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Web Colonies and Web Forks

While I may spend sometime fretting about whole-hog RIA platforms subsuming the web, I’ve recently been thinking that could be a red herring:

Despite all of this, we realized that it is not easy to convert the average twentysomething to the wonderful world of the blogosphere. Even my friends and acquaintances that appreciate what I’m doing and compliment my site, do not frequent my blog or any other blog on a regular basis. And when they do visit the site they almost never leave a comment. Brazen Careerist, via Anne

While I’m always cautious making conclusions about “The Kids,” I’ve been worrying that MySpace and Facebook are just about done colonizing the next generation of web people. To be honest, I have no idea what The Seniors are up to: maybe they’re in their own web cruise ship somewhere. In my own age bracket (early 30’s) people seem to use MySpace more than I’d guess, but they know about and use the web I know.

The Web I Know

What is this “web I know”? Primarily, it’s about blogs instead of profiles. More importantly, you don’t have to log in to a site like MySpace or Facebook to view content. At worse, you have that horky LinkedIn thing where you get a half-ass view of content unless you login. More importantly, there’s lots of RSS, which seems lacking in web colonies. It’s annoying that MySpace blogs have partial RSS feeds, but there’s be a lot less blogs I’d read if I cared (too much) about that (you know who you are! ;>).

All this said, I vacillate between “being OK” and “having a problem” with giant, roach motel sites. I mean, I don’t want to put my content, attention, and meta-data into those sites, but why should I begrudge others? And that whole Facebook activities view sure is handy: sure we could have such a thing in the public web, but we don’t and they do. Running code tends to win.

In the end, I favor a more component, SOA-ish approach to the web where each site, including my desktop is an end-point and participant. To me, MySpace and Facebook seem like final destinations that encourage less end-points and less links. As you can imagine, SecondLife makes me feel the same way: like an old curmudgeon telling kids to get off my lawn.

But hey! The Kids love ‘em!

Questions

Some open questions are:

  • Should RedMonk be posting into these Cul-de-sacs? Would it help us and our community, that is, you?
  • Is there something I’m missing that makes these sites more end-point’y than I assume?
  • How many of you check MySpace or Facebook once, twice, 3 times, etc. a day?
  • With the Facebook API, is it, like, time for the concerns above to put up or shut up as far as anyone caring? That is, if the data and processes are now all open, if “the web” (“the market”?) wants to treat Facebook as an end-point, it’ll happen…?
  • What’s the retention of these sites? To people migrate to other colonies, the web, back and forth between the two types?

One way start answering these questions is to see how many of you will add either my MySpace account or my Facebook account. (I’m sure the face that I call them “account” is, sort of, like, lame.) I got a crap-load of LinkedIn ads in a little Twitter experiment the other day, so the old fogies social networking site seems to be strong. How so with The Cool Cul-de-Sacs?

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Categories: Identity, Social Software, The New Thing.

Comment Feed

7 Responses

  1. I must be getting too old, at 40, I've never been, and have no desire to go to any of those sites. Admittedly, I stay within my blogroll, with an occasional addition/deletion to it.

  2. This observation hits at the heart of the matter:

    "And that whole Facebook activities view sure is handy: sure we could have such a thing in the public web, but we don’t and they do. Running code tends to win."

    I resisted joining a "colony" for a long time. However, I'm now have a profile at Facebook, and the news feed is invaluable in allowing me to maintain contact with friends and family.

    Still, I maintain a blog and connect it to all the "component" services (Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, Last.fm, etc.). Since I'm a techie, I enjoy wiring everything up in a SOA-ish manner.

    But for the masses, that's not a reasonable expectation. One-stop-shops, such as Facebook, give them everything they need and are easy to use.

    That's what makes the Facebook Platform interesting. Now people can integrate disparate networks and services,

  3. Two things – I've sent you a 'friend' request in FB, and you haven't responded yet! … and I'm thinking much the same way you are. I have been bemused for some time about how my kids and their contemporaries seem so enamoured of MySpace/Xanga/Ringo, where the pages look like a 1950's ad exec has vomited on them, and where you HAVE to be logged in to see anything. I can see why those sites think that's good (but that's still such 'old' thinking), but it's a shame my kids are more conformist than I am.

    Whether or not Redmonk uses these sites is up to you guys – I don't need to be there to get the benefit of your conversation.
    As you can tell, I've been looking at FB since they opened it up a bit, but I'm not convinced I'll stay there. I'm actually reasonably happy with Linkedin for the purpose of business contacts, and the online resume thing, but if you look at what I'm doing with FB, it's just connections to existing social sites like Flickr, del.icio.us, last.fm and the blog – I'm not sure what additional value FB gives me, since I can put all those things on my blog (and have).

  4. Great post, Cote, I'm reading parts of it and laughing with my 30-something husband because it describes me to a tee (T?). Refusing to sign up for MySpace or Facebook, clinging to my LinkedIn contacts (and I just discovered that I can now see who has viewed my profile, ooo), blogging and connecting via posts, digg, and so forth. I lurve del.icio.us and I just signed up for Twitter last month and haven't really started using it.

    Why the omission of LiveJournal for 30-somethings? That area of the web is definitely where many of my 30-something friends are "jailing" their content. :)

    For some reason, I'm also drawn to the question of what are the seniors doing? We bought all the grandparents webcams this Christmas but their web presence and web reading lists don't yet include many blogs, instead they are up to their ears in Forums about their personal interests and hobbies. These Forums are mostly email-based reading, come to think of it. Your large print blog layout is probably taking care of that demographic, no offense to anyone because I truly like your large print layout.

    I thought you'd probably also be interested in this Ask MetaFilter post asking whether investing in a Second Life presense makes sense for a non-profit. "SecondLife presence for nonprofits — Yay or Nay?" at
    http://ask.metafilter.com/62698/SecondLife-presen… looking to attract "teh kidz." Heh.

  5. Thanks for the LiveJournal mention, Anne. There certainly are boat-loads of people over there. It seems more like a semi-transparent colony, but that might just be a bias on my part towards blogs.

Continuing the Discussion

  1. [...] to read their blog. I cracked up because I realized it’s so true for me. Read his post here: Cote talks about the “web I know” and it’s different for all of us, based on age, based on experience, based on education [...]

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