Did Twitter play a part in Facebook rolling back Terms of Service?

An interesting post on the Twittown apps and widget community blog suggested Twitter ‘Took on Facebook’s Zuckerberg and Won‘.

It tracks the timeline between Facebook updating the Terms of Service for the social network, and rolling back to the original terms due to the outcry over ownership of content uploaded.

And while I don’t believe that Twitter outcry alone led to the decision to move back to the original terms and consult users about updates – Google blog search shows the outcry through full length blogging – the Twittown post does suggest that Twitter opinions had a significant effect.

And I would expect the Facebook team to be monitoring Twitter alongside all other channels – especially as FB considered Twitter important enough to try to buy it!

And it shows how monitoring and responding to probably the largest, and certainly the quickest online focus group makes sense for adding value and monetisation, whether it’s by Twitter, or third-party applications like Tweetdeck.

Max Gogarty and The Guardian – From mistake, to farce, to learning

I was ready to lay into The Guardian again, as the whole Max Gogarty controversy seemed to be missing the basic point of blogging. Besides the issues of nepotism, and class, the controversy would have been much less if blogging had been explained and implemented properly, criticism had been pro-actively responded to, and it The Guardian hadn’t decided to sulk and stop readers commenting.

We’ve had a response from the Travel Editor which concentrated on the hiring and class struggle. We’ve had a story detailing the ‘hate mail hell‘ Max has gone through. And throughout it all, there seems to be a lot of surprise about the responses to the blog, both on The Guardian, and throughout the internet.

Thailand pic by Flydime on Flickr.

It went viral because someone decided to close comments. For the same reason that someone banned from their local pub will probably go straight to their next nearest drinking hole, and sit their complaining about the ban. If you want to discuss something strongly, and a website won’t let you, you go elsewhere.

It got complaints because it wasn’t honest and open. Disclosure isn’t an unfamiliar concept to journalists or bloggers, so I’m still amazed it proves so difficult for corporate or company-approved bloggers to understand that hiding things are pointless. You should be honest,
to the point of stating why you can’t discuss certain topics on here. I wouldn’t blog about someone I didn’t like at work, for example, or a top secret project, because they’d be biased, or damaging to that project.

It got complaints because the only response was to close the comments. In later stories, you saw responses from someone claiming to be Max’s dad, Paul Gogarty, and also Emily Bell. And even though there was still blame on the ‘nasty bullies’, and a time limit on comments, you can already see that the nature of the comments changes slightly when there is actually someone listening and responding.

But, it seems like there is some valuable learning. Emily Bell, The Guardian’s Director of Digital Content, wrote a piece on the value of discourse yesterday, which did acknowledge the value of participation.

There is one line that worries me when she writes about ‘representative insitutions’ and mass participation : “we can shepherd refinement into this new partnership”.

Why would we want or need refinement? Do we want shepherds herding us around like sheep? Or do we just want to feel like our comments matter?