Authored Comments

The problem with main$tream social media isn't the fact that it's closed source, but the fact that it's for-profit. I followed your link to the Okuna website and one of the items on the nav bar is "angel," and of course I get that sinking feeling. I click it, and sure enough, I scroll two thirds of the way down to the bottom of the page and confirm that sinking feeling that that's angel as in investor.

I believe the ubiquity of spyware and spam is a consequence of a technical ecosystem (if you want to call it that) in which monetization is a prerequisite for anything happening. I do of course know there's no such thing as a free lunch, even if you're willing to code for free, someone has to pay the hosting bill. Thing is if the monthly hosting bill is a few dollars (rather than a few tens or hundreds of dollars) there will probably be any number of middle class (or even low income) hobbyists who will eat that cost, with an attitude that it's well worth it if it means I can put an ad-free site online, or post my writings without answering to editorial authority, or whatever other noncommercial communications goals one might have. So it is that there was a renaissance of DIY ethos during the era of dial-up ISP's, whose 5, 10, 20 clam a month plans customarily included a few megs of filespace for at least some static HTML content. I think the death of the blogosphere (and the corresponding rise in commercial "social media" as a replacement communication outlet) really kicked into high gear around 2008, with the recession, and a growing number of people reaching the conclusion that they don't have the luxury of NOT monetizing their hobbies. But the thing about monetization is that it is a do-or-not-do proposition. Once the camel's nose is in the tent, EVERYTHING that's cool about noncommercial feats of creativity is instantly a lost cause. You can't implement monetization in digital media without tamperproofing the technology, basically DRM, but tamperproofing also includes ad-n*[blocker]s for even values of n. In turn, you can't tamperproof paywalls (or adwalls or whatever) without killing general purpose computing.

So, like Danie van der Merwe, I must ask why we aren't focusing mainly on federated networks, which slice the network into pieces small enough (we would like to hope) to fit into consumer-level hosting plans (we would also like to hope) in ways that still allow more or less frictionless search for and access to people and content throughout the network.

Part of the problem is that at some point the hype machine made a regular meme campaign of using the words innovation and entrepreneurship interchangeably. I can only assume that the goal of this aggressive framing is to create a social consensus that unmonetized innovation doesn't count. Maybe it's Team Capitalism's response to those of us in the Tesla-was-more-of-an-innovator-than-Edison camp. Because entrepreneurship is a very competitive winner-take-all arena of combat, and because history is written by the winners, all our stories about innovation are in hindsight, about the one in ten startups that don't fail, and the structure and format of these stories has become very predictable and cliche, to the point that they're telling the same story over and over. Basically the stock news story that has come to be called "perseverance porn," like inspiration porn, except about entrepreneurship/innovation (again framed as being two words for the same thing) instead of disability. One can make a regular drinking game around instances of perseverance porn appearing in a news broadcast and the enterprise in question turns out to be cupcakes.