Posts Tagged ‘social enterprise’

Face to Facebook

February 4, 2011

I do not like to say I told you so. I have repeatedly warned people about putting personal information on facebook. If you do not care about ID theft, then that is fine.

Facebook is not a neutral platform, it is not a social networking site, it is a data collection surveillance site. It collects personal information on you.

Face to Facebook have just demonstrated just how easily that can be done. They have not done it to make money out of you, as others do, but to show how easy it is to obtain your personal data.

They did so by stealing one million Facebook profiles, filtering them with face-recognition software, and then, posting them on a custom-made dating website, sorted by their facial expressions characteristics.

Of course facebook could become a genuine social networking company (which sadly many if not most users think it is), held in ownership by it users as a not-for-profit social business for the benefit of its users, no advertising, no facebook apps scams to steal your personal data, no selling of personal data, but greed writ large seems to have got in the way.

“Dating” site imports 250,000 Facebook profiles, without permission
Disruption Talk
Goldman Sachs suffers Facebook fiasco
Muhammad Yunus and social enterprise

Disruption Talk

January 25, 2011

Discussion between co-founder of Napster Sean Parker and Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho.

We tell stories, we write stories, we have the book.

We can tell stories in a book, through short stories, through a few paragraphs on a blog, or in the minimalist form of 140 characters in a tweet.

Haiku masters were able to tell a story in the minimalist form of haiku poetry.

Paulo Coelho is wrong when he says we will not have books in the future. Unless there is a complete collapse of civilisation there will always be books. Nothing beats curling up with a good book.

Paulo Coelho has sold upwards of 130 million books.

Platforms are not neutral. Facebook is not neutral. Google is not neutral.

Facebook is a social networking company, right? Google is a search company, right?

Wrong on both counts!

Both companies are information and surveillance companies. They acquire information on you and they sell it. Google even trawls through the content of your e-mails to obtain information on you.

Try posting this to your facebook account

Let the hacking begin: If facebook needs money, instead of going to the banks, why doesn’t Facebook let its users invest in Facebook in a social way? Why not transform Facebook into a ‘social business’ the way Nobel Price winner Muhammad Yunus described it? What do you think? #hackercup2011

you will find it is blocked.

So much for platform neutrality.

But: Assume 500 million users, each pays $1 each to turn it into a social business and become the owners of a not-for-profit business. This would raise $500 million, more than sufficient. There would then be no need to sell users personal details to third parties. Indeed it would be a condition of ownership. Facebook would be run as a social networking site for the benefit of its members. Sadly what many mistakenly believe it to be now.

Many smart phones use Android as the operating system. Android is from google. Can we trust them not to do what they normally do which is to access our information? The truth is we do not know, it is not Open Source Software and so it is not open to public scrutiny. What we do know is that google can install and delete applications without our knowledge or consent.

There is no such thing as a free lunch. Google and facebook are not charities. They are global corporations out to make money by using information on you. And never forget, the boss of facebook called his users ‘dumb fucks’ for so obligingly handing over personal data.

To change people’s minds you have to say something. In media jargon, you have to create content.

Production of content, editing of content, distribution of content, were and probably are, the three centres of power of the mainstream media.

This is no longer true, at least not true if we assume net neutrality.

I can control all three. My blog is just as likely to be read as any mainstream media, and I can get the content out quicker and usually with greater accuracy.

The mainstream media edits what we see. And for that read global corporations edit what we see. And they do so in a way to maintain their world view.

As the invention of the printing press shared information, and so the world view, so does the new media that we make use of today. Look at what Wikileaks has done.

There is also a paradigm shift between what the mainstream media does and I do. The mainstream is essentially broadcast, ie one to many. I am network and interactive. What I write others can comment upon, a dialogue takes place. Those who like what I write in turn pass it on to others, by posting on their facebook walls, by tweeting and re-tweeting on twitter.

What I write, although original creative thought (unless reposting what others have written that I think is worth passing on), is often based upon interaction with others, the germ of an idea is expanded upon.

Paulo Coelho makes extensive use of twitter and social networking. There is not only interaction between himself and his readers and followers, thus not one way, there is also interactions between his followers and readers, especially on his blog.

Summer 2009, twitter and social networking almost brought down the evil regime in Iran. Earlier this month it forced Ben Ali the president of Tunisia to flee the country like a rat up a drainpipe. Evil regimes across the Middle East are likely to fall like dominoes as we saw across Eastern Europe with the fall of the Berlin Wall. [Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia]

Social networking had come of age. It was no longer a medium for mindless celebrities to post drivel and trivia about their meaningless lives. It was being used to make a difference in the world.

Paulo Coelho spreads ideas, be it through his blog or his books. He encourages people to break out of their straitjackets, to follow their dreams. No surprise then that earlier this month the regime in Iran decided to ban all his books (or at least ban his publisher). The only surprise was that they were not banned sooner or that publication was permitted at all. Iran is now being flooded with books in Farsi that can be freely downloaded off the net.

