Red herring (idiom), a deliberate attempt to divert attention
Now at last something came from Facebook itself. Finally Mr Sean Parker bookfaced guy happen to produce some kind of meaningful (in his/their view) vision of the future of the Internet which incidentally nearly amounts to the declaration of war.
Sean Parker's Web 2.0 Summit Presentation
But first things first. The most impressive and perhaps the most reasonable bit was about the Data portability thing. It might seem strange but I am personally very angry with DataPortability guys myself. How could they waste such a brilliant idea and loose all of the opportunities to do at least something? Arrrrghhhhh! But we are not talking about Dataportability as a project (which turned out to be a definite failure). Let’s talk about the very idea of user data portability.
On his side it was certainly a smart move of course as indeed the technicality of the problem can be solved using adaptors and converters. But wait a sec. – you have to have something to adapt and convert first of all. All this could only happen when you have access to data. So, in a way data portability as a standard, as a protocol is only instrumental for opening networks and allowing access to data. If all over sudden all networks would make their data available and open and we are a way away from it now, than still remarkably there would be a need for some kind of unified approach to data sharing. Instead of multiple converters and adapters it is much more reasonable to come up with a simple and expandable standard. And this I believe shall happen anyway as soon as there will be some data open for sharing... But it isn’t today.
So to stimulate the process of opening we might use something like unfortunately nonexistent data portability standard or data portability protocol to force networks open their data. I am sure if such a standard emerges prior to user data become open and will be accepted by at least one of those big guys it will eventually achieve a snowball effect. So, that is the whole point of data portability and not those technicalities of converters and adapters.
Now to the really important thing; the whole presentation is spinning around just one idea –he opposes two things: data and connections. We kind of understand what data is but he never bothered to define what a connection is. And here is where the real red herring can be discovered.
So, what is that valuable connection that is so much more precious than data?
Is it something like a wire coming from one house to another, in other words a potential that can or can not be actualised or is it an actual telephone conversation and it is exist only while it lasts? So what kind of connection we are talking about? Are we talking about creating a grid? Well you can cover all country with huge electrical grid but for as long as you don’t have power stations your electrical grid will remain useless. You need something to flow over those lines. Those lines must be alive. Otherwise your connections are not connections they just plain data.
The Q is what connections are? What are they?
If you cover the whole town with telephone lines and your town is populated predominantly by mute and deaf people so far your connection goes. They can’t use it! They won’t use it. You see? ;-) So, connection can only count when actual users use them and not as a sheer number of telephone lines as this is only a potential for connection. It only counts when someone actualises this connection, when someone write an email, message, when someone does something over those lines. Otherwise your connections is just the same old dataset.
Connection can only be valuable when it happens.
You go to FB, you make friends with John, Dick and Rosie and… you go away and you never log in into your FB – what is the value of those connections? Nothing! Apart from its plain static data value. You might have 50000 friends and talk only with one person. The rest are dead connections. They exist only as data.
He is trying to be provocative; he is trying, superficially, to fuel the perceived war between FB and Google. Pointless because what are we talking about? Google which doesn’t position itself as network provider and FB that is just social network. You can’t compare eagles to cars.
If he worries about strategic development happening in Google, I’m sure, without his assistance Google realises their weaknesses and is about to acquire one or another social network or networks very soon (if it is not done already under the carpet). Comparing datasets will definitely be not in favour of FB aside that this whole game is a bit boyish. Grow up! Googles’s is bigger :P! As for the actual connection value – don’t red herring me! Only those live connections can be counted as valuable and the rest, you know, they are not connections, they are data!
If you look at the substance he didn’t say anything that we didn’t know. He said that people are searching less. Good for them! They are communicating instead. Brilliant! It is only surprising that he happens to realise this fact just now. Well, ok. He said that … Google and FB are two different things… Well I suspected this for a long time and now when I finally found a confirmation you cannot overestimate the degree of my excitement – surprisingly they are not the same! So what? Google is not on the way to become FB and it would be a bit misguided to suppose that FB ever becomes Google. He is trying to say that FB cooler than Google! Good for you!
Google is dull and boring and doing plain boring job delivering search results.
Of course it is not cool.
FB is cooler.
Loads of friends and you may even occasionally find some porn! The problem is that FB is not the only place where you could find friends and some porn. That is the only problem with FB. And this is why FB will never become the king of the Internet. SO, keep your red herrings for yourself – fox hunting is about to be outlawed anyway.