unIndustry Organisation and the Bill of Rights of Social Media

Were you there for the WebJam a few months ago where I talked about the need for an industry organisation – or an unIndustry organisation – to protect content providers and interactive media producers who happened to be you and me? To assert how and where and when we access our profiles, content, swarms, and so on? You’d remember if you were there – I was the one wearing Pink Wings and a Pink Wig. Well Joseph Smarr, Marc Canter, Robert Scoble, and Michael Arrington seem to be heading in the same direction – from Marc Canter’s blog on People Aggregator:

A Bill of Rights for Users of the Social Web

A Bill of Rights for Users of the Social Web
Authored by Joseph Smarr, Marc Canter, Robert Scoble, and Michael Arrington
September 4, 2007

We publicly assert that all users of the social web are entitled to certain fundamental rights, specifically:

  • Ownership of their own personal information, including:
    • their own profile data
    • the list of people they are connected to
    • the activity stream of content they create;
  • Control of whether and how such personal information is shared with others; and
  • Freedom to grant persistent access to their personal information to trusted external sites.

Sites supporting these rights shall:

  • Allow their users to syndicate their own profile data, their friends list, and the data that’s shared with them via the service, using a persistent URL or API token and open data formats;
  • Allow their users to syndicate their own stream of activity outside the site;
  • Allow their users to link from their profile pages to external identifiers in a public way; and
  • Allow their users to discover who else they know is also on their site, using the same external identifiers made available for lookup within the service.

Other early supporters include:


Mary Hodder, Drummond Reed, Ben Metcalfe, Kaliya Hamlin, Dick Hardt, Dan Farber, Simon Grice, Loic Le Meur, David Berlind, Jemima Kiss, Euan Semple, Diego Doval, John McCrea, Sean Bohan, Auren Hoffman, Christopher Allen, Chris Pirillo, Adrianna Lukas, Jeremiah Owyang, Stowe Boyd, Dan Gillmor, Paolo Valdemarin, Phil Pearson, David Levitt, Emily Chang, Lee Wilkins, Mathijs van Abbe


We’ve have a bunch of big stakeholders showing up for the DataSharingSummit and we’ll be meeting with as many major social networks as we can – more or less demanding that they agree to and support these notions.

Lots of our early supporters have been bringing up good issues to tweak the language – and that’s what we need – consensus. So stay tuned – this is just the first draft.

In case its not clear – this is what I’ve been talking about for years and the time has come to demand our rights!

Joseph has a blog post on this – as well. Robert too.

There’s an awful lot missing – they are beating the “walled garden vs gated community” drum (where you put information in and can’t get it out) and ignoring true breaches of trust. Such as deletion of personal content by social media host sites. These guys are effectively swarming together to petition the community host(s). Typical leader behaviour. This is a community of Web 2.0 initiators banding together to develop a Purpose and mutual Terms of Use. They are heading towards Rules of Engagement, Terms of Service and Privacy statements. Basic foundation stones of Etiquette and Rules of Social Networks 101. It’ll take ’em five minutes to work out to add in Kathy Sierra, et al’s Code of Conduct For Bloggers. Also Maslow’s hierarchy of needs apropos social networks. and include exit strategies with regards to protecting our content (fotos, memories) when the Web 2.0 crash/crunch comes. Misusing and abusing social trust… the list goes on.

And sorry if I’ve made the whole Bill of Rights thing sound like a social network – I’m just wired that way. Plus, online communities are … communities online. And we all grapple with this stuff in our real life swarms, not just on the ‘net. I’m still putting out a call to action, to get this underway in Australia. Any takers?

Laurel Papworth

Named by Forbes™ Magazine in the Top 50 Social Media Influencers globally, named Head of Industry, Social Media (Marketing Magazine™) and in the Power150 Media bloggers (AdAge™). CERT IV Training and Assessment certified trainer (Diplomas and Certificates etc) Adult Education. Laurel has manager Facebook Pages for Junior Masterchef, Idol, Big Brother etc. and have consulted on private online communities for banks Westpac, not for profits UNHCR & governments in SE Asia. Lecturer, social media, University of Sydney for 10 years and Laurel has 11,000 online students. Laurel Papworth personally connects to 6 million followers online and has taught around 100,000 people in the last 10 years how to be social media managers.

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