Questions

Question mark

Networks and destinations

1. If everything becomes open and connected, what will happen to the big destinations?

2. Why is the web rapidly evolving into uncountable databases with connections, instead of one database where everything connects?

3. If all services and destinations become open, then what is the point in being a destination site in the first place?

4. Why are we creating webs within webs, instead of one network that connects it all?

Personality and identity

5. Why am I forced to be fragmented across the web, instead of having one presence that can connect anywhere?

6. Why do I need to get my friends to use the social services I’m on, instead of having my friends with me no matter what service I use?

7. What is or defines my online identity? Am I my profile, my interactions, my data?

8. What defines my presence on the web? Is it the fact that I can be found, or that I can interact anywhere?

Data

9. Why is ‘having data about me’ more important than ‘serving me the right data’?

10. Why is real-time data more important than serving the right data at the right time?

11. Can data lead to demand, or does it only take care of supply?

12. Why does a company have control over all data, instead of letting the user be in control of his own data?

Privacy

13. Why does every service need a TOS and a Privacy Policy, but at the same time the users that are exploited don’t have a TOS or personal Privacy Policy?

14. Why does every service have to implement privacy controls for the user, while we could implement 1 set of privacy controls that the user can control across all services?

Business models

15. Why is the economic model on the web broken for most companies?

16. Why do most companies work with advertisement models while clearly few manage to be  sustainably profitable?

17. When does the network effect diminish in web business models and thinking?

Behavior

18. Why can we now publicly rant about anything or anyone, without really being held accountable for our actions?

19. Why do we expect everything to be free, and then have high demands and complain about service?

20. Why would we want to have thousands of friends and interact everywhere?

21. Will we continue to increase interaction or are we reaching saturation?

22. Why do we spend more and more time online while real life passes by so quickly?

Just a few questions that I have. How about you? Do you have any?

Anyone have some answers?

About vanelsas

See my about page, https://vanelsas.wordpress.com/about/ ;-)
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11 Responses to Questions

  1. Well put!

    I think a lot of problems with fragmentation are because the Internet is (thankfully) not controlled by one entity, and there is a fierce competitive market around services, so companies want thier service to win and therefore make exit thresholds as high as possible.

    I couldn’t agree more with your Q#19!

  2. Meryn Stol says:

    These are some good questions to ask.

    I think it would work better if you’d treat these questions one by one, each a separate post. Give your hunch on the answer, and maybe I’ll give mine.🙂

    Enjoy your stay in the US!

  3. Interesting questions… even though we’ve come a long way we still have a lot of ground to cover. Your questions are probably just the tip of the iceberg…

    I really hope you answer at least a few of them, I’m curious about how you think, especially 5 and 6 (and you’d probaly need to answer 7 to do that :)) 15 and most of behaviour🙂

  4. Pingback: Accountability for our online behaviour

  5. Frank Ricketts says:

    I posed your questions to some of the staff in my agency. The answers below the questions come from a 22 year old online strategist first and a 30 something SEO manager second.

    Networks and destinations

    1.If everything becomes open and connected, what will happen to the big destinations?

    No one knows, and can’t know — this is the nature of a revolution. But obviously their influence becomes necessarily less… Influential.

    A1 I would say that the big destinations will become more fragmented – less of a ‘big’ definition, but more of a collection/community of smaller destinations.

    A2 Then again….depends on your definition of a destination.

    2. Why is the web rapidly evolving into uncountable databases with connections, instead of one database where everything connects?

    A1 Because that assumes one organization that chairs this sort of thing with a precise agenda. The web is built by combining many differing agendas and designs, that’s why it’s awesome. With structure comes procedure and with procedure comes predictability and slowness.

    A2 What is the point here – That we’ve always been unconnected, and we’re moving towards some sort of connection? What the beauty of the web has been so far is that there is information for all – is there a need to connect everything? I would argue that not everything needs to be connected – just what is related. I don’t think it should ever be one database.

    3. If all services and destinations become open, then what is the point in being a destination site in the first place?

    A1 Exactly. Building towards being a destination instead of providing a service is death.

    4. Why are we creating webs within webs, instead of one network that connects it all?

    A1 Again, who designs and implements this and gains consensus from hundreds of millions of stakeholders?

    A2 if I would make hundreds of millions of dollars off this, I’d try.

    Personality and identity

    5. Why am I forced to be fragmented across the web, instead of having one presence that can connect anywhere?

    A1 Do you want your LinkedIn profile to show the same information as your Facebook page? You present different sides of yourself to different audiences.

    A2 And to continue on THAT point, I should present a different side at different sites – the customization is what allows value to be added. I still want ownership over my overall personality and profile details. I would rather pick and choose the information I present, especially when it comes down to entering my Facebook info, versus my health information for a study I am in at Dal, versus my shoe size and colour preference on a retail site.

