May 15, 2008 |
Before I finally go to sleep at night, I try to clear out my feeds as much as I possibly can just so that I'm not so overwhelmed when I wake up in the morning. I usually catch Steven Hodson's From the Pipeline feature in that last pass at night, and sometimes save links to read first thing in the morning.
Last night, however, as I was reading his links, I was really hoping to not want to come back to the last link he put up, and I told him so in the comments on the post. Today is the day that bloggers are supposed to be uniting and posting about human rights issues in the world, and what are people planning? A Twitter boycott.
I'm going to climb up on my soapbox here, and I'm probably going to anger a lot of people, but it's high time that this Web 2.0 "community" grow up. This post, and this "movement" and this "boycott" are symptomatic of a navel-gazing, shallow, self-centered group that has proliferated and spread through the tech community like a virus. Let me explain something to those of you who don't seem to get it. Twitter owes you NOTHING. You don't pay for the service. And yes, it has some serious problems with its architecture that really need to be fixed, but your use of Twitter is a PRIVILEGE, not a right. Get over yourselves. A boycott is meant to protest corporate involvement in practices that impact human rights, and I'm guessing that you don't understand a thing about that.
Valleywag brought some of this to light earlier in the week with the tech world's reaction to the earthquake in China. THOUSANDS of people dead or buried alive, and the two big reactions? Scoble crowing that Twitter had information before the USGS, and people concerned over whether or not the rumored 3G iPhone would be delayed. TWENTY-SIX THOUSAND PEOPLE are believed to still be trapped in the rubble, slowly dying while waiting for help that may not make them in time. They live in a country that may follow the example of Myanmar and not accept outside aid due to political machinations. Twitter and iPhones shouldn't even enter into the conversation.
Meanwhile, in other parts of the world, Syria has blocked its citizens' access to the Arabic Wikipedia (via Global Voices). In Egypt, the government has blocked the website for the opposition party. In Syria (again), blogger Tariq Baiasi, who has been held since July 2007, is at the beginning of a three-year sentence for leaving COMMENTS on websites that the Syrian government doesn't like. He's in jail for COMMENTS. And yet there are people spending today trying to get support for boycotting a service they use to chatter online with their friends that they pay absolutely nothing for.
Bloggers Unite for Human Rights Day is supposed to be about bringing attention to people all over the world who don't have many rights at all. And yet I get the feeling that this post, or any post, may be falling on a lot of deaf ears in the tech community, who don't seem to understand that human rights does not mean the same thing as free access to cool apps.