Ross Mayfield posted today about how he’s looking for the “CEO 2.0″ for Socialtext, and that he’d be stepping into the Chairman and President roles, and is looking to put a new face in that driver’s seat at the wiki service provider. I’m psyched to see where this goes, as it has the potential to a) show some usage of a social network in LinkedIn, which Mayfield has asked people to contact him through in this case, and b) be a solid example of publicly soliciting input on the growth of a business.
Good luck to Ross in his re-fangled role at Socialtext, and if any of you know someone (or are interested yourself) go check it out at Ross’ blog / on LinkedIn.
Murdoch’s Arrival Worries Journal Employees – New York Times
I have this very clear image of WSJ employees running around before Murdoch’s arrival at the building wearing oblong helmets and trying to reinforce the doors, only to have them cut through by Murdoch’s minions. That of course leads to a firefight the employees ultimately lose, only to have Murdoch himself stride in and step over their bodies before choking the last guy left alive to try and find out what the password to the computer mainframe is.
But maybe that’s just me.
If I were Facebook (and if Facebook were a person and not a collection of HTML code) about a month and a half I ago I probably would have felt like I was sitting on the top of the social media heap. Sure, my market share still trailed MySpace’s by a significant margin but people seemed to love my cleaner interface, more efficient tools and especially my willingness to let people develop their own widgets to use with me. It was a great time to be a social network.
If I were Facebook just last week I’d be wondering where I it was I had just woken up and why I only had an extra pair of socks and a copy of Grapes of Wrath on me.
After an initial burst of positive publicity for Facebook as it became the darling of the social media space the tide seems to have shifted drastically. Where once people were praising the way it was allowing developers to add widgets and other features at will, now there’s a backlash going on about how it’s a “walled garden” and doesn’t let people out. It’s almost as if Facebook once completely open to search engines and such and then decided to shut the doors.
But that’s not the case. The fact that Facebook sends you an email alerting you to the fact that someone has written on your Wall but that you have to login to see that message is not new. It’s functionality that, at least to my knowledge, has been around since forever on the site. And why are we surprised by that, when so much of the discussion we have revolves around engagement value and pageviews as a sign of success?
I think the seemingly newly formed consensus that Facebook’s content-in/nothing-out model is a bad thing is more a symptom of groupthink than anything else. I think it was about two weeks ago when I started seeing one or two people say they were frustrated in their attempts to export contacts or some such from Facebook into another application. That evolved quickly into people decrying the existence of such closed ecosystems, as if Facebook and other such sites were going to bring down the very Web2.0 world they helped to foster.
As participants in the discussion it’s important that we make sure we’re not falling victim to just piling on someone else’s legitimate point in order to make ourselves appear so cutting edge or smart in a way that only we ourselves can fully appreciate. There are things that Facebook could be doing better, yeah, but let’s actually discuss what they are and how the company can achieve those goals in a way that’s consistent with the brand. There are things that a lot of companies could be doing better. Read TechCrunch for a week and you’ll see all sorts of new start-ups that claim to do X better than MySpace or iTunes or YouTube or any of the other established heavy-hitters. If you find a deficiency in the tools you’re using, take some time and peruse the alternatives to find one that more closely fits the experience you’d like to have.
Be warned, though: What you like the best might not be where the cool kids and A-listers are hanging out currently. So your choices are to hang with the in crowd or pave your own way.