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The Dream Machine --- The Imagination of the World Wide Web
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Prior to FaceBook, MySpace was the leading candidate for the job. Unfortunately, MySpace did encourage the formation of groups of "friends," but the emphasis was on individuals, so collecting friends soon degenerated into many contests to see who could collect the largest number. Since the groups and the friends were groups and friends in name only, their pages were just used as advertising vehicles for something for sale...often sex. As soon as you became a new member of that site, you were deluged with solicitations to become friends with curvaceous women and let them promote their assets on your home page. MySpace even spawned a new term...guerilla marketing...heralding its venue as a good place to sell things, or yourself.
What about the newest sensations YouTube and Twitter? The former is primarily an entertainment site, as evidenced by the often hilarious video clips circulating around the Web that were first posted on it. We're not sure whether the latter is a truly interesting way for people to communicate, or just a way for telecoms to boost your cell phone bill, since that is the main emphasis of the site, broadcasting text messages to all your "subscribers" telling them, often in intimate detail, what you are doing at the moment.
FaceBook seems to be a site with a different agenda. Like MySpace it too encourages the formation of groups and the gathering of friends. The key difference is that FaceBook also encourages you to choose people who really would like to get to know you rather than just large numbers of strangers with hidden objectives. It also allows third party "apps"...applications that are created and serviced by users AND approved by the webmasters of FaceBook. Most of them approved so far are clearly aimed at people getting to know one another better; "tests" to see how much your profile...tastes, hobbies, favorite entertainment and the like...is like somebody else's; ways to send virtual gifts to people you like; various apps to tell one another how you are feeling or what you are doing. Each seems to be designed...by choice or by accident...to promote getting to know one another better.
What's missing? REAL-TIME NATURAL LANGUAGE TRANSLATION!
So, we confidently predict that whoever first creates a FaceBook lookalike...or perhaps FaceBook itself...that implements automatic translation, will be the next "owner"...the next "virus"...to take over the Web. Then we will have a vehicle for real world revolution.
Why are we so certain that this will work? It boils down to the one common aspect of us humans that FaceBook reveals. You do not have to find or make many new friends from other countries to realize that despite our many cultural differences, we are all...at the core...essentially alike. We struggle to keep a roof over our heads, food on the table and raising our offspring into a world that is better than the one we ourselves experienced. Isn't that the basis for revolution?
Talk to you later...
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