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The New Wisdom of the Web

CmdrTaco posted more than 8 years ago | from the stuff-to-think-about dept.


theodp writes "In a cover story, Newsweek takes a look at the new wave of start-ups cashing in on the next stage of the Internet by Putting The 'We' in Web. Sites built on user-generated content like YouTube, Flickr, MySpace, Digg and Facebook have all taken a page from Tom Sawyer's playbook, engaging the community to do their work, prompting Google CEO Eric Schmidt to suggest he finds MySpace more interesting than Microsoft."

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Myspace sucks (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14997994)

How is it better than MS?

Re:Myspace sucks (4, Informative)

ThisNukes4u (752508) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998002)

He said more interesting, not better.

Re:Myspace sucks (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14998161)

I just clicked the "sign up" button on myspace.
The "Terms of Service" linked from the sign-up page links to a 404.
So I guess I can only agree to all of those terms.

Re:Myspace sucks (1)

semiotec (948062) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998165)

Exactly. The same way that watching bacterial cells divide themselves is more interesting than watching Jenna Jameson doing her stuff.

The latter is infinitely "better" to watch, but gets tedious after a while, but the former is always interesting, "interesting" as in Hollywood keeps putting that kind of footages in sci-fi movies.

Re:Myspace sucks (1)

ScaryFroMan (901163) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998479)

He said more Interesting...

A label that is even less valid.

Re:Myspace sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14998201)

how else could people like this [] come out of the closet?

User generated content = quality? (4, Interesting)

jmke (776334) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998047)

Does user generated content like seen on the sites mentioned equal quality reading? is it worth hours of browsing other people's randomly submitted content to find a few diamonds? how often do you find yourself spending time on those sites?

Re:User generated content = quality? (1)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998069)

It depends, quite often the peer-created content is peer-reviewed and subsequently the interesting stuff ends up on the top and the 10-second attempts are relegated to the 1-star category and tagged with "useless"

Re:User generated content = quality? (2, Funny)

Catskul (323619) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998276)

Yeah! Isnt is obvious, just look at the gems we find at the very top of Slashdot stories : )

Re:User generated content = quality? (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998450)

Slashdot isn't peer reviewed, at least not as far as the top level stories are concerned. The comments are peer reviewed, and in general the system seems to work reasonably well, certainly better than the selection process for the stories at least.

Re:User generated content = quality? (1)

otisg (92803) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998088)

This is where "meme trackers" like TailRank [] come into play. Their goal is to use the "wisdom of the crowds" as a filter that lets only the good stuff bubble up, while the less interesting stuff stays below the threshold, much like the threshold here on Slashdot.

Re:User generated content = quality? (5, Insightful)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998100)

Your sat on a site with user generated content and asking yourself if its worth it?

Of course its worth it - Spending time in a community of like minded people is always worth it.

You have made 38 comments here (relative newbie), theres people with thousands of postings and reading loads of stories (myself included) and spending time here because this feels better than sitting bored watching tv - its interactive.

Re:User generated content = quality? (1)

B0red At W0rk (876713) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998231)

That's value, not quality. Slashdot is not a URL that come to mind when I think about quality of content. It's actually the opposite... it's like the dirty gossip tabloid of the tech industry.

Re:User generated content = quality? (1)

rmadmin (532701) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998540)

I like my women like I like my slashdot.. dirty and gossipy

Re:User generated content = quality? (3, Insightful)

ndogg (158021) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998133)

If one throws a million darts at a dartboard, it's highly unlikely that none of them will hit the bullseye.

Re:User generated content = quality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14998169)

It's also likely that the entire wall (including the board) will be ruined before every player has their chance.

Million monkeys... (1)

slashname3 (739398) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998296)

Someone just figured out a way to harness a million monkeys to randomly type the works of Shakespear given enough time and bandwidth.

Are you one of the monkeys?

Re:User generated content = quality? (4, Interesting)

legirons (809082) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998327)

"If one throws a million darts at a dartboard, it's highly unlikely that none of them will hit the bullseye."

But can you tell where the bullseye is, by looking at the distribution of darts?

Re:User generated content = quality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14998373)

Mod parent up. Very insightful.

Re:User generated content = quality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14998582)

so what's the answer? I think the poster means "yes", because if everyone aims at the bullseye, then the distribution I would expect would very much indicate where the bullseye is! Just look at any dart-board at where there are points from previous darts. Unless experts coerce to pretend a misleading point is the bullseye ("astroturfing"), why would any other point have a lot of near-misses and quite a few actual hits?

Re:User generated content = quality? (1)

edunbar93 (141167) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998566)

If one throws a million darts at a dartboard, it's highly unlikely that none of them will hit the bullseye.

Heh. I don't think that a dartboard can even hold a hundred darts. That means that 99.99% of the darts can't even *hit* the dartboard.

It would be pretty funny to see though!

Re:User generated content = quality? (1)

walnut_tree (905826) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998567)

If one throws a million darts at a dartboard, it's highly unlikely that none of them will hit the bullseye.

