Category Archives: Internet

How did we manage to live before….

For a couple of years now it’s been my habit to wind down the working day by logging onto all my social media sites at the same time and catching up on everything as I finish my work day.

Online social media has made itself ubiquitous and to some degree almost inescapable in the last 3 or 4 years.  You can log into your social media accounts in so many ways that it almost seems that you can’t get away from it.

If you have some sort of event or some sort of business that is in any way related to the internet it is almost compulsory for you to become involved in social media.  Even if you’re just an individual you are almost obliged to get on and find out what all your friends are doing else you risk falling behind in the latest events and not knowing what is happening in your little social domain.

Lately however it has been become overwhelming.  Disasters, news events, the elections, gossip, they all get bandied about by one contact or another on social media sites.  You see the same piece regurgitated in a seemingly endless stream of story overload.  Then of course comes the incisive commentary from your contact list.  People on the left, on the right, people from one group and another.  Lastly comes all the fighting and bickering.

And of course a friend of a friend (and possibly of a friend) posts about some tragedy in their life.  I want to empathize with their plight but when you have so many people on your news feed demanding your attention it all becomes too much to process and I feel that it actually drains my emotional batteries to the point that I just don’t want to know any more.

I feel like these social media sites aren’t so much communicating with me as they are yelling at me.

So I just left.  At first it was for nothing more than just to get away from it all and take an online vacation.  To let all the cyber babble die down and give my mind a break.

Surprisingly it was easy.  I thought I would want to constantly check and get updates but I found that the first day went off pretty much without any hassle at all.  I can’t say that I found a ton of “extra time” or made great personal discoveries by being by myself.  I didn’t even take time to wonder how easy it had been to not log in. It was just, quiet.

Instead of logging in I read, I watched a couple of movies on Netflix, “The big short”, a highly entertaining and thoughtful movie.  I just went about my daily life without the nagging feeling that I was missing out on something by not checking in.

By day 3 however something curious happened.  Social media missed me.  Not the individual people mind you.  I don’t think they even noticed I was gone honestly.  No, the social media websites themselves started sending me emails and telling me how many new notices and notifications had happened since I had last logged in.  Another website sent me suggestions for new people to follow that I might enjoy reading about.

By day 4 I had accumulated 99 notifications and then the spam emails kept repeating themselves.  Apparently 99 notifications is the upper limit the programmers set.  Perhaps they couldn’t believe that someone would let more than 99 notifications go by without checking in.

The only time I was somewhat tempted to log in and post something was when I went to a cafe on the east side of Houston and I wanted to post a picture of the cafe.  But as I sat in the cafe I began to think about this and wonder.  Does posting about the cafe experience make the experience any better?  Why share everything?

Andes Cafe

Andes Cafe

I had decided somewhere at the beginning of the “experiment” to come back in a week.  A week passed and I found I had absolutely no desire to log back in.  I was somewhat apprehensive to tell the truth.  I finally relented about ten days in and logged back in.

Like someone coming back from vacation that has a mailbox stuffed with letters, I had to wade through all my old notifications and messages.  After about 2 minutes I just hit the “read” button on everything.  Nothing had changed.  I honestly don’t know what I expected to have changed.

Perhaps one thing that has changed is that I no longer feel that having an online presence is as de rigueur as I once thought that it was.  A world without social media is not unimaginable.

I will continue to log in but I no longer feel as invested into the whole social media experience.  I don’t feel that I have to share every moment in my life or react to everyone’s news anymore.

You can live your life off the net quite well and find a satisfying life.  You can leave.

The right to be forgotten and the crumbling protection of free speech around the world

Just when you think the crazy train ran out of tracks they go and build an extension out to the crazytown suburbs…

I mean it would have been ludicrous back in the 80s to think let alone propose that blatant censorship and the alteration of databases would be something that we would want to do for good reasons, right?  There’s no such thing as a memory hole after all.

The “right to be forgotten”.  Back in the early part of the century some plaintiffs in Europe found to their dismay that their criminal and otherwise infamous past continued to live on digitally in the form of news stories and articles preserved on the internet and that search engines could magically whisk users off to find these less than savory tidbits just by typing a few keywords.

