March 28, 2006 10:57 | Culture / Social / WebBlogging / WebTech

It's not about you

At least not the way you may be led to believe it is.

With apologies to Stewart and Caterina, the whole Flickr team and all the folks involved in this "Web 2.0" stuff, who, for the most part, are truly wonderful people and bring us wonderful things.

It's not about you, it's about your data--or "bits of your life digitized and uploaded"--and the way you structure it and contextualize it and share it. That's what the big money hubbub is about.

You see, what happened is this: enough dot-com bubble casualties, many of them web designers and programmers and information architects and the like--people who knew how to publish to the web, be it text or photos or audio files or video pieces--got tired of doing it by hand, coding up html and maintaining whole websites. They decided to build tools to automate all that. They called them Content Management Systems before, when they still had their jobs building large e-commerce sites in 1997. But now they started using them to self publish, and they added a few really nice features like comments and "RSS feeds". Weblogs were born and slowly but surely over the last 3-4 years... well you see what happened.

"The promise of the web has been realized!" "The read and write web!" More or less. It is truly great stuff, don't get me wrong. I ain't knockin' it, even if I am nibbling on the hands that feed me.

But that's not what the bankrollers are on about. They don't care about your newfound ability to publish your thoughts or your pictures. They are just glad that you are doing so. Why? Because in an information based economy, data is your primary natural source. And flow of data creates movement which can be harnessed.

Like a water-mill.

The difference is that these millers don't need to go find a river: they can make one. And that's what sites like Flickr,, Upcoming, YouTube, Newsvine and the lot of them, have done.

Centralize, centralize, centralize. Concentrate and control.

What that means:
1- your data is not under your direct control.
2- what is done with your data, is not under your direct control.

So what? What are these people doing with your data? It's pretty simple: they use it to drive advertising revenues.

Here's how. I mentioned structure and context. When you publish something, share it, you try tell a story; you labor to package it up, give it meaning (semantics through communication technologies, like language) and you place it on the web within a context, be it via categories, tags, links to related information. You are organizing data.

To folks like Google and Yahoo!, that is worth gold. Literally.

Before I continue, lest I be labeled disingenuous, I should make clear that I am NOT railing against all this. I use Flickr every day--more like 300 times a day; it's my #1 destination, almost as often as my email inbox--and I manage weblogs that sport Google Ads and Technorati tags and links and all that stuff. I just want to try to make sure people actually realize what is going on.

We are all working for them. For free. That's how it's "about we". It's not a "media revolution", it's a reversion to feudal medievalism. "Voluntary servitude" it's been called (back in 1548!) (This is worth a read too though it has quite a Marxist taste to it. ;p

The counter argument is "but they are providing a service which in order to survive must sustain itself economically somehow, and you free information people are the first to yell "information wants to be free" and so it is and we can't rely on subscription or pay-per-content schemes." Totally fair. And services like all the above mentioned all do fairly decent jobs of providing ways to export and retrieve your data. One way or another, you gotta pay to play, right?

The malaise remains however: they are profiting from our ignorance (or forgetfulness). Whether it is ignorance of their actions or ignorance of your abilities (to do any of this yourself in a de-centralized way) or rights.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go check what pictures my friends uploaded, what links they bookmarked and who's talking about me.

This has been another poorly formed and expressed rant brought to you by a bottle of sake, three deadlines and 12 hours in front of too many screens.


I remember you telling me the fourth paragraph of this while you were eating chips and dip at Rebecca's place last year. The rest I've seen from a later email.

The evolution of Boris-thought. ;)

Yes, yes and yes !

This "data lock-in" is more and more used. It appeared with the first online email clients then it goes everywhere.

BUT ! Most of the recent web 2.0-compliant services you link provide tools to gain more control. With Hotmail you're completly stuck. If you want to leave, you lose your mails. With for example, you can export your bookmarks or modify them through a REST service.

