One of the consolations of spending far too much time online is that you get to witness the birth of new ideas and new terms, along with new uses of existing ones.
On Medium, Chris Messina points out two recent examples of creative re-purposing of older ideas and words. The first is the apparently trivial idea of “unlisted” content:
My first personal experience with “unlisted” content online was likely on YouTube. Making a video unlisted means that only people who have the link to the video can view it. It also means that the content won’t be broadcast to followers, or appear on the creator’s public profile. This is known as security through obscurity since the video isn’t secret, it’s just hard to find. An unlisted video can be viewed without requiring authentication.
Services seem to offer “unlisted” publishing to simplify sharing while providing more flexibility. It’s a pragmatic solution to address the challenge that what people think they want (i.e. 100% secrecy and control) isn’t in practice what they’re willing to put up with. It comes down to behavioral economics: if the value of keeping something secret is less than the frustration caused by maintaining its secrecy, people will route around the system designed to keep the thing secret.
As he points out, in addition to YouTube, “unlisted” services are now available from Flickr, Dropbox, Google Drive, Vimeo and Medium. His other cultural find is at a much earlier stage of its development: the “burner account.”
The Latest on: Online Surveillance
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