I haven’t yet decided whether I should enjoy this as schadenfreude or not. EntreCard hasn’t really ever pissed me off, but then again, I left some months ago ((July 18th. I wasn’t mad or upset at EntreCard. S∂ was switching focus, and I didn’t feel that an EC widget would be a great idea for a while. And as it turns out, I didn’t really need or want it anymore (and became much too busy).)) before the drama and excitement.
For those of you who don’t know, here’s a 15-second summary of EntreCard:
- It’s free social network advertising for blogs.
- You can pay other participants in “credits” (ec) to display your 125×125 ad on their site, in a little yellow widget.
- Ad costs are on a sliding scale, with very popular blogs costing the most (1012ec per day), and newcomers the least.
- You earn credits by visiting other participating sites and “dropping” your card on their widget.
- You can also trade services for credits (example: someone offered to create 125×125 ads in exchange for 50ec. Or someone offers their recipe for molasses cookies in exchange for 10ec).
In other words, EntreCard was social networking with its own economic system that wasn’t based on real money.
Ah yes. Economy. A lot of EntreCard’s current problems go back to that aspect, which is, of course, tied into EntreCard’s very workings.
Note: Not a real EntreCard widget.
EntreCard’s economy never “cratered”, like our current economy is threatening to, but nevertheless some interesting stimulus and other regulation plans were implemented. I have no problems with such things, especially since the little economic system was having growing pains, but people get grumbly. This is expected, because while there are EntreCard benefits beyond ads, people ultimately, at some point, want to put their ads on other blogs. And that means ec.
Since EntreCard was also a social network, complete with forums and everything, a community formed—it was interesting, because interactions were based on both the forum and from blog to blog, since everyone visits everyone else in large part. ((I’m leaving out folks who run spam blogs, since they usually just want the advertising and nothing of the social networking. Which is what was so interesting about EntreCard: the blend of social networking and advertising.)) Some community members stand out—and among them happens to be a guy named Turnip, who runs TurnipOfPower.com, a social marketing blog.
Now, there are some inflammatory folks, as there always are, but Turnip isn’t one of them. He both praises and criticizes everything, and EntreCard is no exception. For instance, he discussed EntreCard’s changes on September 29th, later hashed out possible solutions, and analyzed EntreCard’s state on its 1st anniversary.
Turnip talked a lot about EntreCard, and in the end, he supported the system. He’s a guy you probably want around: honest, thinking, investigates all those strange rumors with an open mind, doesn’t actually want your system to die, and in fact, wants to warn you of danger ahead.
That all changed, however, with one tweet.
Turnip has the full tale here, but it can pretty much be summed up as:
Graham, EntreCard CEO ((Never mind that I have enough experience to know that he shouldn’t tout that title around as if it makes him equivalent to all the rest. For instance, the CEOs of Google, Yahoo, Amazon, even eBay.)): We’re autoposting all Twitter posts that mention EntreCard on our blog!
Turnip: But what happens if a spamming or, nay, dissident tweet shows up? Do you have extra filtering?
*posts dissident tweet joking, “Is that asshat from Entrecard still wearing his asshat?”*
Graham: *zaps tweet*
All you EntreCarders on Twitter, I expect you to have only civilized Twitter conversations, without profanity or attacks, about EntreCard.
Turnip: Wait. How can you tell everyone on Twitter to only Tweet nice EntreCard tweets? Twitter is an entirely separate social networking system! How are you going to enforce this?
Graham: *deletes Turnip’s blog comments*
*deletes Turnip’s EntreCard account*
EntreCard audience: ….
At this point, if you know anything of the Internet at all, you can guess what happened.
Photography: Focal intent
This entire incident brings about other questions, such as that on Twitter it’s really easy to spoof somebody else (it’s happened to Seth Godin) and, well, apparently get your victim’s EntreCard account deleted.
The really strange thing is that Turnip has been a pretty civil guy on the forums, from what I recall. As someone who used to be a moderator, I have some over-sensitive alarms in my head, but Turnip didn’t ring any of them, up until this tweet, which—in context and with hindsight—is obviously a joke meant to pointedly point something out. This is a guy whose first reaction to a popular, long-time member getting suspended wasn’t “EntreCard YOU’RE EVIL CENSORING PEOPLE” but “are the allegations of stealing content against our member true? *searches on Google for a while* Yeah, they’re true. Oh well.”
Thing is, though, Graham is a bit detached from the social equation of Twitter. He’s rarely on the forums. He gets too much email to read/reply to. He doesn’t really know the EntreCarders from each other, not even Turnip, so it was easy for him to mistake Turnip for just another idiot. And making jokes online sometimes just doesn’t go well.
And out of either his or Turnip’s control, EntreCard haters immediately jumped down EntreCard’s throat, on Twitter and elsewhere. Social media: it is not a beast under rein and harness, yo.
Oh Internets, don’t you ever change.