Obviously, on a content platform content is primary, relations secondary. On a social network the reverse is true. Facebook is the quintessential social network. We are not primarily there because of the content but because of our friends and family. Facebook desperately wants to become a content platform but it's dna seem to work against it. It has carefully trained it's users to only share content with friends and family. Facebook thinks of its users as consumers who they hope to sell "professional" content. However, as has been pointed out many times, Facebooks users are not primarily there to buy stuff but to hangout with their friends and family.
Google+ and Twitter are quintessential content platforms. We are first and foremost there because of the content. Obviously, though, Twitter is a very, very limited content platform. It only has very limited support for other content than text - and even text is extremely limited. Google+, on the other hand, is already itself a sophisticated content platform with great support for both text and images - and when you add YouTube and Blogger (and possibly Google Music?) to the mix it becomes clear that Google is about to build an extremely powerful content platform - and it has high expectations to its users and thinks of them all as potential providers of knockout content.
Obviously, the competition is fully aware of this - which certainly explains a lot of the hate from the media. They always saw Google as an evil company who stole "their" income from ads. Now they realize that Google has the potential to steal their entire business. Same with Facebook. They are desperately aware of their limitations and it's time for us to wake up too and stop letting anyone fool us into thinking that Facebook has the lead. You shouldn't be comparing G+ to Facebook but Google's entire content suite to what Facebook has to offer.
- John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, 1859
Seneca, Letters 23.9-10
"Turn now from heavenly to human affairs, and you’ll see that whole tribes and peoples have changed their abode. What’s the meaning of Greek cities in the heart of barbarian territories? Why is the Macedonian tongue heard among Indians and Persians? Scythia and that whole region of wild and unconquered tribes show Achaean cities established on the shores of the Black Sea; neither the harshness of the perpetual winter nor the character of the inhabitants, savage like their climate, deterred migrants from settling there. There is a mass of Athenians in Asia; Miletus has sent forth in different directions enough people to fill seventy-five cities; the entire coast of Italy that is washed by the Lower Sea became Greater Greece; Asia claims the Etruscans as her own; Tyrians have settled in Africa, Carthaginians in Spain; Greeks have forced their way into Gaul, Gauls into Greece; the Pyrenees did not prevent the Germans from crossing. Through pathless regions and unknown parts, the restlessness of mankind has made its way. Children and wives and parents heavy with age were dragged along. Some peoples, driven to and fro in their long wandering, did not deliberately choose their destination but wearily settled on the land that was nearest; others established their right in a foreign country by force of arms. Some tribes were engulfed by the sea when they were going in quest of unknown lands, while some settled at the place where they were stranded because their supplies had run out. Nor did they all have the same motive for leaving and seeking a new homeland. The destruction of their cities by enemy attack forced some to escape to foreign lands when they were robbed of their own; some were dislodged by political discord at home; some were sent out to relieve the burden caused by the overcrowding of an excessive population; some were driven out by disease, by frequent earthquakes, or by some unbearable deficiencies in the unproductive soil; some were beguiled by overblown reports of a fertile shore. Different peoples have been led by different causes to leave their homes, but this at least is clear: nothing has stayed where it came into being. The human race is constantly running this way and that, and in a world so vast something changes every day: the foundations of new cities are laid and new names of nations emerge, while older powers are obliterated or transformed into a subsidiary of astronger power. But all these migrations of peoples - what are they but states of communal exile? Why drag you through so lengthy a cycle? Why bother to mention Antenor, the founder of Padua, and Evander, who established the Arcadian kingdom on the banks of the Tiber? Why mention Diomedes and others, conquered as well as conquerors, who were scattered over foreign lands by the Trojan War? To be sure, the Roman Empire itself looks back to an exile as its founder - a refugee from his captured city who, taking with him its few survivors, was forced by fear of the conqueror to make for distant parts and was brought to Italy. In turn, this people - how many colonies has it sent to every province! Wherever the Romans have conquered, there they settle. People willingly put their names down for this kind of migration, and even old men left their altars and followed the colonists overseas. The point needs no listing of further instances, but I’ll nevertheless add one that forces itself on my attention: this very island has often changed its population. To pass over its earlier history, which the long passage of time has obscured, the Greeks who left Phocis and now inhabit Massilia first settled on this island. What caused them to leave it is unclear, whether the harshness of the climate, or their close-up view of Italy’s outstanding power, or the shortage of harbors. For the cause was evidently not the savagery of the native inhabitants, given that they settled among the most fierce and uncivilized peoples of Gaul at that time. Subsequently the Ligurians crossed to the island, and also the Spanish, as is plain from their similar customs: the islanders wear the same head coverings and the same kind of shoes as the Cantabrians, and certain words are the same - but some only, because their language as a whole has lost its original character through association with the Greeks and Ligurians. Later, two colonies of Roman citizens were founded, one by Marius, another by Sulla: so often has the population of this barren and thorny rock been changed! To sum up, you’ll scarcely find any land which is still lived in by its original inhabitants; every population consists of mixed and foreign stock. One people has come after another, what one people has viewed with disdain another has ardently desired, and one people has expelled another only to be driven out itself. So it is by decree of fate that nothing remains where it is in the same condition forever".
