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13.12.09

Descents into the mainstream 

Spice Girls in Roberto Cavalli
Photographed by Jonathan Hayward

Those celebrities do those grand farewell tours, only to come back a while later and do another one.
   I wonder if my farewell post at my Vox blog will be like that. The comments make very interesting reading as Pete and I dissect the site and give it a post mortem.
   This was a very interesting and poignant observation from Pete, whom I met when 20Six was still a cool, vibrant UK community (back in 2006):

In many ways I wish blogging never went mainstream, it was the worst thing that happened for it because it’s left a lot of people who loved it feeling like fish out of water and there are lots who don’t really do it now. (I note there are some who do, but generally.)
   I’m relieved someone else has said this as I had started to wonder if maybe I was just fading out and the community was still thriving in other places and with other people. It just feels like back then we all did it because we wanted too, in the main there was no agenda or anything it was just genuine desire to use this method of communication.


   I responded (some links not in original):

Every medium suffers this fate: newspapers were once respectable before Rupert Murdoch; email was a nice medium before spammers began harvesting addresses. Blogs were, by and large, civil places to exchange opinions before that descended into anonymous name-calling in comments. Now I see in New Zealand a florist has allegedly manipulated Google Maps to harm her competitors—what motivates someone to purposely destroy data that has been freely and publicly compiled for the common good?
   I still believe there is room for huge online communities, including some form of modern chat room (as we had discussed before). The world has moved on and maybe some are afraid of potential abuse, something we bloggers did not have to contend with back in the early 2000s. The sharing during the Clinton era seems to have evaporated, and we humans have been the undoing of that.
   I can understand why sites such as A Small World are so exclusive: they don’t want to see the same decline. There are harsh penalties for “friending” people you do not know, including lifetime bans. Snobbery, sometimes, can be our friend—something I never thought I would catch myself saying. Maybe that is the next stage, and Yappey itself is so far the sort of forum where we can exchange ideas quite freely without an agenda.


   It begs the question: what next for the online world? Oh, it’s not Facebook. I am talking about a site that respects its users.

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Comments:
I think the online world will probably get less centralised rather than more. It seems some sites are pushing users to be more public and more sharing but I think what many people want is the ability to share with friends in a relatively small network. (Limited by their dunbar number) Once the 'popularity contest' nature of the online world has died off I think we'll be left with sites that easily allow users to tie in the more public aspects of their online life; flickr, twitter, etc with a private network to communicate with friends. It's the flexibility that is needed.  
They go in waves, I believe, Pete. We go through a period of centralization, then decentralization. The rise of small social networks, such as the ones at Ning, are an indicator that you are probably spot-on with where things are heading.
   Incidentally, did you get my note about Disqus comments for Tumblr? Jen and I incorporated them and they seem to be working a treat! I am also getting used to hacking the Tumblr code, though I doubt if I’m anywhere near approaching your level.  
I didn't - I'll have to add those. I need to change my layout too; I'm sure you're doing well with Tumblr code - I looked in the other day on my layout and was too scared to change it as I couldn't remember what was what!  
I’m pretty scared to change mine outright. Whatever I do now will be an adaptation of the existing theme, because I’ve made too many changes to it.
   Disqus was remarkably easy to implement: they have explained things clearly on their site on how one can incorporate a comment box. In fact, I’ve found that Disqus does reliably what CoComment forgot: it aggregates comments made using it, and files any direct replies to you.
   It’s rather nice to see our Jen there on Tumblr.  
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Note

Entries from 2006 to the end of 2009 were done on the Blogger service. As of January 1, 2010, this blog has shifted to a Wordpress installation, with the latest posts here.
   With Blogger ceasing to support FTP publishing on May 1, I have decided to turn these older pages in to an archive, so you will no longer be able to enter comments. However, you can comment on entries posted after January 1, 2010.


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