Some guys used this with Flock but they didn't make it the right way. Flock (or FF) should manage localy bookmarks like does and has the ability to synchronize with, or another social bookmarking site (eventually, which also allows to make a local copy of bookmarks if the original despears). With such an architecture, people remain in full control of their data and can choose to use the social side of

(And that's the way the Web works : uncentralized data with tools to find and use relevant data)

Exactly. You understand the Wu Wa Wei. :)

Agreed. However, one thing that people often forget to mention in that debate is that we also gain from the service and the control we give away. I don't use Flickr because I need a place to store photos, I use it because of the whole sharing with friends / community thing. I pay for that with less control and by letting them benefit from my stuff. Same with

I don't use Hotmail (not quite 2.0 though ;) ) because it's not mine completely when in their system but on top of it, I don't gain anything in exchange. Well, ok, I gain email but you know what I mean.

4th paragraph from the bottom. :)
Why would you use Hotmail or Gmail? You pay for hosting right? You have access to POP3, SMTP, IMAP... and thus webmail if you really need it.

(In the last 4 years I--me, mt. Psycho Email Person-- have *needed* webmail ONCE, and that was 2 weeks ago in transit from Montreal to Tokyo when my flight from Toronto was delayed for 3 hours an dI *had* to notify Karl.)

For some people it makes sense. But for many many many, they just use it because "oh it's there and it's google mail! I can trust google!" BRRZZT WRONG.


Certainly can't trust Yahoo!, and Yahoo! owns Flickr, and Upcoming... and Aaron. ;)

There's place for "hybrid" systems. In my example with (and we could do the same with upcoming... harder with Flicky), it's possible to keep the control over the data AND use the community effect... and I think there's place for business with this.

It's only that if user gains control over data, business has less power as they can't lock the user. Thus they have to provide a good service and maintain a community spirit. Recent services provide this possibility (at the opposite of the old webmail system where you're completly lock), it's to the users'role to develope thos possibilities (and it's coming)

Yes. :)
Nature is a constant flux in search of balance.

I don't disagree with you at all, Boris, though I think Patrick hits on the most important thing, at least for me.

I don't *get* GMail (except for the accessible SMTP part, I totally get that) because the whole reason to leave much of this information off my own private spaces is to enjoy the community that can be developed around a lot of this kind of material. So - Flickr - all the time. GMail - nice to have, basically a collection of TidBits emails though that I could just as easily receive and filter in my regular email.

Anyhow - I have to get in the car and get my butt to Montreal...

Shit. Actually I do disagree.

In fact, I think all media companies since the 50s if not the 30s have been selling YOU and that you are, by watching or reading or listening, working for them no less than you are working for any random Web 2.0 company now.

McLuhan wrote about this for crying out loud years ago - when he wrote "the medium is the message" he meant that the message is YOU.

Consequently I think it's hyperbole to talk about feudalism or anything of the kind.

But it's a worthwhile and fun discussion to have, and your perspective is an important one, Boris. Don't get me wrong!

Actually Michael, I think you misunderstood my rant.

Your argument surrounding GMail and Flickr is purely based on *your* usage of it. You say yourself "I don't *get* GMail".

Second, I do not in any way deny the value in the community created by these services (which GMail is not one of.. no community there, it's just your email, i.e for your eyes only, or so you're supposed to think anyways). What I bemoan is a) their *centralized model* b) the dangers that a centralizer model engender.

Try this: "bottom up" cannot survive long in a "centralized" system. Artists and other culture makers are the first to be phased out when totalitarian regimes gain strength. And all dictators share one very remarkable trait: they always come from amongst "the people" and they believe beyond all else that they represent "the people". The love of "their people" is paramount, and they go through extra-ordinary effort to convince themselves that they are affording it.

Sound familiar.

