Meanwhile, in the World of Social Networking: EntreCard. Twitter. Explode. And Turnips.

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.

entrecard-example.png
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.

turnip-of-power-banner.png

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.

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17 thoughts on “Meanwhile, in the World of Social Networking: EntreCard. Twitter. Explode. And Turnips.

  1. Great to read a balanced account of the situation from someone who clearly has a grasp on social media. I wish more people would take the time to research the numerous posts I’ve published regarding Entrecard during the last 12 months to fully understand the situation. To call me a troll is ridiculous. A critic, yes, troll, no. Any CEO with the least grasp of Web 2.0 would know that trying to spin stories after the event never works. Everything is documented; lying, crying, and pouting just gives the story legs as the internet vultures smell blood.

  2. Hi Turnip,

    I think good CEOs, even without a grasp on The New World of Net, would know that it’s a bad idea to overreact. If someone is flicking water at you, now is not the time to drop the caesium into the tank.

    Treat yourself to something and have a good weekend! Life after EntreCard isn’t at all bad, and some might say, vastly improved.

  3. Thanks, Stan!

    I’m not close at all to the situation. I wasn’t aware of any of this until yesterday, after which I spent some time googling and flipping through my EntreCard memories.

    Glad you like the reporting. I do this sort of thing from nonce to nonce.

  4. I find I am just continually amazed by Graham’s cluelessness. Just when I think he can’t show himself to be worse than I’d previously thought, he inevitably does. He’s consistent That way at least. Great post.

  5. Thanks, Alan!

    I’m trying to give Graham something-of-a-doubt. He’s been making mistakes (which he does admit to), and for someone that, ah, young (23), mistakes are going to be made. Sometimes bad ones. And without a mentor or someone to handle this side of affairs, it’s going to go pretty badly.

    That’s still no excuse, however.

    I’m reminded of a Fandom Wank post I read recently, dealing the Sims 2 fan site Insimenator.com. That was a spectacularly epic meltdown. Only a very, very slight resemblance to the situation here, but still good fun to read.

  6. As an addendum, I talked with Ben Barden, who gave me a couple of links that help clarify the back room situation at EntreCard.

    Things look grim, and that’s an understatement. And it appears that Fandom Wank case is not so far off the mark as a comparison to this situation.

  7. Thanks for the excellent article! Very balanced, and will hopefully help other Entrecarders make the best decision for their blogs. Personally, I am much happier with the extra time I have now that I am not dropping cards…

  8. You’re welcome!

    As for myself, I’ve found that I now think about long-term strategies for my blog (i.e., “what should it be about and how will that distinguish me from a zillion other blogs out there?”), as opposed to short-term goals (i.e., “what can I do to maximize the number of hits I get right now?).

    All in all, I think it had a positive effect on the blog and on my happiness whilst blogging.

  9. Hi AJ,

    Good post, that pretty much describes it as I saw it happen.

    One thing, Graham mentioned it wasn’t the tweet, but the tweet was the last straw and there’s some backstory we’re not aware of.

    So far, he hasn’t been forthcoming with the backstory!

    John

  10. Thanks, John! I’m glad the article’s accurate.

    Having researched into the various debacles, I’m somehow not surprised that Graham isn’t revealing the back story.

  11. Hey, most excellent posting! Thanks! Found it by way of someone sharing on TWITTER! :D

    Am definitely looking into selling off my EC credits and running away, screaming for the hills :D

    Rock on!

  12. Thanks, Miragi.

    By the way, I believe it’s currently the case that members aren’t allowed to sell off credits. Unfortunately.

  13. I love this whole story and have been following it since I read it on Turnip’s site. Graham was probably annoyed because of CFM ad system and was just looking for an excuse to bump him.

    If not, they it is just silly to boot someone who helped and supported Entrecard as Turnip did. You can’t even buy that level of passion.

  14. Chad, I agree with all that you say.

    If EntreCard does go down in flames, I hope to write an article to cover the downfall, because it’s been a while since I had some good schadenfreude.

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