also understand that especially in the case of social software you want to tap into Facebook. Your software is social and it’s a pre-built network ready to go, you would have to have a good reason NOT to use Facebook. The thing is I am an introvert and I think right now I want to be a digital introvert now too. I want to be off Facebook, I don’t want everyone knowing my business. And now especially with people losing interest in Facebook, services like this should, if it makes sense, at least cater for my lifestyle too… what ever that may be, native sign up or twitter integration.

Just as an aside to me not being on Facebook, keep in mind if you see me on Facebook in a year or a months time and want to bring up this post to call me a hypocrite, here is my reply: “Fuck you. I do what I want”

Internet Segregation

Since when has it been ok to Segregate the internet?

What you say? You’ve no idea what I am talking about? If you’re’nt* from the states, you may not know that internet segregation exists. It does though. If you don’t live in the states, try watching a Hulu clip or try watching something on Comedy Central. Under normal circumstances, you can’t! That’s called internet segregation. You may think, “Gerard, Lord of darkness, why does this matter, it’s one site.” True, but if you understand the true nature of the web, it’s all interlinked. This detracts from the whole web experience not only on hulu but digg and all sites that reference locked content. There are ways around this though. By using a proxy it can appear as though you are browsing from inside the United States, thus allowing you to watch the content. Hulu however have begun to shut down content for people using proxies even if they are for a valid reason. All this leads to is people finding other methods to watch the content, namely torrents. Pointless.

Hulu, its pretty gay.
Hulu, it's pointless.

Another example of internet segregation is this talk of Microsoft trying to buy the news from News Corp. My current belief is that Google currently hold an information monopoly on the world. Don’t believe me, check out Google Dashboard and just see how much they know about you. If you are anything like me, it’s a lot. So if you could ignore my paranoia about Google until the day I get to say, “I told you so”, you would see that I am all for removing the Google information monopoly. (Losing it to Microsoft, is another issue all together, but still). Assuming it’s the actual news and not the news brand that is more important. And assuming it’s possible to get the same news on the internet from more than a single source. With all this in mind is it a good idea to prevent content being viewed from a specific network. Even if somehow it did make sense, ultimately it would be pointless. All this will do is broaden the the market for something I thought previously useless, search engine aggregators.

These are just more examples of big business messing up the internet.

*you’re’nt: contraction for “you are not”… I totally just invented that

David Versus Google

I want to write a post, but I am horribly rushed. I feel I have something really important to say but not enough time to say it in. Instead, I will link to the articles I read which have angered me.

This one: http://www.boingboing.net/2009/11/20/britains-new-interne.html. This is rubbish. If it happens I will leave the UK. I promise you this. I don’t like petitions because I don’t believe they work but  go here to “help prevent” this: http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/dontdisconnectus/

The other post is this: http://gigaom.com/2009/11/22/should-web-page-speed-influence-google-pagerank/. This is bullshit… because I say so. The internet is currently a level playing field for everyone, big and small business alike. Are you going to skew it towards those with most cash? Are you Google? Recently I’ve become A LOT more untrusting of Google.

Ok, it’s true that one swallow does not make a summer, but these things seem to point to the trend that the internet is now going to become more of a corporately controlled entity? I hope I am wrong.

Edit: Also?! Why is my text justified? Justified text?! WTF? This also angers me.

Update: Ok. I removed the justified text. At least I feel like I have the power to change something.