My guess is that they will change exactly that sometime soon. First allowing you to write longer texts as attachments and first then might join FB and Apple in "killing the open web"
It's like being that guy the girls hang out with because you are good friends with the handsome guy in school. You might get to hang out with them but in the end they go home with your friend.
Google works because it give you a selection of what you are looking for right now. It knows whats top of your mind and.
Twitter gives you things other people are interested in or find interesting.
They are in no way comparable.
One is letting you find things you are looking for, the other is mostly showing things you don't care about sometimes things that are interesting to you.
Google finds this information based on keywords. Twitter finds this information by looking at conversations and people you are interested in.
Saying Google and Twitter are in no way comparable isn't helpful. They are comparable though certainly different!
Google has better information on your preferences and exactly what you're interested in. That doesn't mean Twitter doesn't have good information.
If you follow a ton of yoga instructors then Twitter can feature yoga ads in your feed. While not as targeted as Google ads they still provide value to the user and the advertiser.
I don't want to get into an argument, just wanted to explain where I was coming from.
Twitter lets you discover what happens in areas that you might be interested in if someone wrote about it. It's a newsfeed for that specific reason. It require a tweet to happen.
Google allow you to find exactly what you are looking for whether someone tweeted it or not in all the content they can get a hold of including twitter.
Your search term on twitter does not show you intent, search on google does.
You are comparing two completely different things here.
Furthermore EVERYONE who uses google search use it to find things they are looking for when they are most interested in it. Only some people use twitter search terms to figure out who on twitter has something to say, mostly about themselves.
People don't use twitter as a search engine but as a discovery engine the difference is hugely different for so many reasons I am not sure why you keep insisting on them being the same.
All I'm saying is that at a high level both services let you find content you're interested in. That's it. It doesn't contrast with what you've said above. They do it in very different ways and for very different use cases.
"People only stare at Google to find content that lives somewhere else."
Thats not what people do. They search google and then stare as those results.
Thats a completely different concept from staring at a twitter feed with random things.
It's comparing apples and cars.
I think you're hung up on the "stare at" wording. I interpreted the words to mean "use" - hope that clarifies my point.
Compared to a google search result it is completely in the opposite end
I am not hung up on anything. I am saying that your comparison is as wrong as comparing DuckDuckGo with an RSS feed. There is so much noise even with the things you carefully select.
Compared to a google search where I am going specifically for something and is showing my intent.
I don't go to google to see whats going on, I go there to find something very specific.
You said that twitter doesnt provide value "because they stare at the feed only to find something that then lives somewhere else."
When you search Google you're finding things that live somewhere else. I'm simply pointing out that you don't need to host the content the user is looking for to provide value.
I'm not saying the companies are the same. I'm not saying Twitter can be successful the same way Google has. I'm agreeing with all your points besides the fact that you need to host content to provide value.
In other words they provide plenty of value they are just not able to make a living from it.
Instead they should get more people to stay on their own platform by allowing more content to be created there just like Facebook is.
I brought up Google because time spent on a site doesn't necessarily mean a whole lot more ad revenue. What matters is serving up useful ads that provide value to the user and advertisers. Google is great at that - Twitter isn't because of many reasons you've stated.
So maybe twitter should be trying to improve their ad program to serve better ads. If they can't do that well (no way they could do it as well as Google) then perhaps increasing time users spend on Twitter is their best option.
I only wanted to point out that the solution is not self evident. Just because people are using a service to find content hosted elsewhere does not mean it can't make money. The problem might be that Twitter is bad at finding ads people want to see.
> Not really because they stare at the feed only to find something that then lives somewhere else.
For me, twitter is for a few things: connecting with folks in a cold-call way; learning of trends and new ideas in my areas of interest; getting to know someone.
Many many many people don't use it like you do but almost everyone use it as a way to find new content and so thats where twitters opportunity is.
Edit: to clarify my point, I say that Twitter not only is friends with the attractive guy, but is also funny and charming and interesting in his own right, and that this is a major value.
Facebook has directed huge amounts of traffic to external sites for years and that doesn't seem to have been a major problem.
Just the ability to do a preview of on article is such a big eyeball keeper that it leaves twitter in the dust. Or to write a comment to the article which make people then react to what someone wrote about the article without maybe even reading it.
It's like with checkins. People think FourSquare and Swarm is big but it's dwarfed by FBs checkins it's just not a major focus for them and so we don't think about it as a place a lot of people check in. But it's a numbers game.
