Generation Why? Why Not?

I just read Zadie Smiths’ Generation Why? and it bugged me…

Zadie’s main argument seems to be based on “I don’t like Zuckerberg so therefore Facebook is also bad”.

It seems a fairly shallow understanding of Facebook and the medium in general. I don’t like Facebook but mainly for the politics of intellectual property, not because it doesn’t model a human properly. But who said it was trying to? Mobile phones are not trying to model your social life and they have a list of your friends too. He also has assumed that everyone uses Facebook the same way he does and that all relationship you have with everyone are the same (ether all shallow or all deep).

Zadie assesment is shallow because he hasn’t really looked at the Facebook medium and understood what its doing, and more importantly whats new there. The friend feed is a (the) personal feed of information on your social network, creatred by the people YOU deem worth to call friends. I personally am constantly culling this list as to me, its really only useful when it has people I care about on it. I don’t have the same self-esteem issues that Americans seem to have wrapped up in “popularity” and evidence of it (or I assume Americans have this based on Movies and all other culture they project). Whats new about it is that its a PASSIVE way to keep up-to-date with what the people you care about are doing. The reason you don’t write emails/letters/faxes/tellagrams to EVERYONE you know/care-about is:

(a) It takes to much time (but this doesn’t mean you don’t care or are less of a person as Zadie seems to imply.
(b) Now that we are in an age where we can actually keep track of all these people we are in contact with a far greater number of people than every before and 1-to-1 communication with them all would be a full time job
(c) Facebook makes it possible to stay in communication with people as they update there info (email/phone numbers/address etc) which also requires a watchful eye if you trying to keep an up-to-date address book.
(d) You writing to them in an active way DEMANDS they are also active in keeping up else you think they are ignoring you and then you take offense or start to think they are not good friends etc etc. Imagine if everyone you knew sent you an email once a week. It would be a full time job just responding.

What are the positives of Facebook that I find make it worth persisting with:

1. Passive socialising is easy and lest you stay in contact with more of the people you would like to but don’t have time normally. I’m pretty anti-social and this makes me more social than I have ever been.
2. Messaging in Facebook is spam free. Unlike email you can only receive messages from your friends and if someone sends you something you don’t like you can ban them and you never receive something from them again. As far as direct communication goes its ideal.

Also, Zadie hasn’t put Facebook into the historical context (in fact all Zadie’s research seems to be based on seeing the film), which was the birth of the idea of the “social” online. If you know anything about Computing Science or Computing Scientists you’ll immediately realise that the word “social” is as new to the field as it is to proponents (that was a joke: ha ha). If the modeling of human relations is clumbys, its only because its new to Comp. Sci. and will only get more detailed and accurate. Its not society, its just a tool!

Zadie admits that she was addicted to Facebook for awhile. This is not because Facebook is some new game. Its simply reveling something that was already there in people. I can say this because its ONLY about people. All the content is about people made by people for people to consume. Facebook is actually pretty minimal in that it doesn’t add much to what people put up on it, and they can put up everything the digital-verse has to offer. Once the first networked computer game was on the market it quickly became obvious that interaction with people will always be more interesting than with computer opponents. The internet became amazingly popular because its all content made by real, every day humans. YouTube showed us that reality TV is more interesting than the mediated TV Exec. idea of what is interesting. Human-to-Human interaction is the most adictive thing online (and offline) and thats why Facebook is addictive, it actually has very little to do with Facebook.

But there is something deeper in Zadie’s article, which is jokingly thrown around but never actually takes seriously, the smell of generation hatred (or fear) which has also wafted by when I have read about the introduction of Radio, Movies, TV (MTV) etc. Which is just conservative at its heart and scared of change.

Managing scattered online Social Life on multiple Social Networking sites

I’ve been kicking the idea of a central way to manage accounts on many social networking apps for a while now. I think it starts to go beyond just managing social-network accounts because what your really doing is managing identity.

Some are saying that 2008 is the time for this sort of “killer app”. Google have also started to chip away at the problem offering a way to update your status in many places at once.
Continue reading “Managing scattered online Social Life on multiple Social Networking sites”

Linden Labs don’t want to share

Linden Lab, the creator of Second Life, doesn’t think that building a series of separate virtual worlds is a good strategy, director of marketing Catherine Smith says. Business Week

I’ll bet she doesn’t, it would completely destroy Linden Labs thats for sure. Its like having one server for webpages controlled by one company that makes a lot of money off it. The bigger the internet become the better it became. This furthers to strengthen the idea of a 3D web platfrom.


Scrawled – Scrawling my thesis across the world…

Helped out Jamie the other night with his thesis project by doing what I like to call ‘Gorilla Web Development’. In the space of 2 hours I whipped up a page that takes a string of words and allows you to upload images for each word. Two pages of PHP.

Nice and easy and has fun results. Reused my FileUploader and Image class to get the files and resize them with minimum pain.

via revolution my web comrades!