What's wrong with hyperbole? Don't like a bit of showmanship? I like exaggerating; it jolts people into noticing: "Heeeey, wait a minute... you're exaggerating though! ..." ;)

For your second comment, I need to unravel what I agree and disagree with and clarify:
1- yes, '50's maybe even '30's. Wearing your conspiracy hat? Good, follow me. "Propaganda" became a bona fide area of research during the Second World War. How to manipulate masses of people, now that you had access to them via radio (and a bit later, TV), with information. Mass, one-way communication was what was needed to scale the western socio-economic model to the next order of magnitude. Consumerism was jacked up. (It wasn't created, it just got exploded into a massive system, one which supports the entire economy and thus society and thus politics and thus government. It does so by subverting culture. See banksy comment thread.)

2- It's a stretch, only because it's never been so direct a relationship (or more visible, even though it seems to be invisible to most still), but in essence, yes you are right: we are workign no less for random web 2.0 than we were for others for the past 50+ years. But with subtle differences:
a) we are doing more, by not being passive audience and actively participating,
b) producing more of the culture ourselves (CC was born out of the need/desire to start regaining some legal control of that culture).

3- Your take on McLuhan is... you need to explain that a bit better because my understanding of Medium is the Message is of it as an equation (medium = message, message = medium), based on the use of the tetrads for identifying both variables, and evaluating them in context of the Ground and the Figures. *cough*. As such, the medium is also YOU, and as a bit of a zen buddhist, I do not disagree with either. But it is not just McLuhan writing all those years ago... many many others, stretching far back into time... because this is part of an oft-recuring cycle, sometimes a cycle within a cycle, etc... : the few profiting from the many.

Again, what's wrong with hyperbole? Isn't everything? Isn't everything conjecture? Aren't all things that spring from the mind of man but an abstraction of the face of god... i mean, reality... The Ground... the truth... blaaah blah blah... I digress. ;)

11- Michael Boyle

In fact Boris I agree AND disagree.

First of all I think I think we all underestimate how much the central data-gathering organizations have always (ok, for a long time) driven all kinds of things. The data that has always existed about us, that we voluntarily put in there, and that has driven a lot more decisions that I think most people would want to admit that have an impact upon our social and cultural lives. So I am simply saying there is more continuity than many - not sure if you are among them - might admit between "old media" and new new media or whatever the buzzword is this week.

At that - and this was my don't get me wrong part, really - I also totally agree that there is some difference between the new "users add the content" systems and the older ones, even while making the point that there is more continuity than we might often note.

I think you've hit the nail on the head that the aggreggation is managed centrally being the big difference, and that has huge implications related to culture and many other things. We don't even have to look at Web-2 Cos to consider this - consider if you will the even more insidious problem of Canadian companies that outsource their data management to US companies, and thus whose data becomes subject to the Patriot Act.

Related to interpersonal, social and cultural (as in small-c culture and big-C Cultchah) matters, I think it is very significant that the locus of control and power in these issues is decoupling from national legal and regulatory structures. I hold two thoughts in mind when I look at this. No matter how much I believe information must be free, I also love the fact that Can-con rules have helped a huge and important music environment (not just the industry) to develop in Canada. If the new media environment is to be controlled by technology companies, not arts- or media companies (who traditionally have paid lip service or more to national legal and regulatory questions - then how does that change what may be, what may develop?

In a way this is what Google Books demonstrates - technology companies look at all this stuff as primarily technological problems to be solved - and seem to ignore the cultural and social questions or subsume them under the technology banner.

That may or may not be appropriate - but I think a) they have to make their case better and b) we have to be clear as consumers/users/the-audience/etc. where we stand on this sort of thing.

The gathering of data has been there for a long time. The massive centralization is becoming worse at many levels.

* Users give their online Web data in 3 companies: Yahoo, Microsoft and Google.
* Some of these companies provide only UI in English for some of their applications (ex: Flickr).
* As Michael noticed, the data are then controlled by a law which has been created by a specific country. Think about it… that's interesting at many levels.

But there is certainly one thing which always amaze me in this case and others is the ability of people to trust them and I'm not talking about conspiracy as in the intention to screw you. But more how the whole system encourages people to just give up their "esprit critique". Everything is done for that:
"It's all… about you". *cough cough*

Do you think anyone really believes that, though?

