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Twethics & Twetiquette?

Although my next post was scheduled to be Collaborating for the Environment as the follow-up to Chronocentrism and Social Entropy?, there is one common theme about respect that I am hearing from the amazing people behind the many projects under evaluation to be added into the directory that I wanted to comment about.

This theme that keeps coming up is a simple sense of respect for and understanding of the stakeholders, their needs and agenda.

The points the interviewees made kept reminding me of how impacting social misbehavior can be to any collaboration initiative.

Social misbehavior such as the ones displayed by Tweeters at the Danah Boyd’s keynote at the Web 2.0 Expo or by a single individual member of a project who makes unnecessarily damaging comments about the project or stakeholders via any social media venue should be discouraged since we wouldn’t tolerate them in any other circumstance, would we?

People like Danah Boyd play a role in promoting this social media space. It is disconcerting that smart, professional people used that same space to embarrass her.

I’m not talking about suppressing our freedom to express ourselves or freedom of speech or any of those critical elements of our society.

The people I have been interviewing have expressed how critical for their project’ success respect has been—respect that needs to be earned and given in all sorts of forms according to their collaboration initiative, expectations and framework. Common sense stuff, right?

But, the cases where social media has been used to damage people are many. Social media can enable the spontaneous transfer of some ugly aspects of humanity into the on-line world with much broader impact than they could have in the off-line world.

The reason why I am posting Twethics & Twetiquette? ahead of Collaborating for the Environment is that my support for Maggie Fox’s conclusion in her post reacting to these Tweeters’ misbehavior continues to grow with each of the interviews I’m conducting. This is Maggie’s final point:

in closing: the “old” rules of human decency still apply in this new space. If you tweeted something during danah boyd’s keynote you thought would generate a chuckle, you’re a coward. If you truly wanted to improve the experience, you should have had the courage to stand up, raise your hand, and ask her to slow down a bit.

These interviewees have also emphasized how critical respect and common sense-based human decency is for collaboration in general, not just their projects.

Should we allow the freedom this new technology gives us turn us into destructive mobs, taking away our basic sense of what human decency is?

I’m with Maggie, respect and the “old” rules of human decency still apply in this new space of Twitter. Let’s not forget our ultimate goal of collaborating, cooperating, and coordinating with each other for positive outcomes. Let’s be conscious of the weight of the responsibility this new freedom of voice demands.

So, how about if we star some conversations on Twethics, Twetiquette, Twashame and Twastized?

What do you think?

What is this all about?
The Collaborative Society Directory’s goal is to collect and understand information from different collaborative projects that bring together as participants entities from the three forces that shape our societies: public, private and non-profit. The goal of The Collaborative Society is to explore if such information can provide us with insights of what could be the characteristics that make a society or a community healthy.

(cross posted in Collaborative Society and TFCN)

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Joshua joseph

Good post. It’s hard to disagree with being respectful and civil in discourse. I’m not sure the recent Danah Boyd thing is typical…hope not, anyway. Research going back a long time suggests that it’s mostly when people feel anonymous that bad behavior like this is most likely to come out. What’s odd is that a number folks who jumped on the bandwagon to bash her seemed to be using their twitter handles…so not really anonymous. I’m wondering if the neg. response also had something to do with Boyd being a bit of a polarizing figure…certainly not new to controvery…for example here?


It worked this time. This whole thing is even more ironic now that I read some of what she posted in the link you provided. The circularity of the whole thing is pretty amazing. Thanks much for sharing since it further proves the point that we should be a bit conscious (both blogger/author and audience) of some manners. Truly appreciated it that you took the time to report the link. Will have to come back to reading her entire stuff, but the first few paragraphs provide good inside on the point you tried to make (and hers.)