MySpace opens doors to developers

_44019158_myspace203afpMySpace has opened its doors to application developers.  I wonder if the applications will all play horrible music and be incredibly garish in their appearance making you want to leave immediately like most of the MySpace user pages?

I must make a point of looking up the latest trend figures for memberships.  The article quotes 200M users for MySpace v 63M users for facebook but makes no mention of trends in new users… anyone know?

Block Memories

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As you may know I have a keen interest in all that is Web 2.0 and 3.0 too of course.  And I am never short of new things to look at and check out partly because of my own research but largely too down to my good friend and colleague, Michael (Held).

Yesterday Michael sent me a link to EveryBlock. It is limited to a view cities in the US however, but whilst I was looking at it I was reminded of an exciting week I spent in New York in September 1992 – a week which turned out to be the first week of a 14 month tour of the usual round-the-world backpacker haunts.

So, remembering this week, I was checking out the site and, with the help of Google Maps, remembered and located the street where I stayed in New York – Vestry Street – a very cool street of Artists Lofts in the particularly cool area of SoHo.  As I was surfing Google Maps, I noticed a feature I hadn’t used before – Street View.  You will find this as an additional button top right.  Using this features means you can view street level photos of all streets highlighted.  Now for Manhattan this looked pretty comprehensive but (although I am not sure) this feature is currently limited to a few major metropolis’s in the US.  I did check London, for example, and it was not available.

Now people talk about community when it comes to 2.0 and Crowd sourcing and all the rest of it.  And very often the talk is about applications around the network of course but for me, very often, I find the use of 2.0 stuff very emotional.  For twenty minutes yesterday I relived some wonderful memories of my time in New York at the beginning of my trip and being able to ‘virtually’ walk the streets around where I stayed using the feature in Google Maps was really quite wonderful.

I have bookmarked the address – the Block – in NYC that I have now been gently reminded of, allowed to explore and live again and, by using EveryBlock , will keep up with the latest graffiti reports, crimes and other happenings of that few hundred yards of New York street.

What is happening to Facebook?

What is happening to facebook?  Suddenly (and it does seem to have rapidly escalated in the last 2/3 weeks) several things have happened to make my empathy with and my closeness to fb change – for the worse. 

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The author probably ranting about facebook

When I used to see an email notification in my hotmail account… ‘Facebook – xxx has sent you a message..’ – this used to mean that xxx had actually taken the time to write me an email.  Or at least I was sharing in a thread with people I probably knew. 

But now?  Now, I get the same kind of notification in my hotmail inbox but now many of these are for messages posted on my ‘funwall’ or my ‘superwall’ or whatever kind of wall I happen to have right now.  And actually, they are not messages.  In some cases they are nonsense and, in others, vaguely amusing videos and, in an increasing number of cases they resemble that terrible spam crap I get from some people – you know the kind of stuff, pass this on to ten people in the next two hours or you will die or your friend’s house will burn down or something…

Anyway, I don’t like this direction.  I never warmed to MySpace and I have always hated Friendster.  Am I going to end up hating Facebook too as it dives into and gets lost in Gigabytes of nonsense.

It’s not the emptiness, it’s the loneliness

 

In August I attended the State of  Play conference here in  Singapore.  Historically, a conference founded by some
‘legal folks’, State of Play is now a rather eclectic and, at the same time,
interesting mix of both the original ‘legal folk’ interspersed with gamers,
educators, people representing the emerging virtual world creators and other
interested and curious onlookers. It’s
interesting to note that this seemingly bizarre mix of people is somewhat
indicative of the current landscape – a landscape that, whilst changing and
evolving on a par with the technical innovations making it all possible,
crosses over and overlaps with a myriad of social, technological and even philosophical
disciplines and implications.

