Porn Invented the Internet

23 10 2009

If you boil down all of the controversy over Social Media, where you land is that Social Media isn’t the culprit, it’s the Internet — an accountability-free, information cluster-fuck of ultimate free speech, free information and no laws. Kind of like the Wild West.

The big difference between the Internet and the Wild West, however, is that the Internet has no boundaries — it can expand into the infinity of space for ever and ever. So, if you try to put regulations into place to control content, content will just go somewhere else.

This, as you can imagine, drives corporations crazy. How will they be able to control their brand in a space which has no boundaries?

Let’s reminisce on a couple key points which I think might help ease this extreme burden you feel when you start to contemplate the un-comtemplatable. Let’s remember the invent of the Internet. Thanks Al Gore, but it actually wasn’t you who did it. It was the Porn Industry. In their attempt to fulfill a very lucrative need to push out their content to a very wanting yet secretive audience, they were forced to be innovative. The porn industry has historically always pushed the limits with Freedom of Speech, the law, and religious limitations. So what better place to hide – where there is no law – than the Internet.

Arguably, in all cases of moving an industry from the movie stores to the Web, you lose control over content. Sites like YouPorn come into existence and low and behold “amateurs” can now post pornography for free! Granted you lose some of the integrity of the professionally written porn scripts, but free is a great price to pay if you just want some porn.

Porn revolutionized the Internet. It proved that all content, regardless of how morally degrading, crude or illegal in modern standards it might be; will always have a home in the boundless glory of the web.

So using this as a basis, let’s remember that there are lot’s of people spending a lot of time trying to figure out how to put regulations on it. Kind of like drawing a border around heaven. You have to realize that if there is something you don’t want someone to know, like teaching abstinence in Sex Ed – where there’s a will, there’s a way.

So that brings me to Facebook:
Facebook makes you sign your weblife away as you sign up for an account. Whilst signing your life away, you give up rights to all the photos you post; rights to anything you write; rights to use and sell your personal information to anyone who asks. Yes, this is a frightening realization, which I hope all my readers are already aware of, if not, here you go:

But again, let’s back track to the inception of Facebook and dissect what it really is. Facebook was, is and every will be a way to keep in touch with people you know. So. That being said, the user is the one who needs to set personal parameters for how you want that to work. Do the research on how to set up privacy settings for your profile, if you’re too lazy than here you go:

(Sorry for e-troducing you to Larry…)

If you are a corporate marketer using Facebook, than you should know that Facebook was never intended to be about you. It was always about the user. At some point, some smart guy with a big pay check realized that there is a massive opportunity to “reach your audience where they are already engaging” — the ultimate dream of any advertiser. That is the only reason you have been invited to the table. Back in the day, advertisers had to be awfully clever on getting their brand mentioned in their consumers’ everyday conversations. Now, they get to literally put themselves in that conversation feet first and see what happens. Is it working? Maybe, but if you think about it, those conversations still aren’t about you. Your consumers’ primary interest is still just chatting with their friends.

Exploitation of your invitation to the table is why MySpace died. There were no “friends” left. And this is ultimately why Facebook will live or die. If it ever is completely saturated with invasive marketing and users can’t stand to be on it anymore because the header and status updates become pop-up ads and their pictures show up on billboards. If this happens, we will all pick up our profiles and go somewhere else. Friendster perhaps? Be nice to Facebook, and it will be nice in return.

On Privacy Issues:
Someone told me that he believes that the content posted on his profile is sold to the government for their sneaky uses, whatever those may be. So I’ll say this, and I’ll say it loud. The “government”, hackers, sneaky people seeking secret information ARE GOING TO GET IT IF YOU ARE ON FACEBOOK OR NOT. You are not exempt from being stalked if you opt out of Facebook as a part of your life. If you email and use the Internet on a daily basis and are not careful, anyone can find anything they want about you, nice package with a bow, or not.

The Internet is a huge wild wild-Will-Smith West unknown — so let’s talk like adults here. Stop being idiots and posting pictures of your kids! Stop saving your passwords in your gmail account. Stop signing Terms of Agreements without reading them. Take the time to protect your personal lives or don’t post anything at all. It’s the only way you can protect yourself. And if you choose not to do those simple things, than god save you, but stop blaming the medium. There will always be something else. Facebook will come and go. But the Internet will always be free and Porn will ALWAYS exist.