I think we underestimate the sophistication of web users - and not just folks like us who clearly think about this stuff, but average users - when we assume that people don't generally see and weigh the risks vs the rewards.

My personal vision of how I would like the web to grow is through the development of layers of "federated" services, communities, and tools that give me a much much more granular level of control over certain things. (I think I've spoken with you about this in terms of Delicious, Boris, at Santropol that time).

I would like my light fixtures to be web addressable. And my oven, and stove burners, etc. And there's no real reason, even using current technology, that that shouldn't be possible. But whether or not I trust Google is beside the point - I don't want them keeping the data to run my interface for that stuff on their site. Perhaps a couple of layers away from that - using an algorithm that builds on that stuff to drive some sort of presence app within Google - that perhaps could be centralized.

The concern I think we all share, though, is that the only option developing is "we take it all" or "we have nothing whatsoever to do with it".

I think it's irrelevant if anyone "believes it". We believed the earth was flat for so long... See what I mean?

I think you over-estimate the sophistication of average people. Sad to say, but I do think so. I'm not saying it's bad or they are the lesser for it, but yes, most people will happily plunk down whatever they are asked for, in exchange for a bit of candy.

But that argument is pointless too, since we cannot establish or pin point this in any way. What we can look at is what data is out of our hands when we use these services.

"whether or not I trust Google is beside the point - I don't want them keeping the data to run my interface for that stuff on their site"

hunh? then why don't you want them to keep your data on their servers?
who would you want to entrust with that? Hydro Quebec? Hydro would LOVE to have detailed statistics on every micro-watt of electricity you use and how and when and why... for any number of reasons, some good like enhancing their delivery service/capacity, but also to resell to advertisers and marketers...

"Michael currently uses X watts a day using technology Y... if you pitch him solution A which saves him n cents an hour, he will likely buy it... considering that he has the following big ticket electronic items (list) and he seems to care for energy conservation by making sure lights are properly turned on and off when needed, he probably has some disposable income.. sic 'im boys!"


Anyways.. I am digressing... as always.

I've been thinking a fair bit about this recently ... for, um, obvious reasons. i think there's a couple of important things:

1. being able to get out data that I put in. I think this is a fundamental demand that anyone should make regarding any tool that they use. I find it so offensive when any kind of software won't let me extract the data that i put in there. its my data, let me have it. true of delicious, flickr, my addressbook on my hard drive etc. off between community and nefarious data collection. this is the tough one. I want to be able to get suggestions from boris. i want boris to know what i suggest to him. but I don't want *someone* to collect information about me. so what's the solution? this data is *important* in a big way, but what exactly is the concern? and how do you solve it?

3. targeted advertising
look at your weblog. i mean, what could be more useful data than a weblog for a marketer? all they have to do is process boris' blog for a couple of weeks in a "blog-market matcher", and then start sending him emails about the misanthopic anti-social futurist convention in tokyo, this year's theme mcluhan & data, free pair of adidas sneakers & 2 cigarettes with every registration. minimal techno dance party hosted by DJ Cute Arty Chick. sold.

delicious, flickr etc. is much less ... detailed ... than your weblog. maybe harder to process, but, still.

4. politics.
This is another area of worry - really that all this data could be used against you for political purpose. but if I think about myself, technically writing is my main focus (ahem) so I am prepared to reveal lots about myslef, my politics etc. And i am willing to talk to anyone about this. so having this data recorded and available is...well it's what i would have imagined even without computers. but maybe the fact of having all this data out there from millions, billions of peopel makes it SAFER for me than before. now instead of having 10 writers who agree with me, I have a 10k writers who agree. that's an important development.

1. Absolutely. It should be one requirements.
Each service should propose
- a documented export/archive format
- And a tool to export in this format.

Naively. And as an attempt to try to find a win-win (bbrrr) solution. If you pay a fee to use the service (basically flickr), your data are not used at all for any kind of data mining.

