There Is A World Wide Web Outside The Social Network
04 July 2014
OK, so we have a vested interest as Web Designers and Developers, but there’s no better time than now to kick the Social Network habit and broaden your horizons.
Recently Facebook have admitted that they ran experiments adjusting users emotion based on the content fed through to them. It can be argued that this is no different to the A/B testing (sending different content to users based on a number of variables) that goes on throughout the Marketing industry online. Online Advertising and Marketing works because it plays with your emotions, nothing new there. The key difference here is that it was used for an academic study and this requires user consent.
What this story does is highlight who is controlling your content. It doesn’t matter if you are a business or individual. Facebook has admitted that it is manipulating what users see. The old adage “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” rings true once again.
We are working on solutions to these problems with the issues of ownership and control. We mentioned it a couple of weeks ago and this latest news only serves to highlight the need to promote diversity of ideas online and come up with solutions that put the users in complete control of the flow of information they send and recieve.
To do our part here’s a few websites that we love visiting:
- Longform: Longform is a fantastic site for new, original non-fiction. Integrates really nicely with your favourite reading app (Kindle, Instapaper, Pocket etc)
- Metafilter: This is a site I’ve visited at least weekly for the past 15 years. Great links to the best of the web and discussions based on those websites. One of the original web communities.
- Quora: Got a question, ask Quora. It’s a questions and answers site frequented by the likes of Stephen Fry, Jimmy Wales and a bunch of other smart people.
- BBC: Sure, we all complain that it’s half the service it used to be but it’s still one of the best web sites out there!
- NASA: I lose hours on this site. The content available is overwhelming.
- Stack Overflow: When programmers have spent long enough bashing their heads against a wall they visit stack overflow. A great community that can solve pretty much any programming error.
- Wikipedia: I still remember as a kid staring with awe at a friends Encyclopedia Brittanica (best thing I had was 1001 facts for kids or something like that). Knowledge is now free and accessible like never before.
- Feedly: I’m probably very much in the minority when it comes to using RSS feeds to expand my reading material. This site makes it easy to create your own news feeds without needing to understand the nitty gritty of RSS.
That’s just a few of the top of my head. The important thing is to get outside (the network) and explore.