So a few European plaintiffs banded together and sued Google, the biggest search engine in the planet, and won a case against them and forced them to take down the links to the pages where the plaintiffs misdeeds continued to live on.  The suit of course only worked for search engine results in Europe.  In any other part of the planet you could still find this information.

Not satisfied with this a french government agency called the CNIL has now asked Google to make the results disappear globally.  Google of course gave the CNIL the finger and said no, so the whole thing is going back into court.

This of course is only part of the worldwide epidemic of censorship that seems to be in vogue lately.  Try typing in certain key phrases in a certain country about a certain recent historical event and watch nothing appear.

China, Tiananmen square, 1989.

Happy?  I just lost 1.7 billion potential readers.

Think we’re immune in America?  Look up CISA or SOPA or PIPA or COICA.  All laws supposedly intended to protect one thing or another and all of them curtailing freedom of speech in some form.

The internet, what was once the digital equivalent of the open range and the last wild frontier, is rapidly becoming as closely regulated and monitored as any piece of government-owned property.

All the mad and ridiculous musings of the George Orwells of yesteryear are coming to pass.  They’re not coming in openly harsh and repressive packaging but in soft are ill-defined laws meant as “protection” or “privacy” laws.  No matter what you decide to call them however they are coming.

fine line

I was watching what was supposed to be a travel show about Chicago the other day.  The premise was two friends from out-of-town visiting another friend and he would show them some of the best parts of the city.

The drove around some of the landmarks and some of the hidden gems of the city and they did it in a shiny new SUV.  After the second “subtle” view of the SUV it became painfully obvious this was nothing more than a car ad disguised as a travel log.

I showed it to some Chicagoans and they said they had never heard of some of these landmarks and restaurants and that Chicago had better places to offer.

So not only was this a badly disguised advertisement for a car but it didn’t even live up to its premise of being a travel log.

Of course this is not a new form of advertising.  People have been trying to slip in product placements into such shows for ages and it’s not even a new phenomena on the internet.  I ran across this type of advertising about 9 years ago when an American car company ran a series of soap opera type vignettes about some twentysomethings featuring their car.

I have nothing against this sort of advertising as long as it’s done right.  This ad however broke a few cardinal rules.

1. Do what you promise to do.  If you’re going to pose as a travel show then do some travel show research.  If you pretend to be a soap opera then hire some decent writers to write a compelling storyline.  Deliver the value that you promise.

2. Don’t go overboard on the product placement.  Sure the client might want to make every shot feature the product but that’s not how things work.  No one wants to see that.  Work the product into the storyline.  Find a way.  Don’t just shove it in people’s faces.

3. Whatever your method, make it entertaining.  Whether you’re going for funny, suspenseful, sexy, whatever.  You need to treat this as anything but an advertisement.

We are making a transition as a culture away from the old forms of entertainment like TV, radio, and movies onto the internet.  While advertising has made great strides in adapting itself to this new media it still has a way to go to fit the sharper, more mobile, and less attentive audience.

The company that comes up with a working formula that addresses the needs of the internet audience will have a great advantage in the years to come.

The perils of technology

I was at a convention recently and the organizers had come out with a downloadable application (app) for people to use in lieu of paper programs.  For the most part the app was a huge success.  The organizers were able to update the information as events required and people got to where they wanted to be.

One slight hitch was that a couple of panels at the convention kept getting switched from room to room or were postponed.  So people had to keep an eye on those panels and some people wound up going to the wrong rooms at the wrong time either cause their app had not updated or they were relying on old information.

A fairly benign glitch to be sure but then again some technological glitches can be more serious.  In other news a car, supposed to be able to avoid collisions, hit several reporters that were there to witness the unveiling.  The car maker claimed that the car was not fitted with pedestrian detection capabilities.  Even though a human was at the wheel he did not brake for the pedestrians because the car did not detect them.

Something fundamentally disturbing about that.  A human operator relying more on the car sensors than his own eyes and not braking.  But I think this is indicative of a trend that I see more and more around me.  People seem to have this innate trust in technology.