    6. Why do I need to get my friends to use the social services I’m on, instead of having my friends with me no matter what service I use?

    A1 Because different services serve different ends and different audiences. Why aren’t all my friends playing Xbox with me? Because they prefer the PS3. Also, I have no friends.

    A2 I agree – joining a social service needs to be an individual decision to ensure buy-in. Also, Joel has no friends.

    7. What is or defines my online identity? Am I my profile, my interactions, my data?

    A1All of the above.

    8. What defines my presence on the web? Is it the fact that I can be found, or that I can interact anywhere?

    A1 The second one.

    Data

    9. Why is ‘having data about me’ more important than ‘serving me the right data’?

    A1 I don’t understand.

    A2 Having the right data about me enables the site to serve me the right data. They can’t properly target without the insight.

    10. Why is real-time data more important than serving the right data at the right time?

    A1 Real time is usually deemed to be the right time.

    A2 I don’t know if I would fully agree with that. Depends on what the right data is – is it data that has been warehoused over a period of time that enables the site to build a case for the particular data they are serving me? Using this rationale, is real-time data then just an instant response? I would say whatever is most relevant to me, based on past patterns.

    11. Can data lead to demand, or does it only take care of supply?

    A1 Serve me data I never thought to demand and you’ve created it.

    A2 Deep. Deep.

    12. Why does a company have control over all data, instead of letting the user be in control of his own data?

    A1 They feel entitled to it as they’re providing you a service in exchange for having that data.

    A2 I think most companies are terrified of giving up any sort of control, especially to a user that may or may not be who they say they are.

    Privacy

    13. Why does every service need a TOS and a Privacy Policy, but at the same time the users that are exploited don’t have a TOS or personal Privacy Policy?

    A1 Because digital laws are broken.

    A2 And companies are scaredy-cats. And users don’t have legal staff to consult with.

    14. Why does every service have to implement privacy controls for the user, while we could implement 1 set of privacy controls that the user can control across all services?

    A1 Because digital laws are broken.

    A2 And because that would be too easy for us, and too hard for the companies to implement.

    Business models

    15. Why is the economic model on the web broken for most companies?

    A1 Because it’s a completely different media that no business model fit before. Also, it’s a media revolution and there may not, in fact, be a perfect business model for it yet. Revolutions break things, they don’t make things better right away.

    A2 I would argue that organizations don’t know where to start, and are too reactive. People don’t stop and think enough – at this point, the internet isn’t new, but the monetization of online is such a moving target that businesses can’t create a model that is flexible enough to sustain.

    16. Why do most companies work with advertisement models while clearly few manage to be sustainably profitable?

    A1 Because other models are harder to imagine.

    A2 And because managers and leaders aren’t necessarily patient – with something that is emerging and not immediately profitable, it is hard to hang on for the long haul.

    17. When does the network effect diminish in web business models and thinking?

    A1 Because they’re mostly advertiser-based, and the media landscape is fragmented.

    Behavior

    18. Why can we now publicly rant about anything or anyone, without really being held accountable for our actions?

    A1 Free speech got freer.

    A2 And speaking out anonymously allows you the freedom to truly express yourself without the worry or accountability.

    19. Why do we expect everything to be free, and then have high demands and complain about service?

    A1 Because if people can get something for free they will. Of course they will. And if they can make demands they will. Of course they will.

    A2 And I’ve always expected free stuff. That hasn’t changed!

    20. Why would we want to have thousands of friends and interact everywhere?

    A1 Because it sounds like a good idea in theory. And we’re super social apes.

    21. Will we continue to increase interaction or are we reaching saturation?

    A1 Increase. We’ve barely scraped the surface.

    A2 Agreed. Facebook and its uptake has really opened the door for people who would never have gotten engaged otherwise. It’s intoxicating.

    22. Why do we spend more and more time online while real life passes by so quickly?

    A1 Define “real life”. TV? Sports? How are those any more real? Sounds like this person’s definition of “real life” is probably what they did when they were young.

    A2 I would argue that my real life is away from the keyboard. I think that I personally spend more and more time online as I feel a constant urge to keep-up – that’s with work and with my personal life. Now that so many more friends and family are online, that’s how I communicate and keep up to date. But hey – I need people to keep having a real life otherwise what pictures am I going to look at on Facebook?

  6. @Frank,

    some of these answers made me laugh out loud! Thank you for taking the time with your colleagues to go through the list and answer all of them🙂

    I won’t try to reply to all of those answers (there is no such thing as a right answer anyway) as that was not the purpose of this post. Having said that, I will try to address some of these things in future posts.

    Thanks!

