Evening Reading: 9/11/07

Larry Borsato talks about a recent focus group in which college students said MySpace is over, Facebook might not last much longer, and their best source for information is word of mouth.  Paul Stamatiou is one college guy who has chilled on Facebook.  Thank goodness there’s all those grown-up bloggers to keep the hype going.

I think there should be a law, with a very stiff penalty for violations, that every person who opines on global warming has to disclose any potential conflicts of interest.  Who do you work for?  Who funds your research?  Who funds whoever funds your research?  Are you a spoon-fed Republican or Democrat?  Do you own a bunch of stock in companies who would be harmed by climate initiatives?  Do you have grandchildren?  The scientific debate around global warming is a complete joke and I don’t think you can believe any of the advocates on either side.  Since I am convinced that American culture and policy favors the dollar over absolutely everything else, I tend to believe that global warming is a real problem, and that the powers that be are trying to muddy the waters a bit longer so they can get even richer.  But I can neither prove nor disprove my theory since the entire conversation is one big ball of conflict and corruption.

Speaking of completely made up stuff.  The MPAA, the RIAA and Major League Baseball should have a televised world championship of bogus numbers.

Nick Carr and Pramit Singh talk about Adblock Plus.  I use it.  I love it.  Like most people, I don’t like ads.  Unlike most bloggers, I think the crash of the ads as the only source of revenue model would be a positive thing.  It would force people to create things with enough value that someone would pay for it.  I was able to get through the day back in Web 1.0 when everything didn’t have to be free.  Less science projects chasing stupid money and more brainpower applied to things that matter would be a step forward.

I’m not buying the analogy.  Mechanics don’t have to give away their services, because they provide a service people will pay for.  Well there’s that, and the fact that they were too smart to give away their services because in every part of business other than Web 2.0 non-paying customers are a bad thing not a good thing.  I’ve been blogging for years.  Other than the nickel I accrued, but never collected, during my month long AdSense experiment, and the occasional Amazon affiliate links to recommended books and records (note the long-present disclaimer in the left column), I’ve never had ads and I’ve made no money (other than via the aforementioned Amazon affiliate links).  If I was trying to make money, blogging would be about the last place I’d start.  Software development is a horse of a different color.  Rather than free (with ads that get blocked and don’t work long-term even if they don’t get blocked), the corner market software industry should go back to the shareware approach of the 1980’s: the donation model.  It is still a viable approach.  I gladly donated to Zen Habits because it provides value to me.

Hugh MacLeod looks back on almost 10 years of cartooning.  He shares 45 random observations.  Here’s one:  “I increasingly find that, as I get older, the only subjects worth writing about are Love, Loss, Religion and Ambition.”

Stowe Boyd muses naively about Facebook as the big corporate business tool that it ain’t.  First of all, one look at just about anybody’s Facebook page will tell you that unless you’re selling beer, iPhones or webcams, there are better ponds to fish for customers.  Secondly, I can think of very few reasons anyone in a real business setting needs to be farting around on Facebook all day, particularly those not in sales or marketing (the blogosphere seems to believe wrongly that 99% of the workforce is involved in one or the other).  Finally, there’s a troubling, though probably true in many cases, assumption that it’s perfectly normal to use Facebook primarily to sell a bill of goods, so to speak, to your “friends.”  Poking for profit.  Or something like that.

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