It would completely change because suddenly you are consuming your content on twitter not someone elses page and so twitter would have much better ability to do advertising.
It's not that there is no value in Twitter nor in the amount of data on things people like and talk about on the service, but more it's more difficult for new users to intuitively jump in and start than it is with facebook or snapchat (Twitter strikes me more as a platform to listen to lots of others than as a platform to have a broad audience unless you, the content producer, are bringing fame from elsewhere).
When I search on google I am getting the results I am looking for and I am only there because I am looking for something. Google uses their knowledge of my intent to give me highly targeted results. It cannot be highlighted enough how big a difference that is from twitter. I am not passively looking at random search results streaming in.
On twitter I am served with a combination of things most of them not really interesting to me and always depending on someone having tweeted them.
The big difference is that google knows your intent at the very moment you are using it. Twitter don't.
They are as different as day and night.
Yet they have a tough time monetizing that.
Why hasn't a twitter or a reddit sought to get rev share from the traffic they drive from the resultant pages? (I don't know enough about adrev/rev-share to know if this would work) -- but reddit and twitter know exactly how many people click on each link.
One thing I would like to know is the diff in % of users that click into a comments session without ever clicking on the actual link. I know that I do this as amajority of the way I read reddit and HN even. I get the gist from the title, some additional details from the comments and sometimes other, better links from users as well as commentary, corrections or what not.
I also upvote an extremely few number of posts and stories. How many times have I clicked a link or read comments about a post without ever upvoting or down voting it? Probably about 90%
Why would I, as a site owner, ever pay Twitter or Reddit? There's only two ways they can motivate me:
* Prevent linking to my site if I don't pay. This has obvious (and terrible) side effects on what those sites are and how they work.
* Provide some sort of advantage to payers. For something like Reddit, this would be possible through rank boosting or "sticky" posts, likely on posts that I the payer create myself. Twitter could maybe have tweets distributed to random users, regardless of whether they follow the originator. (I believe Facebook does something similar to this.)
Content and relevance is meant to be controlled by the users in these platforms. Both these options begin to abuse that implicit trust by placing the ability to pay on equal footing with the ability of users to naturally boost content. This will work for a while, until the users' trust is sufficiently eroded that they begin to leave.
All I was saying that monetizing link aggregation with commentary, twitter and reddit, is pretty hard. Vs google who is actually providing the conduit for people that are actually searching for something where suppliers will incentivize google (pay) to be a top result.
sites like reddit, even moreso than twitter, have a user base who HATE the idea of a content provider paying to be a top of the frontpage or anything "sponsored"
my suggestion is equally flawed in that you cant then expect reddit to have a yelp-like model where they extort money from content providers for traffic...
But that was essentially what I mentioned, I guess.
Maybe the real model is a super low cost fee for advanced customization features?
Like i'd happily pay reddit $1.99 a month for more control over my experience -- even though we get that also from RES.
Seems to have worked pretty well for them.
On iOS, yes, it has a built-in browser. You can go to Safari if you like.
They're not packaging up web content as if it's not web content, though. It's just to access sites quickly.
And I've gotta say, I'm really bothered by the way Facebook handles browsing. I have to copy the link, exit Facebook, open Safari, then paste and navigate to the link whenever I want to have a page I found on a Facebook post in my bookmarks, reading list, etc. Super frustrating.
If I open a link in Facebook, tap "Share", I see "Share in New Post", "Send in Messenger", "Copy Link", "Open in Safari", and "Save Link".
...via URL shortners, which is very unfortunate.
This is true for some tweets, yes. But most links are via Twitter's own shortener, which means shortened link rot is impossible, and the actual URL is shown to the user.
It allows the shortening service to track clicks on the link.
It obfuscates the target of the link.
The second a popular link shortening service goes belly up I'm sure someone somewhere will buy the domain and setup a program to redirect all the shortened links to an ad-ridden search page.
Edit: like maxerickson said.
Further Twitter is still promoting a model where to talk to people you have to create an account on a centralized platform first. ("Want to get support from a company? Chat with them on Twitter. You need a Twitter account for that.") Compare with email where you can email from any provider to any provider.
Twitter might be more open than Facebook, but they're certainly not the champions of openness.
This is obvious if you look at tools such as http://svven.com or http://nuzzel.com.
I wonder if anyone is building an app that recommends articles that provide a variety of perspectives different from your own. "News from people who think differently than you do", or something like that.
But I think that's what newspapers are supposed to be.