Social Games

Just had a great idea for social software sites

I was chatting at work about how to encourage community interaction between people on a community site. I was thinking having some sort of recommendation system that would figure out who you might like and then notify you of there most recent actions. After chatting with Alex about it the idea of community games amongst people on the site came up.

I noticed that on Vibewire forum games always had the most posts, which were similar to those voluntary surveys that move around email like chain letter, the ones where you have to answer a series of unrelated personal questions. Some people love those things.

I think good interactive online games would make a big difference to a community site in terms of retention of attention. Its hard to talk about as there aren’t any ‘community metrics’ yet. Something I would like to do some work on at some stage.

Hello my dear friend Alexander !

Hello my dear friend Alexander !
I am very glad that you have responded to my short message to you.
Really pleasantly that I have interested you.
As you know from my short letter my name is Olga!

Olga sitting

Hello my dear friend Alexander !
I am very glad that you have responded to my short message to you.
Really pleasantly that I have interested you.
As you know from my short letter my name is Olga!
I hope to you this name is pleasant.
I’m 28 years old!
I hope my age of you I do not confuse also to you approaches!
I was born in city under name Yaransk.
Probably you did not hear about this city because it is small city which is located in a southwest of the Kirov area!
It is about 850 kilometres from Moscow.
You may take a map of Russia and try to find my city.
It is located on the river Yaran so it will be easier to you find it.
My city small but very beautiful.
The beauty is created with set of greens and water.
I have received secondary education in this city.
After the ending 11 Classes at school number 3, I have left to act in Yoshkar-Ola in university and have successfully acted on economical faculty!
On a speciality I the manager!
After the successful ending of university I have come back home and has tried to find work on a speciality.
But as city at us small I can not find anything suitable on my speciality.
In a result I was employed in a shop by the seller where I work now.
The truth I dream of the best work but it is necessary to be content with that that is.
You probably know that in Russia a problem with workplaces.
I have slightly run forward and have overlooked to tell about my childhood.
At school I studied perfectly and all Spoke that I the gifted child.
I was very quick child and inquisitive.
When I went to school I went to dance school and I engaged in dances.
And now I am still engaged in them, in the days off I go in dance school.
Except for that I actively went in for sports.
When I have free time I go to the training hall.
In the winter I loved a ski and skates.
And in the summer I like to swim in the river.
In university I to be engaged began professionally navigation and volleyball.
The first at me turned out better.
I have many diplomas and letters on navigation.
But all of them now lay in a case.
You are interested probably by that why I have addressed to the Internet to find the partner in life?
Simply strangely enough it sounds but I could not grow fond of the person in Russia!
I had many partners but with anybody at me has failed to get serious relations.
I have girlfriend which too has found the love in the Internet and she has advised me to try.
And it at me the first experience and I hope that all to turn out I always I hope for the best.
We shall look that will be farther.
And why you search for the girl in the Internet?
Do you like Russian girls and why?
Did you have serious relations earlier?
Probably you were married?
Do you have children?
And in general as you concern to children?
I very much love children.
In future I’ll want have 2 children: boy and girl.
Though my dream to work at the big company.
As you probably interests on my intentions how many are serious?
And that I want further?
I in general very serious person also do not joke with such things as love a marriage and so forth.
I am going to construct serious relations and it is possible to leave for the husband further!
In a word I search for the big love!
Probably she still exists in our world where so much bad.
And if she is that I necessarily her Finde.
Who knows probably we with you we shall go far in our relations.
Who knows probably you and there is my prince on a white horse.
Now I want to learn what your intentions and that you want from relations?
Do you want a marriage?
Do you want family and children?, or you search simply friendship?
What the marriage means for you?
For me the marriage is the most important and serious step in life and he needs to be made safely and is considered.
Many people concern not seriously to this and as a result get divorced. I do not want to make such mistakes.
Now I live with my mum which call Nadezhda or am simple Nadya!

She works as the cook at school where I studied.
She perfectly is going and has learned me to make masterpieces of cookery.
Daddy at me is not present and there was no he has thrown my mum when she was pregnant.
And my mum forbids to me to speak about him.
As you can see it was necessary she to my mums is not sweet also does not want that with me has taken place as.
Somehow at us conversation was and she has told that even if to me will come she will not leave her against if only I was in reliable and loving hands.
On this note I want to finish this letter to you.
Sincerely I hope that you will answer and that I have liked you.
It will be pleasant for me to continue with you correspondence!
Yours faithfully Olga from Russia!

Hi stranger

You have received a Friendster message from Olga. The message was sent on 07/15/05 08:16 AM.

Ogla on display
Hi stranger.
I have found your email in the Internet.
I want to find the man for serious relations and probably creations of family.
I want to know you more.
I’ll tell you a little about myself.
My name is Olga.
I’m 28 years old.
I live in Russia in city Yaransk.
I like to do in for sports.
I write, read and I talk in English not so bad.
I have never been married and I do not have children.
And unfortunately, I have not found my second half.
But I want to do it.
Probably we can become more than simply friends.
I wait for your letter and photo.
My email adress is
If you will write me I’ll send you more photos and it will be a beginning of our correspondence.
With impatience I wait your reply.