"Advertising is not well. Though companies supported by advertising still dominate the landscape and capture the popular imagination, cracks are beginning to show in the very financial foundations of the web. Despite the best efforts of an industry, advertising is becoming less and less effective online. The once reliable fuel that powered a generation of innovations on the web is slowly, but perceptibly beginning to falter. Consider the long-term trend: when the first banner advertisement emerged online in 1994, it reported a (now) staggering clickthrough rate of 78%. By 2011, the average Facebook advertisement clickthrough rate sat dramatically lower at 0.05%. Even if only a rough proxy, something underlies such a dramatic change in the ability for an advertisement to pique the interest of users online. What underlies this decline, and what does it mean for the Internet at large? This short [PDF] paper puts forth the argument for peak advertising—the argument that an overall slowing in online advertising will eventually force a significant (and potentially painful) shift in the structure of business online. Like the theory of Peak Oil that it references, the goal is not to look to the immediate upcoming quarter, but to think on the decade-long scale about the business models that sustain the Internet." [more inside]
"Alt lit [previously] is accused of navel-gazing myopia, but technically any writing occurring outside of traditional institutions qualifies for the label. Everyone I know has written alt lit: every status update, every blog post, everything that has ever been said on Twitter. And Twitter, unbeknown to Jonathan Franzen, is especially literary...Which brings me to Heiko Julien," Author (and composer) of "I Am Ready To Die A Violent Death." [more inside]
The Delete Squad: Google, Twitter, Facebook and the new global battle over the future of free speech.
An Autopsy of a Dead Social Network: analyzing the collapse of Friendster. (Summary; full paper available at arXiv.)
The Princess and the Trolls: The Heartrending Legend of Adalia Rose. A six year old with progeria, the internet, well-meaning adults, and a bunch of not so well-meaning ones, plus facebook and youtube, create the usual storm.
"Pop quiz: what is the favorite social networking site of Americans under age 25? If you guessed Facebook you are way behind the eight-ball, because Tumblr now enjoys more regular visits from the youth of America." Tumblr is not what you think. "Tumblr provides its users with the oldest privacy-control strategy on the Internet: security through obscurity and multiple pseudonymity [... it] proves that the issue is less about public vs. private and more about whether you are findable and identifiable by people who actually know you in real life."
Facebook today announced their Graph Search during a live event at their headquarters. Some say it is Facebook's attempt at taking down Google and taking over web search (they did partner with Bing), but more astute observers see LinkedIn, Yelp, and OKCupid in their crosshairs too based on the live event demos. [more inside]
"It feels strange to be active and highly visible on the Web for 15 years but it was only when I joined Facebook that someone from elementary school or high school ever contacted me." In which on Ev Williams's platform, Mr Haughey compares his experiences of Facebook and Twitter. [more inside]
Both inside and outside the walls of Facebook, the story of social games has become one of dead geese and golden eggs, flatlined growth, formulaic games and shady practises. Many warned that the sector was slowing down, but sometimes giants need to fall. It needs to get bad enough before people start to really consider what's next... So what comes next?
Yesterday's Diane Rehm Show featured a conversation between Sherry Turkle (previously), Stephen Marche (previously) and Zeynep Tufekci. Tufekci has been critical of Turkle's and Marche's assertions that social media is making us lonely. A lively Twitter conversation and critique ensued.
Fungible: A treatise on fungibility, or, a framework for understanding the mess the news industry is in and the opportunities that lie ahead. The younger the person you ask, the less likely it is you’ll find that link between wanting to know what’s going on and grabbing a paper or opening up a news website. They use Pinterest to figure out what’s fashionable and Facebook to see if there’s anything fun going on next weekend. They use Facebook just the same to figure out whether there’s anything they need to be upset about and need to protest against.