The right to opt out easily. Means please remove any records and traces of my data in your base. Google Mail doesn't for example.

The closure of worlds. I signed up with Flickr (Canada - canadian law) not with Yahoo! (USA - Patriot Act). I don't want my data be collected by Yahoo. Back to issue 1. Give me the right to get back my data and 2.b to opt out.

Weblog. CreativeCommons (The non commercial clause) my data are not for commercial use. You have no rights to use them for this for generating advertisement, to sell them. Give me a lower pagerank, make a seperate loosy search engine, but don't use my data for commercial purpose. Right now, I think Google is breaking the CreativeCommons license (very personal opinion, not a legal analysis).

That's the problem of the right of being anonymous. See China and Yahoo! The right to be anonymous is very important. The right to lie about your identity for example. The Web is public, when you express yourself in a public forum, you take this risk.
Where it's really dangerous is that a company collect your private email and messages to give them to an entity with a nocive agenda for your freedom (political or not): Patriot Act for example.

Hum, should have come back to check on comments quicker ;). So even though you've moved beyond that:

"4th paragraph from the bottom."
Not exactly. You talk about accepting to pay for the service to get the service. I'm talking about paying with less control to access the community. It would be the same if it was a completely free, open sourced, CCed platform. Which means I'm actually playing for Flickr twice....

"ending him emails about the misanthopic anti-social futurist convention in tokyo, this year's theme mcluhan & data, free pair of adidas sneakers & 2 cigarettes with every registration. minimal techno dance party hosted by DJ Cute Arty Chick"
Mouahahahahah. Excellent!

karl (3): hmm. this is an interesting idea indeed, the CC tack had never occurred to me. i don't think it stands up in court under current laws tho - since you cannot copyright facts or ideas, or thoughts etc, only the specific sentences which express them. ie you copyright the form, not the content. but that's not the issue; perhaps law sould change to refelct your desire to not allow certain info to be used for commercial purpose.

but I wonder would this be a healthy outcome? the precedent is sort of worrying. I'm as much of an anarchist anti-capitalist as the next guy, but really there is nothing inherently evil about business or corporations, they just try to fill needs in the most efficient way they can. They also do that sometimes in really manipulative, terrible ways; and they can do lots of damage in the process, but ... still capitalism is just a hyper-version of jean talon market where you buy what you need and someone sells it to you. there's a bigger problem about how we build notions of what we need, that's where the system gets out of control.

But limiting the ability to use data for commercial purpose might have a bad effect. ie not allowing innovative solutions to get implemented because there's no way to pay for it. mike lenczner's started this access to government data project, and we talked a bit about saying for non-commercial use ... but the whole point is that commercial uses can be very useful to everybody. so restricting data like that could be bad.

(look at GPL - good example. you can use GPL software for commercial purpose, but you can't restircit its feedom commercially).

I think i wandered way off-topic there. ;)

also I should note that I have a conflict. I am currently working on a flickr-y project, for commercial gain, and this issue is one I need to consider. ie. I may be a bad-guy (ie user-generated data collector) soon, so my comments should be read with that in mind.

Instead of cherry picking arguments--as this could go on forever--I'd just like to make something clear:
It's not about "good and evil', it's just about awareness. You and I may be aware of of some of these issues some of the time, but it is very real that most people are not aware of most of these issues most of the time.

And that's not being misanthropic, it's based on observation and conversations and experience and is knowledge I find saddening and would rather not have had to glean...

(oh and CC non-commercial means non-commerical; whether it's a human being plagiarizing or a machine summarizing / analyzing; if money is being made on the output of such use of my content, it is commercial. Also, CC has yet to stand up in court, one way or another.)

Your rant doesn't really make sense. "We are all working for them. For free."

No, we are not working for them. Yes, our activities make them money, the same as when I go to a store and buy a t-shirt, my activity is making somebody money. There's a network effect with t-shirts too - the more people (to a point) that want t-shirts from one store, the more popular that store is, and the more profitable. Am I working for the t-shirt store? For free?