 

The panels and associated
discussions reflected this as did the effusing small groups that gathered and
reverberated during the coffee breaks and over the rather good lunches and
dinners. Despite the diversity of conversation there was this almost bizarre
meta layer (to use a term that seems rather appropriate) to all the discussions
World of Warcraft – a subject that a only a few years ago would have made
little or no sense to almost anyone was now (to a large extent) binding
together one of the most intellectually gifted and diverse group of people I
have ever had the privilege to be part of.

 

Whilst the notion of
gaming and, indeed, collaborative gaming is not new, the advent of, at first,
the internet and subsequently vast processor power and fat data pipes into the
living room and bedroom has meant a paradigm shift in the nature and level of
engagement and taken the activity from places and environments few of us may
have ventured into the desktops and laptops of children, teachers, work
colleagues and CEO’s. As one of the
well-established conference attendees so poignantly put it, “World of Warcraft
is the new golf”.

 

My thoughts during the
conference were as many and varied as were the discussions and it was only on
the third day that I found myself saying something that I realized as I said it
for me, at least, captures an underlying theme – a foundation even – of what
makes this whole thing so exciting and important.

 

It was during a workshop
where a few of the conference stragglers were having an informal discussion
about commercial opportunities and applications in Second Life and other
virtual worlds. One of perceived
problems with Second Life and perhaps one of the main points raised by Second
Life’s band of detractors is the large number of empty areas, specifically
those areas created and built by large organizations, some of whom have
desperately tried to get on board the Second Life speeding train with little or
no thought about why they were doing it. Several participants alluded to these ‘empty’ spaces and whilst there is
much that can be said on this subject my point is simple. It’s not that these places are ‘empty’ that
has bothered me when I’ve wandered through the branded 3-D landscape often with
little more than 2-D web pages stuck on the side of 3-D objects, it’s that I am
lonely. What perturbs me is not that the
creator may not be engaging me sufficiently with content and experiences that
really should have been better thought through, it’s that there is no-one else
sharing the experience with me.

 

And it is for this reason
that we should be taking World of Warcraft, Second Life and all other community
based spaces including 2-D social networking sites such as facebook very
seriously. Whilst we are all
increasingly accustomed to the functionality, access and opportunities the
internet offers us, the possibility to do all those things and other things
that people have not even thought about yet, with our friends, with people we
have not met before, be it join a common interest group on facebook or hang out
and share an experience in Second Life or go on a raid in World of Warcraft, is
what makes these spaces wonderfully exciting and hugely important.

 

During the first dot com
boom many people and companies went a bit wrong trying to invent human needs
and activities that might fit the technology. World of Warcraft, Second Life and facebook simply enable us, as human
beings, to do what we have wanted to do for a long time and feel what we want
to feel day to day.

 

Golf anyone?

Back to It!

So, a new friend of mine just sent me a link to her Blog.  Incidentally it is all about food which I think is a pretty cool thing to blog about.  I felt a real sense of passion from the brief look I had and that, coupled with the lovely design, inspired me to get blogging properly.  So here goes.  Thanks to the food addict.

Oh, by the way, you can see my inspiration here.

New Contract

Yesterday I was formally offered an eight month contract with the company I am working for. This is really exciting for me as it is for a Project Management role – something I really want to do at the moment.

The work is predominantly in the area of eMarketing so working with email campaigns, websites and other digital media such as mini CD Rom’s all geared towards providing complimentary Marketing Channels to the more traditional forms of marketing.

My days of feeling worried about getting back onto the work ladder now seem fairly distant and securing this contract feels very much like another important milestone on my journey here.

A New Blogger

I recently heard from one of my best friends in the UK and caught up with his news. He has been busy! and one of the new things he had to tell me about was his Weblog. I had a look and it has inspired me to create one of my own (at least for the trial period!) and see what this new communication channel has to offer. One of the things I am struggling with is what direction it should take…. whilst I would like to use it as a tool to explore and relay my new company’s direction and success I am tempted too to use it as a way of sharing more personal thoughts. What do you think?

By the way, my friend’s blog is at http://chrislawer.blogs.com