Iran bans Paulo Coelho
Iran denies banning Paulo Coelho’s books

People can get hung up on technology. What is important is not the technology, it is what you do with it. Who would have thought of social networks as tools of the revolution? A car can take you from A to B. It can also be used as a lethal weapon.

Content matters. Writers want to be read, artists to be heard. We hear a lot of hype about net piracy, go back a couple of decades and it was about sale of cassette tapes. Each sale of a cassette tape was wrongly associated with the loss of an album sale. Those who are bleating are the global record companies and the manufactured pop bands who between them have destroyed music. Look at the top perfomers of today who have been around for what seems like ever. They performed because they liked performing. It is the manufactured rubbish on programmes like X Factor who seek instant fame.

Paulo Coelho has over a million followers on twitter, over four million on facebook. Interviews, book launches are boring, the same dumb questions, what is this book about? Why not try reading it?

O Aleph was published in Brazil last year with with no promotion, no book tours, no publicity. It shot to Number One in Brazil. Worldwide publication this year is eagerly awaited.

The writings of Paulo Coelho, the new media, are disruptive, they force change, force paradigm shifts.

A paradigm shift would be for business to shift to creating shared value not share value.

Paulo Coelho at World Economic Forum in Davos
Moglen: Why Facebook is Evil
Corporate Social Networking
Their business and ours
Google’s surveillance is taking us further down the road to hell
Facebook founder called trusting users dumb f*cks
“Let The Hacking Begin” Declares Person Who Hacked Zuckerberg’s Facebook Fan Page
Social networking under fresh attack as tide of cyber-scepticism sweeps US
The sad shrinking of Myspace into the digital void
Zuckerberg says it’s time for Facebook to become a “Social Business”
“Dating” site imports 250,000 Facebook profiles, without permission
The wrong kind of sharing: Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook page hacked
Egypt, The Age Of Disruption And The ‘Me’ In Media

Muhammad Yunus and social enterprise

November 7, 2010
Muhammad Yunus and Paulo Coelho

Muhammad Yunus and Paulo Coelho

I’m encouraging young people to become social business entrepreneurs and contribute to the world, rather than just making money. Making money is no fun. Contributing to and changing the world is a lot more fun.

Poor people are a like bonsai tree, a little tree. You pick the seed of the tallest tree in the forest and take the best seed out of it, and plant it in a flower pot. You get a tiny little tree, we call it a bonsai. Nothing wrong with the seed, you’ve got the best seed possible. Nothing wrong with the tree, because you actually picked the tallest tree in the forest. But actually it grows this far … why? Because we put them in the flower pot. The base. Society is the base. And society is so stingy it doesn’t give the poor people the space to grow.

So I say, change the base! If you change the base, anybody will be as tall as anybody else! My belief is poverty is not caused by poor people. Poverty is caused by the system. Poverty is caused by the policies that we pursue.

People can change their own lives, provided they have the right kind of institutional support. They’re not asking for charity, charity is no solution to poverty. Poverty is the creation of opportunities like everybody else has, not the poor people, so bring them to the poor people, so that they can change their lives.

We have created a society that does not allow opportunities for people to take care of themselves because we have denied them those opportunities.

I was teaching in one of the universities while the country was suffering from a severe famine. People were dying of hunger, and I felt very helpless. As an economist, I had no tool in my tool box to fix that kind of situation.

I went to the bank and proposed that they lend money to the poor people. The bankers almost fell over.

They explained to me that the bank cannot lend money to poor people because these people are not creditworthy.

Poverty is unnecessary.

– Muhammad Yunus

Poverty is not natural any more than climate change is natural, or that globalisation is set in stone. All are man made, therefore all can be changed by man. All it takes is will and a paradigm shift in our way of thinking.

The poor are not poor because they are not hard working or lack innovative skills. Try living on a dollar a day or try existing in war-ravaged Iraq, or try living in the West on the meagre handouts from the state for those who are disabled or unemployed.

In the UK the government has today announced that those who are unemployed for more than a year will have to work for nothing. This follows hard on the heals of savage cuts in welfare payments of £7 billion (but it is ok for Vodafone to be let off a £6 billion tax bill). It had earlier been announced that unemployed for more than a year will have their housing payments cut by 10% leading to widespread eviction and homelessness.

It not lack of skills that make people poor, it is the state grinding them down and lack of access to resources. Actions by the UK government are not based on actually asking people want they want, what help they need, it is designed to punish and demonise and denigrate those who are worse off than the rest of us.

Synchronicity: Last week I had a meeting with Prof Adel Sharif at Surrey University. Two names cropped up in our conversation on social enterprise, Muhammad Yunus and Paulo Coelho. On my way home I checked my messages and found a message from Paulo Coelho to say that he and Muhammad Yunus were jointly presenting at a conference on social enterprise, then a few days later I find he has posted on his blog Muhammad Yunus as his character of the week! [see Communication with the Soul of the World]

Also see

Creating a World Without Poverty

Grateful Vodafone executives say a big thank you to Chancellor George Osborne

Ministers defend plan to force jobless to do work

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