Upcoming.org and the sectarian internet

Hockney-ised Upcoming sign

I use and like upcoming.org, a social events calendar site. I logged in today to check out their new look n feel and hopefully improved usability because of the added “shiny bits” and features. More about that in a future post.

It seems that I have a knack of joining sites that end up getting acquired by Yahoo! It all started back in the day when I started an egroups.com group to catalogue my travels. This of course, morphed into Yahoo! Groups. More recently, I joined Flickr which then was gobbled up by the Yahoos…ditto with del.icio.us.

It happened once again with Upcoming. I joined the site in October 2005 having also experimented with EVDB (now Eventful) and Evite. Having started out as a few guys coding the site in their spare time, there was definitely a bare-bones, just enough feel about the site but there was something je ne sais quoi about the site that made me feel that they were on the right track.

Soon after I joined Upcoming, they became part of Yahoo! but it has taken until now for the full effect of this to become apparent. One of the main things that seems to strike a nerve with people is that you have to merge your Upcoming authentication details (i.e username and password) with a Yahoo! ID. A similar process kicked up a storm (in a teacup IMO) over at Flickr earlier this year. It seems some folk can’t handle the fact that they are now less old skool or that they are now part of a faceless corporation.

Change is difficult. Some people actively embrace change but more often, people find change difficult, particularly when it is imposed upon them. Even if a site is free, they are attached (often emotionally) to such things as screen names. They care about the site which means they care about their identity on that site.

One thing that I have also noticed is an almost sectarian mentality that people have about websites. This sometimes manifests itself between adherents of Google and its many and varied services and the acolytes of Yahoo! Examples of such dichotomies abound through history and continue today…viz. Pepsi/Coke, Protestants/Catholics, Mods/Rockers, Shias/Sunnis, Campagnolo/Shimano, OS X/Windows….hmm maybe that’s drawing a longbow!?

In a way its a good sign for the site’s developers that people are passionate about the sites they use. My opinion? It doesn’t have to be so dichotomous!!!

So, just because I like Upcoming and use Yahoo! Mail as my primary web mail doesn’t mean that I don’t like Google…I’m using Blogger, a Google “property” to write this blog post! I also regularly use Picasa and Picasa Web Albums, You Tube, maps and of course search. I am thinking of switching to Word Press at some point and I’m keeping a close eye on the open source media player/browser mash-up, Songbird too. I sometimes contemplate using one of my various gmail addresses as my primary address but have decided against it for now.

Congratulations on reaching the end of this rambling post!

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