When building Recent News (https://recent.io/) we considered adding the options of seeing news from perspectives both similar to and different from your own, at least as we understand them based on your usage.
We didn't do that. It turns out in early testing that users liked seeing a broad range of articles. For instance, a pro-2A voter might want to read a Salon.com article talking about how firearms should be banned--just to share it to argue how wrong it is! Or an anti-2A voter might be interested in a Fox News article talking about repealing anti-gun laws, if only because it reinforces how nutty those conservatives can be. (It also added more complexity when our goal was an MVP.)
The current version of our iOS+Android app includes a personal tab that is unique to you based on what we believe your interests to be, and a Hot News tab that is not unique to you. Neither filters by perspective, and not one person has requested that feature in the weeks since we launched--the feature requests have included things like dark theme, offline mode, text resizing, etc. instead.
In any case Prismatic is no longer updating or supporting its iOS and Android apps. Techcrunch reported in July that Prismatic pivoted to B2B and is trying to make money like Dataminr by selling access to its APIs.
I'm very interested because (as I mentioned several times here already so sorry for the plug again) I'm building http://svven.com. It's also about recommendation but instead of AI I'm betting on the intelligence of the people - a social approach to relevance.
I will sure try Recent News to compare the results.
I just went to the site and was about to try it but saw Svven wanted permission to: "Post Tweets for you."
Is it possible to use Svven without granting you permission to post on my Twitter timeline? I have a policy of not granting apps or services such permission, so I stopped without testing it. :(
If there's a way to tweak the permissions I'll give it a shot!
Thanks for pointing this out, I'm thinking about changing the Twitter app settings to read-only. All it does is parse your home timeline to get the tweets so read-only is enough for Svven.
All that to say you can use at least Twitter to intentionally break out of that intellectual isolation that can otherwise be difficult to escape.
But if you're interested in different perspectives from your own, isn't this part of your, well, interests? Do you still need to break out of that?
Personally I see the "filter bubble" as a non-issue. Partly because people will go with their interests no matter what. Forcing them to see everything else reminds me of this image
Breaking out of the bubble is not about "forcing them to see everything else". It's about curating a variety of perspectives, rather than curating a slice of similar perspectives.
Svven for example puts together people tweeting same links. Tweeting, not liking. Two tweets containing same link can have very different and often contradictory messages.
To give a practical example, some of you probably noticed PG's controversial tweet about unions (https://twitter.com/paulg/status/663456748494127104), and also the reply that took double the likes of that (https://twitter.com/MarkAmesExiled/status/663495439069614080).
Because the reply contained the link to PG's tweet, in Svven you can see all sides of this story around the same link.
That sounds really interesting! I like how that might impact people's bubbles.
I'm currently teaching a class where students are learning to build simple apps, and ask critical questions about the apps we use. Would you be interested in doing a skype session with my class (~12 students) about how you and your team are approaching this issue, from a social and technical perspective? They'd love it, and you might get some good insights into how high school students think about these issues in deciding which apps to use.
And also a little worried given your description of some of your students :P But sure, it should be interesting, also because Svven is built in Python and I see this is what you teach.
I just followed you on Twitter, I'm @ducu, let's DM there.
Your concern is the so called "filter bubble". I think it all comes down to how this kind of system is implemented. Svven in particular encourages you to navigate further from your fellows and it immediately adapts to however your interests (ie. tweets) are changing. A new tweet gives you a new perspective.
Does anyone else feel that the facebook moment is fading away? People have compared information to food, and I can see the similarities. When you come from a place where there's little or no food, you want to hoard all you can -- why yes, I would love to see your babies pics every day, of course, post three dozen photos of the same party from different angles, I love it, why yes, this memory from seven years ago is exactly what I need. When you're saturated with information (in this case, social media information), it doesn't feel as special anymore. Soon, you realize that while looking at Christmas photos from people you went to high school with, was fun for a while, there is only so much space in your head and social energy. The marginal value of that extra bit goes down, and averages start leveling off or going down. There's too much food everywhere, you don't want to be forced with another plate of who-gives-an-eff-about-your-fifth-Halloween-in-a-row. What was originally curiosity and genuine excitement about other people's lives becomes social courtesy: of course you will like your almost-friend's child's photos because that's what good friends would do. Social networking (in facebook form) becomes ritualistic.
So the solution is social networks that (artificially) limit your access to information, such as snapchat and twitter. You want to only share a few things, with a few people at a time, and perhaps that shared thing will disappear in a couple of days/hours/views. To me that sounds like the long-term future of social media.
