Category: Internet

Returning to POSSE – Writing on my own site, THEN on Facebook, Twitter, etc

Sheriff posse flickr tom kelly

Over the past few weeks as I’ve been grappling with colon cancer, it has been soooooooooo tempting to just pop open the Facebook app, write a story in the box and press “Share”.

Simple. Easy. Done!

Or inside the Twitter app… or LinkedIn… or… or...

But here’s the problem with that...

All the stories get LOCKED INSIDE A PLATFORM!

They are there living on the platform’s servers, inside the platform’s systems.  Maybe they are visible publicly, maybe they aren’t.  Maybe they will be around in two years, maybe they won’t.  Maybe people will find them, maybe they won’t.

The future of your stories is entirely at the whim of the platform.

As I wrote about on the Internet Society’s blog earlier this year, one of my own guiding principles is “POSSE“, a content publishing model from the “IndieWeb” movement:

Publish on your
Own
Site,
Syndicate
Elsewhere

And so over these past few weeks, I tried really hard to do that with my journey through cancer: the diagnosis, followed by the recovery, followed by the results.

But it’s HARD. It was so insanely tempting yesterday when I got the great news just to pop open Facebook and share it with everyone.

But when I do that… it’s shared ONLY within Facebook’s shiny “walled garden”. It’s not shared with people I know who choose NOT to use Facebook. It’s not shared with the communities I’m in on other social networks.

The “open Web” on top of the “open Internet” is really the only way to do that. But it’s hard. There’s extra steps involved for me right now with the way my various blogs are set up.  I want to work to make that easier and simpler… but doing so will take time… which is challenging to find.

But if we don’t find ways to OWN OUR OWN STORIES then they will stay locked away in closed, proprietary walled gardens.  And maybe that’s fine for some of those stories. Maybe they are small and mundane… “in the moment” stories that we don’t really care about. But even so, we feed the platforms. We help them to grow.

 I’ll keep trying to follow the POSSE rule… and I’ll be writing more here about that.


Image credit: Tom Kelly on Flickr CC BY NC ND

XKCD Comic Perfectly Captures Sad, Fragmented State of Messaging / Chat Systems

Xkcd 1810 chat systems

In one picture, this comic from xkcd nails the very sad state of fragmentation with our messaging systems today. The text says:

I have a hard time keeping track of which contacts use which chat systems.

And that is our major pain point today.

Think about it... do you know how to reach most of the people you need to communicate with?

Some readers may have just decided that they are going to ONLY use one service. They communicate on only, say, Facebook. Or WhatsApp. (Or in one case I know, someone has rejected all new messaging apps and will only communicate with email.)

And so if you want to communicate with them you have to use their one service.

But of course, if you want to communicate with other people, you have to use their service... which leads to this comic and the mental energy we all must expend to remember (names are made up):

  • George likes to get Twitter DMs
  • Sue and Jose only use Facebook Messenger
  • Carlos only uses WhatsApp
  • Heidi, Frederick and Laura only use Wire
  • Your parents all use iMessage... except when they decide to use Facebook Messenger
  • Your teenage kids ignore most messages except on Snapchat
  • Nick only responds to Instagram DMs
  • Jon is old-skool and can only be found on IRC
  • Your work colleagues are best found on Slack... except a couple are also Facebook friends so you can reach them that way... and a couple of others are on Twitter and so you can reach them there
  • Your friend in Asia prefers WeChat
  • A number of people you know use Matrix and Riot.im
  • and...
  • and...
  • and... the list goes on...

Think about the sheer amount of thought processing and memory we all must expend to keep this all straight in our heads! And yes, some tools and contact/address books can help... as can some clients.

But it's a mess.

Two years ago I wrote about why I thought that some degree of centralization was inevitable: The Directory Dilemma - Why Facebook, Google and Skype May Win the Mobile App War.

I still believe the "directory dilemma" is the key issue here. All this fragmentation can't last.

Naturally the large players would like us all to forget about the others and move all our messaging to be inside of Facebook Messenger, or iMessage, or WhatsApp. They have zero interest in sharing or federating because they are all about the lock-in and keeping people inside their pretty walled gardens.

And groups like Matrix.org are working on creating the kind of distributed, decentralized messaging I'd like to see. But they run into the issue that it's hard to do that in a way that's simple and easy to an end user.

We don't care about where Fred sends messages...

