Short on Cars

Riding a train short in cars turns everyone into a sardine. People are forced to squeeze together, touching elbows and pant legs, holding bags on their lap.   

Like a social network, when you constrain comfort for usability people get frustrated.  Everything becomes an annoyance:  the ubiquitous ads on the train’s walls, the $250 monthly train pass, the sounds of the train collector’s ticket punching, and the sporadic passenger conversations left and right.    

People hate noise and clutter.  That’s why so many users left MySpace for Facebook.  Myspace was a wasteland where page personalization, banners, and widgets created design disorder and chaotic functionality.  Facebook provided a clean, standardized experience, a closed environment where Facebook’s design control benefited the user experience.     

Fast forward to today, however, and Facebook is becoming more like the old Myspace.  Realizing that real-time conversation is what really drives ad dollars, Facebook is desperate to emulate the openness of Twitter.  Over the last couple weeks, Facebook has welcomed hashtags and image uploads within comments.  

Openness goes against Facebook’s roots as a private social network.  By cramping the platform with more open communication layers it’s severely limiting the user experience. 

People want clean space.  People want to be in their own world.  People want sufficient space so they can sit next to open seats and relax.  

Sometimes constriction is a force of creativity; sometimes it forces unnecessary angst.  You don’t want your passengers and users hating each other, hating the platform, hating the employees who work on it, and getting off to a bad start or end to their day.  

Keep it clean, keep it sleek.  Let people breathe.  


Meet Facebook’s new network architecture: it’s a fabric

The fabric architecture is also an opportunity for Facebook to disaggregate and open up the network — which is one of the last closed, black box parts of web infrastructure.

Walled gardens are a thing of the past.  

With its announcement of image based comments, Facebook is once again taking another step to become more like Twitter.

Can’t wait for all the clutter (hint:  Myspace).  


Why Twitter Made Our Faces Public (and Myspace Had It Right All Along)

Bryce on  raising Digital Natives:

Because I want them to learn to own their online identities, I’ve set all of their accounts to public. 

Public makes us accountable for our content, comments, likes, and shares.

Just a few years ago no one ever thought they’d make their Facebook page public for the world to see.  And then Zuckerberg famously declared the age of privacy over.

Remember that Facebook once thrived on marketing its privacy in the face of a public MySpace, which apparently had it right all along.

But it wasn’t Facebook or MySpace that put our faces on the Internet.  Twitter trained everyone that if you want to be a part of the global discussion, your profile must be open.

Twitter taught web users that conversation goes beyond friends and with people you’ve never met.  Unlike the days of AOL chat rooms, people are more likely to converse with you if they think it’s your true identity.

Our Internet public life therefore becomes eerily similar to our physical life.  An ignorant remark tweeted on the Internet will land you in trouble, even to the point of jail.

Bryce is just warming his kids up to the eventuality of global public life where you’ll be rewarded for character and intelligence.  You’ll be judged on what you share.  An engaged public digital face makes the old world seem stodgy and stagnant.


iLike’s Extinction: Timing and MySpace

iLike had it all: Free streaming music, Facebook integration, and a workable ad based business model.

I built my first app for an artist on iLike 3 years ago. It streamed the album, showed artist pics and tweets. It even included a couple puzzles.

But MySpace ruined its potential, ran iLike into the dark while it focused on its own revival strategy.

Thankfully Spotify picked up where iLike left off. And wisely allied with the largest social platform on Earth to secure its growth.

Sometimes it pays to bloom late and mix in with other visionary companies of similar aspirations.