I asked my little nephew and niece (7 and 9) and my aunt (in her 70s) what the internet is. (I translated their responses from Flemish).
Me: “But what IS the internet?”
Niece: “The internet is where everything comes together… where all the information comes together”.
Me: “What’s the difference between your computer and the internet?”
Nephew: “on the internet you can find programs all over the world, and on your computer you only find a few files that are yours.”
Me: “What is the internet?”
Auntie (70+): “So when are you going to India? … The internet is when you can write to everyone…” (she doesn’t have internet access.)
Me: “What is patience?”
Nephew: “You have to have patience when the sand-clock is there.” (refering to the icon that indicates the computer is working.)
I have all this on video, but haven’t asked for permission to post it yet.
I’m enjoying the weblog of Lucas Gonze more and more. Good thinking. He reports today on QuiEst (french for whois). Embed the word in a page about a person, and then you can google “quiest lucas gonze”, for example. Interesting use of a made-up word combined with google’s power.
Refuting objections to a Global Rural Network (GRNet) for developing nations (by Larry Press) addresses the question: why give poor people internet if they don’t even have clean water/phones/… yet? I am a geek, so I tend to believe in the power of technology to fix things. That’s my bias, but I understand the counterargument as well. The paper includes this interesting screenshot.
The digital divide: “Why the “don’t-want-tos” won’t compute.” Studying non-use of technology is a good way of understanding a bit more about that technology and its cultural dimensions. Geeks like me tend to think non-users are just being stubborn, but there are often very valid reasons for non-use.
Friendster fired Joyce Park
er for blogging.
How can you trust a company like that with your most personal data? Baaad branding move. I cancelled my Friendster account, and so could you. There are plenty social networking services out there. The cancel screen (in edit my account) lets you enter a reason. I wrote “Firing people for blogging is a bad branding move”.
Smart Mobs: UK girls use camera-phones to check their hair – poll: “20 percent of mobile users send snaps of themselves in new outfits to friends to see if they like them.” I actually showed my girlfriend my new shoes over IM video today. More good stuff on Picturephoning.
People seem to really want the Google OS to compete with the Microsofts and AOL’s of this world. There are calls for a Google IM client or a Google Browser, and these are not based on rumors of Google working on these projects. They are just “wouldn’t this be cool” kind of ideas.
Google’s “don’t be evil” motto is one of the strongest branding exercises of the decade. What I hope is that this example will lead the way for a wave of realizations (books, gurus) about how large companies that explicitly try to be NOT evil get tons of consumer goodwill. And I hope that in turn, other companies (Coca Cola, Walmart) will start feeling the effects of that. I don’t think we can get rid of large transnational companies. But we need to change their values, at least a little bit.