Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Dark Side of Triberr

For those of you who don't know, Triberr is an online community of bloggers who share each other's posts automatically through their tweet streams.

You are invited to join a tribe by the tribe leader - someone who knows you well enough that they're comfortable sharing your posts without reading each and every one before tweeting them. And you can choose to join or not join the tribe based whether you are comfortable tweeting their posts. 

Now comes the tricky part... the tribe leader determines who else joins the tribe. You may or may not know them, and you may or may not agree with their point of view.

Don't get me wrong - I love my tribe, and I knew most of the members before joining. But something happened this weekend that caused me to rethink whether I want posts flying through my tweet stream that I haven't read. That something was the feud between a group I will call the Dog Bloggers and the Blogpaws Team.

Mel Freer, one of my tribe members, posted about her disappointment that a certain web designer was invited to speak at the recent Blogpaws conference. That post went through my tweet stream before I had a chance to read it, but I felt the post was not disrespectful - just an honest sharing of her feelings and perhaps an opportunity to open a dialogue with the Blogpaws Team about the vetting process for potential speakers. 

Blogpaws fired back with a scathing response to Mel's post questioning her journalistic integrity, and the opening shot of the feud had been fired! 

The Dog Bloggers gathered around Mel defending her honor and firing back at Blogpaws for poor decision making and being downright mean. Blogpaws fired back by attacking the Dog Bloggers for their comments on Mel's blog, as well as on their own. Now remember, all of this is flying through my tweet stream without being seen by me first!

Finally a voice of reason appeared on Saturday. Everyone began to calm down, and Blogpaws issued an apology, which Mel accepted. Still some of the Dog Bloggers refuse to accept the apology and continue to write blistering posts about the Blogpaws Team. Again, these posts are appearing in my tweet stream!

For the sake of clarity, let me say that I do NOT have a grudge against either the Dog Bloggers or the Blogpaws Team. I think there was clearly a misunderstanding between the author of the original blog post (Mel) and the individual who responded on behalf of Blogpaws (Tom). An apology has been extended and accepted. Let it go people.


  1. Oh Amen, I have got active on Twitter & joined Triberr, just in time for this. I hope we can all move forward.

    Pam & Oskar

  2. So, here I am. A dog blogger who spoke at the BlogPaws conference (along with the gentleman with questionable ethics and practices) and the founder of Triberr. This situation has all kinds of relevance for me.

    So, as a dog blogger, I am on Mel's side of the debate. The dude in question walks on the shady side of ethical when it comes to dog welfare and BlogPaws has made a major oversight to have him there.

    Having said that, I wish he was honest about what he does and comes out and tells us why he does it and how lucrative selling puppy mill puppies online really is.

    Of course, as the Founder of Triberr, I expect these types of things to go down and I personally welcome them.

    The blogosphere can get little boring and white washed, with everyone kissing each other's ass. We're people, we disagree on things, we work it out, or go our separate ways. No biggie about it as far as Im concerned.

    Being pulled into the controversy without knowing or even caring about the controversy can be little weird. So a feel for you :-)

  3. Hi Dino - thanks for stopping by. As I mentioned, I love Triberr and I love my Tribe - but this is one of those family feuds we could do without. Thanks for the feedback!

  4. I am so happy that I deleted my blogpaws rant from the triberr stream. I could guess you guys would not like to have it flying around in your tweets.

    Glad I did the right thing.

  5. Where being a part of Triberr might increase my readership, I'm enough of a control freak that I don't think I could auto post someone else's articles without reading them first.

    I did read the both Mel's and Blogpaws posts and I'm glad they got everything resolved between them. But I don't know if I would have wanted to be reposting either side of that until the facts all came to light and it was all resolved.

    One of the internet's biggest strengths is also it's weakest point - how quickly and easily information is spread. Too much stuff gets repeated and spread without being checked for accuracy or veracity first. I try really hard not to be one of those the speads information or relinks something without checking it out first.

