After Facebook

After seeing The Social Network, I was curious what the other parties to the lawsuits were doing today. I can’t find information about what Tyler Winklevoss is doing, but this is what I could find on some of the other early facebook competitors & partners.

Cameron Winklevoss
Guest of a Guest
A site dedicated to promoting exclusive parties in New York. In their words: “Guest of a Guest New York covers the People, Places & Parties of Gotham; from the ballrooms of the Upper East Side to the barrooms of Downtown and all the hotspots in between. So come along for the ride and be the guest of a guest as we bring you the pulse of the city that never sleeps.” This seems to be the strongest of the post-facebook ventures, and you can see some of the facebook blueprint there – the exclusivity part, especially.

Divya Narendra
“SumZero is an exclusive financial utility focused on helping top tier investors share actionable ideas and grow their professional networks.” – No way to actually see how this works behind the scenes, so it’s working with the exclusivity factor, too.

Eduardo Saverin
Still owns 5% of Facebook, and made the list of American billionaires this past year. No word on other ventures that he might be pursuing, from what I can find.

Sean Parker
Still on the board and drawing a paycheck, although not directly involved after the cocaine party bust. And he’s now associated with Causes, which is connected into Facebook.

Business Insider has a list of 27 amazing things you didn’t know about Facebook – The List is culled from the book “The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World.” Unfortunately the list on BI is one of those stupid articles that places each of the 27 items on a separate screen so you have to click through. I hate that shit.

Here’s an item I thought was interesting, though:

LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman and Zynga owner Mark Pincus own a crucial social networking patent – and that’s why they own some Facebook stock.

Given that these guys had some really bright ideas, I expected to see a bunch more creative stuff coming from them; maybe The Next Big Thing. I don’t see it there, though. But in hunting around, on a tangent I saw that Caterina Fake, the founder of Flickr was working on Hunch– I’d heard that before but hadn’t taken the time to figure out what it was. Very interesting – that actually could be the next big thing.

2022-03-12 Update: It was not the actual next big thing. I’d totally forgot I had an account there and can’t remember it. The site is dead; the URL isn’t even parked anywhere.
Continue ReadingAfter Facebook

Me and my shallow brain

Howdy? How have you all been. It’s been so long since we talked. I’ve been cheating on you with Facebook, I admit it. But Facebook is giving me tennis elbow, (damned Farmville!) so I need to lay off the junk for awhile.

Also, according to Nicholas Carr in his rather alarming book The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains – Facebook is making me stupid. Actually, the whole internet is. It’s probably your fault.

Seriously, though – the book set off some alarm bells for me. The central idea is this – the way we read on the internet is fundamentally different than how we read books and longer works of literature, and that difference in the way we read is re-writing our neural pathways and fundamentally changing the way we think as well. People who have been reading and writing on the internet, because it makes us prone to skimming, focusing in short bursts, and jumping from one thought to the next, have lost the ability to concentrate on reading a single lengthy work. We’ve lost the ability to focus on tasks for long periods of time. We’re addicted to feeding our brains with short bursts of knowledge, and we keep going back to that like lab mice to the food.

I heard Carr speak at SXSW, and I immediately could recognize on a personal level what he was talking about – it’s partly the concept I was struggling to express in my “Goodbye Twitter” blog post:

2) Micro-thinking
When you have to parse every statement down to 140 characters, you throw out complexities, paraphrase, and, inevitably, make your meaning less clear. You start to think in simpler thoughts. After tweeting for so long, I find it to be a struggle to think things out and examine ideas in a more complex form. Hence the lack of longer writing on this blog. That is a trend I desperately need to reverse.

I can sit down and read light reading, but if I have to sustain attention for any length of time, I’m screwed. I’ve been trying to pick up and read Proust’s “In Search of Lost Time” for three years. It’s only 7 volumes. I read more than that in a year. I should be able to read and comprehend it. But I can’t stay focused for anything more than the first 30 pages. That’s ridiculous.
And other books have given me problems, too. The Diane Arbus biography was a struggle. Non-fiction leaves me stranded mid-chapter. To tell you the truth, even this book “The Shallows” is giving me fits. And I whole-heartedly want to read it.

So how do I “fix” it? That is indeed my question, and one that I tried to ask him at SXSW in vain, because I couldn’t get his attention. So I snapped up the book as soon as it was published in hopes that he provides an answer. I haven’t finished the book yet (see above problem) so I don’t know the solution.
Carr dives pretty deeply into how the brain works – especially the insight science has gathered over the last 30 years. Turns out that our brain makes new neural pathways throughout our lives – our development isn’t stuck in one place after adolescence. We can re-write and re-map our brain’s functionality throughout our lives, simply by doing different things, training our brain to act differently. And the internet is training us to think differently than we have in the past — that may or may not be a good thing.

I’m going to finish this book – I swear I will. And at that time I’m going to revisit this subject and answer some of the outstanding questions in my head. We’ll see if I get there.

UPDATE 2012: I never finished this book. So…
2022-03-12 Update: I went back to Twitter eventually, but not under my own name, and I mostly do political posting.
Continue ReadingMe and my shallow brain

STFU, Zuckerberg – On Facebook and Identity Politics

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg:

He believes that people should have a single identity: “You have one identity,” he emphasized three times in a single interview with David Kirkpatrick in his book, “The Facebook Effect.” “The days of you having a different image for your work friends or co-workers and for the other people you know are probably coming to an end pretty quickly.” He adds: “Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity.”

Oh, fuck off, dude. When I want a lesson on ethics, I’m not going to consult the guy who’s openly exulting in selling people’s personal data to the highest bidder.

Pseudonyms and alternate identities have been always been a part of human culture, and for compelling reasons. The notion that Zuckerberg is going to enforce for all of humanity a criteria for identity and thus alter thousands of years of human interaction is hubris in the extreme.

Continue ReadingSTFU, Zuckerberg – On Facebook and Identity Politics

links for 2010-04-27

  • A very long article trashing social networking and how it's "affecting the nature of friendship." I disagree completely, but don't really have time right now to write out all the reasons why he's wrong.
  • "It can happen at the most inopportune moment: in the middle of a delightful conversation at a party, at a restaurant with new friends, while you’re lunching with co-workers, during a family meal. Someone makes a wild generalization about women who get abortions, and you’re shocked. You try to remain civilized but it’s difficult. To make matters worse, you’re not sure how to reply."
Continue Readinglinks for 2010-04-27

links for 2010-01-29

Continue Readinglinks for 2010-01-29

Pack Rat

my utter lack of blogging lately has been entirely due to playing a Facebook game called pack rat. It’s a card trading game and is completely addicting. I’ve completely neglected numerous obligations to friends and household maintenance due to this game.

In other news, my eye doctor says my eyes are healing exactly as expected. Though they’re still blurry and I’m really impatient about it, that’s good news and makes me relieved. I was a bit worried avoid the pace.

Continue ReadingPack Rat

Facebook kills Arab LBTG group to appease mideast govs

Boing Boing has the story.
UPDATE: Turns out this may have been a hoax – the administrator of the Arab LBGT group was contacted by someone representing themselves as being from Facebook in order to close the group. Facebook actually supports the existence of the group on their site.

Continue ReadingFacebook kills Arab LBTG group to appease mideast govs