Trolling….For Idiots

ImageHello world. My name is Dexter and I’m a troll. You may have had some first hand experience of my activities. I serve the same purpose online as do bacteria in an ecosystem. I take apart and make use of the refuse of online society. I test the boundaries of free speech. I keep the dictators of the real world, the corporations and the media giants from exporting their control of content into the online sphere. I was the one who let you know that those hysterical evangelicals on your t.v. were nothing more than money hungry suited piranhas.

You see I may be harmful to you as an individual, but the system as a whole needs me. Who else can muster up the courage to blatantly stand in the path of a ticking thread of consensus? Who but I, the despicable troll could annoy the voices of fascism back to the nether reaches of taboo from whence it spawns?

Trolls are the dialectic voice in all forums. We inject the counter-position. Without trolls, your forums would be like the new world avian species that evolved without significant predation and consequently went extinct. Without doubt, without skepticism, there can be no science.

In a sea of platitudinous garbage, look to the troll to be your rescue boat of interrogation. Think of how weak and flaccid all of your dialogues would e if they were mere monologues. How hopeless your errors would be were there no corrective voice. The corporations own their patents and their copyright, but they do not own us. Our opinions are how we express our independence. It is healthy for someone to not only know that they are free but to prove it also. Trolls prove it every day. We engage, combat and succeed in exposing the enemies of free speech in this online space which we love. I don’t want to see this web end up as the virtual affiliate of the concrete and steel world. That place isn’t perfect. We should strike out to build a better web. We should make a better version of the world we come from when we log on. An Earth 2.0 A place created by bits and ideas. A place where no idea is barred. The web is an opportunity for us to become more connected as a planet. It is what the UN was supposed to be only real. Right now I could log on to one of dozens of social networks and get connected to hundreds of millions of people around the world. It wouldn’t take a government nor a delegate for me to achieve dialogue with someone and to take the first step to establishing some common ground.

Take a chance on doubt people. You may regret it. But you will most certainly regret going along with the politically correct current as it drags you down to the deepest part of itself and drowns your identity.

So feel free to troll the comments section below, and don’t be afraid to click on the share button either. I promise it’s not an IED.

Ownership on the web

ImageNewspapers like The New York Times just don’t respect the internet anymore. It’s that simple. They weren’t born here and they treat the web kike a rental. They might even have it in their heads that this WWW thing is just another fad. Id like to remind these hard copy dinosaurs that other titans have previously denigrated the new god and pretty soon there after filed for bankruptcy.

The particular issue that I’m decrying here is a new policy by The New York Times’ online edition to reduce the maximum number of articles one can view gratis on their site from 20 per month to 10. As a site that had previously lost its lead as the most viewed online news vendor to The Huffington post, this was the wrong move.

For your love of money NYT, you have opened the doors to all the evils resulting from antagonizing Netizens. We have the privilege of being a mere Google search away from viewing similar if not better content from one of your many competitors. The prospect of having to put on a coat and go to the newsstand to pick up a newspaper is no more. Your insult to us is just as swiftly rebuffed. The only difference is that unlike you, we have mobility. We demand our right as Netizens. Our right to content!

How can they justify making it harder for those who still consume their content, at a time when the tide against them is rising. It’s simply alienating to what remaining loyalists they have. It’s these types of “real world” power trips that have probably caused some of the paper’s current ebbing support. The web is too fluid a medium for anyone to think that they can build a wall that will isolate content successfully.

The New York Times’ declining sales have been attributed to the rise of alternative media including competition from social media. This is kind of obvious since The New York Times has the exact opposite strategy regarding content as does social media. The paper seeks to restrict and maintain a hold on content, how its consumed and by whom. Social media, specifically sites like Facebook have very open policies regarding content. The worst it can get on one of these sites is that its specific users can restrict access to their own contributions. Maybe this stark difference in how these organizations, organize content is the reason why The New York Times is in decline and social media is on the rise.

Social media grew up with the web. It doesn’t exist without it. That is why sites like Facebook and twitter teat their users like MVPs and not like annoying hobos who want free content. The problem with The New York Times is that it acts as if there is any future scenario where it exists without the web. It’s looking longingly at a time when squares were named after it and balls dropped in its honor. Reality check NYT, it’s not 1851 anymore. You’re no longer the toast of the world.

Hundreds of millions of people log on to Facebook daily. You’re just lucky if you can get a measly 30 million. The web is like a brand new country club. You see in the old world you may have been considered as something. But here, online, there are millionaires, and there are centimillionaires!

My advice to “the Old Gray Lady” , adapt or die.

Facebook Likes

Image“Likes” as a feedback tool were developed by Facebook back in 2007 but were only introduced on its site in February 2008. There is some controversy regarding who between Facebook and Friendfeed arrived at the tool first. Even though Friendfeed had launched their button by late 2007, Facebook sources comment that this event was not on their radar. According to them, they were developing a tool with the prototype name “Awesome” that in 2007 Zuckerberg baptized into “like.” What an awesome coincidence, don’t you, like agree. Facebook’s help page states, “the “like” button is a way to give positive feedback or to connect with things you care about on Facebook.” But if you googled the term “Facebook likes” , it’s more likely that you would get pages and pages of links to websites purporting to sell this online commodity. Whatever it once was, the “like” is presently just another easily automated advertising gimmick. It has become Mark Zuckerberg’s weak response to Google search. The touted “positive feedback” tool is a pitiful botnet tool, used to substitute for opinion on the web.


It’s marketed as feedback but functions more like astroturf. An easily consumed social approval sticker that exports life’s fascination with high school-esque popularity contests onto the online sphere. Board members love data, but this type of gimmick inflates the misinformation balloon, not the relevant data balloon.

