That’s What He Said

What if a liberal who worked at Twitter got offended over something you posted and decided to censor you?

Posted in Parenting, Politics, Social, Startups, Technology by wolfsbayne on December 13, 2008

What if?

I’m gonna let some of you in on a little secret. I’m a conservative, recovering Libertarian, and self-described Independent. I don’t live in a bunker in some far away “Hickville”. I live in Los Angeles. I’m sure some of the liberals reading this know that L.A. is in California, but, if at the time you’re reading this, you’re too stoned to know, let me assure you that it is.

During the 2008 election cycle, I (@brooksbayne) made some new friends via Twitter – I also made some new “not friends”. Since the election’s been over, I’ve unwittingly become the resident and leading conservative in the L.A. tech scene (does that come with a door prize?). I’m not dogmatic about my views when I discuss issues with the other side. However, I’ve been told that I can be snarky.

One fine morning, about a month ago, a liberal mommy blogger got pissed off at some harmless Motrin ad posted sympathizing with babywearers about potential neck and back pain that wearing babies can cause. This liberal blogger posted some emotional nonsense on Twitter which was subsequently picked up by Jessica Gottlieb (@JessicaGottlieb) and the #MotrinMoms hashtag was created. Feeling quite pleased with herself after her initial #motrinmoms post, Jessica posted this:

jessica.gottleib.pleased

Aw, cute, I just wanna pinch her little cheeks. I wonder if she talks to her kids this way while she’s wearing them.

FYI, I really don’t have anything against Jessica, or the aforementioned blogger, but I do think they were overreacting. Apparently, corporations can’t say *anything* about fads without getting unduly slammed for it. That’s right. I said fad. Although there are a few younger conservative women who may have been offended it seems a majority of the uproar was from the liberal corner. I asked my 5000 followers on Twitter, many of whom are conservative, if any were offended by the motrin ad. The only responses I got from my conservative mom followers were “No”. I do know of one young conservative mom who was offended, but she only repeated the #motrinmoms talking points.

You see, babywearing has been around in the conservative circles for many years, and in some cultures it’s been around as long as people can remember. Take a look at the photo below, dated 7/8/1996. Here’s a American conservative wearing a baby over 12 years ago…and it’s a man. Some of you might be thinking, “Damn, Brooks, you must’ve spent a long time trying to find this photo of a male babywearer predating the current babywearing fad on the Interwebz.” Well, actually, for those of you who know me can tell, that’s me in the photo along with my son right after he was born. Yeah, I know a thing or two about babywearing. Back then, the liberals I knew thought we were crazy for babywearing. My, how things have changed. As a babywearer, if ever there were an issue that could be described as a tempest in a teapot, it would be the motrin babywearing ad.

Brooks Bayne - Baby wearer.

“But Brooks, you can’t say this is some new fad.”

Yes we can!

Let’s take a look at the evidence of how babywearing has trended.  We can examine the 3 top resulting websites on Google for the term “babywearing” and the history of their content.

  1. By Google search rank:
    babywearingconference.com – registered 05-jan-2007 – content shortly after.
  2. thebabywearer.com – registered 23-jul-2003 but no babywearing information until September of that year per the Internet Wayback Machine.
  3. babywearing.com – registered in 30-jul-2001 *but this domain originally pointed to another domain that had *nothing* to do with babywearing when it was registered. In fact, there’s no babywearing information for this domain until late 2004 per the Internet Wayback Machine.

Next, we can look at Google’s blog indexes to gauge the propagation of the term “babywearing” in the blogosphere.

Google blog search has a whopping 5 blog posts indexed between January 2000 and the December 2003. However, from the January 2004 thru December 2007 over 12,000 blog posts were indexed. In 2008 alone, there have been over 35,000 blog posts indexed.

So, based on the above information, we can see the babywearing trend didn’t really get under way until 2004. Where we see a huge upswing in the stats for the term babywearing is in 2008. I wouldn’t say babywearing has “crossed the chasm” just yet.

I know, I know, you’re wondering what this all has to do with the title of this blog post.

Well, the last tweet of mine that was available in the public timeline and in http://search.twitter.com was my snarky tweet in response to the whole overblown Motrin ad debacle. See for yourself: http://search.twitter.com/search?from=brooksbayne

final.tweet

Obviously, as a man who’s been a babywearer for longer than most of these newer upstart women babywearers, I think I would have a valid opinion about the hype over this. However, since posting that tweet, my newer tweets have not been posting to the public timeline and my posts are missing from search too. My Twitter account isn’t hidden/protected by me because you have to select the “protect my updates” checkbox to hide your profile. Mine’s not checked.

twitter.protect.myupdates

I first noticed something was up because I used Qwitter, now defunct, to let me know when people stopped following me. Days went by and all my Qwitter emails referred to that older #motrinmoms tweet of mine. Qwitter would list the last tweet you posted when someone quit following you. Since this was the last tweet of mine that was posted “publicly”, all my Quitter emails referred to it until the time Qwitter had it’s plug pulled by its devs, Contrast. I contacted the guys at Contrast. Here’s that exchange.