But who's going to find that diamond in the rough? It would be nice to think that good content (or well-written content) rises to the top and gets noticed, but that's hardly the case. In fact, plenty of popular blogs prove quite the opposite!

Re:User generated content = quality? (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998789)

Did you even read the post you replied to?

Re:User generated content = quality? (1)

castoridae (453809) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998240)

Seems to me this would be exactly why Google finds it interesting - providing tools to find the "diamonds in the rough" is exactly what they do!

Re:User generated content = quality? (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998243)

You're right, user-generated content is garbage, and anybody who would visit, much less post messages on such sites [] is an utter fool.

Re:User generated content = quality? (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998318)

No doubt people were saying exactly the same thing about the web in general over 10 years ago.

The point isn't to read pages at random. The point about these sorts of sites is that it's easier to keep track of those people you are interested in (e.g., friends), rather than hopping about randomly like you have to do on the web in general.

Re:User generated content = quality? (1)

EntropyEngine (890880) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998367)

When you're dealing with public opinion -- be that informed or otherwise -- you're always going to get a wide spectrum of signal to noise.

However, for you're going to loose in quality, the increase in democracy will, with any luck, balance things out.

Well, that's the theory, at any rate...

Re:User generated content = quality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14998509)

Add the fact that many big community created web sites have come and gone in the past, I'm more than worried about how long the current crop will be able to hold on.

Re:User generated content = quality? (2, Insightful)

Evro (18923) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998548)

I don't think quality matters in this "new" Web. MySpace is a terrible site: the design is terrible, the interface is terrible, and the user-supplied content is horrible. Go to 20 random users' MySpace profiles and probably 15+ of them will burn your eyes. Despite these obvious shortcomings, my 14-year-old niece can't live without having 24/7 access to the site and the ability to see what drivel and stupid pics her friends have posted today. The point being that these sites are popular because of the community of users who use them, not because they provide "quality" content.

Re:User generated content = quality? (1)

MrNonchalant (767683) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998581)

Quite frequently. Well, not Facebook or MySpace obviously. But Flickr, Digg, and YouTube I end up on a lot. Why? Becuase you don't spend hours looking for gems on those sites. The community filters what the community submits. On Digg that's through digging articles. On YouTube that's through friends passing on links that they in turn got from their friends. On Flickr that's my contact's photos and photos tagged as interesting by their algorithms. It only takes a few people to sort the wheat from the chaff, and everybody else benefits from it.

what's not to love? (4, Interesting)

HunterAmor (903799) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998060)

so other people create your "content" for free, and you get advertising revenue for having those same people look at the "content" created by others. what's not to love in a business model like that?

what's not to love?-Ads+"/."=? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14998098)

Slashdot agrees with you.

Re:what's not to love? (4, Interesting)

otisg (92803) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998117)

It sounds rather simple, doesn't it? Unfortunately, it ain't that simple. The difficult part is scaling. With advertizing rates being as low as they are, you need a LOT of page views to make any decent money. In other to have a lot of page views, you need a lot of users, and a lot of regular/active users (Slashdot is a good example). Once you have a lot of users your expenses go up - more bandwidth, more CPUs, more app servers, more NAS, more clusters, more failover this and that, replication... and then you have to answer all those emails that start pouring in, you've got to have a blog to keep people updated, etc. And there are only 24 hours in a day. And you want to have a life, friends, and family. So you need to hire people. But you need money for that. So you go to VCs because your ads don't cover all these expenses. So, you see, it's not that simple. :) Moreover, some crazy people like me give away money [] from their advertizing.

Just the theft (4, Informative)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998150)

what's not to love in a business model like that?

Just that it essentially boils down to theft. These sites are using copyright against the users, by having them submit content under the site owner's choice of license. Often, users are not aware of this. As a result, they see no difference between open sites and closed ones, and move between them based on nothing more than popularity.

Of course, those of us who know better look for a GFDL license, and find it on sites like Wikipedia, or one of the more Free Creative Commons licenses. One day, there will probably be a law that the licensing must be very clear to anyone who submits content, and hopefully everyone will prefer the sites where the content belongs to THEM.

Re:Just the theft (2, Funny)

UserGoogol (623581) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998369)

Don't worry, most of the really good content on YouTube isn't actually copyrighted by the people who post it. :)

Re:Just the theft (2, Funny)

shmlco (594907) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998750)

"Just that it essentially boils down to theft. These sites are using copyright against the users, by having them submit content..."

I thought stealing content wasn't theft? Boy, now I'm confused...

Re:what's not to love? (1)

oasisweb (924178) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998254)

You make it sound like it's so easy. Designing a good system for people to be able to submit their content and view that content is harder than you think. And you have to make them want to submit their content in the first place! What's mor, the more successful you become, the harder it becomes to maintain such a system. As nice as this business model sounds, it's no free lunch.

orkut (1)

escay (923320) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998065)

Google has its own pet project - the social networking site orkut [] , which has at least 14 million users which has been in beta for almost 3 years now...this appears to be in line with Eric's comments about the user-generated content web idea.