... we just want to reach Fred.

I do worry that in the end all our messaging will be inside the private, commercial walled gardens, because people will default to the ease of finding people. The big directories will win.

Right now it's a mess.

What do you think? What is our path out of this mess?


A related audio commentary is available:

Heading to Romania to ION Bucharest for DNSSEC, IPv6, routing security and more

ION Bucharest template 660px

This week I will briefly be in Bucharest, Romania, for the Internet Society's ION Bucharest conference. We've got a great set of sessions on the agenda, including:

  • Deploying DNSSEC
  • Romanian DNSSEC Case Study
  • Let's Encrypt & DANE
  • Mind Your MANRS & the Routing Resilience Manifesto
  • The Case for IPv6
  • IPv6 Success Stories
  • What's Happening at the IETF? Internet Standards and How To Get Involved

I will have two roles in the event tomorrow:

I enjoy doing the production of live video streams and so this should be a good bit of fun (it's also intense work in the midst of it).

You can WATCH LIVE starting at 14:00 EEST (UTC+3, or 7 hours ahead of the US East Coast where I live).

The sessions will also be recorded for later viewing.

It will be a short trip for me. I'm currently (Tuesday morning) writing this from the Munich airport. I land in Bucharest tonight. The event is tomorrow - and then I fly home Thursday afternoon.

Despite the short visit, I'm looking forward to it - it should be a great event!


An audio commentary on this topic is also available:


Photo credit: Nico Trinkhaus on Flickr - CC BY NC

Do Facebook Instant Articles Support The Open Web… or Facebook’s Walled Garden?

Facebook instant articles

Will Facebook's impending opening up of its "Instant Articles" on April 12 to ALL publishers of content help the "open web"? Or will it just keep more people inside of Facebook's shiny walled garden?

As Facebook's launch announcement says in part:

We built Instant Articles to solve a specific problem—slow loading times on the mobile web created a problematic experience for people reading news on their phones. This is a problem that impacts publishers of all sizes, especially those with audiences where low connectivity is an issue.

...

Facebook’s goal is to connect people to the stories, posts, videos or photos that matter most to them. Opening up Instant Articles will allow any publisher to tell great stories, that load quickly, to people all over the world. With Instant Articles, they can do this while retaining control over the experience, their ads and their data.

It sounds great on many levels and blogging pioneer Dave Winer has written passionately about "How Instant Articles helps the open web" (also published on Medium). He went on to document his Instant Articles (IA) feed and to talk about how his blog posts now automagically stream out to Facebook Instant Articles along with other services: Oh the places this post will go!

The beautiful part about Instant Articles is that it is based on good old RSS feeds ... and so with a few additions to the markup of your RSS feed you could be ready to go technically to start publishing Instant Articles. (There are a number of other steps you need to do, though.) Even better, and a point Dave definitely makes, Facebook Instant Articles will update when you make changes to your original text - something that doesn't happen with services (such as Medium) where you can syndicate your articles after you write them... but they don't update.

As Dave notes in "How IA happened from my point of view" by quoting me (in my comment left on Medium), I think this a great step in allowing publishers to easily get their content into Facebook's Instant Articles. My quote said:

"I have expected that Facebook would be focused on keeping everyone inside their shiny walled garden and thought I understood that Instant Articles involved putting your content on FB’s servers… which I now understand it *does*, but via caching of an RSS feed. Which is VERY cool!"

In my previous quick reading about Instant Articles, I had understood that it involved publishers loading their content onto Facebook's servers - and so I thought that we who publish would be forced to load our content onto FB's servers separate from our own websites.

In other words, I thought we would need to publish twice.

This, to me, would NOT support the "open web" that exists outside the big walled gardens of content that we are seeing now evolving.

I thank Dave for helping me understand that Facebook very nicely chose to base IA on the consumption of RSS feeds. This allows us as publishers to create our content once and syndicate it out to Facebook Instant Articles.

This is good and very much in line with the IndieWeb thinking around "POSSE - Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere" that I very much believe in. I applaud Facebook for making it so easy for content publishers to make our content available as Instant Articles.

BUT...

Is the existence of Instant Articles good for the open web?

Right now, when I post a link in Facebook to an article on one of my sites:

when people follow that link they view the article on MY site.

On MY web server, running somewhere out on the distributed, de-centralized and "open" web.

(Which, yes, is increasingly getting centralized in terms of content hosting providers, but let's leave that for a separate article. The point is that I currently do have multiple choices for where I host that content.)

People can interact with my site, see my content there, potentially leave comments there on the site, etc.

My site, and the content on that site, is not dependent on Facebook.

The key point about viewing Instant Articles is:

Reading "Instant Articles" keeps you ENTIRELY within Facebook's walled garden.

You read the Instant Articles inside of your Facbook mobile app. You comment and interact with the article inside of Facebook's app.

All the interaction happens within Facebook's mobile app.

Yes, as a publisher I can get analytics about my content, including via other services such as Google Analytics.

And yes, all the Instant Articles content is pulled in from my website out on the "open web". But while that content is pulled in using "open protocols",

the content is cached (stored) on Facebook's servers and made available through Facebook's own networks.

Over time publishers might start to ask:

Why not simply publish everything DIRECTLY inside of Facebook?

With Instant Articles, Facebook is already serving out my content from their servers... why don't I simplify my workflow even more by just publishing all my content natively inside of Facebook?

And if I were Facebook that would be what I would ultimately want. Even more content exclusively inside MY walled garden that would keep people staying inside those shiny walls.

Yes, User Experience Matters

Having said all of this, I do understand WHY Facebook is doing this beyond the obvious desire to keep people in their walled garden:

The mobile user experience of reading/viewing content has a HUGE need for improvement!

Even with the push by Google and many others to make the web "mobile-friendly" there is still a huge amount of room for improvement.

We need to speed up the "mobile web" and to improve the user experience.

Facebook is trying to do this with Instant Articles. Google is trying to do this with "Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)", which I'll be soon writing an article about. Apple would like to do this with Apple News.

All of those efforts, though, do speed up the mobile web ... but only for users of specific apps / browsers / etc.. Each of the efforts creates a better mobile user experience, but within their own walled gardens.

And I do understand that from Facebook's point of view the mobile user experience isn't as seamless as it could be when people are in the Facebook app and then follow a link out to a completely different look-and-feel and a completely different user experience.

It can be jarring. And it may not work all that well.

Instant Articles will bring a significantly better user experience to users of the Facebook mobile apps.

As a user of those Facebook apps, I can see that being a good thing. Admittedly I sometimes do not follow links I see in my NewsFeed because I know from experience that the site linked to loads slowly and I don't have time at that moment to wait to view that article. I want to see it NOW.

But is the price of a better user experience worth the continued centralization of content within large walled gardens?

And will anyone really care... as long as they can read their article as fast as possible?

Will I Publish Through Facebook Instant Articles?

Of course!

I'm not stupid! The reality is that right now a huge amount of the audience I want to reach is within Facebook's shiny walled garden - and uses Facebook's NewsFeed as a primary way of getting much of their content. I am there myself and do get a large number of links that I visit on a daily basis through what I see in my Facebook NewsFeed.

Like Dave Winer already does, I'm working to see what I can do to make at least a few of my sites accessible via Instant Articles by the April 12 launch. (For instance, I see WordPress plugins for IA already emerging and FB themselves provides some guidance for content management systems.)

I'll do it because my end goal is to get my content seen by the people who I want to reach.

And right now, Facebook is the way that so many people consume content.

I have to go where the conversation is happening.

Do I worry, though, about the long-term effects this may have on the "open web"?

Absolutely.

And I think you should, too.

We Need An Open Internet

We need an "open web" ... and a far larger "open Internet" ... where we don't have to ask permission to communicate, connect, collaborate and create (what many of us call "permissionless innovation").

The centralization of content, both in terms of publishing of content and consumption of content, is a very worrisome trend.

Huge, centralized walled gardens such as Facebook today can make Instant Articles "open to everyone" ... but tomorrow they could start to play much more of the "gatekeeper" role, determining:

  • precisely "who" gets to publish content to the Facebook audience (which they are already doing in a way through the process of applying for Instant Article access);
  • whether that content gets to be seen by all Facebook users (which they are already doing with the NewsFeed algorithm and could do even more now that Facebook Reactions are out);
  • whether that content gets to be seen for free - or for a price (which they are already doing with the NewsFeed algorithm for displaying Pages content and letting you "boost" content).

Yes, I'll publish through Facebook Instant Articles (assuming my feeds get approved) because it will help Facebook users more easily view my content.

