The Mob Has Spoken: We Need Donuts!!

by Christopher Paul on April 11, 2008

Mobs, crowds, groups, and all sizes of the “people in numbers” concept are an amazing thing. They can be the most efficient at making decisions and achieving goals. Conversely, they can do the most random, illogical, and destructive acts imaginable. The positive good that they can bring out in our humanity, I feel, out weighs potential harm they can do – and I think its why, in part, the success of the “socialization” of the internet, or Web 2.0, has been so far reaching. Its also why certain countries ban many facets of the new internet; social media has a way to bring citizens’ attention to details governments would rather they not see. We also see digital crowds promoting content that would not be otherwise made available via the “mainstream” media channels or information that someone has attempted to hush (called The Streisand Effect first coined by TechDirt writer Mike Masnick).

Social mobs, when provoked, can extract change. When Creative Labs removed all forum posts related to Daniel_K’s modified Vista drivers, the ensuing mob – in the forums, blogs, emails, and Diggs – was able to voice their opposition and, because it became a PR nightmare, Creative Labs restored the deleted posts. Now, those who wanted to use the SoundBlaster products in Windows Vista, could do so without the limitations of the officially supported drivers.

When Flickr added video streaming to their photo hosting site, many people gasped in horror. The thought of becoming a YouTube is, understandably, a little nerve racking. No sooner than the announcement made, the Flickr Group “NO VIDEO ON FLICKR!!!” was created; at last check, it has just over 11,000 members. The goal of the group, I’m sure, is to get Yahoo! to remove video uploading and keep Flickr a photo site only. I’m not confident the handful of group members against video will be successful but it goes to show you how masses can get together and voice an opinion. On a personal (and side) note, I don’t think that videos on Flickr dilute the site, its brand, or why people use the site (vs. all the others); I actually think they did the right thing by limiting the length of the videos and it shows how hard they thought of the core user and how much they respect the heritage of the site. I tend to think the group members, while valid in their thoughts and feelings, are probably over reacting or unfairly judging the new features before they try them.

I’m not alone on that thought, though, and a group has formed to highlight the somewhat comical and absurdity of the no video “protest group” fight. But this other group, in my humble opinion, does attempt to remedy a serious deficiency of Flickr and force Yahoo! to recognize trespasses that in some cultures would be considered inhumane – tantamount to torture! See, Yahoo! has never given any of its Flickr members – not even the paying Pros (of which I am a member) – doughnuts!! NOT ONE!! Fortunately, the group “We Demand Doughnuts” is working to change all that.

And through their collective voice, political clout, and Kumbayas, Flickr finally will give us our much deserved doughnuts. And as Webware mentions, I can get them an a (yet undisclosed) San Francisco doughnut shop.

I’m booking my flight to San Francisco now.

Previous post:

Next post: