For the last week, there’s been a rich discussion about Causes and the way that it abruptly, without much notice, left MySpace (deleting all of the related content, connections, communications, etc.).
The most important parts of the conversation around Causes do not actually focus on Causes, specifically. The ideas and issues do focus, though, on the emphasis that nonprofits and individual supporting causes, campaigns and specific groups online have put on free, social media, 3rd party tools. The Causes event makes many of the inherent risks in such emphasis or dependency on the tools very clear, like:
- No access to data – whether it’s email addresses of supporters, actions taken, or anything else
- Little influence in development – some tools and developers have put the users first in development decisions but most do not, so the features that could help your organization may never be created
- Unbalanced “strategies” – organizations have fallen victim to the “all eggs in the same basket” trap
- Unbalanced “diversity” – by focusing on just one platform, organizations limit the audiences they connect with
And then yesterday, another tool that’s been used by many changemakers and social innovation groups has dropped off: Ideablob:
Goodbye! Due to the recent chapter 11 bankruptcy filing of our parent corporation, Advanta, we are unfortunately no longer continuing ideablob and bloblive. If you have any questions please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Like with the sudden shut-down of Causes, Ideablob did not alert registered users (as I’m one of them), and there’s nothing in the Twitter stream. The only thing to come out is the above message that now redirects from any page you try to visit.
The Ideablob closure is different than Causes as the purpose of the platform, the utility and functaionality it offered, the relationship of users to the platform, etcc And, Causes left MySpace (an application within a platform) to focus on only Facebook (another platform where it was an application within). Ideablob was a platform aimed at innovators, entrepreneurs, and changemakers where competitions awarded cash awards and provided spaces for people or groups to showcase their ideas and projects. Their description on the MySpace profile says:
ideablob.com® is a website for entrepreneurs, small businesses, and idea people to congregate and submit business ideas with the chance of winning $10,000 towards growing their ideas*.
ideablob.com allows users to post business ideas. Whether these ideas are inventions, business concepts, or non-profit / social entrepreneurial, they are all welcome at ideablob.com. It doesn’t take much; no complicated business plans, just 700 characters to describe a compelling business concept… sort of like an elevator pitch.
Blobbers (as we call users of the site) browse, give advice, comment, and vote on each others’ ideas. The person with the most votes at the end of each month wins $10,000*. It’s pretty cool and it’s a fast growing community of really bright entrepreneurs. What’s more is that we have guest advisors, leading industry experts, come on the site and give professional advice to those who are interested.
If this sounds interesting to you, just come by ideablob.com
The message from Ideablob makes it clear that the shut-down has come from the bankruptcy of the parent organization. But, the “why” is never as important in these conversations as the “what does this mean?”
So, what do you think this means? Have you participated in an Ideablob competition – were you alerted to this change? How will it effect the work you’ve done so far? How will it change your use of competition platforms or social media generally?
I would love to hear your ideas!