Facebook is a Little Shop of Horrors


Audrey2’s now infamous line “Feed me Seymore” is how I perceive the social information flow model of Facebook. I can’t blame them, so far their strategy has worked brilliantly. Even as a stubborn proponent of closed data models, I see value in adding Facebook hooks to my pages. The pact is the chance for viral visibility in exchange for semantic relationship data sent back to Facebook. Look no further than the “Like” button in the sidebar to see how I feed Audrey2. My philosophy on closed systems has progressed. If we’re all part of a closed system, then it comes down to a question of control which leads to government.

If a single corporate entity has majority control over the social web and information derived from it, it won’t be long before it becomes a government regulated industry. The concerns for freedom of information, and individual rights will come into conflict with a business making those decisions. My hypothesis: the longer Facebook keeps it’s information and social network sealed off from full portability, the more likely it is for government interference to end the autonomy of the Facebook corporation. Facebook won’t be able to legally “kick out” citizens, because social information sharing will be on par with other government regulated utilities. The choices Facebook leadership makes now, will have long term ramifications for the neutrality of data on the web. I suspect it is in their best interest to make relationship and social data fully open and distributed as soon as possible to avoid heavy handed government interference. They may then continue to iterate on optimal social filters and competitive social tool development.

This is the type of trend that Digital Sky Technologies should be hyper sensitive to. If the US government begins regulating social web activities it could seriously hamper the growth of their massive investment in Facebook and other investments in that space.

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  • http://steamcatapult.com/ Dave Pinsen

    Sounds like an interesting idea Mark. BTW, there is an image/hyperlink hovering over your text in the second sentence of your post.

  • http://www.victusspiritus.com/ Mark Essel

    Aha, the free template I swapped to had a position absolute, which I've quickly remedied into a position relative. Thanks for spotting that, should be on the bottom of the site/page now.

    By the way if you're interested in converted some old posts into an ebook format, Aakin's your man. I think a rich free ebook is worth much more than $500-1000 (20-40 hours) in marketing dollars in the long run, certainly if it's cost to share is zero.

  • http://steamcatapult.com/ Dave Pinsen

    Looks good now. I have an idea for a blog-to-e-book. Will share later though. Have to run out on a couple of errands.

  • http://www.victusspiritus.com/ Mark Essel

    I have great faith that you will never have a shortage for intriguing ideas. Look forward to it :D

  • http://shanacarp.com/essays ShanaC

    I hated that movie growing up….

  • http://www.victusspiritus.com/ Mark Essel

    Did this comment belong on this post (could be a discuss error)?

    My soapbox
    http://www.victusspiritus.com/

  • http://shanacarp.com/essays ShanaC

    No, belongs with the facebook post on date “Feed me Seymor”- for some reason all I can think of is the nightmares I had as a kid

  • http://www.iamronen.com iamronen

    somewhat on-topic and somewhat off-topic… anyways reading this post led to the crystallization of this post:
    http://www.iamronen.com/2010/04/the-pied-pipers

  • http://blogspot.fluidnewmedia.com Ahad Bokhari

    Good to see you blogging Mark! Btw i never liked the little shop of horrors as a movie myself. LOL! Close distributed systems vs. the Open Web. I'll take the OW anyday dude.. Btw excellent reference about the government.

  • http://www.victusspiritus.com/ Mark Essel

    I read it and commented. Great points of warning about privacy concerns. We do have many choices about how to be social online, but we can't choose which networks our friends will be active on. The sooner full social web data migration occurs, the better. Many open standards are working to make that possible, but there's an ongoing issue of privacy and only anonymity can protect that.

  • http://www.victusspiritus.com/ Mark Essel

    Thanks for stopping in Ahad. I've been blogging pretty consistently since Feb in 2009 (about once per day). Glad you enjoyed the government reference, when social web becomes a utility it crosses the boundary from optional tool to a communication system people rely on (and may have rights to use).

  • http://blogspot.fluidnewmedia.com Ahad Bokhari

    A pleasure. Mark i have no idea how that comment got here, apologies it was my mistake mate. Weird. BTW BTW i couldn't help but seeing RAILS WAY on your desk. One of my fave rails books. We seem to have alot in common Mr. Fate!

    Keep up the passions bro, i can see that loud and clear! Try Rails Space for social networking sites..Good code..

  • http://www.victusspiritus.com/ Mark Essel

    Not your fault the comment was on Ars Vox, when I accidentally nuked and restored my blog disqus got a little confused. Future comments should be ok.

    I haven't read rails way much, it's not on me while walking so I read blogs/ebooks (Design patterns in Ruby is rocking). It's a great reference though. Helped a friend setup his first Mongrel localhost last night.