Bare Midriffs

How does one go about building a working social network and online community? Perhaps you can borrow (or steal) these great ideas from Caterina Fake. Here are some great things that I’ve been chewing on:

That’s why I believe every founder of an online community has a responsibility to shape the culture from day one — because the tone you set is the tone you’re gonna keep.

You set the tone and the pace and what is acceptable (and not) from Day #1. All of these things come from who you are as a person, so, if you’re a racist then you’re going to most likely attract (and build) a racist social network.

It’s very rare these days for there to be direct communication between companies and their user base. In fact, [user communication] is seen as a customer service problem — you know, eating up customer service hours. Most companies actually try to prevent you from getting in touch with them.

Do the unscalable… we’ve seen this work with the small community that we’ve put together already and my brother has done an amazing job keeping the pace and the flow, even after more than a year’s time.

Is it unscalable? Yes. It is tiring? Of course. Does it feel as if there’s a negative ROI at times? Of course.

“A very interesting case came up very early on in Flickr, which is that a great number of the users were from the United Arab Emirates. And at the same time, Britney Spears was ascendant with her bare midriff outfits. These two things were incompatible. You know, the Muslim community did not like the bare midriff photographs that were all over Flickr.

We had to make a decision. And we came down on the side of the bare midriff. We were like, ‘The bare midriff is okay here. And that is the decision that we are going to make.’ And many of the community members went away.

The biggest problem with today’s social media platforms is that they don’t know who they are. This is a very controversial position, because a lot of my colleagues — in building these kinds of social platforms — don’t believe this. But I do.

Love that. And…:

One of the things that Heather Champ — who was the first community manager on Flickr — says repeatedly is: ‘What you tolerate is what you are.’ So, if you tolerate white supremacists on your platform, you’re a platform for white supremacists. And you just have to accept that. And that unless you draw the lines, unless you say what is and is not acceptable on your platform, it just becomes a disaster. Because you want to be part of a community that share your values. And you don’t share values with white supremacists.”


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