Web 2.0 = prostituting social interaction for fun and profit?

Is there really more to Facebook than a way to profit from my personal interactions?

Nick Carr has a biting post on Facebook's search for monetization. According to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, the future of Facebook may well be to monetize social interactions. I can't wait. What could be better than to have my interactions with "friends" I can't be bothered to hang out with in real life bought and sold?

Nick writes:

I like the way that Zuckerberg considers "media" and "advertising" to be synonymous. It cuts through the bull[potty]. It simplifies. Get over your MSM hangups, granddads. Editorial is advertorial. The medium is the message from our sponsor.

Marketing is conversational, says Zuckerberg, and advertising is social. There is no intimacy that is not a branding opportunity, no friendship that can't be monetized, no kiss that doesn't carry an exchange of value....The social graph, it turns out, is a platform for social graft....

Facebook, which distinguished itself by being the anti-MySpace, is now determined to out-MySpace MySpace. It's a nifty system: First you get your users to entrust their personal data to you, and then you not only sell that data to advertisers but you get the users to be the vector for the ads. And what do the users get in return? An animated Sprite Sips character to interact with.

Surely there's more to Web 2.0 than whoring social data for profit. Right?


A small plea to Web 2.0 wannabes: please find some other way to make money than to shove ads down my throat. I've got Adblock Plus. I don't see them, anyway, and I don't want invasive forms of advertising to take over standard advertising.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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