The recent rapid expansion of Facebook has largely been attributed to Facebook's capacity to tap a new audience for social neworking - slightly older than the MySpace crowd. ZDNet's Steve O'Hear borrows an analogy from Richard Wray and fleshes it out in this way:
... essentially I see the two giants generally catering for the needs of different demographics — hence their distinct differences in terms of layout and functionality.
Writing in today’s Guardian newspaper, Richard Wray came up with a great analogy:
Facebook, like most internet successes, taps into innate real life traits - curiosity, sociability and sharing. If MySpace is as messy and chaotic as a teenager’s bedroom, Facebook is the frenzied networking of a cocktail party, delivering an unending reel of “news” on the lives of your friends.
A teenager’s bedroom, plastered with posters (and brands) and with continuous background music, sounds a lot like a MySpace profile. Add into the room a teenager or two who are always on the phone or text messaging friends about gossip or the hottest new band — and very generally speaking, you’ve nailed much of the appeal of MySpace. The fact that teenagers are increasingly using the site’s internal messaging system over email says it all. Additionally, those posters on the wall can be other user’s profiles, which include bands and brands vying for wall space.
In contrast, Facebook is much more popular amongst college students and graduates/professionals (due to it’s University roots). The site’s design is far less customizable — you can’t decorate your room. Instead, any customization is about deciding what functionality to include. This is even more so now that third parties can set-up-shop on the site and add new features which fulfill every possible need. I logged into Facebook today to accept a few friend requests, and noticed a professional networking event, that one of my contacts was looking to hire, and another had a rather nice laptop for sale. Getting that info took seconds due to Facebook’s controlled and efficient interface. Completely different to MySpace.
Read more here. However, Boing Boing has drawn my attention to a piece by Dannah Boyd that describes the respective demographics in a different way. She posits that well-to-do, stable American teens with "good prospects" end up on Facebook, while poor, queer, marginal and non-white teens end up on MySpace:
The goodie two shoes, jocks, athletes, or other "good" kids are now going to Facebook. These kids tend to come from families who emphasize education and going to college. They are part of what we'd call hegemonic society. They are primarily white, but not exclusively. They are in honors classes, looking forward to the prom, and live in a world dictated by after school activities.
MySpace is still home for Latino/Hispanic teens, immigrant teens, "burnouts," "alternative kids," "art fags," punks, emos, goths, gangstas, queer kids, and other kids who didn't play into the dominant high school popularity paradigm. These are kids whose parents didn't go to college, who are expected to get a job when they finish high school. Teens who are really into music or in a band are on MySpace. MySpace has most of the kids who are socially ostracized at school because they are geeks, freaks, or queers.
Read more here. I'm not sure whether I agree with this categorisation or not, but it is a perspective worth thinking about.
While YouTube has captured a great deal of attention and traffic for its vast collection of mostly goofy videos, a growing number of sites are providing more-cerebral alternatives: documentaries, speeches, panel discussions, research reports and more.
In some instances, production values are minimal -- think C-SPAN, with just a single camera trained on a podium. But remember, you're supposed to be here for the ideas, not the flashy graphics. So after you've spent an hour watching the most popular downloads at YouTube or iFilm, and want to atone for the wasted time, you can check them out.
Read more here.
In all the talk about the Ron Paul online machine, there has been very little discussion of his actual campaign website, which has recently undergone a facelift. His approach is novel. Instead of building an infrastructure on his own campaign website. like most candidates have done, Paul has created a portal to his presences on various third party websites.
The Paul website itself essentially consists of a homepage, an issues section, a bio page, a donation form, a sign up form and a blog. Interestingly for the social candidate, his blog doesn’t even allow comments. Instead, it encourages visitors to discuss/interact with the blog content on social sites like Digg, del.icio.us, StumbleUpon and Facebook. He seems to deliberately avoid building a community on his own site. Due to this, supporters have no choice but to organize elsewhere.
Paul relies on third party tools for fundamental aspects of his website ... with only a few core functions being performed by the website itself. Lots of campaigns have played around with this stuff. Paul is the only one I’ve seen that truly relies on these tools to perform mission critical campaign functions.
Obviously, as a long shot candidate with a limited budget, the use of these free tools is done out of necessity. But the strategy here is also very sound: by not giving supporters much to do on his own site he maximizes the amount of noise they make in other venues. It is the perfect approach for an insurgent candidate like Paul.
As 2008 grows nearer, I’d expect other insurgent candidates to mimic the Paul approach. Front runners? Not so much at this point. The buzz this approach creates is great, but there is also a lot to be said for having control over all these tools and all the data they generate.
