Saturday, October 4, 2008

Define: Netemptation

I twittered about me finally giving in and installing Google's much discussed Chrome browser. While not as hardcore as Daniel Tsou, I am also quite a Google works user. So I'm trying it out to see if it rocks my boat.

While twitting, a word came to me and I put it down - netemptation. So I thought hey, it'd be nice if I were to explain what I felt were the parameters that warranted this new word that I thought of. People who are more involved in the tubes might easily guess what it means, especially since I used it in the most direct context possible.

Netemptation is to me the collective pressure you feel from your sphere of influence online to try, do or get something. If you like to read your friends' blogs, then your netemptations are basically peer pressure online, perhaps 2 start typing lyk dis lols i dun reely knw cos i h8 c-ing dis ughs. If you read indie musicians' blogs, they are your netemptation to perhaps join the music social network that they're on and that they claim is loads better than MySpace because it has ABCXYZ. And especially, if you are a socially connected person, and you have your keyboard in every major social network or 2.0 site out there, everyone you are friends with - your dotcomrades, people you add because you're in the same community, people you look up to or are a fan of - as well as the people they are friends with, and possibly even the people that those friends are friends with, and allllll of these people's influences hobbies and specializations, is your netemptation. If anyone of those people read Engadget, that's part of your netemptation. If anyone of them is a NDS or Xbox360 fan, that's part of your netemptation if you're thinking getting one to actually do so. And finally, of course, the closer they are to you, or the more people in the circle do something, the larger the influence, as with the standard theories of interhuman influence. Given the connections that Web 2.0 and the innovation and expansion of the internet provides, I daresay we are far more likely than not to have a bone-crushing weight on our shoulders. And this is such an arbitrary thesis of it. There are I'm sure a million other factors not yet thought of or discussed.

Now in my case, quite a number of people have been talking about Chrome, trying out Chrome, and in Daniel's case, swearing by Chrome. Everyone's been at the very least discussing it, if not pimping and advocating it, and everytime I meet Daniel, who is in my innermost circle of tech fiends (not a spelling error :) ), and his trusty tablet PC, I will see Chrome, if not already in operation then sitting there waiting to be fired up. Now I'm not just going for Chrome because everyone else is doing it and I'm afraid of being left out or behind... that plain peer pressure. This is not to say that that isn't a factor. Again as with all influence-related theories, that almost certainly has to be a factor, in whatever capacity it exists in. In the case of netemptation, I think that is a minor but nevertheless noteworthy factor. The difference between netemptation and peer pressure is that as you experience netemptation, you ask yourself increasingly deep questions about the topic. Starting in this case with "Is Chrome really that good? Are people talking about it just because it came out of Google? Is it worth my time?" to more searching questions like "What is IT about Chrome that other browsers don't have that would make me ditch my deep roots of customization in my present browser and jump over? It's lightweight on the CPU, but could Chrome have sacrificed some of the functions I have come to expect of a present-day browser to be so?" And of course we know (and if you don't I'm telling you now), as we ponder more and more about and sit on thoughts, it grows on us and envelops us - that's how both convictions and depression occur. For convictions, we finally make the jump and execute what we believe in. For depression, our mind snaps and we do regrettable or irreversably stupid things. For netemptation, we finally make the jump and do stupid things. Ok no we don't, not all the time anyway.

And there's where I think therein lies the power of social media and social web tools. The word why, when it occurs in netemptation, is a start of a lengthy self-conversation delving into the use of further exploring the topic in question. "Who is this William Hung?" turns to "I wonder why he's so popular when he sings like a car horn?" "Should I get a Nintendo DS?" turns to "What is it I like in the DS that the PSP is lacking?" And these questions are answered whether we like it or not by the abovementioned circle we have built around us. And this to-and-fro process carries on until we come to a decision on what to do.

Thus giving into our netemptation.

I'm just spitting stuff out. I don't know if I'm factually right about past theories or not. I don't know if my arguments make logical sense or are randomly ricocheting off each other. So here's what I'm going to do.

I'm going to go ahead and publish this vomit, and you guys are going to come on in, examine it, praise it criticize it talk about it bash it. When you have had your fill, I will rewrite this article to reflect the opinions and changes suggested.

You may start... now.

ED: After having Kevin Lim run through this and tell me how I can improve it, I've decided to rewrite it. But that will be in due time. Meanwhile, I'll leave this published as an open initial draft for comments and critique to continue flowing in.

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