The Wild West Internet is now Little Boxes on a Hillside

Back in the day, the internet was all open. You could write your own HTML, and do whatever you wanted. The only limit was how fast your modem was. Then along came AOL, and all the tech nerds decried it as the death of the Internet. It was a walled garden that treated users like idiots, sending them down prearranged paths to the world wide web. But those prearranged paths were guideposts for people who could not comprehend, never mind figure out how to navigate the world wide web. AOL is (mostly) gone today, but many many things have taken its place.

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Because phone calls are rude, emails are never answered, and twitter is too short

I wrote yesterday (here) how I quit Instagram because Facebook took it over and ruined Instagram’s privacy. I also mentioned that I was a Facebook user. How can I reconcile those two? How can I say I hate Facebook’s privacy concerns enough to delete an app they own, and yet use Facebook itself? It’s simple:¬†Because phone calls are rude, emails are never answered, and twitter is too short

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Network effect, a.k.a. narcissism

Network Effect (definition shamelessly copied from Wikipedia): A network effect is the effect that one user of a good or service has on the value of that product to other people. When network effect is present, the value of a product or service is dependent on the number of others using it. The classic example is the telephone. The more people who own telephones, the more valuable the telephone is to each owner.

A year or so ago, there was some hubbub when Facebook bought Instagram and started to change its privacy settings. Instagram had been a small private company that did nothing except let you take pictures and post them. The app was (and still is) well done, easy to use, and easy to love. A large number of people I knew were on Instagram, and I enjoyed Instagram “likes” (I forget what they were called) and comments. It had been a decent, innocent company, until Facebook came along.

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