back to article Beware the populist mash oozing out of Facebook and YouTube

Yep. It felt just like that, didn't it? For scenario one, place your tongue between teeth. Let your tongue relax and give it a few strict but not too rough clamps with the teeth. While repeating this exercise, imagine that your mouth - no, make that your head - has filled with some manner of corn mash. Not just any old corn …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Alex
    Paris Hilton

    how very dare you!

    I do actually have a corn fed mind and tiny dancer finger kicking fingers for legs, whats more by some sick co-incidence I'm also wearing a ballett Tutu!

    ...for the record I have no problems soliciting favours down the bridges!

    now, whats myfacespacebook?

  2. Steven Raith

    Keep up, Otto

    I've been saying that FB and Youtube are a load of rubbish for ages.

    Youtube is only good for cheap lunchtime laughs, and looking for old telly ads - I don't think I've ever looked at 'user generated content' on there, because almost all of it is amateurish, childish crap.

    FB is for people who are too lazy to keep in touch with thier mates in real life - or alternatively, are too scared to ignore people they don't like.

    I have no such qualms.

    Steven R

  3. Mike Crawshaw

    Ignoring People you don't like?

    Is much more fun in real life than on FB. Or at least, I assume it is, not having a FaceBook a/c.

    Scenario 1:

    *Beep*: "FreakBoy123 wants to be your friend!"


    *Beep*: "FreakBoy123 still wants to be your friend!"


    *Beep*: "Why you no want be friends with FreakBoy123?"


    *Beep*: "You no love FreakBoy123?"


    Scenario 2:

    Bob: "Want to go for a beer after work tonight?"

    Me: "No. You're a tosser. Fuck off and never speak to me again."

    Which is more fun? Personally, I like the personal touch of (2).

    (PS: Politicians on YouTube? Go guys, down wid da kidz, booyakasha*!)


  4. Maestro

    Here here!

    As someone who cringes at the fact every conversation I seem to have - with practically every person I meet - at some point turning to facebook, I concur!

    Let the lot of em' rot in Internet hell!

  5. Matthew Macdonald-Wallace
    Paris Hilton

    FB - for cats...

    Although Facebook has allowed me to get in contact with people I've not spoken to for years (except my best-man who appears to be deliberately ignoring me!) the application I use most on there is LOLCats.[0]

    Social Networking and Fart^H^H^H^HWEB2.0 will die in the same way that did, my only concern is that it will be replaced by something even more air-filled such as PARIS2.5-super-duper-okely-dokely-talk-to-me-now (or maybe web 3.0 [1])

    /me goes to look at more lolcats...


    [0] What that says about me as a social person, I'm not quite sure - maybe it means I have real friends...?

    [1] And what exactly did happen to web 1.1 - 1.9 and the various minor increments anyway?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Scenario one

    If in addition it feels as if the mash is pushing your eyeballs out and the sense of balance is not anywhere near 100% then that's how I feel this morning.

  7. Phill


    This extends much further than you think. For example, Digg and Reddit which are supposed to be a "social news network" has turned into a popularity content with people like "MrBabyMan" submitting shit which automatically makes it to the front page. These "more than average" people are then brought out by companies and soon the notion of "for the community" is left in the dark unpopular home videos of bands who can't resist uploading their "hits" and skateboarders, who devoid of any skill, upload people falling off skateboards.

    There isn't a community which businesses haven't tried to be a part of. The open source community and various kernels have developers paid by companies, the new products pages on Facebook, companies editing their own Wikipedia entries and getting away with it. Did you even know that companies can buy their way to the top of the google search results?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Der Otto ist back...

    ...foaming with indignation as ever. But wouldn't it be time to exchange that cutout of Hillary Rosen with something else? Does anyone still know who Hillary Rosen is? Didn't she go to Iraq to write the Copyright Laws for them Arabs?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Welcome back Otto

    It's been a while since you've been on El Reg, but I'm glad you're back - even if I'm struggling to erase the pig-crap and deformed cheerleader imagery from my brain as a result.

