Saturday, October 20, 2001

Page 202 - I'm hungry for more. I want more what-ifs. More imagine a worlds... I'm ready to sign a lease for my spot in the new net world, but wonder what might be next (or after next). You know, once we have major corporations accepting and being defined by the net voices it chooses to underwrite... then what? Certainly the greed cycle will be launched into high gear--or could this really be happily ever after?

I wonder, once we 'voices of the net' finally have the corporate-come-lately in our pockets, then what else might we do to and with them? And what might they do to us? Is there a risk that the late comers will spoil it all? Think of it this way: A company like Dell, to use your example, has its shit together and jumps on a bunch of somehow-related sites it decides to underwrite. So suddenly, the Toshibas of the world are worried--shit, we're late on this. How did it happen, boys? Let's get busy.

How likely is it that the late comers will "get it" and look for more of us to pair up with, rather than trying to create their own contrived worlds--thereby leeching any meaning out of what we've built? I bite my nails. In other words, who might fuck it up, and how can we stop them? And what will the lawyers be doing in the midst of all this--facilitating partnerships or bullying us into shutting up? Paying us not to grow our crops? You have to wonder.

Do I worry too much? So I've been told.

But there is room for much optimism (even among those of us with diagnosed anxiety disorders). I like this especially: "The diciest of situations will be where the content of the external site has a direct bearing on the company's products--for example, if Toyota were to underwrite a site equivilant to Car & Driver Magazine. This might be a dynamite idea. It's certainly not one to be avoided. But in cases like this, the company will need to sit on its hands and count to ten when the site reports that its latest product bites. Of course, it can then argue and debate the opinion--it just can't threaten to penalize the site. If it does so, then it paradoxically opens the door to Mitzubishi taking over its slot."

And, as you say, after all, the more relative distance put between the company's products & services and the content in the underwritten site, the less chance for these kind of battles. An organic gardening site or a home schooling site is not so likely to eek out the controversy corporate lawyers will be drewling for.

I can't wait to see who steps up to the plate here. I can't wait to see who opens up to this idea first. It's probably happening already... I know it is covertly. Take my case: my own writing 'tips' site exists... colleages within my company go to my site for writing tips and templates... But there's no official sponsorship, and probably there shouldn't be. The way I see it now--after reading this chapter--is that the link in my particular case may be too close to the company's core services. In other words, having my own writing site, with PR-related writing how-tos and how-to-nots (offered up to my colleagues on the QT--word of mouth, so to speak) is too incestuous with my own corporate role to fit this model well. And since I don't have a burning desire to quit my day job, I'm thinking I need to expand my horizons... run off now and learn about gardening :-) ... or better yet--Life tips for the telecommuting mom... or managing asthma in children... you know. I get it. Hell, why not? Gosh this is going to be fun. (Can you tell--My mood is picking up.)

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