A gilded cage is still a cage.

A ‘walled garden’ is a closed network that exists on the internet where users are ‘walled in’ and access to content is controlled, protected, filtered and censored (Mitew 2014). Facebook is a prime example of a ‘walled garden’ in the modern online ecosystem, where content is monitored, information is recorded and access is limited. These ‘walled gardens’ are home to millions of users who conveniently go about their business, sharing information, participating in discussions and never noticing the cage surrounding their activities.

“She’s only a bird in a gilded cage,

A beautiful sight to see,

You may think she’s happy and free from care,

She’s not, though she seems to be,”

These cages are not all bad. They offer a quiet place to interact with friends, family and others; They can offer individuals better user experiences. The closed nature of the gardens offers a safe and secure browsing experience.

Despite these benefits a ‘walled garden’ it comes with a price. The wide open web is slowly being curated and cultivated by giant online corporations or ‘stacks’ as Sterling (2013) defines them as.Chris Saad, inline with Sterling’s notion surmises this on his website stating that “URLs are fading into the background, native mobile apps are all the rage and Facebook threatens to engulf the web into a proprietary black hole.

Jason Kottke believes that  “we already have a platform on which anyone can communicate and collaborate with anyone else… It’s called the internet”. I find myself agreeing with many of Kottke’s points especially the notion that after a period of realisation users will become more aware of what these walled gardens and cages are doing with our information and in turn break free of the glided cage that is facebook and other walled gardens.

References

Sterling 2013, Webstock ’13: Bruce Sterling – What a feeling!, online video, September, Webstock, viewed 6/9/14, < http://vimeo.com/63012862>

Mitew, T 2014, iFeudals: big data, surveillance, permission control, Lecture, DIGC202, Global Networks, University of Wollongong, delivered 01 September.

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