And I'm glad that Facebook chose to use RSS as the base to allow us to easily publish our content as Instant Articles without having to create a separate mechanism for publishing to Facebook.

I just worry that in then end this will only help keep more people inside of Facebook's shiny and pretty walled garden ... versus interacting with the many other sites and services that make up the larger open Internet.

What do you think?

Will you start publishing your content as Facebook Instant Articles? Do you think that we as content providers have much of a choice if we want to reach people on Facebook? What do you think this will do long-term?


An audio podcast about Facebook Instant Articles is also available:


UPDATE #1 - In a bit of synchronicity, Dave Winer published a new post - Who should support IA and how - at about the same time as I posted mine. He suggests that IA should be used as essentially the improved plumbing to make the mobile user experience better across different platforms and walled gardens. I don't disagree.. but I wonder how many of the other walled gardens (ex. Twitter, Medium) would actually support Facebook's protocol. (Sounds like a topic for another blog post...)

Video and Slides Now Available For My AstriCon 2015 Keynote: Open Source and The Global Disruption of Telecom

If you're interested in what I said last month at AstriCon 2015 in my keynote on "Open Source And The Global Disruption of Telecom: What Choices Will We Make?", the video and slides are both available.

As I wrote about previously, the context for this discussion was to talk about the changes that are happening all around us in terms of the ways in which we communicate. Here was the abstract:

There is a battle raging for the global future of telecommunications and the Internet. Taking place in networks, board rooms and legislatures, the battle will determine how we all communicate and what opportunities will exist. Will telecom support innovation? Will it be accessible to all? Will it give us the level of security and privacy we need to have the open, trusted Internet? Or will it be restricted and limited by corporate or government gatekeepers?

The rise of voice-over-IP has fundamentally disrupted the massive global telecommunications industry, infrastructure and policies. Open source software such as Asterisk has been a huge driver of that disruption and innovation.. but now what? What role do platforms such as Asterisk play in this space? And what can be their role in a telecom infrastructure that is now mobile, increasingly embedded (Internet of Things) and more and more using proprietary walled gardens of communication?

How well I delivered on that will be up to you to decide... but I felt good about how it all came out and received many great comments and feedback throughout the rest of the event and afterwards. And, as a speaker I could see from the crowd (about 500-ish people) that they were NOT looking down into their smartphones or laptops... which is always a good sign! ;-)

A key point of what I aimed to do was to bring people up to a higher level to think about how their own actions fit into the broader context of what is happening in the world today.

It was fun to do! And I loved all the questions I was getting after that. My goal was to make people think... and it seemed that at least for some I did.

My part of the video starts after 15 minutes of introductory items (this was the opening of the event), so if you watch in the embedded video below you'll need to move forward to the 15:00 mark. You can also follow this direct link to the start of my segment with an introduction to me from Mark Spencer, the creator of Asterisk.

(And yes, this was the first time I had ever given a presentation wearing a ponytail in the long hair experiment I've been trying this year... I'm still not 100% sure I'm going to keep this style. This may be the first and only presentation you see with me like this.)

Unfortunately, the video only shows me talking on stage and doesn't show the slides I was using... so you don't understand what I'm talking about when I reference the slides.

I've posted the slides to my SlideShare account but as you'll see without the video or audio they aren't of much value. This was a wonderful opportunity for me to present in the very minimalist style I prefer where I only use images or a few words - and I thoroughly enjoyed doing so.

However, syncing the slides to the video is not something you'll probably find easy. At some point perhaps I'll create another video showing both my speaking and the slides... but I don't know that it will happen anytime soon.

Meanwhile, here they are...

Some of the links I reference in the presentation include (in the order of their appearance):

If you enjoyed this presentation and would like to have me potentially speak at your event, please do contact me. I've been speaking for many years and very much enjoy giving these kind of presentations at all types of events.

My First RFC – 7649 On "The Jabber Scribe Role at IETF Meetings"

Rfc7649 jabber scribe role 660px

Last month the first Request For Comments (RFC) was published where I was one of the co-authors. Ironically, this RFC 7649 had nothing to do with SIP, VoIP, telecom, IPv6, DNSSEC, security... or any of the other open Internet standards I've been working on in recent years!

In fact, it's not a "standard" at all but rather an "informational" document.

