Archive for February, 2009

Clay Shirky on Categories and Time

Some time ago I commented on the value of folksonomies, and I basically (still) think that tagging can be as valuable as ‘scientific’ categorization schemes such as the Dewey Decimal Classification System.

In the meantime, however, I’ve come across this truly great Clay Shirky clip from 2005. It’s a conference talk on What Time Does to Categories, and one of his conclusions is that user generated indexes like folksonomies may actually prove more durable than its ‘scientific’ predecessors.

Here’s why:

Out with the new, in with the old

For the moment it certainly seems as though the public uproar against Facebook’s recent changes to the Terms of Sevice has had an effect. On his blog Mark ZuckerbergĀ  says that:

A couple of weeks ago, we revised our terms of use hoping to clarify some parts for our users. Over the past couple of days, we received a lot of questions and comments about the changes and what they mean for people and their information. Based on this feedback, we have decided to return to our previous terms of use while we resolve the issues that people have raised.

Very well -at least for now. It’ll be interesting to see exactly how (and if) these issues will be resolved.

I remain sceptical, because Zuckerberg appears to be talking about the change of ToS as an attempt to get rid of what he regards as “overly formal and protective … [language]” in the old ToS.

But this is simply downplaying a genuine disagreement between Facebook and it’s users. The new ToS are suspended, not abolished, and so the question remains: Exactly who owns the content you create on Facebook? You do, for now; but for how long?

Facebook Owns You

If you’re just a teeny weeny bit like me, you don’t like the idea of Facebook owning your content AFTER you’ve closed your account. That’s why I’ve joined this group on… er… Facebook, and you should too.

What’s the fuss? Well, we’ve grown accustomed to owning our content ourselves; that was the deal according to the old Terms Of Service (TOS). But with the new TOS, it’s a different story:

“You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof subject only to your privacy settings or (ii) enable a user to Post, including by offering a Share Link on your website and (b) to use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising, each of (a) and (b) on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof.”

Learn more fromĀ  Erick Schonfeld on TechCrunch.

Update (February 18th, 2009): Over at Slashdot Ian Lamont has news about Facebook’s measures to contain the ToS fallout.

Morrissey’s Years Of Refusal Out Now!

Today is Moz day! The new album Years of Refusal is on sale now, and very soon I’ll be heading out in a beautifully snow clad Copenhagen to get my copy.

Not gonna say very much about it just now, but from the few tracks I’ve heard it seems that there’s more edge to this one than its 2006 predecessor Ringleader Of The Tormentors.

I’m not talking about the strength of the lyrics or the songs, it’s a production thing. Producing a Morrissey album you should be able to appreciate the contradictory instead of trying to abolish it.

Perhaps Jerry Finn, who also produced You Are The Quarry back in 2004, thought so too. At any rate it seems that he has given much more prominence to the band (and most certainly the drummer) than Tony Visconti did on Ringleader Of The Tormentors. It adds friction, and I like that.

So sad that Years Of Refusal was to be Jerry Finn’s last Morrissey album. Finn recently died tragically at age 39.

For more info on downloads and the forthcoming tour check out itsmorrisseysworld.com or simply just have fun on myspace.