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BlueBeetle FTW
March 21, 2012 4:17 PM   Subscribe

Zittrain shows Blue Beetle love!

On his blog, he gives Blue Beetle credit for coining the - if it is free, you're the product - awesomeness. (Posting from phone. Sorry for curtness.)
posted by k8t to MetaFilter-Related at 4:17 PM (24 comments total)

Permalink to the Zittrain blog post.
posted by m@f at 4:41 PM on March 21, 2012


Also, previously: 1, 2, 3, 4
posted by m@f at 4:45 PM on March 21, 2012


blue_beetle's comment in question

And as discussed in every prior MeTa thread, blue_beetle's comment was just the most recent phrasing to get picked up. He takes no special credit for the idea, "only the happenstance of putting the words in that order at that time."

"In commercial broadcasting the viewer pays for the privlige of having himself sold."
-- Richard Serra "Television Delivers People" (1973) [via neroli]
posted by filthy light thief at 4:53 PM on March 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yay! I got to meet Zittrain before and he was a weird combo of scary smart (seriously, one of the top legal minds in the country, runs a whole swath of the Harvard Law School) and he was really funny and witty, making jokes at lightning speed as people were talking.

I don't think mere mortals should be able to be both that smart and that funny, it's not fair to us average people.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 5:11 PM on March 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Is Zittrain like Soul Train for people with bad skin?

How do I sign up?
posted by Sys Rq at 5:18 PM on March 21, 2012


That IS a great quote. Very Marshall McLuhan.
posted by bquarters at 6:43 PM on March 21, 2012


Zittrain is a cortex sockpuppet.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:46 PM on March 21, 2012


Once again, for the record:

If you are not paying for it, you're not the customer; you're the product being sold.
posted by blue_beetle at 4:41 PM on August 26, 2010

The member of facebook is not a customer, they are the product. The advertisers are the customers.
posted by idiopath at 2:02 PM on May 17, 2010

posted by mediareport at 10:34 PM on March 21, 2012


I totally came up with 'When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro'. Could somebody blog that into posterity, please?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:03 AM on March 22, 2012


That is, of course, a lie.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:08 AM on March 22, 2012


Once again, for the record

Sure, but the later one is the memorable phrase.

And is 2010 really the first time someone said something like that? Because I'm sure millions of people thought about it that way a long time before 2010. (I'm sure I was thinking about it that way before 2010, though I probably didn't say it on the net anywhere.)
posted by pracowity at 1:40 AM on March 22, 2012


Yeah I think I was paraphrasing something I read somewhere else.
posted by idiopath at 3:26 AM on March 22, 2012


I should really keep better bibliographies and working notes for my commentary here. Truth be told I barely remember making that comment.
posted by idiopath at 3:27 AM on March 22, 2012


Yeah, it's a....hoary idea, really. cortex's take in one of the earlier threads is still the best: blue beetle clearly deserves credit for a recent phrasing that for whatever reason took off online. It was the moment for it or something. But very similar phrasings had been around long before.
posted by mediareport at 6:29 AM on March 22, 2012


I would argue that filthy light thief's comment, all of four comments before your original one, does a much better job of establishing this, for the record.
posted by SpiffyRob at 6:32 AM on March 22, 2012


The quote was mentioned on TV last week on 10 O'clock Live (UK current events comedy show, in the vein of The Daily Show) while they were talking about Google's new privacy policy, except the quote was attributed to the Daily Mail (who were quoting some tech expert in an article I can't find now). Screenshot.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:37 AM on March 22, 2012


Mine's pithier!

I keed...
posted by mediareport at 6:39 AM on March 22, 2012


The quote was mentioned on TV last week on 10 O'clock Live (UK current events comedy show, in the vein of The Daily Show) while they were talking about Google's new privacy policy, except the quote was attributed to the Daily Mail (who were quoting some tech expert in an article I can't find now). Screenshot.

It looks like this (warning: Daily Mail) is the Daily Mail article that came from. The expert quoted is "Nick Pickles, director of the Big Brother Watch campaign group."
posted by Sys Rq at 7:22 AM on March 22, 2012


Now that we have the "prior art" discussion out of the way, let me dwell on the wording for a moment:

blue_beetle: If you are not paying for it, you're not the customer; you're the product being sold.
-- Implies to me that someone is paying for the product, which generally means advertising built into the product.

k8t: if it is free, you're the product
-- Sounds more like there are always anterior motives to any free product.

As mentioned before, these sort of comments make a huge range of possible interactions a simple "predator/prey" situation. Within certain contexts, it makes a bit of sense, such as when the users not the only "customer" involved in the decision-making process of a company. This notion helps answer the question "why would [company] redesign their website/ newspaper/ magazine/ event?" but it doesn't make the users any less of customers than the advertisers.

I'm not picking on individuals for their comments, but on the comments as short-hand that over-simplify complex situations.
/beanplating
posted by filthy light thief at 9:41 AM on March 22, 2012


My biggest problem with the constant repeating of this phrase is that it's too inclusive. It implies that for every act, someone makes a profit, and it's never you.
posted by Plutor at 9:52 AM on March 22, 2012


anterior motives

lol
posted by Sys Rq at 10:04 AM on March 22, 2012


You know, opposed to posterior.

Oh, ulterior. Right.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:09 AM on March 22, 2012


Anteater motives?

Like... eating ants?
posted by SpiffyRob at 12:12 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Holy shit! nickrussell just did another one of these perfectly concise, tidy summations:

Luxury in the future will not be access to information but freedom from it.

Charles Stross and James Othmer should have to pay a special Cayce Pollard fee to read Metafilter.
posted by morganw at 8:11 PM on April 4, 2012


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