  7. Bertil says:

    Networks and destinations

    1. If everything becomes open and connected, what will happen to the big destinations?

    This is what happened with content on the Web, or with music on P2P (and since movies). We have seen both a Matthew effect: the big get bigger (Madonna never had so many listeners, neither the NYT so many readers) and the apparition of a relatively longer tail: more niche content was made possible — although attention increased significantly, those who benefited the most were those burdened by what was closed previously.

    2. Why is the web rapidly evolving into uncountable databases with connections, instead of one database where everything connects?

    Some (Google users) would disagree with your take: could you be more specific?

    3. If all services and destinations become open, then what is the point in being a destination site in the first place?

    Attention — and expectation management. I go to NYT.com (or Digg) because I don’t want to bother looking for cool stuff, and I know installed base effect (journalists working for, or users generating an editorial process) garantees what these sites will offer.

    4. Why are we creating webs within webs, instead of one network that connects it all?

    Experiments, control, safety — once again, you are not specific enough.

    Personality and identity

    5. Why am I forced to be fragmented across the web, instead of having one presence that can connect anywhere?

    Because that’s how all communication services (pigeons, mail, telegraph, phone, computer networks) started — and the benefits of compatibility haven’t appeared to SNS developpers yet (but they might be workin on it as we speak).

    6. Why do I need to get my friends to use the social services I’m on, instead of having my friends with me no matter what service I use?

    Because no one at any Competition Authority has read my PhD on Competition on SNS arguing in no uncertain terms for exactly that. As soon as they do, this will be sorted out.

    7. What is or defines my online identity? Am I my profile, my interactions, my data?

    How do you split those? Your profile isn’t your ID number, your interactions are not possible without a database to store them for immediate use, and any data can be your only if there is a profile # to connect them to you.

    8. What defines my presence on the web? Is it the fact that I can be found, or that I can interact anywhere?

    Your interactions are data, elements to be found — a false dichotomy once again.

    Data

    9. Why is ‘having data about me’ more important than ‘serving me the right data’?

    Because many users, especially those with access to media, are still using an obsolete paradigm on self-representation that is: I am what I show about myself, instead of trusting other users to respect the context of their relation.

    10. Why is real-time data more important than serving the right data at the right time?

    Preference for the instant, driven to the point of addition — and developement costs: the later is far more difficult.

    11. Can data lead to demand, or does it only take care of supply?

    It does, see all the work by Huberman & al. on recommendation.

    12. Why does a company have control over all data, instead of letting the user be in control of his own data?

    Because it’s their job, while we don’t care that much so far. But awareness is making it’s way, and, for instance, Google allows you to erase any search you made with them connected to your user account. More companies will offer similar services.

    Privacy

    13. Why does every service need a TOS and a Privacy Policy, but at the same time the users that are exploited don’t have a TOS or personal Privacy Policy?

    Lawyer costs and financial depth: you won’t get sued if you have limited liability, but you have both the means and the paranoïa.

    14. Why does every service have to implement privacy controls for the user, while we could implement 1 set of privacy controls that the user can control across all services?

    Because not all services are created equal — and experimenting is good so far. But standards tend to emerge with growing concerns over incompatibility.

    Business models

    15. Why is the economic model on the web broken for most companies?

    Because so many try — and digital goods and services obey new economic rules. More importantly, many have a decent business model, but are active in a Sierra Madre market: only one can rule, and all the others who could have made it just fail for no deterministic reason.

    16. Why do most companies work with advertisement models while clearly few manage to be sustainably profitable?

    Simplicity sells.

    17. When does the network effect diminish in web business models and thinking?

    When it’ll be obvious — before that, it has to be understood, so we have quite some time to spend on that one.

    Behavior

    18. Why can we now publicly rant about anything or anyone, without really being held accountable for our actions?

    Because you are both insignificant, and controlled by an American notion of public discourse, that includes rants. European law excludes hate speech from the prerequisite of a democracy, and isn’t as tolerant.

    19. Why do we expect everything to be free, and then have high demands and complain about service?

    How is that incompatible ? Mother’s milk is free and fanstastic.

    20. Why would we want to have thousands of friends and interact everywhere?

    Because friends are always great.

    21. Will we continue to increase interaction or are we reaching saturation?

    If you ask Dunbar, anything that can substitute with a neo-cortex would help us go beyond current maximums — and many of us haven’t reach that peak yet, so no: expect far more interactions.

    22. Why do we spend more and more time online while real life passes by so quickly?

    On-line is real.

  8. @Bertil thank you so much for your reply. I will be trying to write one or more posts about this is a while and will then also reply to some of your remarks 🙂

  9. Pingback: With All This Openness Where Is The Destination? | Regular Geek

  10. Douglas Karr says:

    It’s natural for very large groups to fragment and build stronger, smaller relationships. I believe this is the behavior we see on the web. We are unique, complex people – as a result – we tend to shift direction and move where comfortable. Even on the web, one site or one design or one database will never fit all.

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