Re:orkut (1)

johndmann (946896) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998146)

Speaking of orkut - I've been trying to become a member for over 2 years. All they tell me is "someone will contact you soon, as our site is invite-only"

TWO YEARS i've waited... Is it worth it? How should I know? Nothing is public about it - at all!

So, if you are a member of Orkut, and you read this message, hit me up! I'm very curious!

Re:orkut (3, Informative)

Requiem (12551) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998222)

There's nothing to be curious about.

I've had an account there almost since the beginning, and it's horrific. The UI is ugly. The site is prone to crashes, to making duplicate posts, to telling you that your attempt at posting failed (it actually succeeded! surprise!). My gaming group originally had a community there for the homebrew system we played, but we all eventually stopped using the site, due to it being a gigantic suckhole of poor code and design.

Re:orkut (1)

johndmann (946896) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998237)

Still, even if it were bad, knowing first-hand what it is all about and how bad it really is... Even if I used it only for 10 minutes, I would be satisfied knowing that I've given it a go lol.

Re:orkut (1)

escay (923320) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998555)

umm...not to sound like an orkut evangelist, but the site has improved quite considerably since then (I stopped using it for an year when it was really bad but now i see it's got better). it still throws up the "bad, bad server, no donut for you" error, but less frequently now - and there's some amount of spam control now, although it's almost impossible to emulsify 14 million users content (and that's just the ppl i'm connected to, don't know the actual strength).

this site's the hobby of a google employee (orkut buyokkoten) that google encourages, and not exactly the product of google labs so maybe that's why its not google quality - it's not a great site, just shows that google has something running in this direction as well!

Re:orkut (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14998585)

The problem was the initial implementation & deployment was on Microsoft IIS and ASP/.NET. It's only been a short while since they completed a move/port of the system to Google's regular (linux based) infrastructure, and (surprise!) it's much more stable now.

Re:orkut (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998232)

Nothing to see there, move along. Just another site where you can create interest groups. And spam everybody else.

YouTube is based on copyright infringement (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14998066)

go look at the videos and you will see a majority of them are copyrighted content (tv shows/clips and the like) and they have the excuse "it wasnt us it was one of our visitors

how they havent been shutdown is anyones guess, i guess the latest wave of sites is more based on copyright be dammned than user-based-content

more interesting than microsoft (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14998068)

I find watching paint dry more interesting than microsoft... what's you're point?

I agree though, user generated content means that users will be more likely to frequent the site.

Re:more interesting than microsoft (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14998522)

i've got this great watching paint dry movie, it's up on YouTube if you want to see it.

More heads are wiser than one (3, Interesting)

otisg (92803) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998073)

Indeed, more heads are wiser than one. An old concept applied on a massive scale, and so far it works. The piece I personally like best in this article is from Craigslist's founder who points out that the reason his team is so scalable is because they provide self-service. Everything I ever built (including the latest Simpy [] ) was like this, and I've always been happy not to have to hire a team of people to manage something that users of the system could handle themselves, or amongst themselves.

The other piece I like here is also from Craigslist guy, about not having to charge everybody. This reminds me of what I did with Simpy (see this Simpy + AdSense bit [] , and pay attention to the Q&A towards the end of the entry). People have been very happy with the simplicity of this concept, and no user has complained about ads - they don't see them... but others do!

Not always (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14998357)

Ever heard the phrase "too many cooks spoil the broth"?

Well see a majority of people can give an answer that is popular. Often, popular means correct or good. This is why democracy is viable, strong etc. However, the question is .. is democracy just? If you are "oppressed", does it matter that a majority decided to want to oppress you rather than a crazy dictator? Probably it hurts more knowing the majority condemned you.

A majority of people, may have, at one time thought the world was flat .. the sun orbits around the earth etc. Were they right? Probably not.

Socrates was put to death a lot because he didnt believe a majority of people wouldnt necessarily make just laws. ("Would you choose a physician by election, why would you choose your ruler that way?").

However given these arguments, currently democracy is the best form of government .. in which fewest people can get oppressed. But it doesnt make it necessarily just. That depends on the willingness of the people to educate themselves and crucially, care about people.

For science, however .. I'd want people who have studied the art to dominate. Which is why although I use digg, I also prefer a slashdot style system (yes, yes, slashdot isn't a science crap or peer review thing et.c blah blah i know). I have long wished slashdot would show all the submissions they get, instead of those just accepted. In effect a combination of digg and slashdot. Also, instead of just seeing stories editors selected .. I can see stories that submitters I respect have submitted or "dugg". I suppose now /. would be afraid of implementing this for paranoia of digg theifing good links they may have missed?

Re:More heads are wiser than one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14998518)

Way to pimp your poorly-thought-out idea.... wow, you've invented good for you.


This doesn't make senese... (2, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998078)

Why is everyone so happy in Silicon Valley again? A new wave of start-ups are cashing in on the next stage of the Internet. And this time, it's all about ... you.

Where's the "we" in "you"? If it's going to be about "you", that means all the "me" baby boomers are finally getting out of the picture. Does that mean there's no "I" in "we"? I'm confused.

