Calling my mob: #realtimecrunchup is next week @techcrunch | (re-blogged!)

(NOTE: This post was re-blogged as shared reading. Embedded links don’t work. Please, follow the reference link at the end to original. – Jos Schuurmans;

Steve Gillmor has been hard at work putting together an interesting day for those of us who are interested in the real time web.

The speakers lineup includes founders and executives from Twitter, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Salesforce, FriendFeed, TweetDeck, Meebo, WordPress, Seesmic, Virgin America, Tweetmeme, Qik, and more.

But that’s not what will make this interesting. In between all the interesting panels about APIs and search and Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, Mike Arrington and I will pit our mobs against each other.

Or, more realistically, have a discussion about what he sees as a frightening trend: that mobs are being formed faster and with more “real” participants now thanks to real time technologies, in particular FriendFeed.

Me? I see that there’s a good part in crowd behavior. I’ve seen charities raise tons of money because of crowds very quickly. News distribution is changing pretty radically thanks to crowd behavior. I noticed that I started watching more TV because the crowd would talk about interesting shows (this weekend, for instance, I saw tons of people talking about the BET Awards).

But there is a downside to mobs. People do get hurt and lives are getting threatened. So, we’ll try to come up with some suggestions for FriendFeed to see if we can find some way to help curtail mobs.


To get personal for a moment. This is a problem that’s existed for a long time. Kathy Sierra left her blog (and she’s far from the only one) because discourse about her went way over the line. Even before blogs we have seen trolling behavior online.

But now it’s sped up and I agree that the language is getting worse and the crowds are bigger so the chances that someone will follow through in real life are getting more and more real. Mike’s life has been threatened by someone credible enough to really disrupt his life for a while and he was spit on at a conference earlier this year. While most of us can cheer sports jeers without going over the line there are those among us who are a bit more unbalanced.

It’s also interesting that many many more of us are being seen as “micro celebrities.” I remember being called “weird” and an “outlier” because I had a couple of thousand followers on Twitter. Now that’s a very commonplace thing. So, more of us are going to have to face both legitimate criticism for what we say online as well as trolling behavior, or worse.

Anyway, it should be an interesting discussion.

Just in case we get out of control, though, I’m going to be over in London and will participate via Skype. It’ll be interesting to see how that, too, both helps and hinders the conversation.

Hope to see you there!



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