“Facebook more important than family”

In an interesting (if not necessarily enormously scientific) survey conducted for National Family Week in the UK, 28% of 8-15 year-olds cited social networking sites as the most important thing to them. Such sites appear to be more important for girls than boys. The suggestion is that parents underestimate the  importance of such sites. So far, links are only to the press release produced by NFW, but I will post a link to the original survey as and when it appears.

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The collapse of complex business models?

Read Clay Shirky’s latest epistle on the ‘collapse of complex business models’, here. Are the parallels between Tainter’s comments on complex societies and businesses compelling? How would you critique this analogy?

iPad – will it blend?

A small Easter treat. Good to know that within a couple of days of the iPad launch in the US, Blendtec has tested it to destruction. Will it blend? See here.

News on news

We discuss the case of the Guardian Media Group’s foray into e-business in Long Case 6.2. The past few weeks have seen an enormous amount of attention and angst devoted to News International’s proposals – about to be implemented – to put a paywall around the UK Times and Sunday Times websites. £1 a day or £2 a week, after a free trial period. As someone remarked, that’s not far off the price of the BBC license fee in a year. I’m sure that I’ll be writing more about this as the evidence builds up one way or the other about the viability of this model for anything other than niche publications. That aside, a fascinating internal memo has been leaked from the desk of Guardian Editor Alan Rusbridger, setting out his take on the situation – and no doubt seeking to reassure those working on the paper that the correct decisions have been made! You’ll find it below.

Rusbridger Email

Zittrain on Apple

We cite Jonathan Zittrain’s work extensively in Chapter 5 of the book. Here’s an excellent critique in the Financial Times written by him recently, which sets out some thought-provoking questions for Apple enthusiasts.

Hyped.. hypad .. iPad?

Post with a selection of interesting links to iPad related marketing and reactance.

First, the original pitch by Rev’d Jobs, here.

Then the BBC/Click 5 minute critique, here.

Charlie Brooker’s great commentary in the Grauniad, here, including insightful quote of the week: “Apple excels at taking existing concepts – computers, MP3 players, conceit – and carefully streamlining them into glistening ergonomic chunks of concentrated aspiration.”

Gizmodo’s ‘8 things that suck about the iPad’ is here.

The fat iPhone without the phone, according to The Register.

Comedian Peter Serafinowicz’s take on the cheaper alternatives available.

Finally, thanks to one of my students for this link, and some creative subtitling of Hitler’s reaction after learning (amongst other things) that the iPad is not multi-tasking (warning – may offend and contains, as they say, strong language).

Copyright? Who wants to know?

A refusal in January 2010 by the Minister of State for Business, Innovation & Skills to share the paperwork on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement with British MPs indicates how sensitive the discussion on cross-border copyright issues have become. It”s common practice, says David Lammy, to keep such negotiations confidential. But some (notably Chris Williams writing for The Register) sees a darker side to this, claiming that this suggests the outcome of the negotiations are likely to be favourable to established interests in the music and film industries. In Chapter 5, we made it clear that the conventional framework for the protection of IP (intellectual property) had struggled to keep up with the Internet. Trade-offs, we said, lay at the heart of intellectual property. Without legal protection, any  innovations run the risk of becoming, in effect, public goods through copying and are susceptible to abuse by free riders, who may contribute less than their fair share of the costs of production. On the other hand, it is all very well to reward innovation and creativity by granting exclusive rights to the innovators, but this may lead to monopoly pricing, the exclusion of other innovators and undesirable costs to consumers. Getting the balance right is pretty important.