This document collects together a series of best practices for how someone can fill the role of the "jabber scribe" at IETF meetings, such as the IETF 94 meeting about to happen in Yokohama, Japan, starting this weekend. (Which I will not be attending due to scheduling challenges.) You can read RFC 7659 at:

http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc7649

As the abstract states:

During IETF meetings, individual volunteers often help sessions run more smoothly by relaying information back and forth between the physical meeting room and an associated textual chatroom. Such volunteers are commonly called "Jabber scribes". This document summarizes experience with the Jabber scribe role and provides some suggestions for fulfilling the role at IETF meetings.

The document came about because over the years that I've been involved with the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) I've come to both value the critical role the "jabber scribe" can play - and I've also tried to do the best I can to perform that role when I'm in working group sessions at IETF meetings. I typically volunteer as a jabber scribe in any of the sessions I'm in and try to make the experience as good as possible for remote participants.

Largely my interest is because I spent many IETF meetings as a remote participant and I knew how poor that experience can be.

A few years ago after one of the IETF meetings, I made a comment to a couple of people that we ought to write down some of the suggestions and best practices so that people could easily get some ideas for how they could help out in the role. If they were new to the idea... or even if they had been around but were interested in doing the role better.

I kept track of some ideas ... and a small group of us kept occasionally bouncing ideas around... but none of us had the cycles to write the actual document.

Then last year at, I think, the Toronto IETF meeting in July, Peter St. Andre and I were talking about it again - and this time we actually got it off the ground! More precisely, Peter kicked it off and then he and I went through several rounds of revisions and comments.

Given that Peter's authored 35+ RFCs and countless Internet-Drafts (I-Ds), he knows the IETF process inside and out and so was able to guide the document through the publishing process, including having it move through the "independent submission" stream of RFC documents. I've written a number of Internet-Drafts over the years, but none have yet progressed to an RFC. I learned a great bit from Peter through the process and look forward to using that knowledge in the future.

I greatly appreciate Peter's leadership on this - and I hope that this document will be helpful to many folks out there who are helping involve more people remotely in the IETF's standards process.

Given the timezone difference with Japan, I'm not sure how many of the IETF 94 working group sessions I'll actually be able to attend remotely... but if I do, I'll be hoping that whomever is acting as the Jabber scribe will help include those of us who are remote.

Meanwhile, it is kind of fun to have my name on an RFC, even if it's an Informational one. I look forward to being able to play even more of a role in the IETF standards process in the years ahead...

Keynote at AstriCon on Oct 14: Open Source And The Global Disruption Of Telecom – What Choices Will We Make?

Astricon danyork 660px

Two weeks from today I'll be in Orlando giving the opening keynote address at AstriCon 2015. The abstract of the session is:

Open Source And The Global Disruption Of Telecom - What Choices Will We Make?

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015 - 9:00 am to 9:45 am - Pacifica Ballroom 7

There is a battle raging for the global future of telecommunications and the Internet. Taking place in networks, board rooms and legislatures, the battle will determine how we all communicate and what opportunities will exist. Will telecom support innovation? Will it be accessible to all? Will it give us the level of security and privacy we need to have the open, trusted Internet? Or will it be restricted and limited by corporate or government gatekeepers?

The rise of voice-over-IP has fundamentally disrupted the massive global telecommunications industry, infrastructure and policies. Open source software such as Asterisk has been a huge driver of that disruption and innovation.. but now what? What role do platforms such as Asterisk play in this space? And what can be their role in a telecom infrastructure that is now mobile, increasingly embedded (Internet of Things) and more and more using proprietary walled gardens of communication?

Join the Internet Society's Dan York in an exploration of what the future holds for telecom infrastructure and policy - and how the choices we make will determine that future.

Sounds great, eh?

Now I just have to deliver on that lofty rhetoric! :-)

Seriously, though, I'm very much looking forward to giving this presentation and I'm delighted that the folks at Digium asked me to speak. We're at a critical time in the evolution of our global communications infrastructure... with everything moving to IP and also moving to mobile, there are incredibly important choices we have to make for our future.

In the talk, I'll be speaking about the scenarios we have for what our future Internet could look like. I'll be talking about the role of open source. I'll be challenging the audience with some questions to ponder. I'll touch on some of the incredibly important - yet hard to understand - global policy issues such as the upcoming WSIS+10 Review in December - and why an open source developer should even remotely care! I'll of course hit on security issues and the rise of mobile... and more...