Anyone have any thoughts?
My grandparents have a large collection of photos, each captioned with the year, location, and the reason the photo was taken. Looking through these photos is a great experience because it's a curated history of their lives. For better or worse, the practice maintaining photo collections in that manner has been made obsolete by technology. The equivalent now is to upload everything and have technology curate it for you, filtering out the mundane and saving the important or otherwise memorable content. That's what the Facebook timeline attempts to do, and it's a feature missing from the other social applications you identified.
I don't think it's a failure of Twitter or Snapchat that they lack curated timelines, though. That's not their purpose. They are aimed squarely at communicating at and about the present. If they do take over in-the-present communication from Facebook, though, then Facebook will have a hard time constructed the curated timeline.
All that being said, I don't use any of them.
That's a great observation. I had not explored that line of reasoning. That gives me something to chew on. Right off though, I'd say that... I suspect we used to value communicating about the past more because it was so difficult to do so, but as facebook makes it easier, the value has gone down.
How's this sound: before long epics were written down, the oral tradition of reciting them kept them alive, and thus the entire process was valued. Once they were written, it got easier to 'remember' the epics. S, writing was not as valuable as orally remembering/reciting because it was easier/more common/not as important? This is not the best comparison, but sounds right to me at the moment.
Other people think 140 characters isn't enough for their audience, and write 20 tweets in a row, or post an image with a bunch of text in it.
I keep Facebook fairly reasonable by blocking and unfollowing, but there's so much of the presentation that's just out of my control. I appreciate how I can keep in touch with people I don't get to hang out with often, but I feel like I'm swimming in the deep end of the marketing pool just to wave hi every now and then. With a text feed, I can dream of something like a regex filter - and probably write something to make that happen. With Facebook, there's no way I'll ever be able to tell it "Hide all posts that contain images with caps-lock, block lettering"
Anyhow, that's all to say that I like Twitter more than Facebook, and I'm enjoying whatever it is while it lasts.
Hilariously, you can see older people (like your parents, if they aren't already savvy,) start to use the internet more, and enter the chain letter phase....then send them to you because omg they're amazing. Meanwhile, your hipster internet-consumer self tries to politely decline the second helping of cheap candy.
Filtration is the key - I mainly want healthy information, with the occasional disgusting treat :-)
Most people know this, yet that is exactly exactly what we all seem to be doing.
There is no shortage of content aggregators and aggregators of aggregators, daily developed to give us a better overview of all the sources of information we have subscribed to and found ourselves now depending on.
This has resulted in an endless stream of articles, news, pictures, websites, products, updates, comments of updates and comments to these comments, being delivered to us second by second that each of us have to deal with.
Constantly checking our feeds for new information, we seem to be hoping to discover something of interest, something that we can share with our networks, something that we can use, something that we can talk about, something that we can act on, something we didn’t know we didn’t know.
It almost seems like an obsession and many critics of digital technology would argue that by consuming information this way we are running the danger of destroying social interaction between humans. One might even say that we have become slaves of the feed.
It might be an obsession, but I think it’s an obsession that many critics will find themselves having to submit to sooner or later...."
I think the difference between the two comes from the nature of user relationships. While on Facebook it had to be reciprocal (following was added later and it's not used much), on Twitter the user relationships can be one way. That makes all the difference. This is why on Facebook the user relationships are just replicas of real-life relationships, which was great for user acquisition but it's also a huge limitation that Facebook can't get past. On Twitter on the other hand anyone can follow anyone and while user acquisition is more difficult, it opens up the world and gives a lot of opportunity for new user relationships. Because of this Twitter is the best social network we have so far.
not a heavy user of social network sites, so this probably won't be everyone's experience, but the features you mentioned(limit of access to information, sharing only a few things, etc) can be done on any platform. It's really how you use it; none of the sites force you to share every moment with the world
imo the long-term future of social media is to get you to use it as much as you can so they can sell ads to you
The central thesis that "pretending that content is free" is the underlying problem is interesting. Perhaps part of the problem is bad pricing. E.g. content that ought to be cheap (e.g. e-books, streaming video) tends to be more expensive or certainly insufficiently cheaper than content that ought to be more expensive (e.g. physical books, bluray disks).
Perhaps a big part of the problem is publishers "pretending" they add value.
