User rights and data ownership are two of the most important issues facing all of the participants in the social web. Announcements such as Facebook’s recent TOS change were an eye opening, if not chilling reminder to everyone from Millennials connecting with friends to the most seasoned media professional that control over the use of our content is not necessarily controlled by us.
In fact, it seemed that in the case of Facebook, cutting through all the legal language about irrevocable and perpetuity that if you use Facebook they owned your face and your book. And so they do. But the content issue is not just about Facebook or social networking sites. It is about online content in general; once your content goes up on the interactive by definition web, like it or not, the web owns it. Hit publish, and your content lives irrevocably and in perpetuity. As Kate Swisher states it, “You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it-that goes double on social networks.”
So, is that the end of it? Are we the people helpless in the face of the wild wild web? I don’t think so. And neither do my fellow participants in the Media2.0 Workgroup. In fact, the Media 2.0Workgroup under the leadership of Chris Saad and Stowe Boyd have developed an initiative focusing on the ethics of participation to create a community centric set of best practices.The participants to date are
Chris Saad, Khris Loux (On Behalf of JS-Kit), Eric Blantz, Stowe Boyd, Micah Baldwin (On behalf of Lijit), Brian Solis, Ben Metcalfe, Marianne Richmond, Jeremiah Owyang, Daniela Barbosa, Peter Kim, Loïc Le Meur (also on behalf of Seesmic/Twhirl), Deborah Schultz.
The goal is “to give publishers, emerging media platforms and individual participants an evolving set of ‘Best Practices’ to encourage open, democratic and transparent interaction.” And to provide for individual participants reasonable expectations for their own experiences.
As Brian Solis points out in his all too clear post Facebook and the Reality of your Online Content:
“In the end, it is our responsibility to protect ourselves and our online persona. We must also realize that in the process of sharing and participating online, our content is shared within our seemingly protected inner circle of friends, but the reality is that it also potentially reaches the extended networks that connect our social graph and the graphs that link our friends of friends, their friends of friends, and so on. In the social web we are now brand managers.”
Key point, “In the social web we are now brand managers.” Manage your brand wisely.