We tend to see something new and assume that it is intrinsically good or perfect.  Technology is neither good nor bad, it just is.  What we do with it once it is in our hands gives it context.  Maybe it’s just middle-aged me talking and maybe my parents felt the same way about “new” technologies when I was young.  Maybe it’s been the same story since the beginning of time but I don’t think so.

I think the trend has accelerated in the last ten years.  People, particularly younger people, tend to rely more and more on their technology and less and less on their own judgment and wits.  Hopefully the trend is an aberration and can be reversed.

I would hate to see the day come when we believe more in machines than we do in mankind.

you are not the sum of your internet identity

I am seeing more and more people being miserable online.

I don’t know if it’s just the time of year or something that has happened lately or maybe I just didn’t notice it but I am seeing this more and more online.

Not just on Facebook (although that’s the primary source) but on other social channels.  A sense of true dissatisfaction with one’s personal life.  People complaining that they’re going nowhere and not doing what they want to do.

I think it’s the reason why I am paying less and less attention to social media lately.  I still log on but I barely pay attention to the social media tabs anymore.

I asked two people privately why they were feeling so low and their answer was essentially that they saw the good news posted by their friends online and felt that their own accomplishments or lack thereof made them feel inadequate by comparison.  They also felt that if they couldn’t “keep up” or contribute their own accomplishments at a steady rate that they were not living a worthwhile life.


One of the flaws of the internet age is that people project themselves.  Life online and offline can be radically different.  People choose to project themselves in one way or another and it may not reflect reality.

Reminds me of a discussion I had with a high school classmate.  We were discussing going to the 20th high school reunion and he said  he would not go.  I asked him why and he said a lot of people will buy fancy clothes and rent expensive cars to make themselves look more prosperous than they really were.

I think we all do this in a way.  I know that I don’t share all my bad news and I’ve had a good dose of it this year but I don’t like to share it online.  What would be the point to share that with mainly acquaintances?  My friends know my problems already.

What I’d rather do is share positive news and hopefully cheer up or maybe even inspire positive change in people.

But I think even I have to realize that we are not the sum of all these posts online.  We are living, breathing, people.  We have to learn to see beyond the tweets and Facebook posts.

we have to make our real lives more important than our online lives.


[Author’s note:  This is a reprint of a popular internet post from the 1990’s.  The Author is anonymous and most probably lost to history.  It involves game play in a MUD (multi user dungeon).  MUDs allowed you to play against other people on the then primitive internet.  Back before the web you could play online games but you had to use your imagination.  All gameplay was text-based.  This is where I got my first taste of playing online against other computer users.  This is what a trip to Denny’s might look like if it happened in a MUD]


