Loic Le Meur's Call For Twitter "Search By Authority" Is Misguided and Self-Serving

 I just read at TechCrunch , and then at his own blog, and with some dismay, Seesmic founder and entrepreneur Loic Le Meur's call for a "Search by Authority " feature on Twitter based on the number of followers a person has. I have to say that call is -- to be blunt -- 1) way off-base, and 2) very self-serving. I'll take the second assertion first.

Le Meur has as of this writing 15,196 followers on Twitter. Do you for a moment think that he would dare dream of such a provision if he had, say 800 followers or less? Of course not. Le Meur's also very wrong and really horribly arrogant to be direct in his statement that "we're not equal on the Web." Well. that's not the point at all, and I'm really surprised that he would even concern himself with what is essentially a teenage concern: who's better than whom?

I thought the whole deal about New Media was that it not only equalized us but was fluid: at one point a person was up, but given the winds of change, could give way to a new comer. Quickly. That's the fun of all this. As Farid Zakaria put it in the latest edition (as of this writing) of Newsweek on "The Global Elite , "Knoweldge is Power" and he was referring directly to the Internet's impact on culture.

He's right.

For Le Meur to even call for such a provision on Twitter is an insult to those of us who understand that considering the capabilities of anyone of us, we really are all equal. Moreover, it's an attempt to lock in place the favored position he thinks he deserves. 

Come on!  

Loic knows damn well that one way to add followers is to follow people on Twitter first. Thus, he has 15,928 folks he's following, which is just ahead of his number of followers and indicates he's been a user of that way to gain followers over time. Now, Twitter has taken on the act of restricting the number of people one can follow, making it impossible to use that system -- as LeMeur has done -- to gain followers.

So he has this advantage and now wants to lock it in. Ah, all for the love of power and the maintenance of authority. 

Forget it.

Now I'll take my first point, that Le Meur's off base. He is for the simple reason that I don't need or want some indicator to tell me what's important. I will do that for myself. If I want to pay attention to a new news brand on Twitter, Loic's idea could hamper their growth. An important call for action by someone small and liberal, could be blotted out by someone large and Republican and with "authority" as Loic see it.

No way.

Authority does not equal followers perfectly in this new society. It is an reward for being known for a moment, but also at times for gaming the system, again for a moment  and that's true in Twitterville -- let's be real honest here. 

Real authority, like it or not, is fluid and ever changing. It's a byproduct of power, which too is fleeting and today is tied to eyeballs that last for, again, a moment. I often laugh at those who believe they can capture it for themselves forever. Pure folly. Perhaps Loic can't deal with that kind of chaos of the fluidity of power, but I welcome it and will fight to make sure that it's maintained. As much respect as I have for Le Meur's accomplishments, this idea must be jettisoned.


UPDATE: fortunately, the blogsphere's rising up against this idea, not Loic, but the proposed plan.  Check out Sarah Lacy's blog on the matter.  

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