While everyone and their brother are tripping over themselves to share in the orgy of User Generated Content (UGC) a couple of striking events in the last couple of days has shown that it can be fraught with danger. The first event was the hilarious "riot" that ensued over at Digg.com when the administrators exercised censorship over the theoretically user-controlled news process.
Nerd anarchy? An e-Rebellion? Or just mob justice… which ever way you look at it social news site, Digg is facing the greatest crisis of its young life. The front page of Digg has been taken over by stories about and related to a hacked HD-DVD key.
To recap, someone has posted a link to a story about the said key getting cracked, and included the key in the title and description of the story. Digg staff took down the story, fearing that it would get sued by MPAA, as outlined in this blog post by CEO Jay Adelson.
This resulted in a proverbial take-to-the-streets riot, and now most of Digg front page stories are either related to the key-story, or are variants of the original deleted story.
In the end, the site’s administrators caved-in to the rioters, virtually guaranteeing that the tactic will now become a regular occurrence on their site. Good going guys! We look forward to the next riot and we think that Kevin Rose should start practicing his “we don’t negotiate with terrorists” speech in preparation for it.
But Digg’s cowardice in the face of adversity pales in comparison to the stupidity of the Barack Obama campaign staff. Back in 2004 a Barack fan named Joe Anthony created a fake Barack Obama myspace account for the senator which became rather popular for obvious reasons and then…
After Obama entered the presidential race, the campaign initially worked with Anthony to suggest improvements and Anthony even shared the site’s password so the campaign could make its own tweaks. When MySpace created a channel featuring profiles of presidential candidates, the Obama campaign chose not to create an official profile but instead suggested Anthony’s page, which already had a large following.
But as the campaign progressed and the network surrounding the page exploded to 160,000 online friends, the Obama campaign decided it should control the content and responses to MySpace users who sent messages.
We’re sure that working a presidential campaign can be stressful and expensive but outsourcing your online strategy to random, unpaid fans is a clear recipe for disaster. We just want to know who thought it was a good idea to NOT create their own official myspace profile. Were they really so lazy as to not want to deal with the most critical medium for reaching young people? You might want to reconsider voting for him if this is a sign of things to come.