I tested a new social media platform coming out of Silicon Valley… and learned it’s a new attempt to make a “safe space” for bloggers, on a 3rd party hosted platform. Sigh.
At first, it was fun… nice interface, new initiative, and driven by names I already knew. But as I tested the mettle of the community and its organizers in discussions, I learned pretty quickly that it’s not for me. In the general sense.
Cake is not for me individually, because I struggled to enjoy discussing topics with a lop-sided community that does not share my less-Californian values, and which desires to celebrate much lower levels of awesomeness than I do, without scrutiny. But Cake.co is also not-for-me in the general sense, because I don’t see it succeeding as a platform.
You can go and see the debates about Cake peppered in with discussions of unlimited topics. Watch as the founders and early adopters find their way around the important foundational issues of free speech/censorship, the definition of “troll”, and what it means to be “civil”. All of these are essential ingredients for a platform… yet this group seems to have a very much one-sided, uber-Californian perspective (without awareness).
For example, if in a discussion of how a platform should manage reactions and comments one makes a claim that some people should not be allowed to add their vitriolic comments to a discussion, I consider the following to be a perfectly legitimate, important, and reasonable response : “who decides what is vitriol and what is legitimate and allowed” ?
On Cake, I felt I was alone in holding that view. I strongly felt that there was instead a right answer, and it was “Of course! hear hear!”
As if everyone would agree that this or that was vitriolic, and not just contrary. As if anything contrary that was not ever-so-gently presented, was harsh.
The platform consistently boasts of a commitment to “panels”, which are hosted discussions where participation is limited to those who were invited in, and everyone else is expected to just watch, without comment.
This feature is said to enable people would not otherwise participate for fear of being trolled, to participate (and bring their amazing contributions for the benefit of all). An example proffered was the introverted public speaker who couldn’t take to the podium for fear of public speaking, and potential criticism.
Sorry. A public speaker is someone who speaks in public. A speaker who cannot speak in public can have a podcast, a blog, or go monologue on a streaming service.. to be a great thought leader, or an imaginary orator, but they are not a public speaker. No amount of over-protective coddling will change that. Therapy and training might.
While I completely agree these extreme introverts may have great ideas worth sharing, that’s not the issue. You are not going to succeed with a platform designed around a poorly thought through utopian ideal of that level of intervention. It’s Bubble Land, for the people who will not make it successful on their own.
The discussions on Cake about Cake which included owners and developers of Cake and their invited early guests, consistently leaned this way, often pretty far. Concepts like “people just need to be civil” led to people needing to be polite, nice, friendly, and eventually supportive and positive and hopeful and cooperative and .. you get the picture. NPC comes to mind. There is a utopian ideal end point, and I don’t believe it is reasonable.
And then Scoble showed up, lol. And a bunch of ex-Google+ GroupMasters, some critically challenging the platform in Post #1 to see if it was worthy of their contributions and the attention of their valuable followers. I await the arrival of the 900 number psychics.
I will admit that sometimes I can come across as an arrogant asshole, but I PROMISE YOU that is not the case, even though it may seem that way to you sometimes (usually before you clear the ignorance from your rose-colored glasses). LOL
Or maybe I’m wrong, and you can, in fact, have your Cake and eat it, too.