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The New Wisdom of the Web 167

theodp writes "In a cover story, Newsweek takes a look at the new wave of start-ups cashing in on the next stage of the Internet by Putting The 'We' in Web. Sites built on user-generated content like YouTube, Flickr, MySpace, Digg and Facebook have all taken a page from Tom Sawyer's playbook, engaging the community to do their work, prompting Google CEO Eric Schmidt to suggest he finds MySpace more interesting than Microsoft."
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The New Wisdom of the Web

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  • by jmke ( 776334 ) on Sunday March 26, 2006 @11:52AM (#14998047) Homepage Journal
    Does user generated content like seen on the sites mentioned equal quality reading? is it worth hours of browsing other people's randomly submitted content to find a few diamonds? how often do you find yourself spending time on those sites?
  • what's not to love? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by HunterAmor ( 903799 ) on Sunday March 26, 2006 @11:55AM (#14998060) Homepage
    so other people create your "content" for free, and you get advertising revenue for having those same people look at the "content" created by others. what's not to love in a business model like that?
  • by otisg ( 92803 ) on Sunday March 26, 2006 @11:57AM (#14998073) Homepage Journal
    Indeed, more heads are wiser than one. An old concept applied on a massive scale, and so far it works. The piece I personally like best in this article is from Craigslist's founder who points out that the reason his team is so scalable is because they provide self-service. Everything I ever built (including the latest Simpy []) was like this, and I've always been happy not to have to hire a team of people to manage something that users of the system could handle themselves, or amongst themselves.

    The other piece I like here is also from Craigslist guy, about not having to charge everybody. This reminds me of what I did with Simpy (see this Simpy + AdSense bit [], and pay attention to the Q&A towards the end of the entry). People have been very happy with the simplicity of this concept, and no user has complained about ads - they don't see them... but others do!
  • by dominion ( 3153 ) on Sunday March 26, 2006 @12:06PM (#14998108) Homepage
    I've been working on a project called Appleseed [], which is sort of a distributed version of MySpace/Friendster, but is turning out to be an amalgamation of gmail/flickr/myspace/livejournal. It's been slow going, but it's starting to pick up the pace, it's just been hard having to work full time and do this in my offtime.

    That said, I'm disappointed that, with all of these social network oriented sites popping up, and all these new technologies being explored by commercial enterprises, that the open source community hasn't stepped up to the plate and offered free alternatives. Gmail? Flickr? Myspace?

    I know the open source community can build reusable software that's as good or better than any of this, so why haven't we? Why are we still using SquirrelMail?
  • by otisg ( 92803 ) on Sunday March 26, 2006 @12:08PM (#14998117) Homepage Journal
    It sounds rather simple, doesn't it? Unfortunately, it ain't that simple. The difficult part is scaling. With advertizing rates being as low as they are, you need a LOT of page views to make any decent money. In other to have a lot of page views, you need a lot of users, and a lot of regular/active users (Slashdot is a good example). Once you have a lot of users your expenses go up - more bandwidth, more CPUs, more app servers, more NAS, more clusters, more failover this and that, replication... and then you have to answer all those emails that start pouring in, you've got to have a blog to keep people updated, etc. And there are only 24 hours in a day. And you want to have a life, friends, and family. So you need to hire people. But you need money for that. So you go to VCs because your ads don't cover all these expenses. So, you see, it's not that simple. :) Moreover, some crazy people like me give away money [] from their advertizing.
  • by tompatman ( 936656 ) <> on Sunday March 26, 2006 @12:14PM (#14998143)
    There are clearly some good ideas out there right now and some of them are making good money. Personally, I think MySpace is lame, but I'm not 15. There's another site I've seen called catch27, which allows people to create fake trading cards of themselves and try to collect a deck of the most popular people. It seems silly, but it turns a profit. I have to wonder though how long a site like that will remain popular? Will MySpace be making money 5 yrs. from now?
  • by O'Laochdha ( 962474 ) on Sunday March 26, 2006 @12:26PM (#14998189) Journal
    Tom Sawyer, according the the external narration of the novel, inadvertently found that on some level, the children liked painting the fence, so long as it was not obligatory. (I don't remember the exact wording, but Twain compared it to driving a buggy.) People like to show off what they know, hence Wikipedia. People like to go on about every thought that pops into their heads, hence blogs, including LJ and mySpace. People like to throw in their two cents about everything, hence ours truly, as well as Fark, America's Debate, 2, etc. If someone's under obligation to do these things, you get scholars, columnists, politicos, etc. complaining about their jobs.
  • by baadger ( 764884 ) on Sunday March 26, 2006 @12:39PM (#14998239)
    Roundcube [] is a pretty nice open source AJAX webmail application currently in beta. My previous email provider offered it, and although rather feature bare (although no more so than Gmail), it is very promising.
  • by zappepcs ( 820751 ) on Sunday March 26, 2006 @12:51PM (#14998280) Journal
    This was bound to happen. As soon as a new generation grows up knowing the Internet the same way that they do their television, it couldn't be stopped. There have also been reports of teens that think voicemail is 'so last week' and for 'old people' because texting is all they do, it is a part of their life, part of how they interact with their friends, and things that happen on the net spread faster among social groups than anything else, well at least as fast as anything the olsen twins are doing.

