www.neil.blog memo to myself. do the dumb things i gotta do. touch the puppet head.

February 6, 2019

If you’re not paying, you’re the product, unless you’re not productizable

Filed under: Uncategorized — npd @ 8:07 am

There have been a few notable fates of the web 2.0 social networks:

  • failed to monetize us and died (myspace)
  • acquired by companies that didn’t know how to run them or understand them, and died (livejournal, delicious, flickr)
  • figured out that the most efficient way to monetize users was with relentless tracking, monitoring, and profiling (facebook)

There are other, dumber, outcomes for some of the sites that promised to help us share, connect, and make sense of the cybersprawl of the “old web.” The shims that sat in between original content authors and the social networking we craved in the last decade, notably Google Reader, died a merciless death when it was spun it down in their push for Google+ adoption, arguably killing RSS with it (incidentally the same drive that killed their chat products after crushing all their competitors). What can we do but resent our overlords and go along with their misdeeds and mismanagement wherever they may bring us, at least until they decide they are done with us and our free content submissions.

As Flickr’s new owners start the process of deleting photos from accounts with too many uploads this week; as Zuck announces the melding of iInstagram, Whatsapp, and Facebook is in progress; as the platform where I blogged for the better part of a decade slides further into decay on its new Russian servers (evidently a move made partly to silence political dissidents); it becomes increasingly clear that we need to start owning our content again, and controlling our own outcomes on the net again. This means hosting our own photo galleries, blogs, fansites.

Using Greg Stoll’s LJ to WordPress backup and conversion scripts I was able to dump about 650 posts and 6,000 comments into my own database, most of which remain protected for my own sanity, and yours. I’m experimenting with photo galleries in Lychee and have a small demo set up, and hope to find a way to populate it with my exported Flickr data.

I’m putting a marker in the ground now to mark my prediction that these cycles will go around again and allow Slack, which is working on killing IRC, to die; Github, Reddit, all will pivot or turn down in favor or something more profitable or more creepy.

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