    I agree with Mike Crawshaw - I reckon there's a market for a new Web 2.0 phenomenon which I am going to christen "antisocial networking". Think of it as a kind of inverted Facebook, with the sole purpose of cutting any social ties you may already have, plus alienating people you don't already know.

    Perhaps we should call it "ArseBook". I await contact from venture capitalists with the appropriate suitcases full of cash.

  10. Aardvark


    Anything that allows me to watch Duck Dodgers and the 3 Stooges any time I want can't be all that bad. Woob! Woob! Woob!

  11. Philip J.F. Quinlan

    @ Evil Graham

    perhaps, "

  12. Huw Jenkins

    Couldn't have cooked my goose

    at xmas without Gordon Ramsey on youtube...

    But then I had to film myself having sex with it so I could upload it and return the favor...

  13. darsyx

    @evil graham

    there's already - though it's not entirely SFW.

  14. Steve

    @ Evil Graham

    I like your idea and my company wants to get in on the action with a targetted ad campaign to inform your users that, should they ever crawl from their dank pits into the light of day, find a job and actually earn some money with which to buy things, they can fuck of because we don't sell to scum.

  15. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    I vote for Web 1.4 (approx sqrt(2.0))

    I love the web for getting me proper information (and moronic stuff too) from fellow scientists, ordering things etc, but web 2.0??? Let us take a page out of the (La)TeX book and have the web version number converge on the square root of 2.0, so that we NEVER EVER reach 2.0. I think 1.4 would be good starting point now, 1.41 should de released in a year's time, 1.414 in two years etc. All (more-or-less) sane, or at least hype-resistent users (ANYONE OUT THERE??) of the web can then safely ignore web 2.0 and higher (more vacuous) versions

  16. Sub-Vulture II


    I do find the Facebook-bashing hilarious. I don't know how people can muster the massive swaggering sense of superiority about it, when it's just a means to an end - the end being more contact with the people you like, some online, some offline. What's pathetic about that? I find it's a pretty good way to organise and augment my social life, myself.

    Perchance, in the words of teh internets, you are doing it wrong.

  17. This post has been deleted by its author

  18. Joe Harrison

    Not fair on youtube

    I don't use facebook but am fully prepared to accept your critical view as likely being correct. But it's not fair to characterise youtube as being nothing but a repository for unfunny skateboard accidents. Get past that and you will indeed find the layer of useful user-generated content.

    Good content does tend to be niche and specific though so no point just diving in and expecting things to happen. Want to learn to body wave for example? If so then that community will be happy to display their skills. But you have to know what you want before you go there.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    popup adds does indeed exist and clicking on links makes a popup add for Tesco appear.

    I wonder if they know...

  20. Lickass McClippers

    I get the impression...

    ...that Otto has no friends on Faceache, and people leave derogatory comments on his uploads on n00btube...

  21. Anonymous Coward


    Facebook is mostly used by teenage girls?

    Youtube is mosty used for finding copyright infringing material that can't be found elsewhere?

    Well Stop the presses! (I want to get off)

  22. Keith T

    With friends like these

    I've always thought that invitations from 'friends' to get in touch in Facebook are similar to getting spam from e-mail addresses of people I know.

    My partner has had success in finding relatives and one friend we'd not seen for about 20 years but otherwise it still appears to be the Tower of Babel and now that Douglas Adams is dead we've no Babelfish to make sense of it all.

    You Tube - as others have said - once past the scum on the surface, keeps old farts happy with videos of long-dead musicians and what the fuss about Mento's and Coke is all about.

    Strange though, no mention of Second (get a) Life and its blatant commercialism.

    Why waste all that bandwidth just to see loads of adverts?

  23. Mike Crawshaw
    Black Helicopters

    @ Sub-Vulture II

    "I do find the Facebook-bashing hilarious. I don't know how people can muster the massive swaggering sense of superiority about it, when it's just a means to an end - the end being more contact with the people you like, some online, some offline. What's pathetic about that? I find it's a pretty good way to organise and augment my social life, myself."

