Off-topic from my day job, but still relevant to the realm of collaboration and social networking...I'm looking for advice and guidance.  It's slightly political, so if that kind of stuff on edbrill.com seems weird, please return tomorrow when we'll be back to talking about good new stuff around Notes/Domino.

I live in a community within my town, called The Town of Fort Sheridan.  Fort Sheridan was an active US Army base from the late 1800's until 1993.  When the base shut down, the historic district was converted into a residential community.  More than 500 families reside in the Town of Fort Sheridan, and as with many such communities, we have a homeowner's association for common interests and responsibilities.  To communicate, our property manager operates FortSheridan.com, which talks about the community, its history, amenities, and advertises available real estate.

Our community is involved in a little bit of controversy.  When The Town of Fort Sheridan was created, one of the amenities was a golf course.  The golf course was part of the Army base, and deeded to the local Forest Preserve District in the process of base closure.  To make a long story short, the golf course was shut down in 2003 in anticipation of a new, "world class" course being built here along the shore of Lake Michigan.  Six years later, we have no golf course.  If you are interested in the full history on the golf course, read my story on TribLocal.com.

How does all this relate to Twitter?  Well, as you might logically expect, the community would like to use the Twitter ID "FortSheridan", just as we have fortsheridan.com.  Unfortunately, one of the opponents of the golf course being rebuilt -- someone who lives outside of Fort Sheridan, mind you -- registered the ID on Twitter first.  He's chosen to use it to actively campaign against the course, but also to communicate about other community controversies.  Having this ID as the Twitter face of our community is clearly not a positive development.  I respect the right of the golf course opponents to use Twitter...just as the golf course proponents have already staked out a place on Twitter as "ftsheridangolf".  But using the community's unique identity to campaign against the community (which, by a 10-1 margin, wants the golf course restored) seems like it is detrimental to the community on all fronts.

I've thought about a number of ways to reach a peace accord here.  I wrote to the person behind the FortSheridan ID, asking if he'd consider surrendering it.  No dice.  I decided to get more creative, and filed a terms of service violation with Twitter under their "impersonation" policy.  Clearly, the policy was written in terms of human impersonation, but it has been used in cases of corporate impersonation.  Why not community impersonation as well?  As an officer of one of the Fort Sheridan homeowner associations, I am directly affected by this impersonation, as are the other owners in the community.

Twitter's response: After two weeks, my complaint was closed, without comment.  I certainly intend to refile, but I thought perhaps some of my readers/followers could help me make the case.  This might be breaking new ground, but it seems to me that ownership of fortsheridan.com should have some relevance to ownership of @fortsheridan on Twitter.  Does anyone have any experience with this kind of situation on Twitter?  (Unfortunately, I know Bruce Elgort knows about it in the domain name world)

One other thing to say on this topic.  I realize how it may sound quite odd (or worse) to be moaning about a golf course in the middle of a recession.  I don't even play golf!  However, I chose to live in this community significantly because of the setting...meadows, walking paths, open spaces, history, beachfront, and everything else.  That everything else includes the golf course that was here to begin with.  The controversy over the golf course has this community in paralysis.  Even as bad as the real estate market is, we have homes in Fort Sheridan that have gone unsold for years -- right up along Lake Michigan.  The community very much wants to welcome in more residents and guests to visit our amenities...we just want the original vision restored.  Many of the surrounding communities and residents do as well.  It will be exciting to be here when it is all done.  And building the new course will provide public works jobs at a time when they are clearly needed.

Post a Comment