HyperHype bull (0)

ElitistWhiner (79961) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998079)

There isn't a business plan behind Flickr, myspace, etc... that even comes close to Microsoft. CEO Google is full of himself if he thinks he can bolt one onto these nice ideas.

Craigslist is the only upstart that has leveraged Serendipity into a business plan AND provide a valuable service.

More interesting from whose perspective? (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998080)

All MySpace is is a means of sharing personal information. Microsoft makes tools that can be used to drive the development of a variety of cool things, and enables MySpace indirectly with Internet Explorer. To a typical teenager, MySpace is more interesting because .NET is not interesting. To a person who wants to actually make something novel and interesting, Microsoft is a far cooler company than MySpace.

Making a redundant free browser contributes? (4, Insightful)

expro (597113) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998156)

Do not confuse leveraged market share with any real contribution they are making to peoples' experience.

Re:More interesting from whose perspective? (2, Insightful)

Caltheos (573406) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998214)

When will people understand, its not how technically cool something is that makes it cool. Its how interesting and useful it is to the mass community. They are the ones that drive technology by using and buying it.

user generated content inevitable (3, Insightful)

Susceptor (559115) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998081)

The internet was built by users, it only makers sense that as the tools to create content become easier to use more and more ordinary people are likely to create their own content. for all their creativity, large companies cannot create anything other than a standardized product, individuals on the other hand create content that companies would never even think of making.

Re:user generated content inevitable (2, Funny)

llamaxing (895844) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998136)

if I'm not mistaken, the internet was built by scientists hired by the DoD, not "the users", although admittedly, we the people have influenced much of what the internet is now.

Re:user generated content inevitable (1)

fbjon (692006) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998757)

You have it the wong way around. The Internet as we know it was built by it's users, although admittedly, it was originally started by a bunch of scientists hired by the DoD.

Re: open source and web rush 2.0 (4, Interesting)

dominion (3153) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998108)

I've been working on a project called Appleseed [] , which is sort of a distributed version of MySpace/Friendster, but is turning out to be an amalgamation of gmail/flickr/myspace/livejournal. It's been slow going, but it's starting to pick up the pace, it's just been hard having to work full time and do this in my offtime.

That said, I'm disappointed that, with all of these social network oriented sites popping up, and all these new technologies being explored by commercial enterprises, that the open source community hasn't stepped up to the plate and offered free alternatives. Gmail? Flickr? Myspace?

I know the open source community can build reusable software that's as good or better than any of this, so why haven't we? Why are we still using SquirrelMail?

Re: open source and web rush 2.0 (0, Troll)

sbenitezb (860819) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998145)

Webmail sucks. Why don't we use KMail in a KDE desktop using NX tech. to connect to our home PC? IPv6 provides easily always-connected devices. There will be no need to have a mail service, just roll your own mail service with your own domain.

Re: open source and web rush 2.0 (1)

RCanine (847446) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998191)

...which is exactly why there is not open-source online community. Geeks develop OSS, but geeks don't need these social sites--they're for the masses. Those who would, in theory, build them would rather rant about IPv6.

Re: open source and web rush 2.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14998402)

Now, I love nx and use it a lot, but using it like you describe is a totally shit idea. It takes, what, 2 minutes to even get into KDE before you've even launched Kmail? I can ssh/putty into Pine in about 20 seconds, and starting Firefox and logging into yahoo mail only takes a minute. nx is complete overkill and therefore slow as hell. You also have to deal with the lag and the bandwidth usage, nx doesn't really rate as usable on a modem, IMO, despite their claims to be. Plus, only a geek has an always on linux box. And letting everyone run their own mail server = spam city. You don't say why webmail sucks either? I don't have a problem with it, once I've blocked the adverts anyway. And, yes, hotmail sucks a donkey's balls, I mean the good webmails like gmail and yahoo.

Re: open source and web rush 2.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14998163)

Look at [] they've had a distributed client based network with all these features for over a year. A lot of the developers are ex-napster, the ones that didn't go to snocap ended up at imeem.

Re: open source and web rush 2.0 (1)

Arivia (783328) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998179)

"an amalgamation of gmail/flickr/myspace/livejournal."

"My pet name for it is Web 2.0 Katamari."

Re: open source and web rush 2.0 (2, Interesting)

baadger (764884) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998239)

Roundcube [] is a pretty nice open source AJAX webmail application currently in beta. My previous email provider offered it, and although rather feature bare (although no more so than Gmail), it is very promising.

Roundcube (1)

ProfessionalCookie (673314) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998447)

Support Roundcube [] .
Send Them Money.

Re: open source and web rush 2.0 (1)

dodobh (65811) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998774)

Because the important part of these sites is the storage service they offer.

Nice to see imeem getting a mention (2, Informative)

illectro (697914) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998135)

Unlike all the other purely web offerings imeem [] is built around a client and a distributed data model - making it technologicly the most interesting of the sites in the article. It's not been too successful so far but a lot of the smartest people I've met are using imeem - mostly because they're developers. It's really a shame, but the best technology rarely leads the market in popularity.
As a company imeem is doing good things for open source, I see that they're really pushing the development of mono, particularly on OSX where they're using it as a platform to run the same .Net code as powers the windows client.

