27 January 2008

Person Of The Year: The Unknown Assailant

Around about now, Time magazine usually has a "person of the year" award.  One year they got cute with this, e.g. citing "you" as that person, empowered as you are by your access to online content creation, etc.

But consider the extent to which your range of activities are constrained by the possible actions of anonymous entities.  Some of us are well accustomed to that in "real life", and now it is carving deep inroads into the online experience. 

Several business practices have had to be abandoned within years of becoming possible, such as vendor-to-consumer email, online greeting cards, etc.  For example, savvy users won't click on attachments or links within email "from" vendors, which leaves the dumbo demographic for such practices.  That may no longer be where the smart money can be earned, but it remains a good place to snatch dumb money - so these practices become dominated by malicious, value-free "vendors".

And so we see whole chunks of Internet practice and OS "features" being abandoned to my nomination for "person" of the year; the unknown assailant.

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