If it is free…

02011-09-05 | Uncategorized | 1 comment

From Bruce Sterling’s protected Twitter stream a couple of weeks ago:

*New Twitter’s most annoying features aren’t there for user-friendliness. They’re all about Twitter’s business model & data-mining capacity.
– bruces at 8/18/11 9:59

*Social media does not exist for you. You are the PRODUCT in social media. That’s why it’s free.
– bruces at 8/18/11 10:02

A friend’s comment:

I wouldn’t mind being the product if I was being paid and could negotiate terms.

Back to Sterling:

*Thinking that New Twitter is here for our high-tech convenience is like thinking that newspapers existed to tell people the truth.
– bruces at 8/18/11 10:06

@GreatDismal: imagine giant, dystopian bulldozers piloted by Iranian cops and Chinese cyberwarriors, that scrape off every RT-able remark
– bruces at 8/18/11 10:11

*Or imagine you had a jolly London-burning looting frolic and you’re now staring aghast at the bronze monument of your public tweetstream
– bruces at 8/18/11 10:13

Recently Don Norman said about Google:

Most people would say ‘we’re the users, and the product is advertising’,” he said. “But in fact the advertisers are the users and you are the product.”

Then he went further. “They say their goal is to gather all the knowledge in the world in one place, but really their goal is to gather all of the people in the world and sell them.”

Friedrich Nietzsche wrote:

No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.

Of course Nietzsche wrote this a hundred years before Google was founded, but if the quote fits…

My mom used to say this:

Nichts is kostenlos. Selbst für das Leben muss man mit dem Tod bezahlen.

Nothing is free of cost. Even life has to be paid for by dying.

A few weeks ago a friend called in panik. Her friend’s hotmail account had been hacked and everyone in his online address book had received a version of that famous Barcelona letter: I am stranded in Barcelona, my wallet was stolen, and I need $2,000 to get home…

I told her that they should use better passwords and to change them more frequently. I also mentioned that I myself do not access Gmail on my browser and I keep no online address book. If my Gmail account was to get hacked they would have no address book to send emails to. By the way, I use the excellent Sparrow Mail app, which is Mac-only.

I think one needs to be distrustful of anything that is “free”.

1 Comment

  1. steve

    OL: “I think one needs to be distrustful of anything that is “free”.

    And I think that’s very true. I myself have a gmail account and I only use it as a means of indirection to bounce email to a paid account.

    Reply

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