Hardly. They are providing a service for me, and in return I will fork up a bit of cash, or maybe see a few ads. It is not exploitation, it's capitalism. Flickr's use of my data to derive a profit is no different from Gap selling shirts that say "GAP" on them, and using me as their advertising vehicle, at my expense. If I like the t-shirt, and it fits, why do I care if somebody else is benefiting as well?

First of all "your rant doesn't really make sense" is a great way to start a troll comment, especially since so many folks seem to think it does make sense... as do I.

Second, when you wear a t-shirt with a big logo you ARE working for them, as a moving billboard*, not only for free but you have paid for the privilege. That's pretty stupid of you, if you ask me... and a lot of other people.

(Stationary billboards fetch a handsome rate to wear a logo and some clever marketing slogan.. what is your rate? Oh.. you paid to wear that t-shirt... you sir must be a genius of capitalism.. or a victim of it...)

cherry-pick #1 (CC): CC is a modified copyright - where you grant certain *new* rights under your existing copyright law. If I write a history of mathematics, the fact of me writing it grants me the copyright under most legal systems; by attaching CC I am waiving certain of my copyrights under law - for instance the right to prevent someone from copying my text for non-commercial purposes. But the copyright extends to *how* I wrote about mathematics, ie the specific sentences themselves, but not on the content - the facts ideas etc. so: form, not content, is covered under copyright, and by extension CC.

so even if CC-non-commercial *should* cover your data etc, that would be an invention of a new law, rather than just using an existing law in a new way.

cherry pick #2 (awareness): agreed. our data - especially the well-sorted kind, which IS copyrightable - is our most important asset. we would not let juts anyone use our computers; why let them use our data? at least know about it if you are letting anyone snoop around. incidently, seth lloyd has a new book out, in which things are just data:

cherry pick #3 (misanthropy): let's say caustic instead, or non-gladly-fool-suffering.

cherry pick #4 (paul): of course it makes sense. sorting data is the highest human calling & our greatest & most important skill. by joining various networks in order to help sort data we are contributing our skills in that department. but the point is that those skills & our data is being used for various purposes, not all of which we may agree with - so lets find out how/when we give our data away, to whom, and what they are doing with it.

oh & re: "this could go on forever", see:

Wake the Dragon
published: Apr 4th 2006
We are moving towards a period on the internet where only a small number of companies control the vast amount of revenue that is generated in any one area of service offerings. We are also at a point were the likelihood of competing on a revenue basis with any of these large corporations that control most of the key areas grows smaller by the day. If one were to start a business that could possibly be replicated by any of the existing quasi monopolies one would find it very difficult to raise any investment capital from traditional institutional sources. Indeed most of the institutional investors that one would seek out would of course be looking for a return on their investment in a short period of time. This return on investment is usually expected to take the form of an IPO, or an acquisition.

Because of the current situation that sees a handful of companies dominating most internet technology markets; many investors would see any new entrant as a high risk. Most of the quasi monopolies could easily replicate any new technology, and because of this would more than likely not want to acquire any new entrants.

The lack of a market for acquisition will and has led to a shrinking amount of companies that have the financial ability and needed market traction to enter the stock market, and thus return a financial gain to investors. Many times a pending IPO is the prime mover in the acquisition of a competitor by a larger corporation. The acquisition allows the purchaser to acquire the company at a much lower possible price, and it also prevent the company being acquired from attaining the needed capital to expand, grow market share and compete.

While noting the above argument It is interesting and important to realize that the current scenario is not one that is new. Indeed it has played out in history before. One need only look at the old world media industry to see how market consolidation by a handful of quasi media monopolies has led to a lack of investment that would lead to competition. The main difference in the scenario above and the current one that exist in the internet business sector is that the old scenario of market domination, and consolidation has been super imposed as a belief model in an space that it will not fit.

