You have to take anything posted on Forbes with a grain of salt. In the past year they’ve allowed nearly 600 contributors, myself included at one point, to populate their website with bullshit. Almost all of which goes unsupervised and uneditied.
Unless you start a street fight with social media marketers … they frown on that sort of thing as I found out.
There are a few good contributors in the mix, but for every Ryan Holiday there are at least three Dan Schawbels. Dan made a name for himself by borrowing a buzzword from the early ’80s (“personal branding”) and making himself appear like an expert on it. There’s a couple of chapters about that in “Social Media Is Bullshit”.
Bottom line? Don’t get your news from Forbes unless it says “Staff” next to the person who wrote that specific post.
And even then …
Today there’s a story from a Forbes staff writer about the “Internet Defense League”. It’s a group being formed by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian,
Eric Bauman Ben Huh, and other activists to (futilely) battle against legislation that may come out of Washington that would “harm” the Internet.
(Ohanian, by the way, is a lot like my evil*, friendlier, doppelgänger.)
Basically, the “Internet Defense League” would activate when something like SOPA comes along, with the idea being that a legion of websites will, I don’t know, “unleash the power of the Internet”. Or something.
It’s hard to pay attention to posts on the Forbes website because it looks like some kid who flunked out of web usability school threw up on their website.
The logic of the “Internet Defense League” being that these protests “worked” so well to defeat the SOPA bill that it’d have to work again.
But anyone who followed the SOPA saga unfold carefully will tell you that the “Internet” (re: People who work for websites that the general public and small segments of that public consume), had little impact on actually stopping SOPA.
It was Google and their massive army of lobbyists, coupled with Wikipedia and other companies (also armed with lobbyists) who got behind the protests, and used them as proxies, which in turn defeated the legislation.
If you want proof of this, look no further to the legislation currently sailying through Congress now that’s just as bad as SOPA, but is meeting little opposition.
You know why? Because as this Forbes article (surprisingly) noted, the big companies aren’t against it:
“Most of Silicon Valley continues to support CISPA, including Facebook, Microsoft, IBM, Intel, Oracle and Symantec, with Google refusing to take a stand on either side of the issue.” (Source: Forbes)
I like the overall concept of the “Internet Defense League”. The name is ridiculously stupid, but people being proactive about something, anything, in this day and age is admirable.
But. I’m a realist. The web is run by giant corporations, and even Ohanian’s Reddit is owned by one of the largest publishers in America. How do you think he got the money to become a serial entrepreneur in the first place?
I’m also a little suspicious of some of the people involved with this project.
I don’t trust Ben Huh. Anyone who makes themselves rich off other people’s stuff, or worse, makes himself rich by buying a website that was making itself rich off of other people’s stuff, shouldn’t be trusted.
This mostly has to do with my position on copyright: If it’s not yours? Go fuck yourself.
… Which can politely be translated into: Unless the copyright owner gives you permission to use their stuff, you’re not allowed to use it in any way beyond educational purposes.
If you’re a teacher? You can do whatever the fuck you want. Seriously. Teachers should be able to do whatever the fuck they want. Do you want to kill a guy? I’d totally back that, but … I digress.
For all I or anyone knows, Ben Huh’s involvement with the “Internet Defense League” is to protect his company’s interest. Because tighter copyright means he can’t produce calendars, t-shirts, and sell advertising against stuff he doesn’t own, didn’t make, and didn’t compensate the owners of.
And who wants that?
*I don’t think Alexis is evil. He seems like a cool guy, but he’s also like my total opposite. He was even born a day before me in the same year, so maybe he’s like my Mr. Glass?