Since we last talked:
- Google has gotten even flakier than I thought they were last week. Check your Google Plus profile (you have one if you have registered for any Google service) and set your "circles" to private.
- BlackBerry is throwing everything it's got at the launch of its new phone, the Z10. I think there's still room in the smartphone market for a third major operating system alongside Apple's iOS and Google's Android (which together account for 91% of the market), but whether BlackBerry can remain sufficiently relevant or cedes that #3 spot to Windows or another maker is yet to be seen.
- Twitter turned seven years old this week. I've been on it for five and a half of those seven, and have to admit that I'm surprised it's lasted this long. I wrongly predicted in 2010 that Twitter was likely to be overtaken by a competitive service by now, but Twitter found a major niche among politicians, journalists, and sports fans, and it remains a surprise that nobody has really even tried to come up with a serious microblogging alternative. On the other hand, only 16% of American Internet users are on Twitter, so it's still less than a quarter as widely-used as Facebook.
- This would be a better world if Twitter held on to anything you post for 24 hours before you were allowed to post it for certain. Obviously, that would eliminate a lot of the obvious value from its instantaneous nature, and a wide range of substitutes like YouTube and Instagram and Tumblr all allow for instant publication, too. But there are so many examples of bad judgment and bad behavior that are being enabled or enhanced by instant media right now that it's hard not to want some kind of brake.
- Someone should get the Nobel Prize for finding out how to make valuable, thoughtful content on the Internet as viral as the vortex of vanity, navel-gazing, and vapidity that is Buzzfeed. Occasionally, there's something of use or real interest on the site, but in general, it follows an extremely predictable formula: (1) Headline referring to a specific number of items in a list about something extreme or extraordinary in some way, (2) a pointless regurgitation of unenlightened but highly relatable observations or factoids about something most people recognize or remember, and (3) a bunch of pictures shamelessly lifted from other sources in a gaudy tabloid style. (For example: "20 ways Cory and Topanga gave you unrealistic expectations about relationships".) It's the Internet equivalent of "Saved By The Bell": Virtually content-free, but almost impossible to turn away from.