Investment in the previous era of the non internet technology economy was needed to hire people and to purchase the need machines to do the job. You could not create a competing news paper without writers, presses, and distribution. One of the key barriers to entry was the cost of equipment. Because of technologies and in particular the internets evolutionary and revolutionary nature the old world economic barriers to company creation no longer exist. The cost and time that it takes to create an application are so small that the creator does not need to worry about the bottom line or break even points. There need not be a profit motive to create a compelling internet application. Just as an artist paints out of an inner drive to paint, a application developer can create because of a very similar inner drive. I believe that this will create a situation where the current quasi monopolies will ultimately fall to the mass community of application developers that will and have become creators for their own needs as well as for others. Because they have very small over heads and tend to be self funding thorough full time employment, they will be very difficult to compete with. They have an open distribution channel; they have access to low cost creation tools, and they are self funded with their own capital. The large corporations that are currently in the market must support large staffs as well as the expectations of investors that expect profit. They cannot compete against the many no cost and open competitors that are now entering and will continue to enter the market.

It will be seen that taking the revenue possibility away from potential competitors in the evolutionarily and revolutionary platform that is the internet does not decrease entrants, but increase entrants that cannot be competed with on a market share and thus a profit basis.

This kind of paradigm shift was seen early with the struggle of traditional newspapers losing classified readership to online creators that provided the same service at a low to no cost. The new entrants did not need presses and had an open and relatively free distribution channel. The newspapers had to sustain profits to support their existing infrastructure of men and machines, and in most cases because they were public companies had to return profit for investors. The newspapers were slow to go into the online classifieds market because they were under the assumption that for any of their online competitors to continue they would need to make large profits. They also viewed the internet in an old world economic framework that postulates that business are only created and survive when revenue can be generated that makes the endeavor profitable. Once the newspapers did react they discovered that they could not compete or gain any market share from the many classified advertising applications that now existed. Most of the existing classified applications have very little overhead and are not motivated by going public or large profit gains. Most do not have to support large machinery infrastructure or large numbers of employees. Because large profit is not the motive, the newspapers cannot compete.

Newspapers and other media are now seeing this same pattern with blog content creators. The blog creators have low over head and low or no profit expectation and an open distribution channel. Because of this newspaper cannot compete and will eventually become extinct online and possibly the in the off line world.

We are also seeing this in other media. Radio, television and film will be the next to fall to the masses of application creators that can create applications at little to no cost and expect and need low or no profits to keep the application going. No equipment cost, an open distribution channel and users that create the content.

No area of internet technology will be immune from the mass of application and content creators that now have the means and ability to create for creations sake readily at hand. Somewhere below the radar there are many competitors to Google and Yahoo and Microsoft. Sooner rather than later we will see these giants reel.

You may be interested in Tiziana Terranova's essay on "Free Labor: Producing Culture for the Digital Economy":

delicious is very easy to import export from.

Ryan: thank you. very interesting.

Very interesting piece, thank you. I've felt irritated at some time by people who insist that users of services like LiveJournal (which has free, ad-supported, and paid options) shouldn't complain about aspects of the service on the grounds that it's free, or that they signed the TOS which says their journal can be suspended or deleted at any time for any/no reason.

Yet LiveJournal depends on the communities its users form to keep running. I have a LiveJournal because so many of my friends have LiveJournals. I won't pay for the service anymore, but I still use it, and that means I'm still creating content for it, and contributing to the communities it relies on.

LiveJournal isn't covered in ads yet, but they've started to introduce advertising, so perhaps they should be reminded of who creates their content (and their value).

really interesting, but...

i mostly agree with micheal (comment°9) and Boris Anthony (comment°19)...

but i think, the problem is much more old than 2.0, forums are similar...

by the way, it's a little bit naiv to think everytime that the world is so nice that projects like flickr blows without monney...

and imagine, would a baker made bread for free?
engineers need to eat too...

but if i can suggest you something...
ask your self:
- who?
- says what?
- with wich "media"?
- for who?
- to who?
- and with wich effect?

ask you those questions before pressing "next", "Post comment>>" or "submit" might be a good idea...