How Many Of These Sites are Fads? (2, Interesting)

tompatman (936656) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998143)

There are clearly some good ideas out there right now and some of them are making good money. Personally, I think MySpace is lame, but I'm not 15. There's another site I've seen called catch27, which allows people to create fake trading cards of themselves and try to collect a deck of the most popular people. It seems silly, but it turns a profit. I have to wonder though how long a site like that will remain popular? Will MySpace be making money 5 yrs. from now?

Re:How Many Of These Sites are Fads? (1)

MaXiMiUS (923393) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998263)

I'm 15 in 2 days, and I think MySpace is lame too. I even tried joining it, boy was that a mistake.

Re:How Many Of These Sites are Fads? (1)

Kevbo (3514) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998346)

I suppose the fad aspect will be determined by how useful the content generated by the users is. With Myspace, the content is necessarily fad-based, because the site revolves around music: a pretty fad-oriented industry.
Take another social networking site: Yelp [] and the content is somewhat different. It is focused on store and restaurant reviews. Still somewhat fad-based, but the information is perhaps a bit longer-lasting than that for a local band. And maybe more useful for travel.

Basically, it depends on the content generated and how useful it is going forward, I would expect.

Re:How Many Of These Sites are Fads? (1)

pomo monster (873962) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998461)

Well, personally, I think you're lame. :-P

Honestly, MySpace is no worse than Friendster or the Facebook would be if those sites allowed you the range and freedom of expression MySpace does with HTML tags and embedded objects. Yes, you can take that freedom and use it to shoot yourself in the foot, but you can also build profiles of astonishing beauty and elegance. I think it's pretty cool--I just wish more sites let the user hack around with them like that.

Re:How Many Of These Sites are Fads? (1)

klenwell (960296) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998534)

Never saw catch27 before this -- pretty cool. But then I loved baseball cards growing up. It's much slicker than myspace. But then so was Friendster.

Still, I'm having trouble getting excited by another web 2.0 concept. Tipping point? Hell, I'm at the gagging point. As much as I'd love to create my own baseball card/music video/t-shirt, I'm at the point that I'd really rather just spend a couple hours in the sun.

It's only usability... (5, Insightful)

_eb0la_reston_ (930919) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998154)

I see no *revolution* on YouTube, Flickr, blogging, etc.. You could post, and share photos and/or videos on the Internet back in 1994.

IMHO - The "difference" between now and 1994 are just Demographics and Usability:
* Nowadays, we have much more people online than in 1994, 1998, or 2001.
* Back in 1994 you had to be a computer whiz to post photos/videos, etc... most "business" built then assumed their users had some kind of "computer skills" normal people usually lack of.

*IF* you lower your product entry barrier (making it easy to use), WHILE there's more and more audience available, you're business will likely succeed ;-)

Re:It's only usability... (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998342)

Not quite - there's also a huge advantage in having people on the same site/community. Even if you were a computer whiz who could run a blog on his own homepage, and even if there were the same number of people online 10 years ago or more, you still have the problem of getting them to read your site easily. These sites can make that easier (e.g., LiveJournal's "friends" page), not to mention technologies such as RSS which weren't around back then.

Re:It's only usability... (3, Insightful)

same_old_story (833424) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998378)

Yes. And I see no revolution on this *web* thing you people've been doing.

You could communicate with people far away instantly (hello telephone).
You could write or receive written content from fiends / work for a long time (letters are pretty old stuff).

The only "difference" between those and 1930 is just Usability / Demographics / Price.

Demographics and Usability are EVERYTHING (specially since they are key factor to price )

Re:It's only usability... (1)

rhendershot (46429) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998478)

a little too subtle, but I agree...

You couldn't Flickr in 1994 because the web infrastructure didn't exist. Gopher and NNTP are not the same experience.

>>Demographics and Usability are EVERYTHING (specially since they are key factor to price )

You're basically citing supply/demand here. Demographics being 'the haves' and the demand, Usability being the 'apropriatness' giving the supply. The main thing different about web2 is that it mutates as folks create content linking content linking services.

I think the same effect is evident in audio mashups in that there's an inherent need in us to modify the world around us. Do you remember how long it took to get a gopher site to add something?!

I think that's a magnatude (ok, if I have to; paradigm) shift and worth noting...

did somebody say free beer? I'm in!

Haha. (1)

NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998155)

Wonder if my site counts, since I'm giving free access to those willing to sort and categorize pictures... the metadata is more important than the pictures themselves.