I'm excited!

I'm also excited to finally attend an AstriCon event. I used to write about Asterisk a good bit and for a while was running my own server in my home office for VoIP... but in all that time I never was able to work in attending an AstriCon!

If you are going to be there in Orlando, please do say hello! (There's still time to register!)

P.S. And yes, Olle Johansson, I'll be sure to work in at least one reference to IPv6! And TLS, too! Don't worry! :-)

Four Years At The Internet Society

ISOC geneva 400It was four years ago today that I joined the Internet Society staff... and what an amazing four years it has been!

If I go back and read my long post here about joining ISOC in September 2011, my passion and motivation continues to be the same - if anything, that passion has only gotten stronger!

As I wrote about last year in my three-year post, the "Internet of opportunity" that we all value is under severe threat.

The big change for me this past year, was, of course, the big change of joining the Internet Society Strategic Communications team in March 2015 (you can also listen to an audio recording).

That's been a wonderful yet crazy change!

If you go back and look at what I wrote last year - or two years ago - it's all about the technology behind the Internet and how we need to improve the infrastructure to make the Internet work better, be faster and be more secure.

The change this year is that now I'm more involved in other areas of Internet Society work, particularly in the public policy space. You can see that in some of the posts I've been writing for the main ISOC blog (scroll down my bio page to see the list). I've been very involved in adding content to the public policy and Internet governance sections of the website - and I've been working on our overall content strategy for a range of different websites (whereas in the past I mostly just focused on the Deploy360 site).

I've also found myself involved in projects such as standing up a web site for our Call For an Open WSIS+10 Preparatory Process... which it was only after getting it all set up that I really sat back and realized we were coordinating a coalition of organizations that was calling on action from the President of the United Nations General Assembly! Quite a different level of advocacy than I've been involved with in the past! (And still open to sigantories, by the way...)

My new role this year has given me an amazing view about all the work the Internet Society is doing around the world... it's truly inspiring to see it all.

Perhaps most inspiring is to see that the work is ultimately about helping people have better lives. Yes, technology is definitely a large part... but the work we do is about how technology enables better communication, connection, collaboration, creativity and commerce... it's the effect on people that matters most.

The new role is crazy busy... I'm definitely NOT sitting around playing Solitaire or Tetris! :-)

But we have a great team... and we as an overall organization are working on getting more focused on what activities we can do to have the biggest impact on ensuring the "Internet of opportunity" is available for all.

I'm VERY much looking forward to what the fifth year brings!

P.S. Recently Russ White published a very nice overview of the Internet Society on the PacketPushers site - and if you're interested, becoming a member of the Internet Society is free and can connect you to others around the world who want to see an open Internet available to all!


An audio commentary is also available:

Outrage On Internet Over Lion-Killing Shuts Down Dentist’s Website And Office, Hammers Him on Yelp, more…

Www flickr com photos psg3 14429454372

There's a communications crisis happening right now on the Internet that should be of interest to anyone involved in PR / marketing / communications. As you are by now probably aware, a Minnesota dentist apparently paid $55,000 to go big game hunting in Zimbabwe and wound up killing a lion named "Cecil" that was popular with locals and tourists. The dentist admitted that he killed the lion and issued a statement expressing his regret.

The outcry globally has been extremely fierce. Consider this:

  • the Yelp page for the dentistry practice is full of all sorts of negative reviews.
  • the company's website was sluggish earlier yesterday (July 29) and has been completely offline since mid-day yesterday.
  • the company's Facebook page seems to have been taken down (perhaps by the company itself?)
  • videos from the company on YouTube are being slammed full of negative comments.

And a great amount of venom has been spewed at the dentist and his company in many other forums all across the Internet. (Ex. over 6,300 comments in a Reddit thread!) As a result, the dentist has now closed his office, putting his staff out of work and referring all his patients to other nearby dentists. Protests are happening at his office - and all over the Internet.

It seems like the company is trying to react on Twitter:

but I am admittedly a bit suspicious because:

  1. The Twitter account misspells "Bluff" with only one F.
  2. The Twitter account seems to have no tweets before yesterday and has only 59 tweets (at the time I write this).

However, I thought I got to that Twitter account from the dentist office's website when I could still get there after first learning about this story yesterday morning. And the account is tweeting out positive things about the company. Which makes me think it is real...

