When writing branding briefs and their little cousins creative briefs I find that key insights can come from anywhere. More often than not though, they come from the target or as I like to call it the Living Breathing Target. The target on the brief for Zude.com, the social networking start-up I worked for, was “Webertarians,” an marriage of the words web and libertarian.
Webertarians rue the rules, restrictions and technological impediments that keep them from doing what they want on the web. Zude’s big breakthrough was the ability for regular people to build websites without knowing HTML — simply by dragging and dropping web objects. The usability promise played out nicely to the masses who are not technically inclined. Those who are technically inclined are also webertarians in that they like open source code (free code not owned by Microsoft). Let’s just say there are a lot of webertarians out there.
Today’s big webertarian fight is taking place on Facebook over the issue of “Who owns my stuff?” Facebook changed the rules for a few days and its users balked, so they contritely changed back their terms of service. Facebook already understands the “webertarian ethos” or it wouldn’t have 175 million accounts. That said, it needs to work those ethos to its advantage – and quickly – as it tries to devise a monetization scheme. Facebook can’t afford too many more missteps or they will start looking like "the man." Peace!