"The services we are all using and increasingly dependent on, like Flickr and YouTube and FaceBook, are not there to make our lives better or enhance the quality of public participation. They are there to make money for their founders and owners.
Just as the purpose of commercial television is not to make good TV programmes but simply to deliver an aggregated audience to advertisers, so the real point of social networks is not to transform our ways of life but to find new contexts within which we can be exposed to approved commercial messages.
In its early days access to the internet was governed by "acceptable use policies" which prohibited commercial activity of any type.
This was reasonable because the network was built, paid for and managed by university departments, government agencies and the military. When it was privatised in the 1990's all sorts of commercial uses were permitted, and today it is as much as part of the capitalist economy as any shopping mall....
However, in the process of privatisation we have given up an important third space, somewhere between the university network and YouTube, a space which we can all use equally and which is dedicated to the public good.
We have lost the online equivalent of parks and roads and shopping streets, where the limits on what we can reasonably say and do are set by society as a whole and not by the commercial interests of one company."--The race to preserve the third space.
Makes me wonder where the internet is going, what form it will have in the future and how the general public will interact with it. Will I notice any changes, will I like the changes, will I even notice change has occurred?