Sunday, March 20, 2005
flickr has been acquired by yahoo.
ask jeeves (and myway.com etc.) has been acquired by Interactive Corp (aka Barry Diller).
I thought this quote from the flickr blog was interesting:
"Yahoo Photos and Flickr have different kinds of users with different needs, and will remain separate for the foreseeable future. Flickr would also suffer from a sudden deluge of LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! omg! so we're going to grow it carefully."
I've been thinking a bit about online communities and how they work and how I participate in them. My thoughts are pretty much in "draft" state right now -- but here's some initial thoughts:
- i like to participate as a "voyeur" -- i'm curious to see what others are up to -- but i'm not likely to make friends or "network" via interactions i have online...although this does happen occasionally.
- i'm interested in tracking the actions of "influencers" -- aka the cool people in the industry that i have blushes (blog crushes) on.
- i'm interested in a customized web experience that leads me to influencers or other items that reflect the lifestyle i want to lead (which may and is likely different from the online life i lead -- i expect that i consistently contradict myself)
I'm thinking that as more people participate in interactive, online communities -- it's likely to get overloaded with people who aren't really the type of people i want to interact with, even in a voyeuristic sense. That's why this quote from Flickr caught my attention -- "growing carefully" is all about making sure that individuals are able to connect with the right type of people -- the ones they want to connect with -- it's about seeing the trees in the forest. This is a big challenge for open-door communities where you can pretty much browse to anybody. For example, take a look at Orkut -- which has apparently been run over by Brazilians...i know i get random links for "friends" from brazilians on orkut all the time. It's annoying -- because i'm not really interested in the random connection.
so do we create participatory communities where the users share common values without creating barriers to entry that make it difficult for newbies to join? Will online communities that work become more exclusive? where you have to prove your coolness in someway in order to get entry into the truly neat and interesting stuff?
i wonder who will acquire del.icio.us? or sixapart (moveabletype)? time will tell...certainly feels a bit bubalicious lately.
This is both good and bad, in a sense, bittersweet, I think. The only blogs I hook up to when I'm not blogging myself is through ads, because I figure that a blogger that thinks enough of his ideas to advertise them is one worth looking at. This isn't completely true, but it goes to show how big the internet has become. There are entirely too many blogs, communities, chat rooms and other web sites to visit to bother with individuals who aren't involved in some sort of self-promotion. I clicked on your google ad, for example. I liked your blog so I responded with comments of my own. I tried the photo sites in the beginning, with Excite and MSN but didn't stay long. I even used to frequent communities such as those on BlackPlanet, or hit the personals, but again as I've settled down I don't feel the need to do that any more.
A fun community I used to like a like is Bolt! It's a bit juevenille but there are older members and it's a community you can get in and out of quickly to get what you want. I did correspond with someone on there for a while about some interpersonal issues she had but didn't stay long and got out once those issues were resolved. But the exchange was interesting, and for that little while I had yet another friend again.
Some people think that being involved in a mental exchange with someone online is nerdy but I don't think so. You can meet virtually anyone online, and to me that is the most fascinating aspect of it. I'm not really that interested in meeting people that are that similiar to me in any sense of the word; racially, ideologically, class (monetary), academically or otherwise. I'm just looking for interesting individuals who know what they want out of an exchange and aren't easy to shift around and get something out of that they're not interested in giving.
Communities will continue to be acquired, traded and sold by the companies behind them. Chat and IRC have always been exclusive entities, however, and I see a lot of that happening with certain blogs where the publisher is really more interested in corresponding with their friends or people with similiar interests, than they are with just anyone who responds to that blog. We're a bit exclusive by nature to begin with, and that quality has simply been transferred to our identities in cyberspace. Go in any chat room and just try to half-heartedly jump into the conversation they're having and you'll see what I'm talking about.
Thanks for the blog, and giving me the opportunity to respond to your work, ideas, whatever. Keep up the good work.
Links to this post: