Over the past weeks, Eric Blantz, Khris Loux, Chris Saad and I have been discussing the ethics and best practices around social media and social tools, specifically with regard to the needs of a social tools vendor like JS-Kit. All of us are working with JS-Kit in some way or another, but the recent Facebook flap about their Terms of Service led us to consider addressing these issues in a larger forum.
As Eric said, ‘the value of the activity is proportional to the involvement of a wider group of smart people.’ We immediately thought of the Media 2.0 Workgroup as a good start for that wider group. As a result, JS-Kit authorized us to donate our draft materials to the workgroup for open sourcing to the community.
We have high aspirations, but we don’t know exactly what form any results of the process might take. Perhaps we will be able to define a strong consensus on a number of topics that we will craft into a document or a website. Alternatively, we might fall into camps, arguing different sides of complex issues. Perhaps we would create a series of public conversations on the most difficult and important topics, and video those, with participation of others. We don’t know.
We do know that the issues around the ethics of participation in the social web are enormous importance. The web is the most valuable human artifact ever created, and it is ours: there is no higher authority to ask ‘how should we act?’ We have to look to ourselves to find these answers, and the sooner the better.
The recent events around Facebook’s Terms Of Service have brought the need for this discussion into high relief, and we are planning to bring together a diverse set of people to discuss these issues, and hopefully develop something that could guide others. The initial group includes the following: 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 (on behalf of Seesmic/Twhirl), and Deborah Schultz.
We have a site (www.mediabestpractices.com) for interaction and collaboration, but it is very early days. After we have discussed this online and at meetings (SXSW, Web 2.0 Expo) we will likely have something more substantive to share.