aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Too tired to blog… Here’s some cool clapping…
Facebook: from media darling to devil
Kara Swisher’s been consistent in her Zuckerberg bashing - “from one of our very first posts, questioning (we think fairly) the unproven business underpinnings of the hot social network, the juvenile nature of its much vaunted third-party widgets, the insanity of its $15 billion valuation, its inane legal fights and the problems with its worrisome ad efforts” - but now, says she, a mob is forming:
The mainstream media and blogosphere, which recently were feting him, have now turned and ire has been growing over Beacon, which seems to be focusing everyone on the inexperience of Zuckerberg and the challenges facing Facebook.
She quotes Josh Quittner’s RIP Facebook?
A lot of people say that Facebook has jumped the shark. That’s flat out wrong. In fact, Facebook is now being devoured by the shark. There’s so much blood in the water, it’s attracting other sharks. And if Facebook’s not careful, one of them is bound to come along and finish it off. I’ve never seen anything like it in the annals of fast-rising tech companies that fail.”
The really weird part of this story is that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with Facebook. It works as well as it ever has, and many of the people who use it (my kids for instance) are unaware of the worsening situation about its privacy-invading Beacon social ads scheme that tracks people’s web-surfing habits even when they’re not on the site. That’s bound to change. The market is fickle, something better is in the wings, and as soon as it arrives, the alienated and angry mob will race to it. Delphi’s errors begat Prodigy and its errors begat AOL, which was crushed by the Web. [...]
What’s surprising here is the speed with which this thing is coming undone — and the ease with which it could have been avoided. What’s harming Facebook - perhaps to a terminal degree - is enormously bad PR.... It could have all been avoided with a smart adult running things. Facebook has no old hands in its corner, no advisers to tell the kids how to behave. Netscape had its Jim Barksdale, Google (GOOG) its Eric Schmidt. This company has no one babysitting it. And watching it now is like watching an unattended child play with a pack of matches in a wooden house.
Facebook has turned all the people who rooted for it into a lynch mob. In the space of a month, it’s gone from media darling to devil. The most interesting thing about Facebook right now is who will replace it.
Robert Scoble chimes in:
This story is NOT going away Even if this particular story goes away, there’s a bad taste in our mouths because Facebook tried to do something that clearly wasn’t for the users. When David Weinberger, one of the authors of the Cluetrain Manifesto, says that you have a real PR problem. [...]
ANYTHING would be better than the way that Facebook is handling this.
This is what happens when a startup gets a controlling PR belief system. Steve Jobs can pull that off. Not many companies can.
Facebook’s PR machinery is hiding its head in the sand and hoping this story goes away.
Hint: it’s not.
The other day in a conversation with a group of tech-savvy students we imagined where the next Google might come from. I bet you can guess what we’ll be imagining today.
Michelle Bruce, transgender pol, loses reelection bid
She blames bigots. I do too:
Georgia’s first transgender elected official lost her bid Tuesday for a second term on the Riverdale City Council.
Michelle Bruce, who fell to political newcomer Wayne Hall, blamed people she referred to as “bigots” who questioned her gender in a lawsuit. [...]
In Riverdale, Bruce - surrounded by supporters from Georgia Equality and the Human Rights Campaign - dabbed her eyes as the results were read. Her loss came a day after a Superior Court judge threw out a lawsuit by two losing City Council candidates that alleged she lied to voters when she ran as a woman.
“I think the lawsuit had something to do with it [the loss],” she said. “I think we have a lot of work to do in Clayton County, especially Riverdale. I think we need to come together and the bigots need to go.”
LATER: The vote count:
“I lost,” Bruce said after hearing she lost to political newcomer Wayne Hall in an unofficial count of 223 votes to 308 votes. A total of 543 votes were cast.
I thought the lawsuit had something to do with the loss, too, but the numbers don’t really tell me anything about that. Bruce says she will “will continue to fight for LGBT rights and for all the citizens.”
And bring a civil lawsuit against those who sued her.
The AJC puts the election in context.