Some publishers definitely add some value, but then they subtract value in other ways -- it's great that the movie studio figures out who the good writers, directors, and actors are and risks its own money to make a good movie, but it's bad that it's provided on a bluray disk with annoying copy-and-other protection in a hard-to-open package, and that it's more expensive to buy the cheaper to distribute and generally more convenient electronic version. Similarly, newyorker.com has great writing (and I pay for it) but the actual presentation layer (the website) subtracts value from it.
I call bullshit on this one. It's unclear what the author means because they use such a meaningless term in "logic of efficiency", but the last time I looked, it was a lot more financially efficient to set up a website than a print publication. There is nothing at all inevitable about 'the biggest will win' online, as can be evidenced both by the disappearance of several former behmoths, and by the failure of several pre-Internet companies to 'make it big' online despite having unlimited capital to invest.
Maybe, just maybe, the author is referring directly to advertising revenue here, as in "the more popular sites can make more money from advertising, and thus will grow and grow". Of course, that's totally dismissing the fact that many of the 'platforms' being discussed simply offer a far better experience, regardless of what content they offer or how big they already are. Here's a hint for the author and any other publishers reading: there is far greater variation in the packaging, delivery, and experience of content online than there is offline. Take advantage of that. Don't, as we've all been telling you for the last 20 years, just try to replicate your newspaper online: that makes for a horrible experience. Don't try to do advertising in the most obnoxious manner you can get away with; that may have worked in print, but it's been demonstrated pretty categorically now that it fails online.
Or, you know, just carry on regardless, blame platforms for seizing the opportunity that you choose to ignore.
I don't see how this is a relevant metric. The only thing that matters in that regard are how much economy of scale favours the big players. It might be cheap for anyone to start offering books online, but there is only amazon.
I suspect Facebook censors things for various despotic governments in the fashion that Google does (in order to comply with local guidelines would be the excuse used here). It's also possible that Facebook has deals with advertisers and blocks some content that may reflect poorly on them as well, but it's nebulous.
It's great to see that at least some publications are experimenting with models outside the traditional paper and the obvious plastering content with ads.
As such... I don't know about the numbers, I know very little about mobile advertising in general, and while I am a Guardian reader I don't use their mobile app - but my vague overall opinion is that it wouldn't surprise me if they priced it higher to compensate for losing a higher quality segment of their ad-viewing audience.
People who wish to buy shit also exist. Some of them might actually want info about their options.
Then there are people who are not annoyed by commercials and who are easily manipulated to buy almost whatever. They ruin the adds for the rest of us. They are probably poor, because advertisers already got all their money.
Personally I would love someone to advertice books to me. I've even subscribed to goodreads for that, but their recommendations suck big time. (Though it's still good for bookmarking what I want to read and reading reviews.)
I wonder if companies like the Guardian have thought about trying to compare between the two audiences, i.e. how people who now subscribe interacted with adverts before subscring vs. audience that doesn't pay. Thinking of some of the tracking tools that could be used... it wouldn't be impossible (though wouldn't be imperfect data either), but it would be a rather complicated thing to set-up so it wouldn't surprise me if they don't have it in place.
Further problem is that most people would probably prefer adds, but only in very narrow subset of all products. And they might not want to share that subset, not with modern privacy concerns and rogue advertisers. So you would have almost infinite amount of groups and no way to find them.
Sure, I'm sometimes one of them, but that doesn't mean I want information about my options mixed into the middle of a news article. If I'm in the mood to buy something I'll go to shopping and review sites to find information about it.
Originally adds we're about providing information that was beneficial to everybody. Now that is not true and the signal/noise ratio is terrible. But still adds could become usefull again if targeted enough. But targeting adds can be world hurt too.
Imagine the effect of that in a small village with no competition?
Almost like simpler Massdrop (whose emails I mostly ignore but check from time to time)
I don't particularly see anything wrong with separating publishers from content producers. It now seems more appropriate to think of news magazines and traditional 'publishers' as content producers who rely on the new 'publishers' a la Facebook, Apple, Twitter to distribute their content because they cannot and should not be focused on building an enormous infrastructure to do this.
Print media is 'open' in that anyone can print something and distribute it but the ability to do so effectively has pretty much been consolidated into the hands of very few for a long time. Now a days you can publish your own music, your own books, and your own news and its popularity will be determined by the masses, not some worn out talent scout trying to please a boss who is using focus groups to figure out what might make him a buck.
