Facebook and Lumpy policy decisions

Rethinking your TOS/EULA is a pain in the neck. Nobody wants to divert attention, money or energy thinking about it. It seems like a serious distraction from making money and serving customers.

Looking at the 2009 Facebook policy hubbub, it’s a big deal. It sucks up attorney fees, management, press, even engineering into a big, risky, bothersome pile of unhappiness.

So a reasonable company wouldn’t volunteer for exercises like that. Maybe, at most, an annual review. It might look like this.

Lumpy policy revue: big bang by you.

Lumpy.

Huge piles of politics.

What if you smoothed it out?

Lumpy policy revue: smoothed by you.

Would that reduce the icky parts of policy review and enhance the charming parts?

Because policy review has its charming parts.

  • It lets you re-engage your customers on what matters to them.
  • It helps you restate what you need from customers their language.
  • It helps turn your policy from a just-click-through-it to a loyalty building selling opportunity. Maybe even a competitive advantage.

And a smoother, more continuous approach has its tasty bits too.

  • Fewer surprises.
  • More continuity, less forgetting of why.
  • Less distraction, cost, effort.
  • Smaller changes, more easily absorbed.

Smoothing might have parts like:

  • An internal TOS/EULA lmailing list that any employee can join.
  • Annual policy summit. A little bit of briefing. A few workshops. A lot of Open Space unconference.
  • A public TOS/EULA listserve/bbs for policy advocates, concerned citizens and partners.
  • Ongoing communications (blog posts? videos?) about the state of your policy thinking, inviting participation in that thinking.

Should DataPortability.org help companies engage in that conversation? To move from lumpy to smooth. To avoid the icky bits. To enjoy the tasty and charming parts of policy definition. We already are – join us!

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