The street finds its own uses for colonial internet practices:
Because the data is completely free, Angolans are hiding large files in Wikipedia articles on the Portuguese Wikipedia site (Angola is a former Portuguese colony)—sometimes concealing movies in JPEG or PDF files. They’re then using a Facebook group to direct people to those files, creating a robust, completely free file sharing network.
The act of linking to this story is making it true.
“I don’t think there’s any law against this,” I said. How could there be a law against something that’s not possible?
The ability to follow links down and around and through an idea, landing hours later on some random Wikipedia page about fungi you cannot recall how you discovered, is one of the great modes of the web. It is, I’ll go so far to propose, one of the great modes of human thinking.
A fascinating slice of ethnographic research in Myanmar by Craig. There’s no mention of the web, which is certainly alarming, but then again, that’s not the focus of the research.
Interestingly, while Facebook is all omnipresent and dominant, nobody is using it the way that Facebook wants: all the accounts are basically “fake”.
What I found fascinating are the ways that people have found to bypass app stores. They’re basically being treated as damage and routed ‘round. So while native apps are universal, app stores would appear to be a first world problem.
Now if there were only some kind of universally accessible distribution channel that didn’t require any kind of installation step …hmmm.
My sister-in-law is causing quite a stir. Go Helen!
Paul compares publishing on the web to publish on proprietary platforms, and concludes that things aren’t looking great right now.
Performance is the number one selling point for each of these new content platforms.
A fantastic piece by David Weinberger on the changing uses of the internet—apparently in contradiction of the internet’s original architecture.
Some folks invented the Internet for some set of purposes. They gave it a name, pointed to some prototypical examples—sharing scientific papers and engaging in email about them—shaping the way the early adopters domesticated it.
But over time, the Internet escaped from its creators’ intentions. It became a way to communicate person-to-person via email and many-to-many via Usenet. The web came along and the prototypical example became home pages. Social networking came along and the prototype became Facebook.
Proving something that Derek Powazek told us 15 years ago:
When we clearly show what is and is not acceptable, the tone does change. People who want to share thoughtful comments start to feel that theirs are welcome, and people who want to spew hatred start to realize theirs are not.
D’hear that, Reddit?
internet.org might more accurately be called very-small-piece-of-internet.org
Stuart has written some wise words about making privacy the differentiator that can take on Facebook and Google.
He also talks about Aral’s ind.ie project; all the things they’re doing right, and all things they could do better:
The ind.ie project is to open source as Brewdog are to CAMRA.
I hope that many of you will watch me on this journey, and follow in my wagon tracks as I leave the walled cities and strike out for the wilderness ahead.
Stuart nails it: the real problem with delegating identity is not what some new app will do with your identity details, it’s what the identity provider—Twitter, Google, Facebook—will do with the knowledge that you’re now using some new app.
This is why I want to use my own website as my identity provider.
A superb piece by Marco Arment prompted by the closing of Google Reader. He nails the power of RSS:
RSS represents the antithesis of this new world: it’s completely open, decentralized, and owned by nobody, just like the web itself. It allows anyone, large or small, to build something new and disrupt anyone else they’d like because nobody has to fly six salespeople out first to work out a partnership with anyone else’s salespeople.
And he’s absolutely on the money when he describes what changed:
RSS, semantic markup, microformats, and open APIs all enable interoperability, but the big players don’t want that — they want to lock you in, shut out competitors, and make a service so proprietary that even if you could get your data out, it would be either useless (no alternatives to import into) or cripplingly lonely (empty social networks).
I share his anger.
Well, fuck them, and fuck that.
It’s great to see the changes that Facebook’s four-person accessibility team have managed to push through.
Another Tom Scott project:
I had to take one more quick, cheap shot — and I think a Tumblr blog is the quickest, cheapest shot it’s possible to take.
The latest project from Tom Scott is like many Facebook-authenticated apps that ask you to sell your soul, but this one is literal. I think I might offer my soul (worth 56gigaMorgans) to Cthulhu.
It’s all about the signalling.
A great in-depth explanation by Aarron on why Mailchimp dropped their Facebook and Twitter log-in options. Partly it was the NASCAR problem, but the data (provided by user testing with Silverback) also brought up some interesting issues.
A grab-bag of public updates on Facebook.
