You’ve Been Terminated

Nixed by Biznik – Looking to Re-Connect

Delete - You've Been TerminatedIf you are trying to contact me on Biznik, please don’t. My account has been “terminated” because “…[my] style of participation … [and] … contributions to the community are not moving it forward, and have begun to harm it’s reputation. … Consequently, we have terminated your membership in Biznik.”

This is a portion of the email I received recently. I could not log-on to my Biznik account to recover any messages or connect with friends. Don’t be deceived, it can happen to you! I’m not the first and I won’t be the last. And, it’s not exclusive to Biznik. It can happen in any social networking group.

I have been an enthusiastic and passionate advocate of the Biznik online networking community for almost 3 years now, and suddenly, without notice, I received an instant termination and removal of my profile and access to all the data associated with it. My profile consisted of hundreds of network connections, forum posts, compliments, and event postings. Although Biznik inbound links to my blog were significant, they are not the major traffic source, so like all passionate entrepreneurs, I will somehow survive and there will be life after Biznik.

Lessons learned from the experience

It does raise some issues in my mind about public and private forums, terms of service, privacy, freedoms, due-course, liberty, and data ownership. I believe I will be writing a lot more about topics such as these in the observations category of my blog. That is, until the day that my internet hosting service “terminates” me or some government agency determines my viewpoints or others similar to mine are detrimental to the community.

My ultimate frustration, and it should be yours too, is ownership of the words (data) that we create. Is it proper that whatever form of medium we choose to convey our thoughts and opinions on, can now “own” and restrict access to them according to a terms of service agreement that 90% of us never read before clicking “I agree”?

I can accept being banned by a closed community for whatever reason, but I cannot accept not being allowed to take my words and my connections with me. They were created by my efforts while paying for community access and they are my digital assets. Yes, I gave the community permission to use them, but why can’t I take them with me when I am forced to leave?

If I had contributed to a 401K program while employed, I would be allowed to take my personal items and my 401K with me no matter what the cause of termination was.

Is being terminated from a network social group much different?

For future social networking participation, I will be more aware of organizations that respect MY data rights. I will embrace the concept of data portability as promoted by The DataPortability Project.

The digital assets that you have contributed to the online community (regardless of terms of service wording) should still be portable for you to take where ever you desire and access to your data should not be confiscate-able without due process of law.

I have a lot of strong opinions in this area and will continue to speak my mind in forthcoming posts. If you want to re-connect with me, please see my post about connections.

Thank You, and consider this:

DataPortability – Connect, Control, Share, Remix from Smashcut on Vimeo.

By Howard Howell

Howard is an Internet Sales Consultant. He speaks professionally about Web Marketing and Sensible Selling from an experienced entrepreneur’s viewpoint. He also provides individual coaching, group training, and web marketing consulting services. Contact him now.


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