Ultimately I think we will see a more open and democratic future for publishing, not the death of the open web. Control is shifting hands to a new set of publishers, one that puts the visibility of content into the hands of the readers in the form of likes and tweets.
Maybe the news produced by these traditional outlets just doesn't have as much value as it once did. That is what likely scares them in my mind.
This should be the first thing to read in this article. The author seems to not have any preferred publisher anyway. He can consider and write why not, I'd also like to know.
Then don't be surprised with the statement in a paragraph before:
> And that’s why so many articles kinda sound the same these days.
Unfortunately often it's not completely honest feedback about your content. It's feedback filtered / deformed by the fact that other people on the platform will see the likes, retweets, comments etc As a result it's not the best content that becomes popular. It's the one used to impress others.
If they don't focus more on the users, a distributed replacement will eventually come out and there will be zero ad revenue to be had from that social platform. I've got some ideas in this space, but no time and no team.
I think the way Facebook and Twitter present stream is inconvenient for users who have a lot of friends or following a lot of people. It is simply a long linear scan and it literally takes me ~10 mins to review when I am on at the end of the day, I just want to see what's going on in everyone's world, ya know. I don't think gallery style will work either. I don't know, but linear scan is just not working.
I know it is just random chance, but it feels really strange!
> Stanford linguistics professor Arnold Zwicky coined the former term in 2006 to describe the syndrome in which a concept or thing you just found out about suddenly seems to crop up everywhere. It’s caused, he wrote, by two psychological processes. The first, selective attention, kicks in when you’re struck by a new word, thing, or idea; after that, you unconsciously keep an eye out for it, and as a result find it surprisingly often. The second process, confirmation bias, reassures you that each sighting is further proof of your impression that the thing has gained overnight omnipresence.
> The considerably catchier sobriquet Baader-Meinhof phenomenon was invented in 1994 by a commenter on the St. Paul Pioneer Press’ online discussion board, who came up with it after hearing the name of the ultra-left-wing German terrorist group twice in 24 hours. The phrase became a meme on the newspaper’s boards, where it still pops up regularly, and has since spread to the wider Internet. It even has its own Facebook page. Got all that? Don’t worry. You’ll hear about it again soon.
Why it doesn't work twitter, probably nobody follow the news link and bother come back to strike a conversation on twitter. Mostly the conversation takes place right below the news article and with the author not the tweet.
Most online conversation took place right where the content is at, on Youtube, on NYtimes, on Forbes, unless compassion with twitter but now we that passion is going down.
There is also a subtle difference of the social relation where the news feed is from, which is why facebook news feed is a BAD idea. Why would I have my mother in law in my facebook circle yet sharing the latest Intel acquisition news, or even makeing comment.
Never mix life and work, even hobby or side projects, that's social network 101, or platform 101. I know a friend who has 9 facebook Ids, I personally have 3,4 twitter accounts, for the purpose explained here.
From a news consumption standpoint, iOS news is a joke, facebook news is meaningless, twitter is inconvenient, therefore I use Zite, which connects to my twitter.
From a conversation standpoint, Hacker news format is idea, but lack of twitter's networking.
Something has all these together would be a hit.
What is trivial to understand is that the author's proposed remedy doesn't work:
> The answer is simple, but it isn’t easy. We need to stop pretending that content is free. Publications need to ask readers to pay for their content directly, and readers need to be willing to give up money, as opposed to their privacy and attention. This means that publications will have to abandon the rapid-growth business models driven by display ads, which have driven them to rely on Facebook for millions of pageviews a month.
The fundamental problem with this is that siloing content the way the author suggests (publications with strong identities and paywalls to get readers to give money in exchange for content) breaks hyperlinks. It breaks sharing. Paywalls work when there's a marginal benefit to knowing something that someone else doesn't -- say, it helps you pick stocks better than the next guys. Otherwise, all else being equal, the article I can share with my friends, link to in my blog post, that I can engage with and respond to and have other people able to read the same article I am -- that's far more valuable than the article that I can read but can't share. We didn't get here because we're all stupid, or because people are unwilling to pay for anything ever. We got here because we were trying to come up with a model that allows people who make content to be compensated for it without betraying the fundamental thing that made the Web the Web -- the hyperlink. If your proposed alternative business model doesn't even TRY to engage with the question of linking and sharing, it's not going to work.
A similar problem exists when trying to decide to pay for an article from a journal you don't have access to. Is the abstract compelling enough for me to fork out $100 dollars for this article? What if the abstract was misleading? Can I return it?
