Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Analysing the Facebook Fisheries - Fishbook

I had an economist for a housemate for a few weeks. Zidane is from Brest and he is doing a PhD on the French fishing system, quota allocation regulation etc. It would have been good to stay in touch afterwards since I am interested in control systems in general, even large ones like the European scale fishing quota system. Zidane has strong views about Facebook and does not subscribe to it, so email will have to do.

While translating his paper we developed a fishing metaphor for how Facebook operates and how it creates value in the market. The basic analogy is this:

Fish\Squid == Personal Information.
Bare site == Lure.

At this time of the year the CSIRO water frontage is crawling with people lure fishing for squid. The squid will bite anything shiny. If people want to fish for other species, they cut up the squid and use it as bait for bigger fish. Facebook operates in a similar manner. The basic site acts as a lure for early adopters who get hooked on anything shiny - Kipya kinyemi kingawa kidonda. Once their personal information is in the net e.g. their relationship status - others take the bait and release their information into the trawler.

Ultimately a big catch of personal data gathers in the net and after some statistical discard the nuggets can be sold to corporations or even the government.

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