Noah J Nelson on Friday, Aug. 17th
After what felt like a long dry spell on the innovation front we’ve had quite the busy week on the New Media front. Developers are starting to launch their new platforms– Branch and Medium made splashes this week– and the pundit class has been tossing out all kinds of ideas. If you’ve missed out on the news, we’ll give you a chance to catch up after the jump.
Nationalize Facebook! That’s the battle cry uttered by Phillip Howard in Slate this week. TechDirt’s Mike Masnick doesn’t think much of it but there may be something to the idea of a social network that doesn’t have to spend time chasing ad dollars.
That’s certainly what the people behind App.net think. They’re pulled a round of Kickstarter funding with the eye towards creating a Twitter replacement that is funded by subscription fees. Given that Twitter lowered the hammer this week on developers, making it clear that they see consumer facing third-party clients as a threat to their service, App.net might just be at the right place at the right time.
Once upon a time that’s who the guys behind Diaspora were. They were one of the first darlings of Kickstarter, raising all kinds of money with their vision of a distributed social network infrastructure that could do what Facebook did, only while leaving the means of production on the hands of the users. The project has had all kinds of problems: personality fall outs and the death of one of the founders are the big two. Now they’ve spun off part of the project and released a meme generator. It might only be a component of the larger work, but the collective reaction online this week was pretty much: “All this time and THIS is what you have to show us?”
Meanwhile entrepreneur Anil Dash thinks that we should just get rid of web pages altogether. After all, the trends all point to us consuming content in apps and social media streams, so why deal with ad-encrusted pages in the first place? The future of the web is all about the flow.
When discussing all this last night with some friends right before we recorded a podcast (more on that later) we were musing on why all this seems to be happening now. Why all the launches in the middle of August?
One likely answer: it’s Back to School time. What better chance does a social media company have of becoming the new hotness than right at the beginning of the school year when college and high school students are looking for the next new thing? When IRL social networks are being forged and reformed?
If that’s not the thinking behind this timing, it sure as heck should be.