The Next

" I look up, alarmed, then send an IM about it to my friend Quinn, across the table from me. "Do you hear the marketing droids behind us?" I write. She giggles, staring at her monitor. Folksonomy. It's a taxonomy, or knowledge organization system, created by regular folks who don't have advanced degrees in information science and don't work in libraries. Only in a folksonomy would you ever get results from searching for the tag "sexy geeks." This development alone makes it clear we've learned something since the days.

It turns out they're crafting a PowerPoint presentation for some company whose business model sounds like what we called vaporware in the dot-com era of yore: They plan to "bring the gaming community together" and somehow make money on that. I eavesdrop until I realize with horror that they're the remnants of a dot-com I made fun of in this very column back in 1999: a company called Zupit. I search for, but the site is just a directory full of files I can't access -- there's nothing left of the bubble company that "brings it down to you," as it says on the ancient Zupit schwag pen I have. And yet the company still lives! Its stupid business model still lives! How can this be? Full

“Created by regular folks.” Who “don't have advanced degrees in information science and don't work in libraries.” Right. The web is the perfect engine for creating the illusion of choice while enforcing the greatest tyranny. The perfect Skinnerian box. So many choices, right? Not really. In reality the web and the computer are on great big feedback mechanism. Buy, go, say, do what we want you to do and you are rewarded with dazzling colors sounds and pictures, and if you’re a real junky, that little buzz you get when the screen flashes “order received.” If you IM to people you can call or worse yet talk to – web 2.0 is gong to make a lot of money. Excuse me while I call my broker.