    Once it becomes a part of the social life of humans, it will necessarily need to become socially oriented, or it will be relegated to the same place that books explaining air bags go. If you have been keeping up with wireless news around the world, with news of the Internet around the world, you will not be surprised by this. The one really good thing that social networking sites have going for them.... they really didn't have to hype it much... no FUD, no 'smoke n mirrors', no 30 second commercials, no billboards. The sites just work, and news spread by word of mouth... I understand that in some circles, if you don't have a myspace address, some teens just don't know how to relate to you... in other words, it was adapted so quickly, and so readily, that not being part of it is a sort of self imposed ostrisization.

    Anyway, to me, its not a surprise at all, and if the reality lives up to the hype, the semantic web, and some of the web 2.0 stuff will make the world a very different place. I can see a future where a teen, in her friends car gets a text message on her phone, and pleads over the phone to get her friends mom to spend $80 on shoes that just went on sale at xyz-store, and her mom to pay her back later. Yes, I foresee changes in social interaction on many levels if we get the next generation of the Internet correct.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 26, 2006 @12:59PM (#14998298)
    MySpace Is The Trojan Horse Of Internet Censorship- Media elite's last gasp effort to save crumbling empire 306myspace.htm []
    Paul Joseph Watson & Alex Jones
    March 16 2006

    MySpace isn't cool, it isn't hip and it isn't trendy. It represents a cyber trojan horse and the media elite's last gasp effort to reclaim control of the Internet and sink it with a stranglehold of regulation, control and censorship.

    Since Rupert Murdoch's $580 Million acquisition of MySpace in July 2005, it has come from total obscurity to now being the 8th most visited website in the world, receiving half as many page hits as Google, despite the fact that on first appearance it looks like a 5-year-old's picture scrap and scribble book.

    MySpace is the new mobile phone. If you don't have a MySpace account then you belong to some kind of culturally shunned underclass.

    What most of the trendy wendy's remain blissfully unaware of is the fact that MySpace is Rupert Murdoch's battle axe for shaping a future Internet environment whereby electronic dissent, whether it be against corporations or government, will not tolerated and freedom of e-speech will cease to exist.

    MySpace has been caught shutting down blogs critical of itself and other Murdoch owned companies. They even had the audacity to censor links to completely different websites when clicking through for MySpace. When 600 MySpace users complained, MySpace deleted the blog forum that the complaints were posted on. Taking their inspiration from Communist China, MySpace regularly uses blanket censorship to block out words like 'God'.

    Earlier this week Rupert Murdoch sounded the death knell for conventional forms of media in stating that the media elite were losing their monopoly to the rapid and free spread of new communication technologies. Murdoch stressed the need to regain control of these outlets in order to prevent the establishment media empire from crumbling.

    MySpace is Rupert Murdoch's trojan horse for destroying free speech on the Internet. It is a foundational keystone of the first wave of the state's backlash to the damage that a free and open Internet has done to their organs of propaganda. By firstly making it cool, trendy and culturally elite for millions to flock to establishment controlled Internet backbones like MySpace, Murdoch is preparing the groundwork for the day when it will stop being voluntary and become mandatory to use government and corporate monopoly controlled Internet hubs.

    The end game is a system similar to or worse than China, whereby no websites even mildly critical of the government will be authorized.

    The Pentagon admitted that they would engage in psychological warfare and cyber attacks on 'enemy' Internet websites in an attempt to shut them down. The fact that the NSA surveillance program spied on 5,000 Americans tells us that the enemy is the alternative media and that it will be targeted for elimination. Google has been ordered to turn over information about its users by a judge to the US government.

    The second wave of destroying freedom of speech online will simply attempt to price people out of using the conventional Internet and force people over to Internet 2, a state regulated hub where permission will need to be obtained directly from an FCC or government bureau to set up a website.

    The original Internet will then be turned into a mass surveillance database and marketing tool. The Nation magazine reported, "Verizon, Comcast, Bell South and other communications giants are developing strategies that would track and store information on our every move in cyberspace in a vast data-collection and marketing system, the scope of which could rival the National Security Agency. According to white papers now being circulated in the cable, telephone and telecommunications industries, those with the deepest pockets
  • by legirons ( 809082 ) on Sunday March 26, 2006 @01:08PM (#14998327)
    "If one throws a million darts at a dartboard, it's highly unlikely that none of them will hit the bullseye."

    But can you tell where the bullseye is, by looking at the distribution of darts?
  • by CGP314 ( 672613 ) <(ten.remlaPyrogerGniloC) (ta) (PGC)> on Sunday March 26, 2006 @02:22PM (#14998608) Homepage
    While I do love sites like flickr, I had a bit of a change of heart when they made it possible for others to buy prints of my photos []. While I always knew that flickr made money off of my work through their advertising, selling physical copies of my photos made it a bit too real and a bit too obvious. I think that in the future of Web 2.0 the companies should recognize that their users generate their profits and share some of the wealth.

    -CGP []
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 26, 2006 @07:35PM (#14999756)
    fuck you slashpanda

There's no such thing as a free lunch. -- Milton Friendman