You have entered Denny’s.
You say, ‘Hail Denny’s hostess’
Denny’s hostess says ‘Hello, Tom. Welcome to Denny’s. [Smoking] or [non-smoking]?’
You say, ‘non-smoking’
You say, ‘I would like non-smoking please’
You say, ‘what about non-smoking’
Denny’s hostess says ‘Right this way, please.’
You are out of food and drink.
Corey shouts, ‘has anyone seen the waiter?’
Gary shouts, ‘no and ive been camping him for a half hour’
You are out of food and drink.
Ester shouts, ‘I see him’
Corey shouts, ‘dont kill him, i still have to do the order quest’
You are hungry.
You are thirsty.
You are out of food and drink.
You say, ‘Hail Denny’s waiter’
Denny’s waiter says ‘Hello, Tom. You look like you could use some [coffee]’
You say, ‘Yes I’ll have some coffee’
You say, ‘what about coffee’
Denny’s waiter says ‘Ah, excellent! We have [regular] and [decaf].’
You say, ‘I will have some decaf’
You say, ‘what about decaf’
You say, ‘what about decaffeinated coffee’
Denny’s waiter says ‘I expected nothing less of you. Here, take this.’
You gain experience!
Your faction standing with Juan Valdez got better
You drink your coffee.
You were hit by non-melee for 39 dmg
YOU are burning!
You shout, ‘Ow hehe this coffee’s hot’
Karen shouts, ‘Haha u sux0r’
You are hungry.
You are out of food.
Annoying kid says ‘Pikachuuuuuu’
Annoying kid tries to hit YOU, but misses!
Annoying kid tries to hit YOU, but misses!
Annoying kid hits YOU for 3 points of damage.
Auto-attack on.
You hit Annoying kid for 17 points of damage.
You hit Annoying kid for 22 points of damage.
You have slain Annoying kid!
Your faction standing with Disciplineless Mothers got worse
Your faction standing with Denny’s Customers got better
Your faction standing with The World at Large got better
Annoying kid’s corpse0 says ‘My mother will avenge my death!’
You receive 3 copper as your split.
You are hungry.
You are out of food.
Disciplineless mother says ‘Your actions and history are a personal affront to all I stand for.’
Disciplineless mother begins casting a spell.
Disciplineless mother pet is enveloped in flames.
Off-duty police officer says ‘Hey! No pets in the building!’
Disciplineless mother pet hits YOU for 18 points of damage.
Off-duty police officer hits Disciplineless mother for 287 points of damage.
Off-duty police officer hits Disciplineless mother for 234 points of damage.
Off-duty police officer kicks Disciplineless mother for 27 points of damage.
Disciplineless mother is slain by Off-duty police officer!
Disciplineless mother pet hits YOU for 12 points of damage.
Off-duty police officer hits Disciplineless mother pet for 262 points of damage.
Off-duty police officer was burned.
Disciplineless mother pet is slain by Off-duty police officer!
Off-duty police officer says ‘Let this be a lesson, that none can withstand the wrath of the San Diego Department of Public Safety.’
You are hungry.
You are out of food.
You say, ‘Hail Denny’s waiter’
Denny’s waiter says ‘Can I get you some more [coffee]?’
You say, ‘No, I want to place my order’
You say, ‘Can I place my order?’
You say, ‘Let me place my order ******!’
Denny’s waiter says ‘Ah, would you like to try our [Grand Slam Breakfast]?’
You say, ‘I will have the grand slam breakfast’
Denny’s waiter says ‘How would you like your [eggs]?’
You say, ‘scrambled’
You say, ‘I would like them scrambled’
You say, ‘what about eggs’
Denny’s waiter says ‘You can have [scrambled eggs] or [fried eggs].’
You say, ‘I will have scrambled eggs’
Denny’s waiter says ‘Excellent, would you like anything to drink? Some [orange juice], perhaps?’
You say, ‘I will have orange juice’
You say, ‘what about orange juice’
Denny’s waiter says ‘Our orange juice is fresh squeezed from concentrate.’
You say, ‘give me orange juice’
Denny’s waiter says ‘Okay, I’ll be right back with your orange juice.’
You gain experience!
You are hungry.
You are out of food.
Gordon shouts, ‘Attention, your bacon is now raw, because fully-cooked bacon lacks the inherent risks associated with our Vision of Bacon.’
