Things what I writ

I sometimes write nonsense about things to try and sound clever

social broadcasting

I rather like social interaction online. for many years my peers, co-workers and friends have mostly been in different timezones and an expensive phone call away, regardless of who was actually paying the bill. there’s nothing like the direct connection of, say, IM, or chat, or IRC (oops), or nearly-connected twitter, or even asynchronous email, or, at a push, facebook status (excuse the pun. actually, don’t, I put it in on purpose. its supposed to be there), to connect with people I really can’t be with in person. I can pretend to myself that because we still interact directly on a mostly 1-1 basis, that we’re still kind of friends and that we’re actually having a conversation. it works for me.

however, and I don’t usually begin a paragraph with a however, however, in this case, its appropriate, in recent months, nay, years, the increasing market for social networking technology across multiple platforms and devices has driven things into a bizarre self-fulfilling adoption-fest whereby its no longer the interaction that sustains the apparent connectedness but the dissemination and aggregation of the message that appears to matter. in others words, its no longer about what you say, its about how something else distributes it. and how someone else embeds it into their own personal social network architecture. where it festers. and dies. in a soup of loosely related social media artefacts which are abstracted from their original content types and dumped like a mahoosive bucket of unrecognisable old fruit in a shiny new bin round the back of Tescos, which coincidentally, you chose to shop at. its not interaction, its broadcasting. and now you’ve lost me.

oh, hang on, my phone’s ringing.

listening post: M83 – graveyard girl

Articulating Prudence

You know that nagging feeling you have in the back of your mind that you feel you haven’t quite explained to those you care for that the internet is, in fact, a omnipresent blood-sucking privacy leech that never forgets? I mean, you might have those conversations where you say ‘and never, never give anyone your own email address’, or ‘if you don’t know who its from, don’t open it’, or even ‘is that you?‘, but sometimes its difficult to explain, with real-life examples, why posting a picture of yourself with your head down the toilet is, like, OMG, a really stupid thing to do if you ever want to grow up into a real person with a job and everything. I know the temptation to tell the world just how drunk you can get is overwhelming, but really, that, as an example, is exactly the kind of thing that gets stuck on the fly-paper of social networking, forever.

So I’m glad to be able to point people in the direction of an article (on the internet, naturally), that more eloquently describes the perils of posting, but, crucially, sets it in the context of how the major social networking sites actually manage your data, and, based on the terms and conditions you implicitly sign-up for, the data is no longer actually yours. Of course, the article is describing exactly how Sun is enabling some of the most humungous networks to massively scale and deliver blistering performance, notably, the mother of all cringe archives, but while we’re delivering the technology that drives the networks that you, I, and half the world seem to engage with on a daily basis, we’re also acutely aware of our responsibilities. There. I said it. And if I sound like a pompous Dad for saying it, then I don’t mind, because this stuff really is important.

Listening Post: Tubeway Army: Down in the Park



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