The Next Good Thing

A VC wrote:

My view, for those who haven’t been reading this blog for a long time, is that all of this privacy stuff is way over the top. You need to disclose what you are doing and Facebook has done that. You need to give users a way to opt out and I believe but am not sure that Facebook has done that. Certainly the partner sites that are runnning Facebook’s beacon need to disclose and provide an opt out

But beyond that, tracking what we do and reporting it to our friends and using that data to target advertising and content is a good thing. In fact, its why the Internet is getting better and better every day.

This is why the internet is getting worse, not better–Tim Berners-Lee buying into the hype, notwithstanding.

One of the earlier stated advantages of the internet and the web is that we would have access to new ideas and concepts beyond that which were typical and usual and familiar. We had become a global world of insular neighborhoods, suffering not one but two world wars, as we stumbled from one fear of the unknown to the next. A despot works best with those least informed, so the concept was simple: inform. With the internet, first, and then the web, the walls around our communities would first crack, and then crumble.

Now, not only have we taken that insularity with us into the threaded void, we’ve monetized it.

I don’t know why I write on this, I’m not part of the discussion. I’m not part of the discussion because I don’t show in Techmeme. I don’t show on Techmeme because I don’t fit the white listing criteria. Because I don’t fit the white listing criteria, and don’t show on Techmeme, no one needs feel constrained to respond. Because no one responds, I am the tree, falling the forest. Eventually, I stop responding, and homogeneity is safely preserved. This is, the good thing to which we are heading.

Techmeme is based on the exact same principles of Facebook’s Beacon–celebrating, nay, demanding sameness, while filtering differences. What Facebook has done, though, is infinitely worse: not only can it ensure that insularity is preserved within the gated communities in its utopia, but it has also assured it’s marketing partners a ready supply of people perfectly mapped, neatly categorized, sans any pesky contrariness, because those of us aghast at what we’re seeing have bailed. No tears are shed at Facebook, though, because we’ve deactivated our accounts. Why? Because we generate noise, and no income.

Aristotle wrote in my comments:

The strategy is obvious and simple, no?

First they spring something “can they really mean this?!” outrageous on the userbase, then they let the protests ring for a while, until finally they “recant.” Of course recanting means falling back to a position that would have outraged users nearly as much as the initial proposition – but under the circumstances, seems like a compromise that users feel they can grudgingly accept.

Then they wait until the frogs have gotten thoroughly used to the warmer water before springing the next aspect of enforced exhibitionism on them.

Hey, it worked for politicians in grinding down civil liberties and those pesky checks and balances.

The strategy is obvious and simple, yes.

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4 Responses to The Next Good Thing

  1. “Overton Window”.

  2. jeneane says:

    i thought there already was a gender rigged version of techmeme. I think it is called techmeme.

    my but there sure have been a few good women on techmeme since our little chat. someone must have pressed the [Add A Chick] button. don’t worry though–it is set to deactivate automatically the next time Mike posts about a startup. ;-)

  3. Phil says:

    I appreciate you need to quote the whole
    thing, but
    is there any chance you could fix the
    spurious line
    breaks? They’re really distracting. KTHX
    BYE