Putting AI in the Web (1)

Mentifex (187202) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998183)

We webloggers [] are collectively turning the World Wide Web into one superintelligent global brain.
Michael Anissimov []
Sir Tim Berners-Lee []
Thomas Burick []
Hal Daume III []
David Heller []
Marco Koch []
Bob Mottram []
J.M. Pratt []
Eric Ringger []
LM Squires []
Ting Qian []
Oliver Wrede []

To take the Tom Sawyer comparison a step further.. (4, Interesting)

O'Laochdha (962474) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998189)

Tom Sawyer, according the the external narration of the novel, inadvertently found that on some level, the children liked painting the fence, so long as it was not obligatory. (I don't remember the exact wording, but Twain compared it to driving a buggy.) People like to show off what they know, hence Wikipedia. People like to go on about every thought that pops into their heads, hence blogs, including LJ and mySpace. People like to throw in their two cents about everything, hence ours truly, as well as Fark, America's Debate, 2, etc. If someone's under obligation to do these things, you get scholars, columnists, politicos, etc. complaining about their jobs.

profitable? (1)

j1mmy (43634) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998207)

how do youtube, flickr and digg expect to make money? i don't see ads on any of those sites and i can't imagine that many people are paying for flickr's premium service.

Re:profitable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14998741)

I would pay in excess of $20/month for a photo/video service (aka Flickr/YouTube) if they were able to integrate my camera/video phone with my blog (Blogger). Yea, I'm one of those who's blogs are mostly brainstatic.. but it's ***mine***, and I use it to publish what I want. My family happens to use it for keeping up with me as I'm several states away.

The only problem is I'm on one of Sprint's locked-down phones (Samsung MM-A920, great phone BTW). Currently I have to upload to Sprint's PictureMail service (which is buggy and slow), get emailed an HTML email, navigate to a Sprint webserver, navigate to a certain page (which took almost 15 minutes to find), download a .zip, and then after I unzip it I get the full version of the photo/video I took. I barely figured this out and I'm the one my family goes to for computer advice.... WTF?

Maybe this is a way for them to make money, figure out how to "hack" mobile devices/services to intigrate better with the way people actually make content... On the go.

deviantART someone? (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998230)

Incredible. A 5-page article dealing with user-created content on the Web, and not a single word about deviantART [] the #1 art community (Flickr is not an art community).

Nor about SourceForge, which is also a great user-created content website, although it's left to the geeky "elite"

Actually, Digg wasn't mentioned in the article. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14998414)

Interesting that the Slashdot submitter tossed Digg in there when it wasn't actually mentioned in the article. If they were going to mention Digg, they would have been irresponsible not to mention Slashdot as well.

The 'We' in Web (4, Funny)

jaafonso (886987) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998253)

There's no need to put the 'We' in Web. It already has.

Re:The 'We' in Web (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14998647)

So what does the 'b' stand for?

youTube (1)

Rac3r5 (804639) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998279)

The poster mentioned youTube. I frequently visit youTube when I get bored but I have never seen a single ad there? Where are the revenues coming from?

This was bound to happen...... (2, Interesting)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998280)

This was bound to happen. As soon as a new generation grows up knowing the Internet the same way that they do their television, it couldn't be stopped. There have also been reports of teens that think voicemail is 'so last week' and for 'old people' because texting is all they do, it is a part of their life, part of how they interact with their friends, and things that happen on the net spread faster among social groups than anything else, well at least as fast as anything the olsen twins are doing.

Once it becomes a part of the social life of humans, it will necessarily need to become socially oriented, or it will be relegated to the same place that books explaining air bags go. If you have been keeping up with wireless news around the world, with news of the Internet around the world, you will not be surprised by this. The one really good thing that social networking sites have going for them.... they really didn't have to hype it much... no FUD, no 'smoke n mirrors', no 30 second commercials, no billboards. The sites just work, and news spread by word of mouth... I understand that in some circles, if you don't have a myspace address, some teens just don't know how to relate to you... in other words, it was adapted so quickly, and so readily, that not being part of it is a sort of self imposed ostrisization.

Anyway, to me, its not a surprise at all, and if the reality lives up to the hype, the semantic web, and some of the web 2.0 stuff will make the world a very different place. I can see a future where a teen, in her friends car gets a text message on her phone, and pleads over the phone to get her friends mom to spend $80 on shoes that just went on sale at xyz-store, and her mom to pay her back later. Yes, I foresee changes in social interaction on many levels if we get the next generation of the Internet correct.

MySpace Is The Trojan Horse Of Internet Censorship (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14998298)

MySpace Is The Trojan Horse Of Internet Censorship- Media elite's last gasp effort to save crumbling empire 306myspace.htm []
Paul Joseph Watson & Alex Jones
March 16 2006

MySpace isn't cool, it isn't hip and it isn't trendy. It represents a cyber trojan horse and the media elite's last gasp effort to reclaim control of the Internet and sink it with a stranglehold of regulation, control and censorship.

Since Rupert Murdoch's $580 Million acquisition of MySpace in July 2005, it has come from total obscurity to now being the 8th most visited website in the world, receiving half as many page hits as Google, despite the fact that on first appearance it looks like a 5-year-old's picture scrap and scribble book.

MySpace is the new mobile phone. If you don't have a MySpace account then you belong to some kind of culturally shunned underclass.

What most of the trendy wendy's remain blissfully unaware of is the fact that MySpace is Rupert Murdoch's battle axe for shaping a future Internet environment whereby electronic dissent, whether it be against corporations or government, will not tolerated and freedom of e-speech will cease to exist.