    And here was me under the impression that "the end" for FB was:

    * to invade the privacy of users (Beacon)

    * to ignore data retention legislation (inability to delete accounts)

    * to target users with malware (Secret Crush)

    * to target ever-more invasive advertising at all users, based on what is effectively spyware (in end result, rather than process).

    * to reduce the general intelligence of the popuation by making "hur hur I sent a ninja/teddy bear/giant marshmallow after you hur hur" the height of wit.

    * to keep people in their houses at night tapping on keyboards rather than making the streets untidy (in line with Gordy Broon's anti-social behaviour initiatives - there's probably a governmental subsidy coming FB's way if it meets central gov-set targets...)

    Silly me... it's really there for the benefit of its users to organise their busy social lives because they don't have time to pick up the phone / send a text / send an email?

    (PS: Joe Harrison - I agree with you on YouTube. There's a lot of utter shite on there, but there is the occasional gem.)

  24. Sub-Vulture II

    well, Mike

    I know all about the grubby little issues with it, and I'm well aware that it's not made by some altruistic soul to please me - sorry, but that's not exactly the first time I've read that kind of list, and anyone with a bit of common sense could work it out. But for the moment the benefits are still worth it, for me - besides, so much of it is avoidable/ignorable with a smidgen of effort.

    And I wasn't actually talking about the end for the Zucker gang, was I? Just the end for me. I'll use it for as long as it works for me - if it becomes intolerable or too worrying, I'll leave (and there are ways to do that, even if their policy on it is unconscionable).

    I think Facebook is doing a lot less in the ongoing battle to dumben us all than many. None of my friends send me giant marshmallows, because I don't have friends who are like that - they're more likely to put the odd note up with a link to something interesting which I might not otherwise have read. Depends on your friends, doesn't it.

    It's amazing how heated people who aren't on Facebook get about it, though. I'm still not quite sure why. Maybe they assume we're all hopeless drooling herd beasts who can't wait to get their own shiny ID card. Well... no.

  25. John

    As a hetero male, FB is great!

    I use it purely to collect as many fit female friends as possible.

    I can also play online poker and other games with my friends.

    Fritters away the hours when stuck in hotel rooms overnight.

    Can also arrange clandestine nights out with my female friends from one convenient website.

    Sad maybe, but at least it doesn't cost.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Er... hang on

    Seven Raith said: " I don't think I've ever looked at 'user generated content' on there, because almost all of it is amateurish, childish crap"

    Begs the question, how do you know then?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The illusion stretches much further

    God, this is the tip of the iceberg. Look at the BBC site - "Have Your Say","Submit Your Photos" - the concept is that The People[tm] have the power and voice to effect change. What a wonderful democracy! If you don't like the mouthy twunt on the latest Big Brother, use your vote and get them off! This is reality! [warningvotesmaymakeusalotofmoneysowewontlingeronthatpoint]

    Well, when I say "reality" I mean in the sense of a smoke and mirrors artificial reality presented to us, along with a vote, in order to shut us up and keep us quiet and dumb. It's a bit like the programme Watchdog - people get genuinly angry about something, but instead of really doing something about it they funnel their action through the controlled channel of Watchdog, where they lose complete control but don't notice that and go away feeling warm and fuzzy, high on People Power.

    I'm under no illusions - this is me having a rant. I'm not leaving thinking that I'm making any difference, and El Reg isn't presenting this as a way for The People to effect change.

    Bah. People are such brainless, shallow sheep, and they're loved for it.

  28. Mike Crawshaw

    And yet...

    OK SVII - I can accept quite happily that not all FB users are "drooling herd beasts" (I like the expression - can I keep it?) - you seem articulate and pretty well-informed, for example. I'm well aware that we're talking "generalities" here, and no generality is 100% accurate. The list I made *is* entirely common sense - that's the point!! And yet... =;-)

    However - the majority of people around me day-to-day, everywhere from conversations in the office to walking past people in the street to conversations on the train, I hear conversations that reinforce my opinion. "Did you get that ninja I sent after you" is one I hear over and over without actually engaging these people in conversation. These ARE the people that will probably say that ID cards are a great idea...