Robin Sloan compares Facebook and Google in an interesting way:
Really, Facebook is the world’s largest photo sharing site—that also happens to be a social network and a login system.
Google is getting good, really good, at building things that see the world around them and actually understand what they’re seeing.
A superb scathing piece by Andy, who has a personal perspective on Yahoo’s massively dick move in deploying the patent nuclear option against Facebook.
What would Google+, YouTube and Facebook have looked like in 1997?
Everyone has their bullshit. You can simply decide whose you’re willing to tolerate.
A truly excellent article outlining the difference between share-cropping and self-hosting. It may seem that the convenience of using a third-party service outweighs the hassle of owning your own URLs but this puts everything into perspective.
Rioting in the age of Facebook.
Cruel in a subtle sort of way: re-posting slightly tweaked Facebook photos of one poor guy.
As of today, every single public event on Facebook is marked up using hCalendar. Take the Great British Booze-up, for example…
Brilliant; just brilliant. Connor O’Brien remains skeptical about the abstract permanence of “the cloud.” The observations are sharp and the tone is spot-on.
If your only photo album is Facebook, ask yourself: since when did a gratis web service ever demonstrate giving a flying fuck about holding onto the past?
Douglas Rushkoff on the repeating circle of life that all big online companies live through.
A well-argued piece by Malcolm Gladwell on the relative pros and cons of weak-tie networks and strong-tie hierarchies ...although, as always, Gladwell relies on anecdotes more than data to make his point.
Blaine outlines the vision for Webfinger.
Before we point the finger and laugh at the Facebook users leaving confused comments on Read Write Web, we should look to our own experiences with Google Buzz.
A quick way of leaving Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and MySpace. It uses the password anti-pattern but after using this, I guess you won't be needing that password again.
An interesting take on the business models of social networking sites.
A sobering article on the cost of being a truly global website. This gives some context to Last.fm's recent pricing model decision.
danah boyd addresses the Microsoft Research Tech Fest.
Amanda L. French, Ph.D. » Blog Archive » Facebook terms of service compared with MySpace, Flickr, Picasa, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Twitter
Social networking Terms Of Service compared and contrasted.
Facebook's terms of service used to say that when you closed an account on their network, any rights they claimed to the original content you uploaded would expire. Not anymore.
Pride and Prejudice told through Facebook.
A thoughtful post from Ben on how the flow of OAuth, OpenID and Facebook Connect can be improved.
"Facebook has rolled out an identity system â€” Facebook Connect â€” with a slick UI that trains a gazillion tech-naÃ¯ve users to slap their identity credentials into any old website."
Oh McSweeney's, does your satisfyingly smug brand of dry wit know no bounds?
Kevin points out why you might want to keep your pictures on Flickr rather than Facebook. Like you needed a reason.
I never thought I'd find myself linking to and agreeing with a post on TechC*nt but it's good to see somebody pointing out Facebook's hypocrisy with using the password anti-pattern.
This isn't just funny, it also encapsulates a lot of the ridiculousness of Facebook interactions.
David Recordon shares his first impressions of Google App Engine.
Ben Brown outlines the reasons why he left Facebook: "I think it is important to note that Facebook, though they claim to be a tool for staying connected, is actually a software tool designed *primarily* to deliver marketing messages to its audience."
Facebook's Misrepresentation of Beacon's Threat to Privacy: Tracking users who opt out or are not logged in. - CA Security Advisor Research Blog - CA
An excellent piece of research that shows how Facebook affiliates' cross-site scripting (Beacon) sends information back to the mothership regardless of whether the user has opted out.
Facebook is ageist. Which sucks. To paraphrase Groucho Marx, you're only as old as the [woman/man] you are interested in [random play/networking/whatever you can get] with.
Arsebook is an anti-social utility that connects you with the people YOU HATE.
Another take on social network portability.
The need for portable social networks hits the mainstream press: Professor Michael Geist writes an article for the BBC website.
The Benefits of Facebook "Friends:" Social Capital and College Students' Use of Online Social Network Sites
"In addition to assessing bonding and bridging social capital, we explore a dimension of social capital that assesses one's ability to stay connected with members of a previously inhabited community, which we call maintained social capital."
Danah Boyd's essay is required reading for anyone with even a passing interest in social networks.