Either way, we are currently seeing a serious level of retribution for this action.

While I personally can't understand why someone would go and kill a lion - and do understand the outrage felt by so many, I do wonder about the scale of the retribution directed at this dentist.

From my own experiences with dentist offices, they typically do involve a number of different people who just work there. All of those employees (plus the patients) - who had nothing to do with the killing of the lion - are affected by the actions of the outraged people across the Internet who are shutting down this business.

As communicators, are you ready for something like this?

If the actions of an employee, or owner in this case, were to generate this level of outrage on the Internet, do you have a plan to cope with it?

And can you implement that plan on Internet speed?

Realizing, of course, that there are very few ways to know if you'd be truly ready to cope, but there are things you can do both technically (ex. have a CDN in front of your website) and from a process point of view (ex. have a plan!).

As Christopher Penn said today in a post inside of Facebook "Mob rule is scary." Indeed it is.

What would you do if your company or organization found itself in the cross-hairs of global outrage?

P.S. You can discuss this in the FIR Podcast Community on Google+.


Photo credit: a cropped version of this photo from Peter Glenday on Flickr. (I don't actually know that it is "Cecil" outside of the fact that it is tagged with that name and was taken in Zimbabwe.)

There Was Power In What Happened Last Night (At InterCommunity 2015)

Icomm15 all

There was an amazing power in what happened last night. There was a "magic" ... that I can't quite explain.

I sat in a room in Ottawa, Canada... but yet for 2.5 hours I was connected into a global meeting that brought me together with people all around the world... sitting in their homes, offices... or wherever. And gathered in large groups in New Zealand... Tunisia... El Salvador... Uruguay... New York... DC... the Dominican Republic... more...

The event was the Internet Society's InterCommunity 2015 ... something I wrote about on Circle ID, wrote about here, and talked about twice in my TDYR podcasts: episodes 258 and 259.

For that 2.5 hours we talked about how we are collectively working to bring the opportunities of the Internet to the 50% of the world that doesn't yet have access... we heard stories about the amazing work people are doing... we heard about our new 2015 Global Internet Report that highlights the rise of the "mobile Internet" and both the awesome potential - and pitfalls - that we are seeing... we talked about "Collaborative Governance" and how we need to work together to address the changes the Internet has brought to governance - and how governments adapt to the Internet... we heard from people in different parts of the world about the work they are doing... we talked about Internet security and how our "Collaborative Security" approach can be applied to activities people are doing... we had excellent questions about encryption and open vs closed systems... we talked about needing to speak in clear simple voices to explain these challenges... about the need for a stronger identity for the Internet Society... and so, so, so much more.

But it was FAR more than just the conversations... which were excellent.

It was the CONNECTION that I could feel...

Over 2,300 people registered for the event and some % of those folks were online for the first session last night...

There was power in seeing the faces of all the people around the world.

There was power in hearing the voices of the all the people around the world.

There was power in reading the text comments in the chat or on Twitter and social networks.

For that period of time... geography didn't matter... nationality didn't matter... race didn't matter... gender didn't matter...

We were just people ... connecting ON the Internet... and for the Internet.

Exploring together how we could truly bring about the "Internet of opportunity" that would be available to everyone, everywhere, and that could be trusted for our communication... our conversations... our commerce... and indeed our connections.

Talking really NOT about the technology, but rather the impacts of the Internet on our society... and on our daily lives.

It was a remarkable event.

And this was just the first session! While we in the Americas timezones were getting some sleep, another group of participants was having a second session bringing together even more people across Europe and Asia.

I woke up to see a steady stream of outstanding tweets using the #icomm15 hashtag - as well as email from colleagues and others - showing that the second session was equally amazing.

There was power in what happened last night.

The challenge now, of course, is to move what happened last night from beyond just conversation into the action that we need to truly realize the potential of the Internet.

That will be our task in the days, weeks, months and indeed years ahead...

For me, as I get ready now to make the 7-hour drive back home from Ottawa to New Hampshire, I'm still processing in my mind what it was all about. It may take some time - and reflection - to truly understand.

Yes, on one level it was "just" a meeting of different people tied in via video connections all across the Internet and streaming out to individuals via the Internet. No big deal, right? We can do this all the time, right?

But it was also something more...

There was power in what happened last night.


P.S. Here are some more photos taken by Glenn McKnight of the Ottawa node ...