Friday, September 25, 2009

Protecting the Social Commons

I was invited to be a team leader in a new marketing effort based on "traffic generation". It was a well prepared and well documented offer. Maybe it was an opportunity to make quite a lot of money. I said no. We've seen this all before. Most of these people have little or no impact. But the tools are changing as our ability to communicate across the social networking commons improves.

Remember the time when robots harvested email addresses from web sites and we all got hundreds of emails about things that had no connection to us. SPAM.Today we protect ourselves with spam-filters, but the attack, changed forever how email is used.

The problem with spam, was that it destroyed the value of a perfectly good and very cheap tool. Email space was a common, and pirates tried to steal it from us. Largely they SUCCEEDED. In terms of personal communication of an important kind, I no longer use email. Email for me is reserved for easy group communication.

Some of the new personal communication is on Facebook, a little on Ryze. Only business matters on LinkedIn and Twitter. Skype has become a key tool. In each of these new social networking spaces there is a communication common, free of unwanted noise.There are tools in each social network that so far have kept that space relatively free of "noise".

People are planning to invade our communication common with marketing messages.One guy's set up 100's of interconnected blogs, and thousands of bogus twitter accounts. I think I discovered someone creating hundreds of bogus Ryze accounts too. The plan is to invade your privacy, and to profit from social media.

There are lots of people, in the social media common, who would like to,and expect to, profit from being a member of the Social Media space, on Facebook, Xing, LinkedIn, Ryze and elsewhere. That's fine. There are social ways to achieve that, and there are destructive anti-social ways to do it.

Our commons is protected in two ways. The administrative rules of Ryze, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are part of the defense. But users themselves need also to understand first that the common exists, and second that it needs to be defended.

There is a long inglorious history about "the Commons". The rules are never strong enough, and social action is too weak and too late. Eventually the commons is invaded and destroyed. This battle is being fought today. Our task?To remain alert, and to do your best to protect what you have.

John Stephen Veitch
The Network Ambassador
Open Future Limited - You may comment privately to John S Veitch using this form.

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