As a consumer, I'd rather just pay a higher flat fee for internet access / browsing and have that collective wealth distributed to content providers based on some metrics. Better content gets bigger portion of the pie. The problem is probably determining the metrics.
> What was the biggest complaint of AOL users? Not the widely mocked and irritating blue bar that appeared when members downloaded information. Not the frequent unsolicited junk e-mail. Not dropped connections. Their overwhelming gripe: the ticking clock. Users didn’t want to pay by the hour anymore. ... Case had heard from one AOL member who insisted that she was being cheated by AOL’s hourly rate pricing. When he checked her average monthly usage, he found that she would be paying AOL more under the flat-rate price of $19.95. When Case informed the user of that fact, her reaction was immediate. ‘I don’t care,’ she told an incredulous Case. ’I am being cheated by you.’
The transactional friction between "free" and "not free" is high, even for very small values of "not free." This has been backed up by experiments:
> In his book Predictably Irrational, Ariely describes a series of simple experiments that offered subjects something desirable – chocolate – at a variety of prices. Two types of chocolate were used – a Hershey’s kiss and a Lindt chocolate truffle. While the kiss is an inexpensive and common treat, a Lindt truffle is a far more tasty confection that costs an order of magnitude more than the kiss.
> The first experiment offered subjects a truffle for 15 cents (about half its actual cost) or a kiss for 1 cent. Nearly three out of four subjects chose the truffle, which seems logical enough based on the relative value of the offers.
> The next experiment reduced the price of each product by one cent – the truffle was offered at 14 cents, and the kiss was free. Although the price differential remained the same, the behavior of the subjects changed dramatically: more than two thirds of the subjects chose the free chocolate kiss over the bargain-priced truffle.
It's not about getting the right micropayment system, it's about overcoming something about how humans understand and deal with price signals. You can either sit around trying to rewire people or you can come up with a business model designed for people. Micropayments as a business model for web content is wishcasting.
It'd be nice if it laid out her perception of what would be fair (we have roughly one data point, that the hourly rate at the time the conversation happened is unfair) and what the economics looked like for AOL (perhaps they could have substantially reduced the hourly price but were good at math and figured that a flat rate was the more profitable path).
And, again, the AOL anecdote was an illustration, not evidence. See the truffle study, we know more about this than your response suggests.
So we have an anecdote about marginal pricing going from $1 or $2 (or more) to $0 being used as an illustration that people don't like metering.
If AOL had costs of $0.20 an hour, her perception that their pricing was a ripoff probably wasn't ridiculous.
(I'm not trying to refute you, I was making the perhaps not very useful argument that the anecdote was not a good illustration, because it left too many loose ends. It's compelling because AOL is famous and her behavior is easy to cast as ridiculous, but it wouldn't be real surprising if it was told in a way that was useful to AOL.)
Also, hosting a website for several thousand people (as opposed to hundreds of thousands) it so cheap this days that the cost becomes negligible. It maintenance becomes the most "expensive" - or annoying if you're doing it yourself - part of it all.
Vote with your time and attention. For better or worse, the majority of people vote for these sites.
Well that makes sites like Facebook and Twitter predictable and the power they wield.
Facebook is actively blocking a rival community that "pays" users by passing ad revenue to users (users get incentives to post content and invite friends)
Somehow, Morocco was among the countries that used Tsu the most, and being Moroccan I was myself continuously spammed by people posting referral links to Tsu... so it's understandable that facebook blocked them.
Testimony: I registered for Tsu and have been active on it a for a few days after reading that story. There is nothing within the site that pushes monetization at you - there is a tab for payments, but it does not direct you there, and I didn't look at it until just now. When I did, I was presented with a terms of service, and then a "no spamming" click-through agreement.
Therefore I have to conclude that all of the hubbub is generated by some combination of early external marketing efforts and the natural tendencies of wishful thinkers. They've decided to stop pushing that angle, most likely because they hit their critical mass targets and can move on towards more sustainable growth options.
I have no sympathy for writers here. You view us readers as fungible commodity. I use Reddit, HN, Facebook and twitter to weed out the worst bullshit. There are lots of articles around just to keep me comfy long enough to show me adds. One of the worst these days is New Yorker, beautifully written articles about stuff people don't really care about. (Or atleast I don't care about.) Currently it survives on elitism. Web platforms are problematic. But lot better than ordering magazines at random, or paying for New Yorker monthly for that yearly gem.
