October 26, 2007

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On the roads

Taking a train to New York, shortly (and briefly). Then it’s London, Denver (for Defrag), London and back. Two weeks, total. Expect light blogging.

Old nudes

Mike Taht pulls the pants off a CNN talking-head feature, and asks, Whatever happened to the ideal of journalism being: to report the news? When did actors get equal time against their interviewees?

Deborah Tannen unpacked the Them vs. Them mentality of mainstream “journalism” almost ten years ago in The Argument Culture. For the likes of CNN, it’s cheap & easy shooting. Always has been, always will be.

By the way, Ron Paul (favored by Mike and many other independent bloggers) will continue getting ignored and dismissed by mainstream media. That’s because his campaign doesn’t fit their templated story, which is about Republicans vs. Democrats, Left vs. Right, Leaders vs. Leaders. Paul may belong to the Republican party, but he’s really a Libertarian. That makes him a third party wolf in GOP wool, and we all know what roles third parties play in the national election script: losers and spoilers. What he says and stands for doesn’t matter. The real question for the mainstreamers is, “Will he hurt the frontrunner?”

Depressing.

What does the Microsoft “partnership” with Facebook mean for users? I just posted that question, and angles toward some answers, over at Linux Journal. In part the post also addresses Jeremiah Owyang’s post, How Microsoft got their Passport afterall. Jeremiah’s right to worry about What Microsoft is Up To here. He also has a good question about what the Microsoft-Facebook partnership means for Google.

I believe, however, that the solutions that matter most aren’t going to come from big companies. They’ll come from independent developers working at companies large and small — including Microsoft, Google and Facebook. Also from users themselves, who now play roles as producers as well as consumers. (In fact, much of the open source movement is about the demand side supplying itself — “scratching one’s own itch” and all that.)

That’s why I conclude my post with an invitation for Facebook developers to attend the Internet Identity Workshop in Mountain View on December 3-5. The IIW workshops — going on since early 2005 — are among the most productive I’ve ever been to. Great work comes out of them, every time. And we’re going to need it now, becaused we’re sharing enormous amounts of personal and social information online through Facebook and other “social networks”. What’s done with that data should be our concern, and not just the concern of those who make or spend money “targeting” us with better message rifles.