Amazon Goes DRM Free: this is all well and good if Amazon can get this off the ground. They have yet to prove that their insanely good e-commerce model translates to digital distribution models. I’d be interested to see how they integrate this as well, with their existing store. The coolest thing about Amazon for me is not so much the experience of shopping nor their inventory, but the fact that they treat their entire ecosystem like one big OS/Application instead of an atomic store front.
Social Networks are the new black: Witness Truemors, or even Angling Masters. Just like User Generated Content, we continue to see the arbitrary implementation of “social” features as a land-grab mechanism for audience. The thought is that through engagement through the net-effect of social scaling (ie, networks, commenting, etc) you’ll ensure sustainability of your audience. Its slightly mis-guided. Yes, the use of “social” features is important, but it always has been, and its never had to be stratified into packaged solutions, quantified additions to existing websites or a marketing talking point. The Internet was founded on a user-centric model, in that content and identity was inexorably linked to the identity of the user powering it. The entire idea of the Internet was the net-effect of mass communication, never singular experience. I don’t as of yet understand why the concept of “social” and “community” needs to be so semantically defined through marketing specific feature-sets. It should just be there.
Wither Community: A lot of discussion around the web seems to be about managing community. It used to be the online community was a defined thing, endemic to discussion boards and MOO’s and MUD’s and the ilk. Because they were defined environs, the discourse around them was predicated on the notions of defined boundaries between the individual communities, and a defined sense as to what the “community” as a whole was. With community as a concept diffusing itself out, and rooting itself not around the profile or posts, but blogs, profiles, and an abstract representation of the computer user through various means, the discourse has failed to adopt. It seems therefor that a lot of the mistakes made before are being made again, and there isn’t a Howard Rheingold, Sherry Turkle, Amy Jo Kim et al to figure out the method to the madness. We’re in that in between stage. Who wants to rise to the challenge?