MySpace has been caught shutting down blogs critical of itself and other Murdoch owned companies. They even had the audacity to censor links to completely different websites when clicking through for MySpace. When 600 MySpace users complained, MySpace deleted the blog forum that the complaints were posted on. Taking their inspiration from Communist China, MySpace regularly uses blanket censorship to block out words like 'God'.

Earlier this week Rupert Murdoch sounded the death knell for conventional forms of media in stating that the media elite were losing their monopoly to the rapid and free spread of new communication technologies. Murdoch stressed the need to regain control of these outlets in order to prevent the establishment media empire from crumbling.

MySpace is Rupert Murdoch's trojan horse for destroying free speech on the Internet. It is a foundational keystone of the first wave of the state's backlash to the damage that a free and open Internet has done to their organs of propaganda. By firstly making it cool, trendy and culturally elite for millions to flock to establishment controlled Internet backbones like MySpace, Murdoch is preparing the groundwork for the day when it will stop being voluntary and become mandatory to use government and corporate monopoly controlled Internet hubs.

The end game is a system similar to or worse than China, whereby no websites even mildly critical of the government will be authorized.

The Pentagon admitted that they would engage in psychological warfare and cyber attacks on 'enemy' Internet websites in an attempt to shut them down. The fact that the NSA surveillance program spied on 5,000 Americans tells us that the enemy is the alternative media and that it will be targeted for elimination. Google has been ordered to turn over information about its users by a judge to the US government.

The second wave of destroying freedom of speech online will simply attempt to price people out of using the conventional Internet and force people over to Internet 2, a state regulated hub where permission will need to be obtained directly from an FCC or government bureau to set up a website.

The original Internet will then be turned into a mass surveillance database and marketing tool. The Nation magazine reported, "Verizon, Comcast, Bell South and other communications giants are developing strategies that would track and store information on our every move in cyberspace in a vast data-collection and marketing system, the scope of which could rival the National Security Agency. According to white papers now being circulated in the cable, telephone and telecommunications industries, those with the deepest pockets--corporations, special-interest groups and major advertisers--would get preferred treatment. Content from these providers would have first priority on our computer and television screens, while information seen as undesirable, such as peer-to-peer communications, could be relegated to a slow lane or simply shut out."

The original Internet will deliberately be subject to crash upon crash until it becomes a useless carcass of overpriced trash and its reputation will be defiled by the TV and media barons cashing in on the perfectly streamlined Internet 2, the free for all network that just requires you to thumbscan in order to log on! Those with a security grading below yellow on their national ID card will unfortunately be refused access. Websites that carry hate speech (ones that talk about government corruption) will be censored for the betterment of society.

For the aspiring dictator, the Internet is a dangerous tool that has been seized by the enemy. We have come a long way since 1969, when the ARPANET was created solely for US government use. The Internet is freedom's best friend and the bane of control freaks. Its eradication is one of the short term goals of those that seek to centralize power and subjugate the world under a global surveillance panopticon prison.

Rupert Murdoch's MySpace and its ceaseless promotion by the establishment media as the best thing since sliced bread is part of this movement. In saying all this we do encourage everyone to set up a MySpace account, but only if you're going to use it to bash MySpace, Rupert Murdoch and copy and paste this article right at the top of the page! See how long it is before your account is terminated.

Re:MySpace Is The Trojan Horse Of Internet Censors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14998435)

Internet means end for media barons, says Murdoch - Power 'moving from the old elite to bloggers',,1730382, 00.html []
Owen Gibson, media correspondent
Tuesday March 14, 2006
The Guardian

Rupert Murdoch last night sounded the death knell for the era of the media baron, comparing today's internet pioneers with explorers such as Christopher Columbus and John Cabot and hailing the arrival of a "second great age of discovery".

The News Corp media magnate nurtures a long-held distaste for "the establishment" but last night confided to one of the few clubs to which he does belong - The Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers - that he may be among the last of a dying breed.

"Power is moving away from the old elite in our industry - the editors, the chief executives and, let's face it, the proprietors," said Mr Murdoch, having flown into London from New York after celebrating his 75th birthday on Saturday.

Far from mourning its passing, he evangelised about a digital future that would put that power in the hands of those already launching a blog every second, sharing photos and music online and downloading television programmes on demand. "A new generation of media consumers has risen demanding content delivered when they want it, how they want it, and very much as they want it," he said. Indicating he had little desire to slow down despite his advancing years, he told the 603-year-old guild that he was looking forward, not back.

"It is difficult, indeed dangerous, to underestimate the huge changes this revolution will bring or the power of developing technologies to build and destroy - not just companies but whole countries."

The owner of Fox News added: "Never has the flow of information and ideas, of hard news and reasoned comment, been more important. The force of our democratic beliefs is a key weapon in the war against religious fanaticism and the terrorism it breeds."

Refusing to reminisce over a career that saw him develop a global empire stretching from DirecTV and the New York Post in the US to Sky and the Sun in the UK via assets in South America, Asia and Australia, he declared: "I believe we are at the dawn of a golden age of information - an empire of new knowledge."

But he combined his new-found enthusiasm for the digital future with a "change or die" message for the monolithic media empires of the 20th century.