The Jig Is Up: Time to Get Past Facebook and Invent a New Future - After five years pursuing the social-local-mobile dream, we need a fresh paradigm for technology startups. "This isn't about startup incubators or policy positions. It's not about "innovation in America" or which tech blog loves startups the most. This is about how Internet technology used to feel like it was really going to change so many things about our lives. Now it has and we're all too stunned to figure out what's next. So we watch Lana Del Ray turn circles in a thousand animated gifs."
Facebook Connect Comments are not a new feature, but ever since Techcrunch started using it the outrage has started to pour in. [more inside]
"Unlike the link ... likes are arguably easier to create. Moreover, they are explicit endorsements rather than implicit ones. Therefore, they carry more weight once they are pulled through the lens of our friends. More so than links, this new network of signals allows content to find you, rather than you having to go find it. The rise of likes, just as links before it, will create all kinds of new businesses. And we're just getting started." Are likes poised to replace links as the Web's primary signal? Then again, it just might be getting out of hand.
How (crowd) curation is making a comeback in search and how Facebook is using it to "remake whole industries."
Facebook needs a facelift. The Pros and Cons of Facebook's Design. A concept redesign by Bruce Mau Design. [more inside]
The Wall Street Journal's What They Know blog is charged with determining what information marketers are capable of learning about internet users through tracking technology. This weekend, they took aim at Facebook, after their investigation discovered that many popular apps on the social-networking site, including those by Zynga, have been transmitting identifying information in the form of User ID's to dozens of advertising and Internet tracking companies, even if a user has enabled strict privacy settings. Additional analysis. Response post on Facebook's Developer Blog. Forbes' blogger Kashmir Hill asks if the WSJ is overreacting, and Techcrunch notes that the severity and risks of UID transferral are still being debated.
Kate Bolick tells a story of Facebook voyeurism.
"A networked, weak-tie world is good at things like helping Wall Streeters get phones back from teen-age girls."
Small Change: Why The Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted. Earlier this summer, Golnaz Esfandiari examined the "Twitter Devolution" in Iran*. Anne Applebaum commented on the Twitter revolution that wasn't in Moldova last spring. [more inside]
Yesterday, ReadWriteWeb, which "provides analysis of Web products and trends to an intelligent audience of engaged technology decision makers, Web enthusiasts and innovators" posted an article titled "Facebook Wants to Be Your One True Login." What happened in the post's comments taught them a lesson about users who aren't in their target demographic: internet users browse by search, because they think browsers are search engines. [more inside]
In 2009, a remarkably gifted politician, confronting a remarkably difficult set of challenges, will have to learn to say "No we can't", Guantánamo will prove a moral minefield, economic recovery will be invisible to the naked eye, governments must prepare for the day they stop financial guarantees, we will judge our commitment to sustainability, scientists should research the causes of religion, we will all be potential online paparazzi, English will have more words than any other language (but it's meaningless), Afghanistan will see a surge of Western (read: American) troops, Iran will continue its nuclear quest while diplomacy lies in shambles, the sea floor is the new frontier, we should rethink aging, (non-)voters will continue to thwart the European project -- but cheap travel will continue to buoy it -- though it has some unfinished business to attend to, and a Nordic defence bond will blossom.
The Economist: The World in 2009. [more inside]
The Economist: The World in 2009. [more inside]
Who do you want her to be... next year? Fans of Joss Whedon and Eliza Dushku vow to save the television series Dollhouse from cancellation by Fox Television - eight months before it is scheduled to broadcast. Is this just guerilla fan-marketing, or are they serious? Or both? (previously on MetaFilter)
Over the past couple of years, Facebook has become increasingly popular, until it seemed like everyone and their grandma was joining up. A new feature, called Facebook Beacon, lets corporations join the fray. Might this be cause for concern? [more inside]
Facebook and MySpace posts embarrass Canadian border guards. PDF. Another example of Jan Wong's advice in 15 minutes of shame, about a 2005 incident at a Toronto private school: Don't write anything you wouldn't want someone to forward to [the national newspaper].