Read more here.
A team from Dailymotion showed up to the Google press event [last week] (machine translation) where the new French version of YouTube was being announced. The video below, “Hello YouTube,” is conveniently subtitled in English, but long story short, Google’s representatives say there’s just no room for a few people from Dailymotion amongst the crowd of journalists.
A real-world take on what life in Second Life is like:
Warning: if you've never been in Second Life, you might not get it.
In addition to Hillary Clinton's song announcement video that brilliantly spoofed the Sopranos finale (see the original and Hilary's video here), hundreds of response videos have popped up over the last two weeks, including spoofs, alternate endings and detailed deconstructions. Here are some examples (via NewTeeVee):
Concurring Opinions has drawn my attention to Michael Jensen’s incisive essay The New Metrics of Scholarly Authority, which offers the following "preconditions for scholarly success in Authority 3.0":
They include the digital availability of a text for indexing . . . the digital availability of the full text for referencing, quoting, linking, tagging; and the existence of metadata of some kind that identifies the document, categorizes it, contextualizes it, summarizes it, and perhaps provides key phrases from it, while also allowing others to enrich it with their own comments, tags, and contextualizing elements.
Read Jensen's essay here.
Interestingly, Concurring Opinions then suggests that the academic "push to publicize" mirrors the accelerating trend in social networking toward making the details of one's life accessible. Read about that here.
Kim Weatherall has a piece in Crikey today on the extradition and sentencing of Hew Griffiths, an Australian resident, who was extradited to face a US criminal court on charges of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringements, and criminal copyright infringement. He pleaded guilty, and last Friday he was sentenced to more than 4 years in jail. Kim makes this warning:
We should be worried that such extraditions might become more common. If they do, Australians will have to consider, in their online activities, extradition to the US as a possible risk. So much for Australian sovereignty.
Over at The House of Commons, Catherine Bond has a very useful summary of Copyright Agency Limited v State of New South Wales, a recent decision of the Full Court of the Federal Court on Crown copyright. Read it here.
The Pirate Bay, which bills itself as the world’s largest bittorrent tracker, has launched a completely uncensored image hosting service called BayImg. The service promises in the words of Voltaire, “[We may] disapprove of what you say, but [we] will defend to the death your right to say it.”
The site is dirt simple, consisting of the homepage, where you upload an image and assign tags, and a tags page where you can browse photos uploaded by others relating to specific topics. You can also enter a “removal code” when you upload a picture, which allows you to remove your photo later on should you decide it might not be the most flattering should a potential employer stumble upon it.
No registration is required for uploading, and BayImg claims to support up to 140 different file formats.
Read more here.
LinkedIn is feeling the heat from Facebook’s platform strategy: realizing it could lose its dominant position in business networking if it doesn’t act, founder and Chairman Reid Hoffman said on Friday that LinkedIn will provide open APIs “within 9 months”. Most likely, it’ll be much sooner (and it’ll need to be - 9 months is a long, long time on the web).
Read more here.
During the week I blogged about how much I liked Hillary Clinton's song announcement video that brilliantly spoofed the Sopranos finale (see here). However, I've received feedback indicating that it was hard to appreciate if you hadn't seen the real ending of the Sopranos. So, here is the ending of the Sopranos followed by the song announcement video:
For all the hype about Second Life, Facebook and MySpace are already the closest things we have to "virtual worlds." Sure, Facebook doesn't have large-breasted 3D avatars and a sky and buildings and its own currency. But the whole point of the Internet is that you don't need all that stuff. If I want to buy something, I go to Amazon, not some virtual store. Even before Facebook allowed outside applications, it had millions of users who basically lived inside their profile pages. The typical Facebooker spends hours each day sending messages, posting "notes" or blog entries, and uploading photos, along with trolling for freshmen girls who love the Decemberists. Facebook Platform simply expands this world. (According to the Wall Street Journal, the site's user base has jumped from 24 million to 27 million since Platform launched.) Now you can check the local weather, feed and nurture a virtual pet rabbit, and see what music your friends are listening to. With just a few more additions—e-mail, an instant-messaging program, RSS feeds—Facebook obsessives will become total shut-ins. Users wouldn't have to venture out into the Internet; the Internet would come to them.
Read more here.
At the moment the generational difference means that the vast majority of users on sites like Facebook are the younger generation. But the other day, it crossed my mind that in the future, 40 or so years, Facebook will look somewhat different when we’ve all got a touch older.
