The day that Web 2.0 swallowed the sugar cubes

Wow … I think I just had a flashback. A warm sunny afternoon sitting on the hill overlooking the river. The birds singing in the trees, everything is so bright and colorful.

Oh wait weren’t we talking about Facebook? About how it’s suddenly going to reverse course and let the users dictate how the service is going to be used through town hall meetings and sing-a-longs around the campfire of love. Excuse me for a minute while I go puke.

Look I can understand them needing to come clean on some of the things they have tried to do with their terms of service err … Statement of Rights and Responsibilities as they are calling it now but come on isn’t this suppose to be a business, aren’t businesses suppose to tell the users how they want the service used? As Rex Dixon very eloquently put it in a post today

While to many this will seem like a very community oriented thing to do. Power to the people, and make sure you wear a flower in your hair while visiting the Facebook campus, to other people it just goes to show you how much Facebook still really needs to grow up. You don’t let the people dictate to you, you dictate your Terms to them. That is why it’s called a Termsof Service. As harsh as that sounds, it’s the truth. The Facebook TOS, whether it’s a 44 page document or 5.5 groovy and easily read pages – it still is the legal face of the company. Democracy is cool when it’s appropriately applied to such things as – politics.

Of course the Web 2.0 advocates were also out in full force with how this was going to be a great advancement for the people as expressed in the beautiful yet flowery prose of Brian Solis at PR 2.0

I believe this move, although long overdue, is a positive step for improving the foundation for future corporate communications and will serve as the epitome and standard for other brands as well as any organization involve in “public relations” and policy making moving forward.

Transparency, genuine intent and proactive communication (in advance of public introduction) will inspire useful and less speculative conversations in the social web. By engaging and involving those who shape the brand perception, Facebook and companies who follow suit, will improve the foundation for important relationships and ultimately set the stage to proactively steer the interpretation of future activity and positively steer brand awareness and resonance.

WTF .. is this a company that is valued at $15 billion or as Rex puts – “a commune”?

I’ll be the first one to admit that I have given Facebook a hard time over the wording of its terms of service err … Statement of Rights and Responsibilities but that doesn’t mean that you suddenly hand over the legal foundation of a $15 billion company to the peanut gallery. Business is not a democracy that is why they have a board of directors, CEO’s, CFO’s and any number of other acronyms you want to slice and dice together. Business is about making money, it is about employing people, it is about bringing usable products to market. It is not about putzing around Town Hall meetings trying to make sure that every social media guru and maven is happy with the wording of the legal backbone of the company.

I am all for companies listening to their customers and when the case arises deal with issues that need to be dealt with. Yes companies need to understand that the business climate is changing and that the consumer has a greater voice but not to the point where the consumers become the board of directors. That is only asking for trouble and does nothing more than create a unmanageable mess.

After hearing what is happening over at Yahoo today it almost makes me wonder what Bartz would do with Facebook … now that would be interesting. Instead we get a rerun of the summer of love which is no great business advancement – trust me – it wasn’t that great the first time around.