The Segregated Internet: The Walled Garden that lives among an Open Source Internet Society

A few weeks ago, a few friends of mine, Steven Taylor @stevenltaylor and Martin Byrne @mbyrne2323 had a philosophical and yet cynical discussion about this growing notion of the “Splinternet” which was initally coined by Doc Searles and Rich Tehrani. Thanks to Josh Bernoff of Forrester for bringing this back to light. He referred to a “Web in which content on devices other than PCs, or hidden behind passwords, makes it harder for site developers and marketers to create a unified experience.” Steve was the one who first brought up this notion of the Walled Garden. While it seems we’re playing nice in the sandbox, there are big players who are slowly creating a greater separation for the purposes of wielding greater control in a largely uncontrollable market.

Social, while around for awhile, has been questioned by traditional marketers who need validation of its performance. What has helped unify social sites has been open source that allows the connectedness of platforms that have hoped would also provide more insight into consumer behaviour and navigation cross-platforms and channels. The notion of open source was sharing and allowing individuals to access multiple networks without relying on the management of multiple accounts. I have often parallelled this to the idea turning spaghetti into soup, where users go from site to site seemlessly, sharing same and new connections as they go and creating more bonded relationships.

At least this is how I envisioned the insertion of open source…

But Apple and Facebook, two extremely strong players are making it increasingly difficult to play nice. I’ve developed on Facebook pages and have experienced migraines at their ever-changing policies. Not to mention, Facebook code changes, implemented at the expense of the developer efforts and marketers’ investment dollars, are indicative of a communist regime that has no problems dictating policies, because they claim the population equivalent to the third largest country behind China and India.

Things that tick me off:

  • Facebook,’s policies on doing Facebook Page promotions need the written consent of Facebook.
  • Facebook bends the rules for current advertisers.
  • Marketers are unable to run contest and promotions utilizing Facebook’s native tools — their wall, photo tags, video etc for fear or liability in the event of a malfunction on these tools. This is what really P’s me off. I have been told to build my own “wall”. Well Facebook, that defeats the purpose of amplification if my wall posts won’t be fed into the newsfeed.
  • Facebook Community Pages, which totally confuse the user, and draws attention away from the official page.
  • Google no longer has access to index all web content. Newscorp and Facebook do not disclose all their content to Google.
  • Newspaper sites that closed down their offline are moving to online paid subscription, therefore perpetuating this separation.
  • I know Apple’s been pretty much doing the same thing with HTML5 as the rest of us have gotten used to Adobe Flash.

I actually love the idea of Open Graph that creates a social footprint for all web assets outside of Facebook or other social platforms. But that infers Facebook domination. Google watch out!  (another blog post methinks!)

All this is happening while people like me are still trying to validate the channel. Standardization has still not happened. The IAB doesn’t know how to treat metrics, best practices, etc. The closer we get to creating a stronger community, the harder these companies are working to remove themselves from the mix.

I guess in some ways, if truth be told, there needs to be a few that dominate. Does Apple and Facebook want to be the MSN and Yahoo! during their heyday? And what will happen to the true value of open source? I’m compelled to believe that the masses may demand some sort of conformity but I doubt that will wield any long term effects.

So, I guess we’re witnessing the end of an era….however short-lived!

Here is a recent video that explains this.

Next Generation Media: July 2010 by Dan Calladine

I always rely on Dan to provide some of the most up-to-date data on the emergence of web media. Here is the latest.

Good-bye Action Run Jones: July 15, 2010

I actually meant to write this post the night it happened but a lot has happened since then and I’ve collected my thoughts and wanted to write something that memorialized our beloved hamster, Action Run Jones. That’s what my kids named him when we first brought him home from the pet store January 2009. At first they wanted to name him “Race” to signify his quickness. I suggested another more appropriate name and thus we landed on “Action”.