“Go where the readers are”
It's more important to write what the readers want to read. I click stupid shit. I read mediocre pieces. I'm willing to pay for good stuff.
I think there should be ordering/crowd funding service solely for written media. So that authors don't just babble nice sentences inside their comfort zone, but actually tackles things people are interested in.
The real problem is that author doesn't know if s/he gets paid before the article is written, but also the reader doesn't know if the article is worth anything before reading it.
I think the author of this piece has many good points, he just needs to dig deeper. This bleak context free future the author is painting is probably not true. People like context. Any social meeting is often first superficial introductions, then shallow gossip and only later dvelves into deep stuff. Internet is probably going to mirror that, but with more inertia.
When I want to read up on some news, I go to the publisher's site directly or to a preferred aggregator, which is not going to be facebook/twitter/etc.
Advertised content is typically very poor, and really not worth defending.
srsly, it depends on the medium. With Citizen's Band radio, the government only had to step out of the way. With Cable public-access, the government had to require cable companies to give access to communities to equipment such as a cameras, studios, video players, etc. Public access internet's needs are much closer to those of community access television than Citizen's band.
I don't even see why public access cable was forced on any company to begin with. The only reason that comes to mind that the public would even be entitled to free access to the company's facilities is the monopoly status that telecoms have often enjoyed in North America. In that case, a bit of give-and-take might be expected. But otherwise, I don't see much of a case for forcing a company to let people use its facilities for free.
> Public access internet's needs are much closer to those of community access television than Citizen's band.
This seems like a dubious "need". I can rent a VPS for a few dollars a month and generally do with it whatever I'd like. The barrier to entry is surprisingly-low, in that regard.
That's a great question... and the fact that we have to consider it is a testament to how thoroughly the corporate-state has succeeded in refiguring our concepts of natural resources and democratic participation.
The justification is that natural resources are the property of the people with the government managing them as an entity where distributed individuals can not. The key is to realize that not only clean, safe, air and water are resources, but also the wireless spectrum is a resource and the infrastructure to support cable television. Hence entities like the FCC to manage these natural resources. When the cable television infrastructure was set up, it was clear it was going to be an enormous windfall for the corporations at the cost of public and private land.
It was also going to divert attention, including sources of information necessary for running a democracy, such as the ability to organize communities, away from existing media. They were afraid we would become an isolated nation of television-watching dummies. (Imagine that!). Furthermore, access to these public resources is not free. You have to pay, further limiting the ability for everyone to participate. So in negotiation with these industries, our government from several generations ago gained us the right to participate for free in the communications process through community access television. It wasn't perfect, but it was a serious attempt at democracy, the town hall process through which everyone gets a say.
As opposed to the market sense of democracy, in which expression and participation in governance is cheap, but still costs money. That's what you're talking about when you say "I can rent a VPS for a few dollars a month and generally do with it whatever I'd like." The issue here is that while "noarchy," a Hacker News reader for over five years, who could probably be considered an expert and well beyond the top 1% of skill level in their field can express his desires, that's cool and the gang, but that doesn't further democracy, the ability for everyone to take part in the governing of their lives and country for free.
It's worth pointing out that the effect on cable companies has been absolutely minimal. They've never been burdened by this requirement, just look at the billion dollar mergers. Also, the FCC has finally pushed off the corporate forces of NPR and allowed Low-Power FM radio for community organizing.
I hope my discussion has been persuasive to you. You seem bright, but maybe just a little overtaken with the notion of pure meritocracy - in this case meaning that people get to express themselves once they've earned enough money to produce the media to do so.
If you look at history over the last century, you'll notice that the cellular bandwidth allocation, with absolutely no concessions to the public, as resulted again in overwhelming corporate success and greater community isolation. It's a shame, I wish we could get back to the days of CB radio, but I have high hopes for Low-Power FM.
Neither are really a problem.
People have lost their jobs after twitter maulings.
I've rarely seen non-IT people using it.
And by politicians I mean not just those already established but also those in youth organizations.
> I had a blog once. It wasn’t big, but I loved knowing who I was writing for. I loved knowing that the same couple hundred people would come back again and again...
Had a "blog once"? And your a writer? Why did you stop writing for it?
This is the same article that could have been written by musicians 12 years ago or the MPAA 8yo...yes yes existential threats to the fundamental nature blah blah fucking blah...
Don't get me twisted tho...I don't even like Facebook and Twitter anymore due to their obscene popularity, but whining about them "killing the open web"?
Please just stop the hyperbole.