I know this thought is a bit random but I strangely find it interesting.
(Hat tip: Mashable.)
From The Courier Mail:
CRUCIAL evidence relating to the misconduct hearings of two senior Queensland University of Technology academics has been lost.
QUT admitted yesterday the digital recording of the misconduct hearings of Dr Gary MacLennan and Dr John Hookham had suffered a "technical malfunction". The two learned of the problem when their solicitor, Steve Kerin of Kerin & Co lawyers, sought records of the proceedings.
Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Coaldrake suspended Dr MacLennan and Dr Hookham without pay for six months – a penalty amounting to $40,000 each – a fortnight ago after they publicly criticised a PhD film project, "Laughing at the Disabled", being prepared by Creative Industries student Michael Noonan.
The university's manual of policies and procedures specifies that in cases of misconduct hearings, the university is obliged to "keep a complete record of proceedings and make the records available to the staff member or the vice-chancellor upon request."
In a statement yesterday, acting vice-chancellor of QUT, Professor David Gardiner, said: "QUT has engaged external consultants to attempt to retrieve the data and as a result most of the recording of Dr MacLennan's hearing was retrieved. Efforts are being made to retrieve the balance of the data.
"While this is an unfortunate incident, the recorded hearings were not relied upon by any member of the committee in reaching their judgment nor in the writing of their report."
Mr Kerin said: "We were dismayed to discover this. Is this the university of technology or incompetence? Could somebody get on to Barry Humphries?"
The matter has also prompted the resignation of Dr John Henningham, former UQ academic and head of the J School as an Adjunct Professor of Journalism at QUT.
In a letter to Professor Coaldrake, Dr Henningham said: "I view with great disquiet the disciplinary action . . . it seems to me, based on the information publicly available, that QUT's action has been punitive in the extreme and poses a serious threat to academic freedom and the value of free speech."
Read it here.
Election '08 may not be until November next year, and the primaries not until January, but that hasn't stopped the various candidates for the Democratic and Republican nominations campaigning like crazy.
And the internet is bearing the full brunt of it. Previously, YouTube was the destination for candiate bloopers and home-made political videos but not anymore - now the candidates themsleves are getting in on the act.
The big story this week was the release of Hillary Clinton's online Sopranos spoof which generated column inches by the bucket load and left bloggers scrambling for their keyboards.
Despite the coverage it received, the video is not at the top of our special Election '08 chart this week, if only for the reason that it was only released on Wednesday. Watch it rise next week.
Barack Obama is still the man to watch amongst many bloggers and leads this week's chart as the star of a musical homage. He also appears at number ten in a direct-to-camera chat.
However, he is not the most popular candidate according to our chart - that honour goes to the little-known Republican congressman Ron Paul, who appears no less than three times in the top 10.
View the chart here.
The Flickr firestorm is just the latest refutation of the enduring myth that the internet is uncontrollable. While technologically adept users can usually find anything they're looking for, the vast majority of the internet's 1.1 billion users are at the mercy of local laws, ordinances and customs.
Read more here. I've never really thought about it that way, but Naughton may be right ...
The Age has an excellent feature report on the tech capitals of the world, including a list of the top ten digital cities, ranked according to broadband speed, cost and availability, wireless internet access, technology adoption, government support for technology, education and technology culture, and future potential:
Read more here.
Internet Attention Deficit Disorder is the productivity killer affecting most office workers today - the stringent urge to “browse just a little more” in between your daily work tasks; to peek at the Digg homepage, check out the hottest YouTube video of the day, skim through your blog feeds reading what happened in the last hour, to jump eagerly whenever Outlook or Mail.app alert you of new mail and interrupt all activity when you get via IM a link to a funny picture.
Enter our brief list of tips to detect, manage, contain and even cure the Internet ADD.
Read the tips here.
From The Australian:
A LAWYER representing two Queensland University of Technology academics who have been suspended for six months said legal actions against their suspension will be filed by the end of the week.
Brisbane lawyer Steve Kerin said yesterday there would be two broad challenges to the suspension without pay of creative industries faculty members Gary MacLennan and John Hookham: first, a judicial review of the inquiry that led to their dismissal, and second, common-law proceedings against the dismissal.
The two were suspended without pay for six months by vice-chancellor Peter Coaldrake after a three-person disciplinary committee headed by former industrial commissioner Barry Nutter unanimously found charges against the two were proved.
The charges related to criticisms made in The Australian's HES as well as in several other public forums of a PhD project originally called "Laughing at the Disabled: Creating Comedy that Confronts, Offends and Entertains" but the "at" in the title has now been changed to "with".