  6. Kenzo - I appreciate your discretion. I believe everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but we also need to remember that our posts are appearing in other people's tweet streams. Thank you for your consideration.

    Pumpkinpuddy - I was going to ask if you wanted to join the Anipal tribe, but I certainly understand your concerns. We each need to do what we feel is best.

  7. Vicki, it's sad how this got so blown up - and that BlogPaws was not smart enough to take it offline from the beginning. I'm a co-founder, so I can say that without malice. As soon as we got our heads around it, we were as upset about the way we handled it as anyone. But, trying to apologize has been just as difficult. We know that no matter what we say some people will continue to hate us. So be it. We are not perfect. We 're just bloggers like the rest of you. We make mistakes. But, we own up to them. We can't unring the bell. We can only work with Mel to move forward. Thank you for understanding.

  8. Yvonne - I certainly understand. Haven't we all shot off an email or blog post that we later regretted? I think what's important now is that we learn from this experience. I believe it will ultimately strengthen both the organization and the community.

  9. Vicki - You are not alone here. I was wondering the same thing as I issued an apology and saw some tweets go through my stream that seemed to indicate that I did not accept the apology. Not exactly what I wanted to have happen. That's why I was glad that Leo pulled his.

    I appreciate the support that everyone has offered and also understand how it can make some people uncomfortable. I think you point out a very real issue when part of a Tribe. My first thought was maybe Triberrs should have some rules of the road? But then I think, does that violate the purpose of Triberr? I honestly don't know the answer to that one. I welcome any suggestions anyone has because I think it's something all of us may want to ask ourselves - Are we comfortable with the tweets that are going out in our name?

    All I can say is I hope that this is one of those few rare moments that will not likely happen again, because as Dino said "Being pulled into the controversy without knowing or even caring about the controversy can be little weird."

  10. Mel - I'm sorry you got caught in the center of this firestorm when I think you were just trying to express your feelings about a subject that is important to you. And I do think the Blogpaws Team regret the way they handled it. I honestly believe they will take what they've learned from this experience to improve the way potential speakers are vetted.

    Regarding Triberr, I'm only asking my tribe members to consider what they're posting. We each have the option to read the posts before they go into our tweet stream, but that entails visiting Triberr on a regular basis. The other option is to pull a particular post from the Triberr feed (like Kenzo did). It is probably a conversation we should have around a "bonfire".

  11. Agree that we all should consider before posting. I need to learn how to pull pieces too. I think that's a nice option.

    Re: Everything else. I think there are enough sad and guilty feelings on all sides. I feel bad that any of this happened and I know the BlogPaws team feels the same.

  12. I do hope this firstorm dies down soon. I hate to see all this arguing going on. Can't everyone please get along and respect each other's view piont even though you might not agree with it! I wasn't even aware that there was a Triberr. I think I'll stay clear of this too.

  13. WOW that whole thing iz just a big mess. I did stop by Tiberr awhile back cause of one of ur tweets, but it did not seem like anything I wanted to be part of and this puts dat nail in dat coffin.

    I have to say I disagree wif da way it wuz handled on both sides. And unlike BlogPaws I don't think blogs r a true news media outlet. They are a human outlet and Mel did just that. Used her blog az an outlet for how she wuz feelin about a situation she wuz uncomfortable with.

    god forbid the world starts to think blogs are real news and that wikipedia has all the answers right.

    This iz why I try to keep ma mouth shut iffen I can't say anything good about something. Really how do you fact check when it comes down to a he said she said type of thing (I encountered dis wif da ARL, who I no longer back because of personal reasons).

  14. I don't want to turn anyone off Triberr - this is just something you need to be aware of if you plan on joining a tribe.

    My tribe members have discussed it, and we are going to be more careful about what we are sending into the Triberr feed, but ultimately the responsibility for what shows up in my tweet stream still lies with me.