Lawrence shouts, ‘Wait a minute, this bacon hasn’t been cooked for months’
Gordon shouts, ‘Uhh… yes it has.’
Robert shouts, ‘You kidding? We’ve been complaining about this stuff being raw for ages’
Gordon shouts, ‘Uh, whatever.’
Gordon shouts, ‘Oh.’
Gordon shouts, ‘uh…. I’ve just been informed that the bacon has been raw for several months now, but we were unable to determine this until we fixed a bug with the pancakes, which were previously large enough to obscure the bacon.’
Gordon shouts, ‘… Oh, yeah, we nerfed your pancakes too.’
Denny’s waiter says ‘Here is your breakfast, Tom.’
You gain experience!
Your faction standing with Denny’s Customers got worse
Scrambled eggs looks at you threateningly – what would you like your tombstone to say?
You taste your eggs.
You are chilled to the bone.
You shout, ‘oh man my eggs are cold’
Robert shouts, ‘petition a manager then’
You petition, ‘my scrambled eggs are cold’
Kevin shouts, ‘Ack train to restroom!!!’
Thom says, ‘Lynn, I still can’t believe you can eat this stuff’
Denny’s waiter says ‘Here is your breakfast, Lynn.’
Lynn begins to cast a spell.
Lynn is protected from poison.
Lynn says, ‘I always come prepared’
You shout, ‘Man, where’s the manager’
Karen shouts, ‘Haha u pteitond a managr u sux0r’
George tells you, ‘Greetings, Tom, I am George, the Denny’s manager. How can I assist you?’
You tell George, ‘my scrambled eggs are cold’
George tells you, ‘I will be with you as soon as possible, please stay patient’
You sip your coffee.
A cool breeze slips through your mind.
George says, ‘Greetings, Tom. Are your eggs still cold?’
You say, ‘yes’
George begins to cast a spell.
Scrambled eggs burst into flame.
George says, ‘Take care’
Michelle says, ‘Ack, I don’t feel so well’
Michelle begins to cast a spell.
Alka-Seltzer staggers.
Michelle staggers.
Michelle beams a smile at Alka-Seltzer.
Michelle says, ‘Ahhh, I feel much better now…’
Denny’s waiter says ‘Here, let me clear that away for you.’
You say, ‘Hey, wait, that’s my food, I’m not done yet….’
You shout, ‘Hey, this waiter took my food’
Corey shouts, ‘Yep, they do that sometimes if you let your food sit there’
You say, ‘Hail Denny’s waiter’
Denny’s waiter says ‘Hello there, Tom, how can I help you?’
You say, ‘Check please’
Denny’s waiter says ‘Okay, here you go.’
You gain experience!
You say, ‘Hail Denny’s cashier’
Denny’s cashier says ‘Hello there, would you like to pay your [check]?’
You say, ‘Yes I want to pay my check’
You say, ‘what about my check’
Denny’s cashier says ‘You must give me the check before I can reveal more to you.’
Denny’s cashier says ‘Ah, excellent! Would you like to know your [total]?’
You gain experience!
Your faction standing with Denny’s Cashiers got better
You say, ‘what is my total’
Denny’s cashier says ‘Your total is 6 gold, 7 silver, 9 copper. Will you be paying with a [MasterCard]?’
You say, ‘yes I will use a mastercard’
Denny’s cashier says ‘Unfortunately your MasterCard is over-limit. Would you prefer to pay with [cash]?’
Your faction standing with MasterCard got worse
Your faction standing with Cheesy-*** High-Interest-Rate Credit Card Companies got better
You say, ‘yes I will pay with cash’
Denny’s cashier says ‘Your total is 6 gold, 7 silver, 9 copper then.’
You gain experience!
You receive 2 silver.
You receive 1 copper.
Denny’s waiter says ‘You have stiffed me on my tip for the last time!’
Denny’s waiter crushes YOU for 217 points of damage!
Denny’s waiter crushes YOU for 204 points of damage!
Denny’s waiter hits YOU for 226 points of damage!
Denny’s waiter tries to hit YOU, but misses!
Denny’s waiter bashes YOU for 74 points of damage!
You are stunned.
Denny’s waiter crushes YOU for 189 points of damage!
You are bleeding to death!
Denny’s waiter crushes YOU for 221 points of damage!
You have been slain by Denny’s waiter!
You are no longer stunned.
You have entered Verant.
You shout, ‘Can I get a SOW? My corpse is all the way over in Denny’s’
Karen shouts, ‘Haha u sux0r’