contrast.qwitter.motrin

I’ve submitted 3 support requests to the folks at Twitter, but they haven’t responded. Twitter did respond to another unrelated support request within a couple days and resolved that issue. Interesting to note is the support request I submitted for this issue. Look at the the line marked (by me) with the red arrow in the pic below where it says “USER IS hidden on public timeline”. My account is obviously not hidden by me. A normal hidden account looks like this secondary account I created: http://twitter.com/bbayne. My primary account isn’t hidden by me. So, how did my account become “hidden” in the public timeline?

twitter.support.private

I’m one of the the Top Conservatives on Twitter and I can’t post tweets with that group’s hashtag: #tcot. I mean, I can add the hashtag to my tweets, but if any people want to follow that hashtag using tools like Tweetdeck, they won’t see my tweets, because Tweetdeck searches hashtags in the public timeline.

It’s purely coincidental that my last post in the public timeline was regarding #motrinmoms, right? Although, theoretically, it wouldn’t be difficult for the devs to create another Bit column in Twitter’s database and keep people’s posts from hitting the public timeline and search by marking them hidden behind the scenes, but that would be censorship. Is @brooksbayne being censored by a liberal at Twitter who is sympathetic to the #motrinmoms? I have a feeling we’re about to find out.

ShareThis – New Sharing Data

Posted in Entertainment, Social, Startups, Technology by wolfsbayne on October 29, 2008

In August, ShareThis released some of their data to give you some insight to where your visitors are sharing to most. Email proved to be the number one destination for sharing activity. Today, they shared the top content categories of the sites that make up the ShareThis sharing network.

Looks like traditional entertainment content is still king.

I met Tim Shigel, CEO of ShareThis at an L.A. TechSet meetup. I like Tim’s vision. I hope Tim keeps sharing what ShareThis is learning.

Brooks Bayne – Innovate, Iterate or Obliterate

Posted in Startups, Technology by wolfsbayne on August 27, 2008

It happens all the time. A business or a product fails, and we’re surprised by it. Still with us is the old-school holdover of your dad’s world and its view that the only viable product came from the innovators and the executive teams who groomed those innovators. Product development was king and customer development, if even discussed, was considered frivolous.

Recently, here in L.A., we had a very public example of the holdover giving us a wink. Andrew Warner, the creator of Mixergy, squeezed out a vid to publicly out his “failure” with Mixergy. I don’t know Andrew very well, but I do like his jackets. I don’t want to talk about Mixergy in the context of failure. My good friend and associate, Chris Gammill, danced with the ugly step-sister of failure here. I’d like to think that Andrew iterated and didn’t fail.

For this blog post, I’d like to draw attention to the balance between innovating and iterating. There will always be innovations. There will always be  iterations of those innovations. In my experience, where the disconnect occurs with many companies, but especially the smaller ones, is the lack of understanding of what drives iteration. You have the innovation, the idea, and you release to the world. Then what? You have to develop the customer, not only your idea.

I worked with a founder in my last company, who thought all development resources should be spent innovating with every release cycle. The problem with this is that the customer never gets a product revision that meets their needs. As soon as a product is released, the customer needs to be engaged. Period. The customer profile that you’ll need to engage is the early adopter and the evangelist. I don’t know if Andrew engaged those two types of customers, but I do know that many people in the community, including me, had no idea that Andrew was developing Mixergy to be a competitor to Evite.

When we create a product or service we get so focused we “can’t see the forest for the trees”. Even large companies deal with this problem. My friends at Microsoft, for example, refer to the “Redmond bubble”.

My challenge with understanding customer development started back in 1997 when I was a new CEO brought in to replace one of those old-schoolers who couldn’t execute in a new space. I recall trying to get beyond the standard projections in a spreadsheet to a real world method of meeting those projections. With a startup, in a new space, trying to crystal ball what you’re gonna do in 12 months, not to mention 3-5 years out, is usually an exercise in futility. Through research and experience I found that customer development was a missing component.

Most companies can’t effectively engage the early adopters and evangelists. If that’s the case, how can they then expect to cross the “chasm” that exists between those early customer types and the mainstream market? And if they can do neither, what’s the point of the projections?

I’d like to see more new companies and entrepreneurs demonstrate that they know how to engage and communicate with the early adopter and evangelists. Without those early customers you don’t have a business. Based on my experience, I’m certain most advisors, directors and investors don’t understand that engaging early adopters and evangelists requires a different method of engagement than crossing into the mainstream customer. Don’t assume this is understood – it usually isn’t. Most attention in the early stages is on the innovation.

Innovation has to be supplemented. This means greater transparency, communication and consideration of your customers.

Good luck, entrepreneurs!

Connect with me on twitter (@wolfsbayne) or at my blog (www.brooksbayne.com).

Burninate,
Brooks Bayne

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