Ethics, Facebook, and Medium

Ghostbusters ExperimentI recently published an article on Medium on The Tech World’s Ethical Crisis. I wanted to try Medium out as a possible option for my broader topics, allowing the Word to stay a touch more focused on the industry and truly random acts of writing. It seems to have worked fairly well so it is something I will repeat.

I do want to take a moment to share why I wrote the article (which you should read before reading further). I have been reading about Facebook’s study and I saw a lot of mixed reactions. While some people were aghast, others wondered why it was a big deal at all.

That is the issue at stake here, ignorance. When unethical behavior is not recognized as such, we need to take a step back and evaluate what we hold dear in our society. When conducting human research, informed consent is such an important requirement that there are laws to enforce it. If research has a chance to cause potential harm, people need to be given a chance to say no.

I don’t believe Facebook was trying to be evil. They were ignorant of the ethics involved in what they were doing. That ignorance is a problem. They must have considered it a potential problem as they added research to the Terms of Service a few months later.

Ignorance is not an excuse and we need to start thinking about teaching people more about ethics. It has been suggested that the Venture Capitalists (VCs) should make sure that the firms they fund have training in ethics.

They should throw in a little training about sexual harassment and discrimination while you are at it.

We are all responsible for the ethics of the world in which we live. We need to take time to educate ourselves and others. We needs to talk about this at events. It needs to be part of everything we do.

Because ignorance is not an excuse for risking harm to others.

Converting Your Day into Blog Posts

I have cautioned people about starting a blog without a plan. The first month is always easy as there is a backlog of ideas to share with people. After those ideas have been flushed out, what is next? Without as answer to that question, maybe a blog isn’t the right choice.

What if you don’t have a choice?

What if you are someone who makes a living upon your reputation? Maybe you are a freelancer in a creative space like web design or a professional speaker/writer trying to own part of the industry’s mindshare. What if you are spinning-up a new company and you want to prove to potential clients what you bring to the table?

In those situations, a blog can be a powerful marketing tool. I’ve had a few conversations on the topic in the past month and I thought I’d share a few tips.


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The Negative Impact of Social Networking on Relationships

There was some talk during the Enterprise 2.0 Conference last week that Social Networking was having a negative impact on our relationships.  This idea was put forward by Alcatel-Lucent’s Kathleen Culver during her session (#e2onf-25), but not everyone bought into the concept.

I for one agree with the observation. What I feel we are seeing is the flattening of our overall relationship depth.  To explain this, let me talk about the positive impact upon relationships first.

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Another Year Older and Deeper in ???

image Three years ago, I started this blog to rant about how the merger of EMC World and Momentum hadn’t really worked out.  Well, after three years of improvements, there is currently a good chance that next year the conferences will be co-located and separate.

Two years ago, I reflected on my first year and shared numbers. By that time I was pushing for an ECM standard for the SOA world.  I had just learned that there was an effort underway that we would later learn was called CMIS.  This month, that journey ended and it became a standard.

One year ago I was more goal focused as I looked back.  I worked on two of the three goals, failed in the Design Patterns, but I think it was a heck of a year.

I cannot take credit for what has transpired in the last three years, well maybe a little for the improved Momentum, but not for most of it.  A lot of it would have happened anyway.  At most, I have helped push alongside the rest of you.  That said, goals have been achieved and it is time for new ones.

Which leaves the real question, What next?

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Pie Joins the Twitterati

For those of you that have been paying attention, you already know that I created a Twitter account at the end of January.  I have some friends that have been pestering me to get on-board and check it out for a while. I always demurred, thinking it was micro-blogging and that since I had a blog, I didn’t need to invest the time.

Boy, did I blow that one.

After about a month of experimentation, I’m ready to report my thoughts, experiences, and urge all of you to join the discussion.

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Global Piece of Pie

Thanks to the Big Men, I have added a new, somewhat interesting, feature to the Word of Pie. It is a map showing where readers are located. This new map, over on the right, is a little feature of ClustrMaps and is providing me with lots of fun data. If you click on it, you’ll be taken to a larger view.

After almost a week, I have learned this much:

  • I have readers on every continent except Antarctica.
  • My southern-most readers are in Chile, South Africa, and New Zealand (the winner I think)
  • Outside of the US, the most hits in a country are the UK, India, and a few other countries in Western Europe hidden under the large red dots.
  • Most surprising location? Central China (Yinchuan?) Cape Town in South Africa and Mashhad(?), Iran were close seconds.
  • Most surprising non-hit? Ireland. Only after looking at the European coverage did it stick out.

Going to reset the map occasionally, though I am not sure how often. It is going to be a little toy for a while.

Copyright Law and Blogs

In a follow-up comment to my post on Fair Use and Original Thought, an anonymous poster helpfully provided a link to the full copyright laws. They are quite long. After a little research on the U.S. Copyright Office website, I came up with Circular 66 on Copyright Registration for Online Works. Favorite tidbits:

“Many works transmitted online, such as websites, are revised or updated frequently. Generally, copyrightable revisions to online works that are published on separate days must each be registered individually, with a separate application and filing fee”


“Copyright protects original authorship fixed in tangible form (17 USC sec. 102(a)).”

So my take-away is that, by default, bloggers are not covered as it is never “fixed”. You can register your blog/website, I think as describe in Circular 62, but I would check with the Copyright Office Public Information Office. There is a special registration for “dailies” (Circular 62a), but I’m not good enough to be sure about posting at least 2 posts a week. I can see that I have failed to post at least 8 times a month in two of the last six months. There is also the issue of many blogs not being a “Collective Work”, which I think would rule either of those alternatives invalid.

If you are a lawyer and can cite a precedent that says that my blog is covered, please let me know. I’ll share whatever I can validate with everyone.

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The Endless Security Cycle

I have been thinking about how to write this post for a while now. I have several approaches to choose from, but then I hit on the key concept. It doesn’t matter. Here is the general pattern of James’ approach to this topic.

  • James will criticize ECM security as a whole and then point to one or more issues.
  • I then attempt to explain why those key “issues” aren’t issues.
  • James will then elaborate or comment on my post in one or more follow-ups, usually explaining something that I didn’t put in my post for one or more reasons. In the case in point, I didn’t take it deep enough. While doing this, he ignores any defenses I may have made of the “issues”. He invariably bringing up other “issues” as well.

Rather than continue the cycle, and eat my time up, I’m going to post one more time on this topic and move on for now. Some disclaimers of my own:

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