    I tried social networking (not FB, MySpace) for a very brief period a couple years ago. It took me 3 days to decide that the downsides (mainly the idiots on there) were not worth the upside (which I found rather limited). The point you make about "depends who your friends are" does work to a degree, but only so far. It's hard to ignore rampant idiocy all around you, no matter how sensible you are yourself. Or it is for me, anyway - perhaps that's why I despise these things so much? The fact that I (during my putting my toes in the water stage) was deluged with friend requests and mails from people I had never heard of / didn't want to talk to, spam, "webcam shows", stupid pictures (not, unfortunately funny ones), "news" broadcasts etc was enough to make me say "is this worth it to talk to people when I can do so without the BS?" And the answer was a resounding "no". Add in the recent privacy issues, and the "no" goes to bold, capitalised, underlined.

    I'll continue to arrange my social life via phone and occasionally e-mail, you continue to organise yours via FB. I'll revise my opinion that not all FB users are, to use that phrase again, "drooling herd beasts", if you revise yours that not everyone who despises the concept is not doing so out of "a swaggering sense of superiority", but rather an intolerance for the things that you are able to ignore "with a smidgen of effort".


  29. Sub-Vulture II

    and yet and yet

    You can *borrow* the herd beasts if you are good.

    I'm pleased you're nice and reasonable, I do hate online slanging matches THEY DEMEAN US ALL (except for the people who can't get any demeaned-er, of course). So.

    I get the annoyances, totally, and I know it doesn't suit everyone. I must say though that MySpace lends itself far more to idiocy and general fuckwittery and spammage than FB. It's a different culture - in my experience, hardly any actual strangers try and add you or contact you at all on FB, whereas any and every fucker with a project or a band or a thing or a millisecond to kill or a desperate need for personal validation through online statistics will bother you on MySpace. Which is mostly why I've left mine idle - as far as I'm concerned it's only useful for finding music, and it hurts my eyes.

    I do use phone and email. As well. In conjunction with or independently of. I just find that I find out about things to organise via phone and email, through FB. And perhaps I'm just fortunate (I know people who've had all kinds of bother and ballaches with it) but I honestly don't find that I'm deluged with crap at all, from any angle. In fact, it's got me the odd bit of work, which is well worth the occasional, eminently ignorable 'which root vegetable are you?' request.

    The privacy issues - yeah, it's a tough one, and I'm keeping an eye on it (The Reg being handy for that). It'd probably be more principled of me to leave, but that would seem a bit foot-meet-self-inflicted-bullet at the moment.

    I think you've probably already revised that opinion, otherwise you wouldn't be discussing this with me, a non-drooler. And er, well, I don't really mind much if you revise it or not. But of course I don't think everyone who hates it has a big haughty snot on. Just lots of them. (OK, I'll concede you're not one of them. Well, not much...)

    Dear me. This is cutting into my Facebook time.

  30. Chris Dymond


    "Honestly, how fucking embarrassing that some of you are gullible enough to buy into these notions that YouTube, Facebook and MySpace provide the citizenry with a louder, more vibrant voice."

    Eh? Who on earth thinks that? I use YouTube for watching things that are funny, informative or that I missed on telly. I use Facebook to keep in contact with my friends and keep my parents up to date with pictures and videos of their grandson. I am a heterosexual male. I truly have no idea what you're talking about.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    This trash belongs on youtube and facebook...

    I happen to agree with the article.

    But having said that, it's hardly news. Just one persons opinion voiced with little creativity (like this comment). Please Register, post news, not personal opinions. Because this kind of "journalism" is making Register about as good as said youtube and facebook... Don't ruin a genuine good product with this trash because it belongs on (again) said youtube and facebook.

  32. Anonymous Coward

    None of my friends are computer literate

    So I have to meet them in person.

    How sad is that?

