Tangent — Jacking with Meta

June 30, 2011

And for you techies, this may not be what you think. The video below addresses something everyone on the World Wide Web needs to know is happening so is well worth the nine minute’s investment to watch.

I chuckled a bit when Eli Pariser mentioned his political bent. He has been an integral part of Moveon.org, a very politically biased site. I do not agree with everything said there. I’m not sure I agree with everything said anywhere, but this never keeps me from listening to someone’s viewpoint, and I’m almost always wiser for having listened. And how sad if their visibility were diminished in my little world thereby making my world that much smaller. Oh, I’m all for personalization, but when it becomes a stumbling block to my ability to consider a bigger picture, it’s gone too far. And for what? Mostly to take advantage of niche marketing, i.e., the ability to sell me something whether it be a product, a service or an idea by appealing to my seeming interests keyed into a search engine. Oh, I’m not completely opposed to niche marketing, but I HATE when someone seeks to think for me in a way that limits my thinking, and it’s really insulting when it’s a machine. Hopefully, you watched the video, so all of this makes sense and my next words in particular will be in perspective.

Today, the only major information site that doesn’t personalize to the degree of Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. is Twitter. I would include Digg and Reddit, but they are being eclipsed by Twitter. So this makes Twitter a really important tool for the little guys — us. The beauty of the web has been this power to connect people who would not otherwise be able to find each other, and gatekeeper media sites have been fairly circumvented in this process, but now Google, et al are seeking to control where we go even more. Frankly, the mere mention of a gatekeeper hacks me off. Thankfully, Twitter is still powerful enough to overcome that kind of control because it’s mostly unfiltered, and therefore wild and unpredictable and beautiful in its ability to give us average people who have little or no professional connection with major media the power to potentially have impact. This is the main reason I like Twitter and would hate to see it go the way of the others. Hopefully, this makes it evident Twitter should not be dismissed as mere fluff.

It’s amazing to me how true is this adage: it’s not what you see or hear but what you don’t. I’ve told my kids this countless times in the hope they will learn to think outside the box by knowing that the box is invisible.

On a personal note, if I told you some of the influential people whom I’ve been able to converse with as a result of Twitter, you wouldn’t believe me. I could care less about name dropping, but I say this here to make the point that your voice can be heard on Twitter in ways you could have only dreamed about before.

edit: I’m putting the Richard Armitage and public service tags on this since this is “important” stuff in the fine art of Richard Armitage watching. :D

Tangent — Say It Ain’t So, Pete

[Note: No, there will be nothing about Richard Armitage in this piece, but sometimes I just can’t help but talk about other things]

AOL (America Online) is that company which almost everyone in America has used as an ISP (Internet Service Provider) — thanks to those CDs that were littered across America’s mailboxes and practically pressed on us when we went to Wal-Mart or Target or even the grocery store. If it weren’t for AOL, America would not have become accustomed so quickly to the joys of surfing the web. But as other ISPs, who did not sink their hooks into our systems quite so much, came into existence and had the means to provide high speed services such as DSL or Cable at a cheaper price, AOL went on the wane.

However, they should never be counted out. They have managed to stay afloat, and now they are once again on an acquisition frenzy. I’m fascinated with what they’re doing. Unless they know something the rest of us don’t, I’m thinking they’re nuts. And now Mashable.com might be one of their pickings? Tomorrow Mashable is announcing something major, and I’m wondering if they will make this list. And if you don’t know about Mashable, well, then I haven’t done a very good job of public service while you’ve been reading this blog. :D

To know about Mashable, you have to know about Pete Cashmore, its founder and CEO. Other than being one of the hottest geeks around,

Pete has built an information empire majoring on the power of social media, and all beginning when he was 19 and blogging from his bedroom in Scotland. If Pete says something or Mashable says something, it often sends a wave through the media community. If AOL gets hold of that? Oh man, I don’t know what I think at this point. My gut is screaming, “No, no, no and no!” But maybe I’m wrong. I’m always willing to be wrong. It’s just that AOL is so pedestrian, and I have a hard time thinking they’re going to go places that Pete has taken the rest of us. I don’t see it.

But hey, if Pete does sell, I don’t blame him. He is young enough at 25 to do many more things. I just hate to see the establishment get hold of Mashable. Bummer.

Tangent — What Color is the Sky?

So Rupert Murdoch finally has the paywalls up completely on the Times. I’ve been reading about this coming event for quite a while now. It’s my understanding that Murdoch based part of his decision on another paper he owns that requires paid subscriptions for online reading — The Wall Street Journal. The only problem with his thinking is that the Wall Street Journal targets a much smaller audience, provides information more difficult to obtain and the readers have more means to pay. It can’t be said enough that the Times stuff is easily available elsewhere unless the Times has one helluva editorial team, which is doubtful. So I’m not sure what Murdoch is thinking to compare the two papers.

Perhaps he’s not thinking, since it’s also my understanding that he personally does not use the internet. ROFLOL!!! Wait. I think he’s almost 80. Okay, that explains it. Wait, my 70 something year old mother has an iPhone and accesses the internet with it, and yes, to get her news. As if that’s not enough, so do my almost 80 year old mother-in-law and father-in-law, so no, age doesn’t explain it. He must be on another planet ’cause the color of the sky in his world is not the same as the rest of us, and apparently he’s as unrealistic as Prince, who I already thought was crazy. Oh wait, I meant the artist formerly known as Prince. No, I’m wrong, he’s back to Prince. Whatever, I’m not talking about the royals:

…”The internet’s completely over. I don’t see why I should give my new music to iTunes or anyone else. They won’t pay me an advance for it and then they get angry when they can’t get it.

“The internet’s like MTV. At one time MTV was hip and suddenly it became outdated. Anyway, all these computers and digital gadgets are no good.

“They just fill your head with numbers and that can’t be good for you.”

The rest of the interview.

Alrighty then. Those devices in our hands are really just a figment of our imaginations and will soon disappear. I don’t think ol’ Rupe thinks those devices are going away, but just like Prince, he thinks he can create a scarcity where none exists. But of course the devil’s advocate rears his head and has me remembering that Rupert and Prince are friggin’ geniuses, and sometimes we think geniuses are crazy — especially when they see something the rest of us can’t. This is going to drive me crazy until I know these paywalls fail. Then again, I understand they might be necessary. If so, it’s going to be sad to see the golden era of information coming to an end.

In the meantime, I love how one of the frequent commenters at Tech Dirt put it:

Hephaestus said:

He will fail. Will it get me laid? will it make me money? is it required for work? his paper doesnt match any of those so its a fail, and few if any will pay for it.

I hope you’re right, Heph.