I’ve been meaning to post this thought.
Today my friend sent me something about how Snapchat is the next big thing. Then we traded a few messages about it. Here’s what I wrote:
The Internet was supposed to be about freedom of expression. Now, be careful, very careful, about what you say because it’s forever. The Internet is not, freedom of expression.
The Internet was supposed to be for everyone. Now, it feels like it’s only for young people or those who can afford to be connected.
The Internet was about the democratization of information and content. It fought against AOL, walled networks, and television. Now, the Internet has become what it fought against. We’re back to 2 tv channels and AOL — Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat.
The Internet was supposed to create a space that was clean and uncluttered; free from the noise of commercials that was television at the time. Snapchat wants us to use our devices to watch video – everywhere we go, while being bombarded with ads. No thanks.
Yes, I’ll use my iPad to watch. But I’m doing it via tv (Netflix, HBO, Directv), via subscriptions I pay for. And thanks to DVR, I don’t have to watch commercials. And I have some privacy. And btw, despite what Snapchat wants me to believe, I don’t need content so bad that I can’t wait and watch it from my couch. This idea of always on, watch something while I’m standing in line at the grocery is absurd and so ADD.
I’m reading more, trying to disconnect from my devices. Snapchat and social reminds me of big tobacco. Big tobacco keeps trying to keep people hooked, when they know their products cause cancer.
So the tables have turned. Today’s Internet is what tv used to be and tv is what the Internet was supposed to be.
I’m skeptical at best of what is a user, view or a like. The world is basing their decisions on terms that they have no idea are calculated. The recent story of Amazon suing fake reviewers doesn’t even scratch the surface of what I think has been happening for years. Amazon making big news of this is like advertising a drug bust on the 5:00 news that netted a few joints. No one should be surprised if 90% of likes and views turn out to be ghosts. But they will be, because we’ve all put way too much of our lives in the hands of a few — “I thought I could trust you”?
We’re supposed to trust that Facebook, Google, and the rest are telling us the truth and have our best interests in mind? Say what? Remember. When you use social, you’re not the customer — you’re the product being sold. Why on earth people haven’t figured this out makes me blue screen. It’s like believing that food packaged with “natural” labeling is good for you.
The Internet was supposed to be about leveling the playing field. Now, it’s in the hands of a few corporate Goliath’s. They control the connection and the content. How is this any different from the judge and the jury being one in the same?
Haven’t we learned anything from climate change? According to Sailesh Rao, 99% of what we buy we don’t use within 6 months. We should be consuming less, not more. But Snapchat is telling us to consume more and the media is lionizing them as being the next big thing.
Pictures of kids face down in their phone don’t bode well for our future. If I was a young leader, I’d turn the phone around on kids and ask them to look at what they’re doing. Standing around face down in your phone? You look silly. So, not cool.
Then this idea that someone takes a picture, posts it, and that’s how it is. No, that’s not how it is.
What about the concept of journalism? What about the concept of something being thoroughly researched by a disinterested third party before it’s published? Arab spring was the result of 2 years of drought. That story was never told. Now, someone takes a picture and it goes viral and that’s the truth. Dangerous, that is.
One more. When I buy a product, I get a “please rate us” email before I’ve had time to open the package. The only true valuation of a product, good or service is time. Once I’ve had something a few months, then and only then do I know if it’s good or not. But taking time, is counter to the world today. Everything has to be now. Young turks in Silicon Valley can’t build a company slowly — because the VC’s want their money back – fast.
But even if the kids coming out of Stanford could build a company slowly, do they know how? Do any of these kids know how to build a company with products that people pay for? I don’t think they do.
Any schmuck with a boat load of VC money can design yet another service the world doesn’t need, then give it away for free. Think about all he money being spent on education at blue school’s. But the kids coming out with Computer Science degrees @ said schools don’t even know how to start a company that sells something people will pay for == ya know, business 101.
If I was them, I wouldn’t want to be known as the generation who’s only contribution to society were services designed to track everything we do and say, while bombarding us with advertising. Yet that’s their sign on the door.
From the song Glory – “It takes the wisdom of the elders and young people’s energy”
It wasn’t old people, or people my age who protested in the 60’s — it was young people. Young people are who we need to talk to if we want to see change.
But the question is, how do we get them to pay attention?