  33. J-Wick
    Paris Hilton

    Hormonal Teenage Girls?

    Of course. Why else do you think I have an account?

    /hetrosexual male

    /no doubt will be a desperate divorcee if my wife cottons on...

    So maybe you're right after all. :)

    Paris cos she's a hero to some of these girls (sadly enough)...

  34. Ben XO
    Thumb Up

    What a marvellous article!

    I think the conclusions drawn on Facebook are bollocks, frankly - your comments on the usefulness of Facebook have the same ring to them as a 45-year old mother bitching about how TopShop has nothing in her size. But despite that, I think the article's well written and hilariously so, therefore I approve anyway.

  35. Anarchy


    <Otto Z. Stern is a director at The Institute of Technological Values - a think tank dedicated to a more moral digital age. He has closely monitored the IT industry's intersection with America's role as a world leader for 30 years. You can find Stern locked and loaded, corralling wounded iLemmings, talking, drinking and driving, reflecting on Anna Nicole Smith's American chest, fearing Intel Inside Chinese golf clubs, suppressing Bill Gates U, digesting head mash, developing strong Mexican engineers, fearing pink Yahoo!, corrupting his youth in Sadville, masticating beta culture, booing our soccer team, following Jimmy Wales, despising U-Haul, nursing an opal-plated prostate, spanking open source fly boys, Googling Bro-Magnon Man, wearing a smashing suit, watching Dead Man, dropping a SkyCar on the Googleplex, spitting on Frenchmen, and vomiting in fear with a life-sized cutout of Hilary Rosen at his solar-powered compound somewhere in the Great American Southwest.>

    Oh man that is so funny! Let me read it again.... yeah still quite funny, I'm going to read it again... Sorry, not funny at all now, it's just a big long pile of crap

  36. Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: "Zucker the Sucker's virtual Tupperware party"

    Hey Otto, don't steal my line, bitch!

  37. Anonymous Coward

    The only good thing on youtube is

    The richterscales take on sites like facebook

    How many years do you think facebook has left? Lets face it, it's only big at the moment cos it's fashionable and we all know what happens when something is no longer seen as 'cool'. It used to be Myspace that everybody talked about and had to have a page, now most people avoid it and call it lame.

    Everybody listening for the POP!

  38. sam

    but not as bad as

    but not as bad as people like otto who professionaly get hot under the colar about "internet social issues".

  39. Steven Raith
    Thumb Up


    "Seven Raith said: " I don't think I've ever looked at 'user generated content' on there, because almost all of it is amateurish, childish crap"

    Begs the question, how do you know then?"

    My lord, one of my comments has been commented on. I'm proud :-)

    I should have clarified - from the pieces of user generated content I *have* seen, etc.

    I put it down to it having been far to early in the fucking morning for me to be thinking so hard. And I have only just got back in at half past nine tonight, so am not in the mood for mind-stretching feats of verbal logic now either.

    Just leave me to my pot noodle :-(

    Steven R

    PS: I will admit that finding road tests from Best Motoring is handy on Youtube, but I still think facebook is for gimps. :-)

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Write a news article next time please

    Just like some people said, this is only an opinion of one person, its not news.

    I personally do not use Facebook, but I do use YouTube often.

    Its good to look back on old programs and old music videos that are not on anymore or whatnot.

  41. John
    Thumb Up

    mash dup

    hehe, Otto's satire is itself a type of mashup!

  42. Slaine


    <stroke_ego>My sincere and heartfelt congratulations go to Otto for what is, without a doubt, a most well researched, informative and, dare I say "balanced" article on that most hideously virulent and offensive infestations of interwebernet; that of the very "lowest common denominator" in our society, namely politicians.<end-stroke_ego>

    <sarc>How nice it is too that we can see evidence already of the brain dead pre-pubescent self-absorbed hormonally challanged preen-agers that will become the politicians of tomorrow, bravely and shamelessly parading themselves online from their bedrooms doing stupid stunts, stroking their asses and gibbering to each other about boiz. What hope for the future.<end-sarc>

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021