Saturday, March 07, 2009

Take a Chance on Me -- Or Not?

For years I've been predicting the constriction of the free Web even as it has expanded - that is to say, even though we are told that free is the future of business, it doesn't always turn out that way because salaries, servers, scalability, and the larger forces of economics and recessions end up forcing the inevitability of the bottom line. When I teach social software classes, I emphasize knowing who is providing the service, and the importance of self-archiving your information (or in plain terms, backing stuff up). I have a whole list of examples, including various Google applications, and now I can add RSSFwd to the list. In addition, some tools have run out of their "the first hit is free" period (I'm talkin' to you, Jott!) and that requires thinking about whether the tool is worth paying for (and even fee-based can tools go under too these days!).

I'm not surprised by these developments, and I'm happy for what I do have. But I need to be able to *rely* on what I use as part of my daily work/life flow. Beyond my own willingness to take a chance, I also have to think about it from the perspective of a technology trainer. If I'm going to teach a tool I'm kinda taking a defacto stand that the tool will be reliable and supported, and that is starting to make me increasingly risk-averse...