The Robert Scoble vs. Facebook saga is me thinks a taste of some of what is to come in the year and even years ahead. Its the old silo-race rearing its ugly little head again. Basically Facebook is saying you’re allowed to use ‘your’ accounts information as long as you do so manually, sick thus their de-activation of Mr Scoble’s account after he used a bit of software to scrape his friends’ contact details. In the end they own the data and are a little bit jealous of it and there is the matter of the Facebook Terms and Conditions.

(The irony is that there are a few useful little odds and ends floating around that can do a whole lot more than get names and email addies from facebook, the last one I gave a test-drive did all of that plus mine out images and other media and went way beyond mining just facebook :-) the hard part is actually figuring out something useful and worth-the-effort to do with such data)

So of course there is a group to go join – Facebook re-open Robert Scoble account !!!!! :-)

This little drama might be an interesting one to watch in the next week or two, especially as an opportunity to see just how communicative one of the perceived front-runners in the social networking scene is. Will Facebook join the conversation or will sheer scale and the new corporate stakes define their actions?

For my part I hope they will take a more progressive approach than the quoted form email seems to suggest. I favor competition based on functionality and innovation over capitalizing on ownership, especially that of information. Sure, at the end of the day business is business – and let it also be said publicity is publicity – but the old cyber-punk in me demands the privilege of individuals being allowed to integrate their real-world identity and person with computational augmentation and extension to the extent of their ability and resources.

That said, if the issue is that the software, a beta version of Plaxo, that mr Scoble was using was badly written and/or placing problematic strain on Facebook’s infrastructure, by all means turn on the brakes, but a draconian nuking of his account seems a bit, uhm, old-world-ish doesn’t it?

The privacy panic angle might well be the main motivation of Facebooks’ actions. I doubt they have any philosophical qualms with what mr Scoble (and others by the way) has done, at least none that outweigh the fear of being accused on not honoring the trust users have placed in them to keep their personal information safe.

But… if you don’t want your information to be harvested, don’t broadcast it.

It really is a simple as all that. Down with the silos! :-)


I’ve recently joined the social media based attention hub of (as far as I understand) Dave Duarte and Maximillian Kaizen’s Cape Town based Social-Media-and-Learning consulting type business, youth health Huddlemind, pharmacy with the great value proposition: We increase your speed of learning and adaptation, operationally and strategically.

So far I’m truly impressed; some great people (about 200 of them at the moment) and promising interest groups and forums converging around various organization development related initiatives, intervention modalities and things generally related to coaching, learning and other forms of corporate culture and efficacy pimping.

My profile page is here, if things like Bohm’s ‘Discussion’ Modality of Interactive Group Thought work interests you please join us.

I’m interested in a whole lot of things in this area and I’m hoping that my participation in Huddlemind in addition to the changes involved in my work-context of my new job at Regenesys (this weekends Secrets of Success in Leadership conference with Deepak Chopra being case in point) will help me winnow my eclectic and perhaps somewhat eccentric interests down to something that I can sustain a focus on for the next few years and hopefully develop some bits of value to contribute to this big and cuddly ol’ world of ours.

(PS. talk about slow to hit the publish button: draft date 2008/4/15, published 2010/2/28)

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