The university has claimed that the project, by PhD candidate Michael Noonan, has been approved by the two disabled men who feature in the film - one of whom has a mild form of Asperger's syndrome while the other has a learning disability - and their parents, as well as being given a level 2 clearance by QUT's ethics committee.
But Mr Kerin said the legal challenge would also point out that the university had signed a protocol under which all research projects had to have level 3 ethical clearance.
"That's a firm covenant and legal obligation - it's not a situation where you can argue that everyone has approved the project therefore it's OK. There is a set of procedures which must be followed," he said.
Mr Kerin also said the legal action would challenge the severity of the penalty imposed on the two men and aspects of the procedure followed, including Professor Coaldrake's decision not to call for submissions on the matter and the extent of his discretion to decide the penalty.
Both Dr MacLennan and Dr Hookham argue wages lost because of the suspension effectively amount to a fine of $40,000 each, which they argue is way out of proportion to their alleged offence.
QUT journalism lecturer Philip Castle has urged the Beattie Government to look closely at the situation, and Queensland ALP politician Ronan Lee, the parliamentary secretary to Communities and Disability Services Minister Warren Pitt, said publicly he was concerned about the university's treatment of disabled people and the severity of the penalty.
Read more here.
The second edition of Social Media, or How I learned to stop worrying and love communication: An introduction to the power of "Web 2.0", a white paper by Trevor Cook and Lee Hopkins, is now available online here. It looks to be a very useful discussion of the power (and pitfalls) of Web 2.0.
Michael Moore, whose film Sicko has been already leaked onto the internet, has some interesting comments on copyright:
"The film that's leaked onto the internet is not taken at a movie theatre with a little home video camera, right? The way it's usually done? This is an inside job," Moore responded when asked for a statement on the leak. "Now, if you were a police detective, one of the first questions you'd ask is motive. Who has a vested interest in destroying the opening weekend's box office of this movie? If I were the police or the FBI investigating this felony that's taken place, that's where I would look."
"Having said that, I'm glad that people were able to see my movie," he said in a surprising twist. "I'm not a big believer in our copyright laws. I think they're way too restrictive. I just read Don DeLillo's book ‘Falling Man', a wonderful book. If I were suddenly to take this out of my bag and say to you, ‘Hey, you should read this, it's great' would I be breaking the law? No. I'd be sharing something with you. I'm sharing a work of art with you, and what happens is that if you like that book, there's a very good chance you might go on Amazon next week and order three more of Don DeLillo's books, because you got the free book from me. I've never supported this concept of going after Napster. I think the rock bands who fought this were wrong. I think filmmakers are wrong about this. I think sharing's a good thing. I remember the first time I received a cassette tape of a band called The Clash. I became an instant fan of the Clash and then bought their albums after that and went to their concerts and gave them my money… but I first got it for free. C'mon. Everyone in here's either young or were young, and that's how it happens, right?"
"I don't like what's going on with this issue," he continued, "but as a filmmaker, I made this film to be seen on a 40-foot screen. I don't even like DVDs. Honest to God, in my lifetime, I might have rented a dozen DVDs, literally gone into a
I don't particularly like the campaign song Hillary Clinton has chosen, but I do love this announcement video that brilliantly spoofs the Sopranos finale ...
Hillary's campaign is proving to be particularly adept that using the internet - and videos in particular - to help drive her campaign. Who'd have thought that even on that measure she would have the edge over Barack Obama and John Edwards?
Techdirt asks, are social networking private messages more private than email under the law?
It's always interesting to see how courts deal with changing technology. For example, it's pretty common for courts to order emails to be handed over in certain lawsuits as part of the discovery process. However, for many younger people, email has taken a backseat to more popular private messaging features on social networks like MySpace and Facebook. In a recent court case, one side requested access to the private messages in the same manner that they would normally request access to email. However, both MySpace and Facebook have privacy policies saying they won't share the info (though, both say that they will under a court order). In this case, the court decided that it was too early to hand over access to such private messages, saying that the defendant's lawyer needed to first use other routes to try to find the information he was looking for before the court would blindly hand over access to social network private messages. It's likely that this type of request will start to become more popular in court cases -- and it may be difficult for judges to believe that social networking private messages are effectively any different than email.
Read it here.
That depends who you ask. Online privacy has been big news this week, with two of the net's most powerful names finding themselves at the forefront of rows over privacy issues.
But despite being closely related, the two are often separate problems that become confused.
Read it here.