Action was a quick little guy, pretty independent from the start. Although he was terrified of us in the beginning, he warmed up pretty quickly, although he preferred to run around as opposed to being carried and cuddled. I was always awestruck by his speed and his ability to disappear from site. We were always giving him the much needed space required to expend his energy — sometimes we were not as diligent at keeping an eye on him. The cleaners were the first to experience his disappearing act, having opened his cage just a slight to have a look at him. Before they knew it he had taken off into the open doorway. We were left a somber message later when we returned home. The cleaners were “so sorry” but they looked everywhere for hours and they weren’t able to find action. We had thought his was gone but we kept his cage open, left for dinner, and lo-and-behold when we returned, there he was resting in his cage.

There were a few times that he wound up in the walls. The first time we hammered the walls, hoping the sound would draw him out. After about 8 hours he finally came out, but not after he had made multiple trips to set up second home in that cozy crawl space, complete with cheek-fulls of food and shavings. The second time he ended up in the wall, he happened to find a small hole in our vanity. That hole led to the back of the wall in the upstairs bedroom…. then down to the wall just behind the kitchen. This time it was going to be more challenging. We would have to open up the wall underneath the kitchen cupboards somehow and find him. We had left Action in the wall overnight, hoping he would stay put. the next day Shawn put his ear to the wall, listening for scratching or squeaking — anything that would give us a clue as to where Action was. Then he used a drywall knife and started opening it up. And there he was, just sitting there with a little drywall dust on his face and body. He seemed composed as usual but he was fine. We vowed never to let him out of his cage ever again… yeah, right!

We still let Action run around and gave him license to chew up our downstairs carpets as long as we closed the doors and any potential openings. Once in a while we’d let him run up the stairs, and seemed to do so with finesse. He would always find that perfect spot on the carpet that gave him leverage to pull himself up to the next step. Once he got going he could go up a few stairs within a few seconds. But he also loved to run on the wheel and he could do it for minutes at a time. Apparently, though the amount of food he took in exceeded his daily exercise. So overtime Action became more portly and this slowed him down. But he also got older — I kept forgetting that hamsters don’t live more than a few years — the minutes on the wheel became less and less, and the time on the staircase took longer with more strained effort.

Action was slowing down. By his first birthday, Action started having respiratory problems. You could hear it when he slept and even when he was awake. His breathing was laboured and his exercise “times” found Action, for the most part, in his cage all curled up and cozy among the tissue paper and shavings. He loved to envelop himself in these things when he rested. Over time, rest became more mainstay and Action became more comfortable in this state. He came out of his cage on occasion to run around, but no sooner had he come out, he was drawn back again. Maddie and Nate played less and less with him because he rarely cam out to play. This was a sign for things to come. Soon Action began experiencing other health problems: he had developed an eye infection, and while we were able to nurse it back to somewhat ‘normal’, it was apparent that Action had lost the energy he once had.

Maddie found him after coming home from day camp. Action’s head was by his running wheel and he wasn’t moving. It was strange because he normally slept in the piled-up heap of tissue and shavings in the corner. We had to tell the kids that he was gone. Needless to say it was a difficult night. Shawn convinced the kids to write a good-bye letter to Action. In the meantime, Shawn built a little box to bury our little hamster, which Nathan lovingly labelled, “RIP Action Run Jones”

Here was Madelyn’s Good-bye to Action:

Action, my pet, I loved you oh so much. You meant more than the world to me. You were happy and squeaked and ran like crazy. Not even a quarter of the things you meant to me. Good-bye Action and I forever will love you. Your owner, Madelyn RIP

Here was Nathan’s Good-bye to Action:

Action, you meant everything to me and had so much fun together, we played find action, pat a cake and other fun stuff. I wish I could hold you one more time and play with you one more time! BYE BYE Action you’ll always be in my heart. Love Nathan

We buried Action in his special box the next day — the box filled with some food, some shavings and his favourite chew toy!. We cried one last time and said good-bye.

We love you Action. You were our first pet and you showed us how to love. We’ll see you in Heaven! Love, your family

Look at yourself after watching this

Thanks to @edcabral for bringing this inspirational video to my attention! You made my day Ed!

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