Categories
Copyright Social Media

Mobs 2.0 and the AP

I’ve withheld writing before on the AP fooflah, primarily because writing counter to the Mob is about the same as throwing a sandbag on a levee that’s already broken. Now the Mob is descending on the Media Bloggers Association because Rogers contacted that organization for legal advice, and the organization’s lead knows the AP folks.

The noise is that the Media Bloggers Association doesn’t represent the webloggers, which is something that the MBA has never claimed. What’s really at stake, though, is discovering that, as I thought and wrote in comments to some of last week’s posts, there is more to this story than first appeared with Rogers’ initial posting. The concept of waiting to hear all the facts, though, seems to be anathema in this environment now. Report first and maybe fact check some other time seems to be the credo of a disappointing large number of A listers who actually call themselves “journalists”.

What’s particularly sad about this recent variation of the AP fooflah, isn’t so much that the MBA is representing “all” bloggers so much, but that people like Jeff Jarvis, Michael Arrington, Matthew Ingram, and Teresa Nielsen Hayden, at Making Light, seem to be offended that Robert Cox is getting attention, which we assume, should be directed at Jeff Jarvis, Michael Arrington, Matthew Ingram, and Teresa Nielsen Hayden. This following digging up an old AP form, set up for businesses who want to incorporate AP content into their material, and making a breathless and astonishing leap of judgment that this is what the AP’s answer to webloggers is going to be. Talk about manufacturing facts out of whole cloth— this, this is our newest form of journalism?

How much of this is really based on outrage and how much is based on wanting to generate attention is a difficult to separate at this time— a fact that should give us serious pause. The outrage is disproportionate to the event, until such time as the AP comes out with more information about what they feel is, or is not, fair use. Remember, it doesn’t make the organization evil because it wants to provide clarification as to its interpretation of fair use. Also remember that just because you’re a blogger doesn’t mean you get to set all the rules. We’re not six year olds, demanding our lollies.

Scott Rosenberg has a good point in that it is important to hear the AP’s guidelines and interpretation of fair use, because both could have far reaching impact on how we write in these spaces. However, Rosenberg has not joined the “burn ’em first, ask questions later” war path; deciding to join with others, including Denise Howell at Lawgarithms, and the New York Time’s Saul Hansell, in wanting to find out the facts, first, before taking match to the current effigy du jour.

What’s chilling about this event is Michael Arrington’s post deriding Hansell for his coverage of this event. Hansell’s coverage has presented both sides of this issue, in a manner that is both thoughtful and level headed. In particular, he deplored the over the top reactions among some webloggers, including demands for AP boycotts, the benefit of which will only increase the exposure of a few at the expense of the many. To chastise him for what is nothing more than decent reporting is to chastise anyone daring to have a differing opinion from The Mob.

What I’m seeing with Arrington and the others is a demand for group think; an it’s their way or the highway implicit directive that, to me, is a greater threat to truly free and open communication within weblogging than anything the AP can or will do.

Categories
Social Media

Context

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I received an email about so-and-so wanting to connect with me on Flickr. I was a little surprised because I don’t promote my Flickr account–I use it for testing, only. I was flattered that they had taken the time to look for me on Flickr.

There was a second one a few hours later, and again I was surprised. I thought perhaps it was me appearing in the first person’s contact list that prompted the invite. I wasn’t as flattered, but still felt somewhat warmed by the act.

With the third invitation, I knew that the invites were less a matter of the person being interested in me, or my photos, and more interested in participating in some new social software gizmo.

Then I read Marshall Kirkpatrick’s writing on the new “Find a Friend” feature from Yahoo, where the company will scan your gmail contacts for a match on Flickr and allow you to send an invite with no more effort than check a box or push a button. There went any warmth; any momentary feeling of being remembered.

Marshall wrote:

I liked it when I tried it, I connected with some interesting people on Flickr that I wouldn’t have otherwise. I wouldn’t appreciate it, though, if certain people from my past who have otherwise forgotten about me were now prompted to check out my photos on Flickr. If blog comment spammers I’ve had nasty email exchanges with were suddenly prompted to friend me on Flickr, I wouldn’t like that very much either.

It was just tools talking to each other, and I was nothing more than a discrete bit of data and a way for people to fluff up their contact list with a minimum of effort. I could have been Joe, or Sally, and it wouldn’t have mattered. Rather than feeling more connected, I feel less.

Categories
Social Media

del.icio.us for January 14

These are my links for January 14th: