Writing in The New Republic, David Dayen says "The surveillance economy should die. This manner of advertising doesn’t serve the public and it’s not even clear it serves advertisers." It's an intriguing idea: let's return to the era of mass media. Rather than conjure up complicated schemes to regulate entities like Facebook, just remove the incentive for corporations to spy on our every click. Want to reach a relevant audience?
We were warned, over and over, although many of the warnings pointed to the wrong bogeyman.
We now find ourselves in a Panopticon society, one where our locations and contacts and interactions are constantly monitored, where our data is mined and used for behavior modification.
Everybody's dumping on Facebook this week, with good reason, but I thought I'd take a moment to look at why Facebook succeeded and so many others (Friendster, Myspace, even the mighty Google) failed. Here are eight things they got right, in no particular order.
Time flies when you're busy.
Since my last blog post, I've been through more than a few changes:
Our visitors, Anya Semeniuk, Irina Breza, and Yarina Denisiuk took a moment to shoot a selfie upon their arrival at the Savannah airport.
After decades of predictions that print newspapers are doomed, it should come as no shock, but still: I was caught off guard by the announcement that Britain's national daily The Independent is giving up on print.
I'm back in the United States and mostly unjetlagged from a week in Ukraine, where I spent most of the time with the Chernihiv Media Group in a program operated by IREX and funded by the U.S. State Department. Ukraine is a country at war, but it's a strange one, geographically isolated to an eastern region where pro-Moscow rebels (and covert Russian soldiers) are trying to break away and reconnect with Russia.
Well, this makes me feel old: I'm now a source of oral history. I was interviewed recently for the Internet History Podcast by by Brian McCullough, whose attention was caught by my complaint about revisionist history and the "original sin" myth.
One of the site engagement metrics that I monitor is pages per visitor.
It's a number that's under a lot of downward pressure as social media, especially Facebook, becomes more dominant in the user experience.