- Seneca, Consolation to Helvia 7.1-10
"There are more things, Lucilius, likely to frighten us than there are to crush us; we suffer more often in imagination than in reality. I am not speaking with you in the Stoic strain but in my milder style. For it is our Stoic fashion to speak of all those things,which provoke cries and groans, as unimportant and beneath notice; but you and I must drop such great-sounding words, although, heaven knows, they are true enough. What I advise you to do is, not to be unhappy before the crisis comes; since it may be that the dangers before which you paled as if they were threatening you, will never come upon you; they certainly have not yet come. Accordingly, some things torment us more than they ought; some torment us before they ought; and some torment us when they ought not to torment us at all. We are in the habit of exaggerating, or imagining, or anticipating, sorrow"
"The first of these three faults may be postponed for the present, because the subject is under discussion and the case is still in court, so to speak. That which I should call trifling, you will maintain to be most serious; for of course I know that some men laugh while being flogged, and that others wince at a box on the ear. We shall consider later whether these evils derive their power from their own strength, or from our own weakness. Do me the favour, when men surround you and try to talk you into believing that you are unhappy, to consider not what you hear but what you yourself feel, and to take counsel with your feelings and question yourself independently, because you know your own affairs better than anyone else does. Ask: "Is there any reason why these persons should condole with me? Why should they be worried or even fear some infection from me, as if troubles could be transmitted? Is there any evil involved, or is it a matter merely of ill report, rather than an evil?" Put the question voluntarily to yourself: "Am I tormented without sufficient reason, am I morose, and do I convert what is not an evil into what is an evil?" You may retort with the question: "How am I to know whether my sufferings are real or imaginary?" Here is the rule for such matters: we are tormented either by things present, or by things to come, or by both. As to things present, the decision is easy. Suppose that your person enjoys freedom and health, and that you do not suffer from any external injury. As to what may happen to it in the future, we shall see later on. To-day there is nothing wrong with it. "But," you say, "something will happen to it." First of all, consider whether your proofs of future trouble are sure. For it is more often the case that we are troubled by our apprehensions, and that we are mocked by that mocker, rumour, which is wont to settle wars, but much more often settles individuals. Yes, my dear Lucilius; we agree too quickly with what people say. We do not put to the testthose things which cause our fear; we do not examine into them; we blench and retreat just like soldiers who are forced to abandon their camp because of a dust-cloud raised by stampeding cattle, or are thrown into a panic by the spreading of some unauthenticated rumour. And somehow or other it is the idle report that disturbs us most. For truth has its own definite boundaries, but that which arises from uncertainty is delivered over to guesswork and the irresponsible license of a frightened mind. That is why no fear is so ruinous and so uncontrollable as panic fear. For other fears are groundless, but this fear is witless. Let us, then, look carefully into the matter. It is likely that some troubles will befall us; but it is not a present fact. How often has the unexpected happened! How often has the expected never come to pass! And even though it is ordained to be, what does it avail torun out to meet your suffering? You will suffer soon enough, when it arrives; so look forward meanwhile to better things. What shall you gain by doing this? Time. There will be many happenings meanwhile which will serve to postpone, or end, or pass on to another person, the trials which are near or even in your very presence. A fire has opened the way to flight. Men have been let down softly by a catastrophe. Sometimes the sword has been checked even at the victim's throat. Men have survived their own executioners. Even bad fortune is fickle. Perhaps it will come, perhaps not; in the meantime it is not. So look forward to better things. The mind at times fashions for itself false shapes of evil when there are no signs that point to any evil; it twists into the worst construction some word of doubtful meaning; or it fancies some personal grudge to be more serious than it really is, considering not how angry the enemy is, but to what lengths he may go if he is angry. But life is not worth living, and there is no limit to our sorrows, if we indulge our fears to the greatest possible extent; in this matter, let prudence help you, and contemn with a resolute spirit even when it is in plain sight. If you cannot do this, counter one weakness with another, and temper your fear with hope. There is nothing so certain among these objects of fear that it is not more certain still that things we dread sink into nothing and that things we hope for mock us. Accordingly, weigh carefully your hopes as well as your fears, and whenever all the elements are in doubt, decide in your own favour; believe what you prefer. And if fear wins a majority of the votes, incline in the other direction anyhow, and cease to harass your soul, reflecting continually that most mortals, even when no trouble are actually at hand or are certainly to be expected in the future, become excited and disquieted. No one calls a halt on himself, when he begins to be urged ahead; nor does he regulate his alarm according to the truth. No one says; "The author of the story is a fool, and he who has believed it is a fool, as well as he who fabricated it." We let ourselves drift with every breeze; we are frightened at uncertainties, just as if they were certain. We observe no moderation. The slightest thing turns the scales and throws us forthwith into a panic"
Seneca, Letters 13.6-12
"Seneca remains, for us today no less than for the revivers of Stoicism in the sixteenth century, our best representative of ancient Stoicism. In his case as in few others we have the luxury of reading, with their full contexts, whole works of philosophy by a Stoic. He is still an excellent, indeed indispensable, source for those who may wish to learn about, and learn from, Stoicism and its outlook on life"
Seneca - Moral and Political Essays. Edited and translated by John M. Cooper and J. F. Procopé, Cambridge University Press, 1995, location 446
- Seneca, Letters 16.4
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