Netizens on Facebook, who I assume have more than the dual “like” or ignore reaction to the average Facebook post, are forced into this situation where they have to settle for a very limited voice. Facebook and other sites that only have a “like” button do their users a disservice by not including more options. Youtube is a notable exception to this flaw as it includes both “like” and “dislike” options in its content feedback tools.

Maybe the reason why Facebook wont add a “dislike” button is because they think the first thing we’ll do with it is “dislike” all those ads they send us. The problem with Facebook is its coupling of the “like” feedback mechanism with its advertising interests. To them these are not mere “likes”, but reasons to justify their advertising costs to their clientele. They’re trying too hard to “own” the tone and output of their user-base. I strongly believe that this is a mistake in their strategy. Having too much value concentrated on this one tool restricts the company’s ability to play with and even evolve its feedback options. The money it has tied into the like button acts like inertia by preventing the company from evolving. As a social network, Facebook should be more driven towards achieving harmony with its users, who are its primary asset than with impressing corporations who are only interested in Facebook’s users to begin with. Without a billion of us happily clicking away and spending all of our time online there would be no Facebook.

Facebook needs to change the way it treats our opinions. Their policy of not offering a “dislike” option is outright dictatorial. They are like a despot who acts of his own free will without regard for what you “the people” want and at the end of the day expects you to blindly “like” him. What I’d like to know is the name of the social scientist that ever approved of this way of treating people. It’s downright  offensive that this website thinks we are all reducible to this one opinion. That by their assessment of us, we are the idiots that “like” all the garbage they drag through our news-feeds every day.

According to a New York Times article, Facebook has its “like” button integrated in over 9 million other web sites worldwide. This further distribution of its only feedback button is a further attempt by the company to not so subtly manipulate us into liking what we may otherwise detest.

This is a further instance of Facebook’s incapacity to tolerate alternate viewpoints in its expanding user base. How can Facebook’s operators honestly expect all of these different sites to present content that a user’s response to would always only be “liking” it? It is seriously impractical for a company of its size to have such a naive assessment of its user’s opinions.

As a user on Facebook viewing pages of content daily, I ask them; where is the way to give negative feedback? Where do I click if I “dislike”this.

How are the various companies that employ these feedback tools on their own websites going to improve if they have no room for criticism. And how presumptuous and arrogant can Facebook’s management be to allow this “yes man” only attitude to persist. Their attitude towards anything they perceive as “negative” is in direct contrast to what experience shows. Very often it’s the negative feedback that is the most important to an organization. This is the kind of feedback a company can learn from. It is well known that people and organizations learn mainly from their failures. By withholding this negative feedback option from its user base and also its advertising clientele , Facebook is robbing the former of its voice and the latter of its opportunity to become better. My advice to Facebook is this: Take a chance on negativity. Not everything you guys do is right, so why not give us an opportunity to tell you when you’re screwing up.

Is the Web God? Or atleast Religion?

We depend on it for answers. We cant conceive of an existence without it. We use it in our daily lives. And all these points of interaction between technology and human need beg the question; Is there an emergent or transcendent relationship here?

How can an entity so seemingly intelligent as the world wide web have any less right to claim a place in the Parthenon of the Gods? Are we so far removed from our “pagan” ancestry that we can resist to anthropomorphize or even deify this central thread in our common existence?

Gods have been forged on less merit.

Google maps can pinpoint your location using your IP address as a LoJack. Facebook can identify you using facial recognition software. Any email that you archive can remain in the cloud for an indefinite amount of time. We are living in an archaeologists fantasy. Our digital footprint is an upload of our soul.

As a whole, the web is like a gigantic net in which we are all caught. It is noteworthy that the first Christians used a fish as their symbol. We are all being reeled into the future in a web of information, pseudo-information and garbage. We have here yet another likeness between religion and the internet; in that both have facets that are more useful than others.

Already, people around the world and particularly in the united states consider instantaneous delivery of searched information a right. Gigantic cloud server farms now exist to cater to every whim of these ‘worshipers.’ As long as the machines keep humming along we all hum on along with them in a resounding tone of : The Machine is Good, All The Time.

At some level I think we have stopped to look at the web as a construct and more like a force of the universe itself. Just observe how irate perfectly rational people get at the slightest malfunction on a website. Its almost as if someone has insulted their God. A leaked password, or a message that has been in appropriately displayed, or any information that presents the slightest discomfort to the observer is reacted upon with righteous and near biblical anger.

Just like previous ages and civilizations have been defined by their supernatural and religious practices, so has the 21st Century been influenced by the World Wide Web. The importance of this tool is comparable to the relevancy the church had in the middle ages. For some of us, to stop broadcasting online is to lose ones soul. Or so it sometimes feels. We need the web so much that logging off has come to feel like receiving an excommunication from the Pope. Its like a total tearing asunder of one from ones e-spirituality.

Our technological crutch is obvious. We don’t even pretend to have any autonomy anymore. The most backwards of SMEs now has a facebook page, or a twitter or google plus account. Through social media, the web is becoming more and more surgically embedded in our lives. It is hardly healthy to maintain such lofty expectations and to demand perfection from a machine. We are obviously going to have to deal with disappointment, sometimes  even from the irreproachable World Wide Web.
All I insist on is a formality in acknowledging how truly important it now is to us.

Scientists are already expressing fears that Moore’s law is about to hit a wall. When this eventually happens, computers will encounter a situation of stagnation. How should a population so used to an endless technological frontier adjust to cope with this reality?

The answer is simple: Self Control. So turn off your computer this weekend and try to enjoy yourself  in other less pagan ways. The web cannot do for you what you cannot do for yourself. Its not God.

And remember; its never that serious!