Does SPAM still work?

I’ve been online now for over a quarter century.  I was there when the vote was taken to allow commercial traffic onto the internet.  I even remember some of the early and primitive websites that first popped up and nowadays would hardly qualify as a website.

All through this time I had email accounts and for a good portion of that time I’ve had to deal with SPAM.  That unwanted and now largely ignored mass communication method made possible by the ability of the internet to send “free” and “unlimited” numbers of electronic mail messages to recipients all around the world.

This form of advertising is now on the decline but still serious and pervasive enough to bother a great number of people all around the world.  Most countries now have anti-spamming legislation which makes this type of communication increasingly the purview of criminals seeking to infect the computers of unwary people with malware or peddling illegal items.

I should say however that some countries do still allow spam and that some forms of emails that are annoying may be thought of as spam even though they are not technically spam.  It is this category that I want to discuss.

Why do business people, rational people I’m sure, think that this shotgun approach to advertising will work?  Sending out untargeted, unwanted, and somewhat random emails out into a general population that most certainly did not ask for this sort of attention is prone to incur the wrath of the recipient.  So why do it?

I think it is fairly clear that the general population has gained a level of technical sophistication in the last decade.  Certainly the terms: virus, spam, and scam, are not unknown to most people.  I have to imagine that most people will react negatively to the arrival of such emails to their inbox.  So with that thought in mind, is it really a worthwhile exercise to engage in this practice anymore?

I mean at best most people will do what I do, which is ignore these emails completely.  Those people who are really annoyed may take hostile action such as tracking down those responsible and reporting those responsible to their internet providers.

Further in the last few years online advertising has embraced social media and grown in sophistication that allows advertisers to more selectively target their message to the “right” audience.

So with so much going against it and with much better ways to spend their advertising dollars, why do people still persist in this practice?

Useful links

Stipulated.  This is a bit of a filler post.  Woke up feeling somewhat off.  Not physically, just my mood.  A somewhat anxious and/or depressed mood, so I threw something together at the last second.  Somewhat interesting but really not up to snuff.  Maybe by Wednesday I will be back on form.


So the internet is supposed to be this big wonderland where you can find or do anything but lets face it most of us don’t look past Twitter and Facebook and 2 or 3 other websites.

To make your internet experience  a bit fuller here’s some of the better links out there

Google –  –  Ok this is a no brainer.  Its like the king of the web, anything you want to find is here.  Bing and Yahoo can protest all they want and I admit Google has done some dubious things in the past few years but still.

Wikipedia – – this is an online encyclopedia.  If you ever wondered what the exact atomic weight of Strontium was or just what the name of Cristina Aguillera’s second album was, it’s all here

Reuters – – although most people prefer CNN i find Reuters to be more impartial with more hard news and less gossip type stuff

CIA fact book – – facts about every country in the world.  So if you’re going to Turkmenistan next week you better read up on it.

Things to do –  – if you’re looking for something to do in your city this is a pretty good link to start looking in.

Time – – if you need to know the exact time

time converter – – if you want to call your friend in Australia check here first and make sure it’s not 3 AM

international calling – – if you call that guy you better know how to dial

Travel – – Somewhat pedestrian but reliable.

movies – – trying to remember the name of that actor in a movie you saw 20 years ago? it’s probably listed in here

Just a few things to make your lives easier.


Protecting yourself online

I sometimes look at my friends on social media and wonder how they haven’t had more problems before.  I look at their profiles and they share so much stuff that it boggles the mind.

If you ever do a search on yourself you will be amazed at what you find with even the most lazy search.  I’ve found lists of my old addresses, phone numbers, possible relatives, even the value of my house.  That’s just for basic information.  Who knows what is out there available for a small fee!

Add to that the fact that people will post all sorts of private details online and accept friend requests from anyone and I just can’t believe that people live like this.

So some basic tips for staying safe online.

1.  User names.  Unless absolutely necessary never use your full name for usernames or email addresses.  You’ve no clue how useful that is to hackers and various other online predators.  Use abbreviations of your name, use pseudonyms.  Never use partial numbers from your social security number or drivers license or address in your username or address.

2. Restrict access.  All social media now has privacy features.  Use these features.  Don’t let just anyone peruse all your details.  Even persons close to you don’t need to know everything.

3. Cleanup.  Maybe you have an ancient account that you never use, maybe a photo or article from some event held ten years ago lists your birth date or address or some bit of personal information.  Go online and do a deep search.  Not just on one search engine but several.  Delete those old accounts if you don’t need them anymore.  Try to remember old emails too and delete them as well.  Most websites will gladly edit out details on old articles for you if you ask.  Sure it takes time but it would take more time to clean up the mess that a hacker could create from impersonating you.

4.  Catfishing.  Someone will contact you and pretend that they know an old friend.  Then they hit you up for a loan or to go into business with them or worse.  Follow up this reference with that supposed mutual friend.  Ask for other details.  If they really are a friend of a friend then they shouldn’t mind a few questions.

