It occurred to me today that the exciting stuff with the Internet is now behavioural rather than technical. The e-shopping apps are in, the e-banking apps are in, we use google to satisfy our informational whims, all sorts of transactions are now almost friction-free. Developing apps is not where it’s at.
What’s interesting now is how the Internet is changing how we interact, and the most interesting space of all at the moment is Facebook. The premise of Facebook is that it is your name, with your address, the details of your school, college or work, and your real, live, real-life friends.
This is new in various ways:
- Firstly, we’ve got used to using screen-names, and incidents such as the Oxford students and the Police show that many Facebook users have not yet thought through their lack of pseudonymity.
- Secondly, apps like Facebook in particular mean that we will never loose sight of friends or enemies ever again. They can run, but they can’t hide. And vice versa.
I’m still thinking through the implications of this one. At the moment one can easily and happily drop out of one place and into another by changing jobs, changing hobbies, moving house, leaving a relationship. One can grow up and move on, leaving embarrassments, mistakes, consequences, and really really boring people, behind. I’m not saying it’s a good thing, I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, it’s just a thing. But Facebook, even more than Google, takes that away from us.
And do you know what? It’s so useful and such fun that none of us mind.