SMMOC Highlights and Mindmap – February 11, 2012

smmoc whiteboard notes

On the heels of last week's SMMOC meetup, today's discussion topics were no less charged.  I have to hand it to the always awesome Bob Watson for keeping our herd of cats well-facilitated.

There was lots of interest in "fringe" topics like machine learning (thanks Eric Stegemann!), voice recognition and implications for privacy, as well as some grounded gadget and business/marketing discussions related to: Pinterest, iPad3, FourSquare (thanks John Chow!) and Siri.

But!  Today's SMMOC discussion was also filled with a bit of controversy.  (What do you think about Pinterest?)

Pinterest controversy and more discussions at the SMMOC meetup on February 11, 2012[Stay current. Subscribe to the updates.]

Click the interactive mindmap above.  Then, expand the mindmap branches under Shiny Gadgets and then Pinterest.  There you'll see some of the notes I took about a bit of controversy in discussions that ensued around the growing social pinning site, Pinterest.  Specifically, there seemed to be some differences in thought about the approach Pinterest has taken in monetizing their social network.

Should Pinterest Disclose Their Skimlinks Relationship?

Most--if not all of us--I think, didn't seem to be opposed to the idea of Pinterest choosing to monetize user activity and user content (we all have to put food on the table, after all).  Rather, the controversy seemed to revolve around the degree to which they have been transparent (or not) about using skimlinking (I know, that's a new term for me, too - thanks Daniela Bolzmann!) to attach affiliate marketing links to certain content that can be affiliated.

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Some in our group thought it was perfectly fine.  "It's their site, if you don't like it, you don't have to use them."

Others of us seemed to believe that disclosure was necessary if only to maintain transparency and user trust.

I went a little further.

When someone suggested that Pinterest may be modifying affiliate links posted by some users who have affiliate marketing relationships to offsite vendors (note: it's not clear to me that this is, in fact, happening), I suggested that I would consider that practice to be unethical.  This raised a vocal objection from my friend Steve Zengy.  Which brought on a lively debate in the meeting.

My love of debates notwithstanding.  Let me ask ya, what do you think about the whole Pinterest approach to monetization?

You should join our meeting sometime

I'm tellin' ya.  If you're anywhere near the Orange County, CA area on any given Saturday morning, you should drop by and join us.  Except for bringing a measure of enthusiasm and interest, attendance is otherwise free.

If you do decide to join us, please let me know.  I'd love to say hi in person.  In the meantime, here's the link:

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About Mel

Mel is the online training architect and screencasting wizard at Kareo, one of Forbes' 2013 list of 100 Most Promising Companies in America. He's also the creator of Digital-Know-How, a training website devoted to developing learners' skills for screencasting and web video course development. Mel is also the chief blogger of; Mel's personal blog. The comments and opinions you read here are Mel's and not associated with any other company.
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