5.  Live offline more.  Online sites are great for connecting with other people but they shouldn’t be the be all end all of your life.  Connect online but live offline.

youtube, facebook, twitter and the rise of the new media model

Entertainment, communications, and advertising have been changing in the last 15 years as never before.  They are set to change even more radically in the next five to ten years.

The tried and true models of yesteryear; TV networks, movies, radio, sports, and the music industry have all been shaken to their foundations by the rise of the internet.  Some have adapted better than others and some are on the edge of extinction.

The power of a single internet event to reach out to millions and even tens of millions of people at a time is now undeniable.  How people, companies, and even governments harness that power is what is being debated and shaped at the moment.  The one’s that figure out how to utilize and monetize this force will be the winners in this bonanza.  The losers will fade into history and become little more than Wikipedia entries.

Facebook and Twitter have been publicly battling it out for the last few years.  Both are scrambling to add more and more people to their rolls and trying to capture people’s attention. YouTube also is also adding more people to their rolls but in a much quieter fashion.

All three are depending more and more on the mobile market.  The mobile versions of these sites all have advertising in one form or another.  Ads come in the form of static and unobtrusive side ads or full screen ads played before the featured content comes on.

In Facebook and Twitter you actually have to pay to promote your posts to appear to a wider audience but you don’t have the guarantee that people will actually click on your ad to see what you sell or do.

In YouTube the ads come in the form of the television ads that we all are familiar with.  These ads are either a minutes long ad that can be bypassed after 5 seconds or an ad that is 30 seconds or less that can’t be bypassed.  In order to catch the viewer’s attention, the advertisers have become very creative.  They take ads that on TV would be 1 to 2 minutes long and shrink them down to make their case in seconds and keep the person engaged.  The static ads in Twitter and Facebook don’t do this.

Another thing I have had pointed out to me is that in Facebook and Twitter the users take on the role of bait for advertising by creating content for others to come in and see or they’re potential targets for that advertising.  Other than getting access to the site they are not compensated for their content.

YouTube actively engages with the public in a different way.  YouTube of course wants people to click on ads, but content creators can be incentivized to create content.  YouTuber’s can monetize their content.  With persistence and creative content you could actually make YouTube into a full time job.  Further if you get a sponsor then you’ve really got it made.

Another thing I have been admiring lately about YouTube has been their attempts to organize their main content providers (channels) and get them to create new content, cooperate, and exchange ideas with each other.  In particular I have been amazed by 3 YouTubers.

Hannah Hart, Mamrie Hart, and Grace Helbig are three twenty somethings that each have followings in the hundreds of thousands.  They regularly appear in each others videos, they film each other, support each other, and just recently they parlayed their success into a feature-length film sold on their channels and only available online.

Recently one of them, Grace Helbig, left her old YouTube channel (owned by another group) to work on her own channel.  She basically left the  channel with 2.4 million subscribers to start from scratch.  As of mid February 2014 she is back up to 1.5 million subscribers and adding people all the time.  This at a time when conventional TV viewership is dropping.

It’s not only YouTube that is creating original content.  Other online powerhouses are creating content for online customers.  NetFlix, Hulu, and Amazon are also getting into the game by creating original online content and shows.  Some of it supported by advertising dollars and some by subscription fees.

Are Facebook and Twitter taking note?  Sort of.  Twitter has Vine and Facebook has Instagram. Both have short video formats that will be perfect for the mobile market advertising formats.  If advertisers are clever enough then they should be able to make use of these short formats to sell their goods.

But I am really liking what I am seeing out of YouTube.  The idea that talented people who were previously just viewers and unappreciated content creators can now monetize their content and become a part of the process is really appealing to me.  It’s not all sunshine of course.  YouTube still takes about 45% of the advertising revenue stream (which some content creators consider extremely high) but it’s something that can be adjusted over time.

As we move more and more into this digital age where ideas and thought are becoming more and more important, I think we need to rethink the old media models and start to consider that entertainment and information are no longer flowing down from central sources from on high but flowing freely up, down, left, and right across this world.  Those that realize this will successfully adapt and be able to reap the benefits of this new age.