“At its best, innovation is more than a team sport – it is a networked, collaborative adventure.” (ideo.com)
Are you interested in the practical application of social networking? What happens when we move the ideas from theory into practice?
The Emily Post of Social Networking “Manners”
June 23, 2009 at 12:55 am #74445
I find myself thinking about these issues lately and have some questions about what is the same and what is different in online communities and everyday ones.
What are the most important “rules of the road”, in either running or belonging to a social network? How do people know how to behave, beyond the stated Terms of Service?
In community settings and groups, the establishment of group guidelines, by the group, is expected. Is the same collaborative process expected in online groups and social networks?
Just as in ‘everyday life’, there are members who walk the line and challenge the norms. It can be as stressful, as leading a community collaboration. Just as political and full of power and control issues. How can we handle these disruptions beyond banning someone from participating?
Is Web 2.0 without boundaries in the name of being open? What assumptions do we make? What are the proper manners for a leader and members?
Are there are existing guidelines that you know about and like?
If we had to boil things down to the basics, what would we ‘hand-out’ to members for etiquette and as best practices? If we were Emily Post, what would our book say?
June 23, 2009 at 1:36 am #74459
Christa M. MillerParticipant
Doesn’t it depend largely on the community? Twitter’s “rules” are different from LinkedIn’s. And not only are there commonly accepted blog “rules,” each blogger seems to have his/her own preferences, especially when it comes to commenting.
Very broadly, I think as in any group setting, the people who are there to learn and to help others seem to know instinctively how to follow the rules (and in doing so, may inadvertently set them). Those who care only about themselves are the rule-breakers. Thus I wonder if an “Emily Post” would do more harm than good, or simply reinforce what’s already being done?
June 23, 2009 at 2:32 am #74457
I’m not sure it depends on the type of community or not. It’s a lot like becoming culturally competent. I sure do agree, that those who are selfish, are pretty quickly shunned, regardless of the form of social media. That behavior becomes obvious pretty fast. It’s the subtle, not so obvious, online behavior which is familiar, but not in the same realm.
It’s compelling to see how ‘thought leaders’ and early adopters set the tone, often without saying anything. Again, not unlike what happens in everyday groups or how culture can be understood without words.
There are indeed many parallels to ‘real’ life. But not all match up. It’s the new stuff, new platforms and technology, where there are few ‘role models’ to follow, or much to read. It’s in this arena, I find so many new challenges to figure out. There is a lot of responsibility, not much precedence.
As a person who runs a social network, I discover personality clashes, challenges to leadership, at different levels, misunderstandings, unstated, but evident disagreements and classic, outright manipulation of members.
It’s a little weird to observe in a virtual community. It can be hard to figure out what to do and how to respond. It’s partly why I’m asking about whether we have an emerging need for ‘manners’ or behavior standards, beyond the obvious.
Facilitation occurs in virtual space, it’s different. Is it control issues which are emerging, or just deeper levels of experience and behaviors we observe, as we become more sophisticated and learn more about social networks?
I like to believe we operate from similar online frameworks, and understand the same stated rules, until I find, “au contraire’, I’m dead wrong!
Similar, but different, keeps coming up. Ditto on ways of providing leadership, in an online community. It can be just as demanding of time and focus. However, when communication is all online, it poses some very different potential problems. The paradigm is familiar and not.
It’s hard to invite someone for coffee to talk and work it out, unless you have a more local niche. We don’t have the benefit of many of our practiced communication tools, such as face to face cues, expressions and other hints.
We know how email can be misunderstood, yet that’s what we have at our disposal.
Therefore, the questions about ‘Emily’. Maybe it’s destinted to come up, as we attempt to organize. Maybe it can’t be organized.
June 24, 2009 at 4:48 pm #74455
Really great thoughts. . I’m new to the world of social media and I’ve just been trying to implement many of the interpersonal skills I use on a daily basis to the virtual world (being responsive, respectful, participating in thoughtful conversations, feeling each others pain). Other than solicitous blasts advertising products, these interpersonal attributes seem to be reciprocated.
October 24, 2009 at 3:11 am #74453
Why not create a mechanism to answer such questions. Suppose we had a widget that allowed us to pose specific questions, for example, What’s the most important rule of etiquette in social networking?
Below the questions is a list of the answers which we can either drag to reorder, or add a new one to the top of the list. In this way we’d get not just the most popular answers, but expressed as clearly as we’re capable of as a community. Maybe we should incentivize the process by awarding points for the time your answer spends in one of the top spots.
Maybe we should have more options than simply friend or not. I went to a boarding school with a rank system that grew on me. Why should all relationships in social networking be symmetrical? I don’t even feel qualified to be here (except that I’ve been thinking, writing, and dreaming social networking and open government for a few decades.) But had there been boxes in the profile to indicate how I’d like to make myself useful to the community here I’d have examined and checked them. You might get more of the public to join if they knew they could be useful by volunteering somehow to be used in specific ways by people in government. Maybe friendships should evaporate if they aren’t periodically reinforced via interactions or participation in common projects. Maybe the list should be sorted by how much we’ve interacted with each person on it. Data will set us free.
I agree we’re all new to the medium that’s evolving rapidly itself and it feels like learning to swim. We’re still really just wading around near the shore using the media mostly to take some of the weight off of traditional mechanisms. But I don’t think we’ll really be swimming until we find completely new ways of interlinking our collective intellects that really transcend the inherent limitations of conversation.
Just this evening I started to write a tiny bit of software to harvest the comments from discussions here to see if I could find some way to mechanically extract the key phrases that best describe what is being discussed. Suppose we take the top few thousand ideas that are mentioned enough times and build synonym lists that could then be used to link related comments across different discussions. The process could be a collaboration between not so smart software that guesses by highlighting bits of text that match its synonym lists and inviting us to confirm the link and describe how our discussion relates to the idea.
In this way, those comments are most helpful would be likely to be the most widely linked and the entire site would become more readily harvested for insight on a given topic. Something like etiquette is a great example because it comes up in many conversations and it would be wonderful to have a means to knit them together. It might be a nice role for folks who want to be helpful and could do the library work of linking related discussions without ever leaving a comment of their own.
October 24, 2009 at 7:34 pm #74451
I like your comments very much, they are clever and helpful. It’s easy to see you’ve given all of this a great deal of thought. The idea of keeping people linked in an online social network consciously is very appealing. And it’s true that people come and go over time. That’s just the nature of a serious and long term collaboration. Not so much on short collaborations on a particular issue with a beginning, middle and end.
I love the idea of asking people how they would like to contribute, what they would like to do. My favorite task force was one where I was actually asked to participate for my skill and ability, not just my “name”. It made such a difference in the quality of the work product for everyone.
I’m glad you’re thinking about these things.
November 4, 2009 at 9:37 pm #74449
This might not be of much help, but one of the blogs that I read religiously might have something on the subject. The guys behind the Relationship Economy have been thinking about social media for a while and are constantly challenging the norms that we and (presumably) their clients hold dear. There is a wealth of stuff over at http://www.relationship-economy.com (a couple of free e-books, search engine, etc). A starting point for some guidelines might be [search term] etiquette
November 4, 2009 at 11:30 pm #74447
Thanks so much! It makes me really happy when people can point us in the right direction, especially me! Can’t wait to really read.
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