One of the questions I see asked a lot on the social web is: “Why does [whatever network] not allow unregistered users to see what I publish?” I understand the frustration. Social networks of this type are normally known as “closed platforms” or “walled gardens”, and they heavily restrict the reach of their members.
In Part 1 of this article, we explored how the adult entertainment industry has evolved since the birth of the Internet. We saw that control of the business has shifted from male-run ‘production houses’ to female entertainers, working autonomously, often from home, with very low personal overheads.
Here in Part 2, we’re going to focus on some specific good, bad and ugly consequences of the new situation.
If you hit the Flickr Help Forum, you’ll currently find a thread of well over 8,000 posts relating to what some are describing as a blackmail scheme. Many of the comments do defend Flickr, although the defensive comments mainly come from a handful of supporters who post intensively. Whether that passes as credible support is open to debate, but there’s no doubt that a drastic policy change, announced by Flickr at the beginning of last November, has upset a lot of people. Have we really witnessed an extortion plot?…
WHAT HAPPENED AT FLICKR?
In May 2013, the then Flickr owners Yahoo scrapped a 300MB per month image upload limit for users with free accounts, and set an astronomical new maximum upload capacity of 1TB. Users with free accounts were told, at this point, that the new storage capacity was free to the photographer, and funded by the advertiser. No buts, no untils; that’s what they were told.
In spring 2018, SmugMug bought Flickr, expressing an intention to continue running the platform without significant change.
In November 2018, SmugMug U-turned on their previous assertion, warning that from January 2019, free Flickr accounts would have their maximum capacity limited to 1,000 photos in total, and threatening to delete all excess images after 5th February 2019.
In summary, users with free Flickr accounts were encouraged to upload a vast quantity of images on the basis that they would not have to pay, and then, after many had made major commitments to Flickr, they were told their work would be deleted if they did not pay. There isn’t even a way to put a positive spin on it. Continue reading Is Flickr Guilty of ‘Freemium Extortion’?→
If social media has served any profound purpose, it’s been to reveal just how phenomenally selfish we are, and how manipulative we can become in our quest to be the centre of attention.
If we’re not publicly screwing over our best friend and flushing our own dignity down the toilet in the hope of a single Like from a low-end celeb who doubtless hates our grovelling, servile guts, we’re trying to use other people’s traumas as a means to put ourselves in the spotlight. If, by the end of a social media thread, we haven’t placed ourselves right at the epicentre of the issue at hand, we’ve failed. And it just wouldn’t be a poverty thread if an affluent influencer didn’t wade in with a ‘quote-tweet’, claming to have had a desperately frugal childhood.
Just like real life, social media is all about status, and on Twitter, status was traditionally measured by a user’s Followers total. However, it’s become increasingly well recognised that the Twitter Followers total is close to meaningless as a yardstick of status or influence. Using follow-management apps, it’s easy to churn up a Followers total of 100,000 or more, virtually none of whom will ever pay the remotest bit of attention. Continue reading Retweet-Begging: The Bad, The Ugly And The Positively Grotesque→
Never has success in an online argument had less to do with who’s right, and who’s wrong. Indeed, many great debaters would privately maintain that there is no right or wrong. Only good or bad debating strategy. And the debating strategies of Web 2.0 can be a far cry from the exchanges we were witnessing just ten years ago.
Once upon a time, there was no internet, and for Mr Way-Too-Much-Time-On-His-Hands, finding a virtual release valve was nothing like as simple as it is today.
He couldn’t just go onto Twitter and disagree with news bots, or call football managers cretins until he got his enraged little ass suspended.
Nope. If Mr Way-Too-Much-Time-On-His-Hands wanted a reason to get his knickers in a twist in ye olde distant past, chances were that it would reach him via a newspaper, a magazine, or a television. But he’d still want to say his piece. So whilst interactivity was a very slow process in the mid twentieth century, print publications pulled out all the stops to expedite angry readers’ letters onto their sensation-hungry pages. Continue reading How Much Does Social Media Need Mr and Mrs Angry?→
I’ve criticised Twitter extensively on this blog, and I’m not about to retract any of my whining episodes. But I wouldn’t be complaining if I didn’t care, and the reason I care is that Twitter is not only the best social media platform; for many people it’s the only social media platform. I’m using this post to document why. Please be aware that the following points apply at the time of writing, but that policies can change…
TWITTER LETS USERS POST IN ANONYMITY
Oppressive social sites insist that users publish under their real names, because it increases the value of people’s personal data. The platforms claim they make the real-names-only insistence for safety reasons, but there’s nothing safe about forcing everyone to identify themselves in an unvetted public place. How safe would it be if everyone who walked into a night club was forced to wear a T-shirt with their legal name on it? Clearly, it would be a stalker’s, burglar’s, mugger’s, blackmailer’s and rapist’s charter. That’s the reality of real-name-only policies.
Real-name-only policies also inhibit humour, and other fundamental bases for online entertainment. Broadly, they stifle fun and promote an environment that’s little different from being at work.
Twitter has benefitted enormously from its freedom of identity. Not only does it have a fun and progressive vibe – it’s also become a home to major communities who, precisely because of their dependency on anonymity, cannot legitimately exist on Facebook or other oppressive sites. Yes, anonymity assists cowardly trolls to an extent, but the vibrancy and life it encourages almost infinitely outweighs the negatives. Continue reading 10 Major Reasons Why Twitter Is The Best Social Media Platform→