Fray.com: Another One Bites the Dust
Alas, friends, the nebulous, NPR-like thing we once called CyberCulture is dying. An anonymous tip led me to Fray.com, a site which pioneered Web Culture studies for almost a decade. Sadly, this site experienced its last update in March of 2005: check out the site's completely defunct News page.
The Silicon Valley-based site began with a compelling idea which is still displayed on its home page: "Fray began in September, 1996, with one simple idea: That the web was the ultimate conduit for personal storytelling. We saw a future web full of personal voices, where everyone has the power to tell their stories."
Ah, but the future isn't what it used to be. Web users aren't much interested in story-telling anymore, and Fray.com's decline into cyber-sclerosis parallels the dismal morphing of this once rich, story-telling medium into stripmall-like, search-driven shopping-cartness.
Disclaimer Note: I interviewed Derek Powezak for a Wired News proto-podcast back in 2000 and like the guy, so I'm not criticizing him personally, just lamenting the fact that it's clear that great sites like Fray.com don't appear to be supportable in a Web that's becoming more banal by the minute.