Monday, March 08, 2010

We police ourselves better than the Advertising Standards Agency ever could

The uk's advertising standards authority wants to apply the same rules to brand-run Twitter accounts and Facebook pages as it does to TV ads and billboards: (via The Guardian)

On the face of it the drive to enforce legality, honesty and truthfulness seems wise.

They (the Advertising Association) even say they are advocating this primarily to protect children; Always a good tactic to deploy to deflect those who would oppose.

You have to ask how they expect the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to police this?

And more importantly, why they think they are better placed to police this than those they seek to protect?

It's another example of the advertising world attempting to place a broadcast, centre-out solution on a peer-to-peer space. You ain't in Kansas anymore, Dorothy.

They make the assumption that the act of setting up a page or account and filling it with dishonesty is equal to broadcasting that dishonesty to unsuspecting audiences. Which is to fundamentally misunderstand how distribution happens in social media.

We ONLY pass on that which we think is useful to those we think will also find it useful.

If we get that wrong our followers stop being our followers, our friends stop being our friends. It is in our interest only to share what we judge to be the honest and truthful (we make our own judgements about the legal - file sharing etc).

We are best placed to make these judgements in the context of OUR communities of purpose (yes, and kids too - by the power of the wisdom of their crowds).
We make those judgements fast, and, since the crowd offers self-correcting mechanics, we make them accurate and relevant.

We at the edge, not them at the centre - and certainly not the ASA.

Sorry but your rules - quite literally - do not apply here.

The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?