Monday, August 29, 2005

Yahoo! I'm glad to be off Flickr

Well, it looks like Yahoo!, like any other internet company who sucks up another is forcing users in the acquired company to get an ID with the mother company. It should not be a big deal with many of the users (they may have the same ID), but many people are planning a revolt (again, Wired - I like the bit on Turkle). With all these free (or nearly free) services being slowly sucked into larger for profit companies (vaguely related Business Week article) it makes it harder for schools and teachers to offer technology enriched lessons. Some schools may block Yahoo! so that may cause headaches, Yahoo! may reduce functionality or a host of other issues may arise. All of these may be considered "evil". Yahoo! may even stipulate in some line in the EULA that images become property of Yahoo!. They likely won't but you never know. So it seems that Google is still sitting rather high on it's horse in terms of forcing users to join a collective (Blogger users don't need Google IDs). All this also make the whole idea of Open Source more attractive for schools, with the only issues being setting up the system - a hurdle that may likely be too big to overcome, similar to getting access to certain websites from a centrally controlled network. In the end, this may all be academic (people don't like losing their online identity, especially when they helped build a community). But the questions around identity may be something that teachers should start looking at as many students have rather strong online identities that may or may not have a productive part to play in the classroom. Students will likely go through a host of different email addresses through their education, and some may get attached to them. If this happens, what are teachers to do? Students may feel that they are losing all their previous work and experience, they may worry about how people who "knew" them will get in touch with them again. For an interesting look at the "other worlds" go to Terra Nova. Terra Nova's look at how the various worlds interact sheds some light on the problem of shifting identities. The loss of identity that students will face through the changes they will experience will likely be hard enough to deal with logistically, to say nothing of what could happen if there is any social capital to be lost (like what is to happen with Flickr). I'm thinking that teachers should look at this as they would advise students about moving to new schools or houses. It's becoming more a fact of life for many people - digital moves - so it would be a good thing for teachers to understand this if they haven't already. Technorati Tags: , , , ,