"Societies or companies that expect a glorious past to shield them from the forces of change driven by advancing technology will fail and fall," he warned. "That applies as much to my own, the media industry, as to every other business on the planet." Two hundred liverymen and freemen of the trade guild were joined by family and friends who then dined in Stationers' Hall, a Grade 1 listed building near St Paul's Cathedral in London.

He had some words of hope for his industry peers buffeted by declining circulations, free titles and the internet. "I believe traditional newspapers have many years of life but, equally, I think in the future that newsprint and ink will be just one of many channels to our readers," he said, predicting a future in which "media becomes like fast food" with consumers watching news, sport and film clips as they travel, on mobile phones or handheld wireless devices.

"Great journalism will always attract readers. The words, pictures and graphics that are the stuff of journalism have to be brilliantly packaged; they must feed the mind and move the heart," he enthused.

Following its chairman's change of heart, News Corp has splashed out close to $1bn (£578m) on internet investments.

Most tellingly, the company spent $400m on, the social networking phenomenon that has proved hugely popular with 35m regular users on both sides of the Atlantic. Mr Murdoch has undergone a Damascene conversion, admitting he hugely underestimated the power of the web. He said last night: "It is a creative, destructive technology that is still in its infancy, yet breaking and remaking everything in its path. We are all on a journey, not just the privileged few, and technology will take us to a destination that is defined by the limits of our creativity, our confidence and our courage."

What does qualify as valuable content? (1)

irimi_00 (962766) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998349)

What qualifies as a worthy read? Something that makes your professional value go up? Something that makes time go faster (i.e. it is fun?). But what is the real value that you get from playing Counter-Strike, posting or reading a rant, or some sexually confused girl's myspace blog (okay, maybe she is attractive)? What value does it add to your life? A candy bar tastes good, but it only makes you fat and probably doesn't do anything valuable for you, other than provide you with the five minutes of pleasure that it took to eat it. Perhaps, you could argue that eating healthy and working out provide long term value, because it makes you feel good in the long term. But does being fat make you feel good in the long term? Does 20 gigs of pr0n? 20 gigs is a lengthy bit of media, perhaps that does qualify as long term.

mo3 do3n (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14998455)

about outside having lost 93% and commiitees metadiscussions

What!? No mention of... (1)

klenwell (960296) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998505)

Could just be a fad (3, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998515)

Remember when Internet dating was cool? Now it's a bottom-feeder thing. That may well happen to blithering your life story out on Myspace. Craiglist is already collapsing under the weight of spam.

The "hey, if we give it away, we'll get eyeballs and mind share" concept is very 1999. There's only so much advertising revenue possible, since sellers have finite advertising budgets which are some fraction of their sales. An increase in one area means a decrease somewhere else. Or, more likely, lower advertising prices. Look what happened to banner ad pricing. And now Microsoft wants in. The only thing that makes this work is if the users are doing all the work and the infrastructure is cheap to run.

The eBay model and the Yahoo Store model work, because they're involved in the transaction and do some of the work of making it happen, in exchange for a cut. They have a real revenue model.

myspace ?? (2, Insightful)

ravee (201020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998557)

I wonder why they didn't find any other blog to give as an example. the blogs on myspace are the most cluttered and ugly ones I have ever seen. I can think of a lot of other more interesting ones like and just to name a few.

Flickr and digg are good examples. What about ? This is also driven entirely by the readers albeit with some strict moderation in accepting stories.

Re:myspace ?? (1)

caffeination (947825) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998776)

Slashdot? NO! Don't look behind that curtain!

Slashdot ruins the illusion that is Web 2.0 by predating the term, possessing most of the characteristics and lacking all the superfluous technology.

It's not like the audience is doing all the work.. (1)

edunbar93 (141167) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998607)

Just Friday, I started putting up a copy of LiveJournal on our webserver for internal company use (the boss says we can't trust Other People with our internal corporate communications, kind of like, um, email).

LiveJournal is an extremely NON-trivial bit of software. It's easier to build Apache with OpenSSL and Frontpage extensions. And the dependencies! Oh the dependencies!

So while the nice people at LiveJournal headquarters are getting all this "free" content, they're spending copious amounts of time making it easy enough for the web using public to make it all happen. And then there's the hardware requirements...

Web 2.0 Share the Profits (3, Interesting)

CGP314 (672613) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998608)

While I do love sites like flickr, I had a bit of a change of heart when they made it possible for others to buy prints of my photos [] . While I always knew that flickr made money off of my work through their advertising, selling physical copies of my photos made it a bit too real and a bit too obvious. I think that in the future of Web 2.0 the companies should recognize that their users generate their profits and share some of the wealth.

-CGP []

Re:Web 2.0 Share the Profits (1)

robogun (466062) | more than 8 years ago | (#14998794) does this, but they have a standard agreement to split 50% of revenue. In any event I think it is highly unlikely that any worthwhile money will be made off any user's photos, even in the aggregate, due to the lack of quality and content of user photography. Even if a photo was interesting enough to order, they will not sell prints unless they disable right click and rely on the stupid money.
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