One of my recurring themes has been that we need to get over our loss of privacy. But today, as I was reading Jeff Atwood “Is Email = Efail?” post about the inevitability of email bankruptcy, I clicked through to a post of his from April 2007 entitled “When In Doubt, Make It Public” and in turn to a post by Jason Kottke entitled “Public and permanent“.
There I struck gold. Kottke suggests that a way to come up with a new buisiness model is “to choose web projects is to take something that everyone does with their friends and make it public and permanent.” Here are his examples:
- Blogger, 1999. Blog posts = public email messages. Instead of “Dear Bob, Check out this movie.” it’s “Dear People I May or May Not Know Who Are Interested in Film Noir, Check out this movie and if you like it, maybe we can be friends.”
- Twitter, 2006. Twitter = public IM. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that one of the people responsible for Blogger is also responsible for Twitter.
- Flickr, 2004. Flickr = public photo sharing. Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake said in a recent interview: “When we started the company, there were dozens of other photosharing companies such as Shutterfly, but on those sites there was no such thing as a public photograph — it didn’t even exist as a concept — so the idea of something ‘public’ changed the whole idea of Flickr.”
- YouTube, 2005. YouTube = public home videos. Bob Saget was onto something.
It’s a pretty compelling argument. Rather than wasting effort in a losing battle to protect the remants of our privacy, let’s embrace the efficiency of public conversation.