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April 24, 2010

Facebook is basically trying to be AOL circa 1995

Raph’s Website -- Facebook rebrands the Internet Facebook wants to be your portal to the internet. They want everything you do to be wrapped in a Facebook shell, tracked, advertised, and monetized by Facebook. I say, no thanks. Raph Koster lays out where he thinks AOLFacebook is going. The whole thing is worth reading.
Step one: Facebook is going to make the whole Internet a community space. Everywhere you go, you will see what your friends liked on sites. You will know what movies they watched, what CNN articles they read, what YouTube videos they thought were funny. You will see their streams and comments annotating the Internet everywhere you go. And they will be able to reach out and chat to you on the chat bar at the bottom of your browser. Step two: Facebook is going to be your identity card for the Internet. Facebook has always aimed at being the only login you will need. With this, they have made a strong play to have you just always be logged into Facebook, everywhere on the internet. All the top sites you use will simply expect you to be logged in, and over time we will see that functionality on the site will start to require this identity information. And soon after that, you will have to be on Facebook even if you don’t want to be. Step three: Facebook will aggregate this data into a new type of search. Everything you do, all your opinions weighted by your like factor aka reputation), the combined graph data and aggregated community information, will be funneled back into the centralized database to form what today are called “pages.” This will become something akin to Wikipedia pages over time, only with constantly changing data and editorializing. Wikipedia data itself will be just a tab on this page. Amazon-style recommendation engines — and likely space for e-commerce — will sit alongside this; imagine a Wikipedia page on, say, a music recording, with an “you may also like” tab. Step four: Facebook will be your virtual wallet. Once identity is everywhere but most importantly, secured on Facebook’s servers, then it will make more sense to buy on the Internet with those than with Paypal or a credit card. Especially since this virtual currency will be earned in any number of ways, such as via loyalty programs, frequent visitor programs, etc. Virtual currency will be used as a retention device and as a cross-promotional tool by businesses. Step five: Facebook will push this into the real world, and become your id card for reality. You will come to the movie theater and walk up to the self-serve kiosk to buy your tickets. Under each movie will be the list of friends who liked it and their comments. You went in expecting to see one thing, but the theater knows you — and it tells you in no uncertain terms that you are going to like this other movie better. And you’ll pick based on those social recommendations. You will swipe your Credits card to buy your movie ticket using some credits you earned with the loyalty program in Farmville, and swipe it again to get into the theater. You watch the movie, which helpfully tells all your friends where you are and what you are doing. Any status updates you make from your phone during the movie are tagged with the movie, and get cross-referenced on the movie’s page on Facebook.com; after the first day, there’s a complete plot synopsis, review summary, and critical exegesis available there. When you leave, you wave your card at the “like” podium as you leave the movie — more loyalty points, more free tickets.
[much more at the link]

April 23, 2010

College students go 24 hours without news, music, or talking to their friends. Media claims they are "addicted to technology."

College students are ‘addicted’ to media, study says - SmartPlanet Reports like this make me rather livid. The students are using technology to engage with the world. The researchers cut them off for a day. The students report feeling isolated and lonely when they are unable to talk to their friends. Therefore the media reports the students are addicts. What? It's like they are pathologizing human communication.
Released this week, a new study, “24 Hours: Unplugged,” by the International Center for Media & the Public Agenda at the University of Maryland, documents the students’ attitudes during their “day without media.” The conclusion: Most college students are not just unwilling, but functionally unable to be without their media links to the world. “The students did complain about how boring it was go anywhere and do anything without being plugged into music on their MP3 players,” said project director Susan D. Moeller, a Maryland professor and director of the center. “But what they spoke about in the strongest terms was how their lack of access to text messaging, phone calling, instant messaging, email and Facebook, meant that they couldn’t connect with friends who lived close by, much less those far away.” One student wrote: “Texting and IM-ing my friends gives me a constant feeling of comfort. When I did not have those two luxuries, I felt quite alone and secluded from my life. Although I go to a school with thousands of students, the fact that I was not able to communicate with anyone via technology was almost unbearable.” . . . “They care about what is going on among their friends and families and even in the world at large. But most of all they care about being cut off from that instantaneous flow of information that comes from all sides and does not seemed tied to any single device or application or news outlet.”