Twitter Packs Goes off the Rails Quick

Wow. I don’t think I’ve seen something go from interesting and collaborative to reviled so quickly. Less than 16 hours after its beginnings, there are villagers with pitchforks at the gates of the Twitter Packs project.

First, PACK

The word “pack” was questioned by GeekMommy here. She thought wolves and alpha males.

Meanwhile, I was thinking about geek starter packs, like from Magic: the Gathering.

(by the way, get this: my blog post about a social media starter pack beats Wikipedia for “starter pack” in Google):

starterpack

Next, Lists

So lists are bad? I guess if someone puts someone else on a list with which they disagree, that could be bad. If I’m on the “boring guy” list, I’ll probably feel sad. But I’m not selecting the groupings. I did ask that people try to be objective on the main page.

One list on there has spooked a few people: Identity. On that list, are races and sexual preferences and religions. I’m not sure about that page, but then, I didn’t put it up. I looked and saw that MOST of the edits for that page were done by j.brotherlove. I don’t know him well, but I’ve heard good things about him. I imagine it was done with good intentions.

Wikis and Community

This has become even more interesting, however. People got angry pretty quick, talking about the clique-ish nature of Twitter, of the lists being a clique, of them being exclusionary.

Think about this: ANYONE has the password, ANYONE can edit the list. (Same with Wikipedia, though there are more people there to patrol). That’s the opposite of exclusionary. Anyone can be part of any list they choose to identify with.

I remember a woman getting upset at PodCamp Pittsburgh. She was mad about the glass ceiling in videoblogging. I couldn’t tell whether or not I should laugh, because in this space, anyone with a camera and the Internet can videoblog. No one’s holding anyone back. That came to me today.

To the plus, people came in and organized the data. They came in and reorganized it. They came in and organized it some more. There have been HUNDREDS of edits. For a while today, the flow of my twitterstream was “Can’t get the lock on the wiki” over and over. I made something like 5 edits total, including doing one for Steve Garfield, who tweeted that he couldn’t get the lock.

So What Went Wrong?

Are lists bad? Is the idea itself bad? Is giving a pile of newcomers a sense of who people are a bad thing?

Believe me when I tell you that I’ve no vested interest in the list working or not working, because the social media experience OUTSIDE it was wayyyyyyyyy more interesting than the list itself could ever be for me at this time. But I’d love your thoughts and ideas. What’s your take?

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