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Social Networks The Internet Technology

The Web We Lost 255

An anonymous reader writes "Anil Dash has an insightful post about cutting through the social media hype to see all of the social functionality we've lost on the web over the past decade. 'We've lost key features that we used to rely on, and worse, we've abandoned core values that used to be fundamental to the web world. To the credit of today's social networks, they've brought in hundreds of millions of new participants to these networks, and they've certainly made a small number of people rich. But they haven't shown the web itself the respect and care it deserves, as a medium which has enabled them to succeed. And they've now narrowed the possibilities of the web for an entire generation of users who don't realize how much more innovative and meaningful their experience could be. ... We get bulls*** turf battles like Tumblr not being able to find your Twitter friends or Facebook not letting Instagram photos show up on Twitter because of giant companies pursuing their agendas instead of collaborating in a way that would serve users. And we get a generation of entrepreneurs encouraged to make more narrow-minded, web-hostile products like these because it continues to make a small number of wealthy people even more wealthy, instead of letting lots of people build innovative new opportunities for themselves on top of the web itself.'"
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The Web We Lost

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 14, 2012 @10:50AM (#42286633)

    I'm presuming many people for a long time including the author wanted to build a giant network just like Facebook BUT with all the options for "openness" and free choices between complete and zero interconnectivity between all sites you are a member of.

    Now that Facebook has built one without these options the desire is to change it to that model.

    What if the lack of those options was the thing that allowed Facebook to succeed in the first place?

    Include them in the design in a quick and dirty way - makes it user unfriendly and clunky, with less chance of takeup.

    Include them in the design in a way that is elegant - would take a lot of resources, making it far less likely for a single person to drive it.

    Include them in the design with the help of a great number of collaborators - yep, because open source software and collaborative models always work outstanding in terms of making products that attract the largest user base.

    It may not be that Zuckerberg has "robbed" the web of something, but rather that he succeeded in the only way the web allowed him to succeed given the scope.

  • Or, it's better. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Friday December 14, 2012 @11:02AM (#42286767) Journal

    I don't use facebook (near dormant account) and I have no twitter account.

    On the other hand, I have a github account. It, or bitbucket or any random hosting service with post hooks would suffice. That's the point, any one would work.

    Then I have a post hook which sends a POST to a specific URL.

    The URL happens to be to which is completely unrelated to github. It at the request of github, then goes and downloads the repository and builds it. It then sends an email relating success or failure.

    The email goes to a mailing list hosted by a completely different organisation. That eventually sends the email to my address at yet another place which through the magic of MX winds up in my browser via my gmail account.

    This was trivial to set up and involves something like 6 different organisations that I can see (probably more like 20 when you include all the services those guys use) who have absoloutely no connection to one another. Yet, when someone commits a change, I get an automatic report as to whether they broke the build.

    Screw facebook at al. I really don't care whether I can post instagram mangled pictures on twitter.

    It would have taken a week 5 years ago to to that. Today it takes 5 minutes, from scratch.

    The level of integration present on utterly disparate services is fantastic and way better than it used to be.

    The present is awesome. The author just eeds to look outside.

  • FB is MySpace mk 2 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 14, 2012 @11:11AM (#42286871)

    I set up a Facebook 'like' button on my wifes website and we had more likes than visitors, so I know the FB likes are faked. I then read a BBC article about how they advertised a fake company and got thousands of likes, but from Egypt and Phillipines... for a company that didn't do anything and didn't exist.

    Then I read this:

    (it says FB has admitted they rig the 'like' system to increment it anytime it sees a link to a site exchanged, or on lots of other occassions).

    So IMHO, I think the popularity of Facebook is overblown by artificial bots and the fake games FB does to rig it. I think that's more about duping advertisers and investors than actual popularity. To make you think its more popular than it actually is.

    The web is still there, it will still be there after Facebook, just as it was there after MySpace.

  • by Sir_Eptishous ( 873977 ) on Friday December 14, 2012 @11:47AM (#42287303) Homepage
    The fascinating thing is how the public now thinks that FB is "The Web/Internet". They chat through it, post pics, etc; Everything is done via FB and for someone to go to a site outside of FB is almost alien to many in that "Gilded Cage".

    Scary and fascinating at the same time.
  • by Desler ( 1608317 ) on Friday December 14, 2012 @12:20PM (#42287689)

    Why is that fascinating? Many people thought AOL, Compuserve, etc. were the Internet during their heydays. In fact, what tou stated is a pretty mundane observation.

  • by thomasw_lrd ( 1203850 ) on Friday December 14, 2012 @01:06PM (#42288221)

    I have to agree. I've been around long enough to remember when people built their own Web sites. First, they built crappy sites on the space their ISP gave them, than, when sites like Geocities and Tripod came along, many of them moved there.

    Blogs are really just evolved versions of Geocities and Tripod. Just easier for the masses to use.

  • by greenbird ( 859670 ) on Friday December 14, 2012 @02:17PM (#42289175)

    Folks who got on the Internet/WWW after about 2001 don't realize that it wasn't always just another medium for slapping ads in front of people.

    This isn't a bad thing. It's Google's prime business model. Google is arguable the greatest player pushing against the trend discussed in the article. They don't want people locked into walled gardens or restricted in what they can do with their systems or on the internet. They just want more people to spend more time on the internet. The more people on the internet the more money they make. iOS vs. Android is the perfect example of this. iOS is one of the most restrictive computing platforms ever created (Hmmm...aside from game consoles which I wouldn't consider general purpose computing platforms). Google financed/bought/developed Android to give people an option that didn't require them to live with Apple's restrictions. They gave it away for free because they knew it would ultimately increase their advertising revenue by getting more people to spend more time on the internet. With Apple's system only Apple and the people Apple chooses make money. Consumers suffer by being restricted in their choices to what Apple wants them to have. With Google's everybody wins. Anyone can use Android to make money. But in doing so they increase the revenue of Google's core business while also bringing about a revolution of innovation in the mobile space.

    This is pretty much true of nearly every product Google creates. Another example is Google maps. It was a a huge innovative step in online mapping software. They made it wide open for anyone to use for free creating their own useful innovative applications. They make money off it by once again increasing the number of people and the amount of time they're on the internet.

    Don't get me wrong. Google isn't the do all be all of the internet. Google has plenty of faults. But they've probable contributed more to a free and open internet than anyone since Mozilla thrashed IE.

  • Screw the Web... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sootman ( 158191 ) on Friday December 14, 2012 @04:27PM (#42292161) Homepage Journal

    ... what about the Internet we lost? We used to have ftp, and gopher, and usenet, and telnet, and finger, and you could send email to webmaster@ or abuse@ or root@ and reach a human, or get things done by emailing majordomo, but nowadays it's all just these crap messaging systems and "click here if you forgot your password" and "type these letters to prove you're a human" and port 80, port 80, port 80. :-|

I've finally learned what "upward compatible" means. It means we get to keep all our old mistakes. -- Dennie van Tassel