Free Is Not Cheap


Steven Hodson over at has published an interesting piece that dives into the subject of how people could care less about their privacy. In my opinion, Steve hits the nail on the head on so many points that I wish I could copy and paste his entire post but that wouldn’t be right. But I will post a quote from his article which I think is the most important point he makes.

The idea that we have any say in what is done with our data once it is in the hands of companies like Facebook is ridiculous. In fact the moment you click on that submit button on the last page of the signup form you have given away all those rights – read the damn terms of service and you will see that. That clicking of the button is your electronic signature – you have just signed a contract … you get a bunch of bullshit free services in exchange for the company being able to do whatever it wants with that data. It is now theirs and any subsequent updating of that data is also theirs.

Over the past few weeks, I have heard so many people complain about Facebook and what they are doing with the data you have given them. I’ve given it some thought and have come to the conclusion that social-networks are nothing more than marketing data harvesters. Asides from having a ton of eyeballs to market to advertisers, most of the user’s on these social-networks provide accurate user data. The reason I believe this to be true is that, you want at least most of your profile to be accurate so your friends know who you are on that network. This accurate data makes for good demographics that the social network owner doesn’t have to work so hard to retrieve.

In the end, you’re not an end user. Your a pawn within a giant game called online advertising. If you don’t like it, don’t use the damn service. Here is a better idea, buy a webhosting account, download WordPress, and create your own social network that you control, around your blog.

Pownce Thoughts Plus 10 Invites

http://www.pownce.comAlthough this won’t be a thorough review, I thought I would post my thoughts on Pownce. I now have a total of 10 invitations to the service. If you want one, please leave a comment which includes a working email address and I’ll send you one.

First, you have to ask yourself, how much free time in the day do you have to join yet another social network. Twitter, Jaiku, ect and now Pownce. In order to be successful within these social networks you either have to be popular in the real world, or you need to actively contribute and participate within the community for that particular service. Do you have the time to do so?

Honestly, I think if someone were to take the best of Twitter, with the best of Jaiku, added a few features that Pownce has, establish an open API, you would have something that blows all three out of the water. I don’t think Pownce has what it takes to knock Twitter or Jaiku off the map. Pownce reminds me more of an instant messenger client rather than a micro blogging service which is why I don’t understand why so many people are comparing Pownce to the likes of Twitter and Jaiku.

I would rather see a review of Pownce as it compares to AIM, ICQ, Yahoo Messenger, ect. Then we could really see what Pownce has to offer. One thing I noticed with Pownce is that they at least have some sort of revenue stream by offering an ad free client for $20.00 Something AIM nor any other messenger offers. Jaiku has a few Google ads on the right hand side of it’s site, but I wonder how much revenue they bring in.

Simple and short, Pownce defines what it means to be beta. There are quite a few things missing that would make Pownce a complete package, open API to name one of them. Hopefully, the Pownce team will remedy the shortfalls associated with the client. I am looking forward to watching Pownce give all of the other instant messenger clients a run for their money.

I have a total of 10 invitations. Simply leave a comment on this post with a valid email address and I will send you one, then you can provide us with your own opinion.

Web 2.0 Convergence

Valeria Maltoni posted an email she received from Greg Verdino which contained a paragraph that struck a chord with me.

One biggish issue that nobody is really talking about is that anyone who starts using more than one of these services (or multiple social networks, sharing sites, etc) finds herself with multiple circles of friends, constantly updating various profiles/status posts, etc – there isn’t any way for a user to bring all of their stuff/friendships/updates together in a single interface — which can be a real pain if you’re in MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Jaiku, Pownce, Flickr, Photobucket, YouTube and YIKES!”

Wow, this guy hit the nail on the head! Bill Gates always seems to talk about convergence with technology but I feel that because of the amount of Web 2.0 sites/services, social networks that have sprung up across the web, now would be a good time for a business venture to figure out, Web 2.0 convergence. Right now, users could probably get away with using RSS feeds on different sites in order to converge their online presence. Let me give you an example.

I use Twitter and Jaiku, two micro blogging platforms. Twitter being the main service that I use to post updates and links to my blog. I take my Twitter RSS feed and post it into Jaiku so that my Twitter updates can be viewed on Jaiku. I also take my Twitter feed and place it into my Tumblr account so that Twitter updates are displayed on my Tumblelog. Facebook has a Twitter application which takes care of my Twitter updates showing up on my Facebook account.

The downside to using this method is that, most of these sites do not check RSS feeds in real-time. At the very least, the feeds are checked once per half hour, meaning that what you post on twitter now, wouldn’t appear on any other site that is displaying your Twitter RSS feed for at least 30 minutes. Sure it’s not real time, but it works.

What I am trying to accomplish, is to join these other social networks and then join the communities inside of those networks that correspond to the content on my blog. I’m trying to build power profiles on these specific sites which will provide updates to my friends attached to those profiles, hopefully via Twitter.

Sorry for going on a tangent here but reading that paragraph up above sparked this response! Just thought I would share what I am trying to do in order to converge all of this stuff so I am not doing what is described above, being apart of 50 different networks, spending all of my time providing separate updates to those sites. What a nightmare that would be.

Friend Redefined

I was trolling around my blog feeds the other day and came across a post, written by, Valeria Maltoni of Conversation Agent. The article revolves around the question, Are There Too Many Social Networks? Near the middle of this post, Valeria says the following:

How many friends do you really have? How many people can you really call friends? I mentioned I have an extensive network in a previous post, these are not all friends and most do not read my blog.

This is something I have been thinking about for quite some time. Here we are, in the middle of this web 2.0 social networking craze, adding people as friends that may not be friends at all. If I were to ask a majority of social networking users if most of the people on their friends list could actually be considered friends, I have a hunch that the answer would be no, which leads me to my next question.

With the advent of social networks, has the term FRIEND lost it’s meaning? Just because a user is on your friends list, does that make them a true friend? According to Wiktionary, a friend is defined as, A person other than a family member, spouse or lover whose company one enjoys and towards whom one feels affection. Can you honestly say that you feel this way towards everyone on your friends list?

If the meaning of the word FRIEND has changed, due to social networking on the web, then what would the new definition be? Am I paranoid, or does anyone else see a problem here?

Social Networking Land Masses

ValleyWag.Com Silicon Valleys Premiere Gossip SourceOver the weekend, Valleywag posted a pretty interesting graphic which showed which social networks were being used the most (by country) across the world according to Alexa.

According to the graphic, the U.S. primarily uses three different social networking services, Friendster, Myspace and finally Facebook. Myspace seems to be the service of choice for Australians while Canadians prefer Facebook.

What I find interesting about this data is that, some of the social networking services that failed to gain any traction in one country, ended up being cultural icons in others.

Check out the data set including the full image here.