My Opinion:
I realize my opinion is probably the weakest part of this argument, but here it is anyway. I think that Facebook is right on with making ambiguous, CYA privacy policies that only address surface issues of their corporate sponsors. The user who signs up for Facebook basically takes an oath to do the leg work and learn the program, understand it, and use it to benefit them. So for all those users out there who joined Facebook because you heard all the buzz and wanted to feel included, or your company made you, or your highschool friends peer pressured you. Shame on you. Just like my dive instructor said, you shouldn’t do it for any other reason than because you want to. It is not Facebook’s responsibility to teach you how to use it. And even more so, it is not the marketers’ responsibility to make sure you are smart about what you post. The user is always responsible for their own decisions in every aspect of the world, in Social Media/Networking, it is solely your responsibility to do the same. I don’t have privacy fears because I don’t have anything to hide. I don’t trust anyone, and therefore, I trust everything because I set my own parameters. I don’t accept friendships with people I don’t know. And neither should you.

Additional Resources:
Here’s some of the controversy behind the medium.
Social Media success is arguable, but here’s something someone very smart put together, probably to persuade their company to sign up for a Facebook account: )





Independence Day: Silencing Social Media

1 07 2009

Are we only 140-characters deep?

After spending way too much time on LinkedIn looking through empty job postings and reading everyone’s “expert” opinion about social media, and partially influenced by exhaustion from MJ Faked It blog postings — I’ve decided, I’m throwing in the towel. In 48 hours, I’m turning it all off. My Blackberry, my Facebook page, my Twitter feeds, my LinkedIn updates, my Outlook, G-Chat, Adium, texting, smoke signals. All of it. I know, most of you are probably running around screaming in hysterics about why I would be so insane. But the decision has been made.

The other day, I was with a group of friends that I am constantly emailing, g-chatting, facebooking, twittering with all day, everyday. We were having drinks and I swear we had nothing to say to each other. I already knew everything that happened to them that week, the week before, the week before that. I saw every picture, I read every thought, I followed every link; I knew it all before it even happened. So we sat with our cold tasty beverages, on a beautiful sunny day, in silence.

“Oh, did you know that I just launched a blog for…” “Yeah, I read that on your LinkedIn updates.” “Oh, did you hear that Jeff Goldblum died?” “Yeah, about a ba-zillion times.” “Oh did you see that Jenn is dating Brad?” “Yeah, it was in my Twitter feed.”

I started thinking about it. Yes, I am obsessed with all of my Internet time wasters. I love Facebook because I can see what people are up to. I love Twitter because I can see what new marketing efforts are hot right now. I love LinkedIn because I can see find new companies and read rumblings in my industry. But I can’t help but wonder if access to all of these conversation tools are making us too transparent as people.

A lady that I work with brought up the Farrah Fawcett biography on NBC. She felt that, though the story had some empathetic value, deep down, it was really just about entertainment. Her point “Are our most private experiences, like dying, too public?” Are we now just exploiting ourselves?

As a writer, my life experiences have always been the meat of my stories. I have always believed that self-exploitation could help others by passing my hard earned lessons on. But is anyone listening to others’ lessons anymore? Or are we just posting.

Was the Farrah Biography helpful to her, by giving her a way to release the anguish of her struggle and to say goodbye to her fans? Did it give her a sense of liberation from the disease? Did those that watched and cried learn a lesson about dying and feel less alone about a similar experience that they had, or are having or know someone who has had? Or did they just watch to fulfill some detached sensation of sadness?

I suppose social networking for me is a surface outlet in hopes to gain some sort of popularity. But at the crux of it all, it’s really just a way to exploit my life in hopes to gain recognition as a writer. To me, it’s a marketing tool to market myself. But what I’m struggling with is to whom am I marketing?

That’s why I’m turning it off. I’m taking a break in order that I can listen to my own head, instead of the flat, rectangular one that stares at me all day. The question is: At the end of the day, who do I want to listen to me and what do I want to tell them?