Google Spaces and Sharing Blackholes (social media)

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written by owen on 2016-May-20.

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With the launch of Google Spaces I noticed another trend in the "internet of things" future that we are creating. "Sharing black holes" is my new name for web services that collect information but provide no way of getting that information out or pushing it to another service. These tools provide a zero sum situation; they take your data, sell it to others and give you entertainment. A black hole theoretically absorbs everything around it and nothing comes out.

These sharing black holes make it easy for you to share information INTO it but provide no way for you to extract, commoditize, or publish this information - it is like a sandbox in a playground that you bring your toys (in this case text and pictures) but you cannot take them back home with you because they are stuck in the sand of the Internet.

Of course on facebag, google and twitter you can request a data extract of everything you have posted - not an easy task and takes a couple days but you get a big zipped file of stuff - not sure how it looks nowadays - but the option is there if you want it. Most people won't ever need to do this because they do not care about archiving, history or accumulating knowledge. People on the Internet live in a post and forget medium, tommorow people hoping that the future will be better than the present if they wait long enough.

For the archivists among us being able to extract and manipulate ones own content can be a useful feature.        Imagine a comedian who constantly posts funny tweets over a period of years and decides to compile them in a book. If you are going to waste your time you might as well build up a repertoire or portfolio of your interests or talents or something.

However we are all not artists. Most Internet users are just pushing around bytes as a means of stimulation. At present one probably cannot put a value or grade the content which one produces. Like being Mozart in a time before art and music was a thing. Imagine if Mozart wrote all his songs on twitter instead of learning how to compose and write sheet music? A life well wasted. It would be unlikely that Mozart's work would be able to escape the trappings of the medium in which it was created hence s sharing black hole.

Right now the measure of a person on social media as a medium is a number, plusd the rate at which that number increases on any given day. I imagine in the future the people with the most thoughtful likes will get some kind of award for their skillful filtration of pictures, videos and memes. And when they get old they can somehow generate a Gantt chart of all their activities and events. Better yet you could have some kind of interactive virtual reality (VR) tour of your social interactions and that one time at band camp. Even as far as people who read allot of Yahoo news could have a portfolio of their favorite articles to show perspective employers that they are well read - something like books on a shelf or taste in music like a CD collection. A social collection - Social Intelligence (SI).


More of these online services need to provide a structured way for us to make productive use of the time we waste on these services. Sharing cannot be the end game.

As far as Google spaces goes I give it a year before they shelf it. As a tool it seems like a sheet of paper as big as the world while still being nothing more than a sheet of paper. Right now I am searching the internet for invite links "" so that I can see how many spaces I can join before everything gets crazy - because I can. I am sure many people will use it and many people will see "potential" in using it. But for me Spaces is just another black hole that people really hope will bring us cool stuff in the future internet of things. #best_ghost_town_ever

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  1. The internet is always evolving and responds to the needs of its users. In many ways I beleive it is a reflection of our wider society.

    Owen you cannot be one demential in your way of thinking. Thinking as a computer does with "input output storage etc" that's one of the problems with IT people like us and out inability to see beyond the 1's and the 0's. Beleive it or not some people do use social media as throwaway black holes that they care little about where sharing IS the endgame. Can you blame a Google or Facebag for living off of their perceived garbage? A service has NO responsibility to ensure you are productive. That like saying a bag juice must provide proper nutrients to be sold.

    Some of us are creators, artists, teachers, researchers, students, trolls, casuals etc. Again some will care about the value, others the experience, others might just be sheep. Some are a combination of these things or where different hats in different days or stages in life. Try to wrap your mind around the notion of people being different from you who might use/perceive a tool/site very different from your developer/archiver-centric view where EVERYTHING must fit a slot.

    As a blogger I try to go where the users/ viewers will potentially be or attempt to use tools that will attract more eyes to my content. Failure, trial and error etc is all apart of the process. Not every social media product will live and become successful. For every Facebag there is a gazillion Google+s.

    Are some sites totally useless and stained to fail? Maybe. But don't be butthurt because you fell in love with flavour of candy that was discontinued so you cry each time a new flavour is released.

    by Jamaipanese 2016-May-20 

  2. Some of us on the "other side" of the internet: create things that waste other people's time. Millions of hours wasted. I can say this because I am one of those people. And I am always looking for ways to save people time. You see that 3 second animation when you click on your login button on your smartphone? It is wasting your time. Time that you will never get back.
    Time is constant for everyone, it is not an opinion or a preference or a choice, it is not a colour, a flavour or a snowflake on a mountain. The arrow of time is constant. Think on that. The collective wastage of time affects us all in one way or the other. Somethings are just bullshit and in the end all you'll get is emptiness for the time you spent wasting away watching animations. Some things you hold onto and other things you just have to let go in order to live.
    Throwing dumb shit against the wall hoping that in the end it will work out is a waste of time.

    by owen 2016-May-21 

  3. So Google spaces has been discontinued on April 17, 2017 only a year after it was launched. Unfortunately they have failed to cure cancer or do more than collect the data on millions of users, friends and family members. All that time and potential down the drain. Anyways, So what now? What will we hype up next? Facebook's 'Spaces' VR ?

    by owen 2017-Apr-19