Back in the days of the Grateful Dead, there was a “Dead Culture” that thrived on peace, love, and sharing. While some of that was drug induced, there is no doubt that it was a tribe who felt connected and therefore more open to random acts of kindness between members.
Enter Social Media…and a similar culture. One of my blog posts from a while back discussed the possibility and danger of hashtag spam. Yet, unlike email spam, this type of intrusion has not increased in the time I have been on twitter.
While spam is useful to some brands as a tool to increase awareness, social media participants are very quick to jump on bad behaviour and place the messenger in a very negative light. Community members are vigilant protectors of collectively set guidelines. This is probably necessary as described in the “fixing broken windows” approach to crime.
Twitter seems to have the most idealistic culture of all the social media. In fact, I have often thought to myself that being a Twitter user is teaching me to be a nicer person. While I still see value in criticism, it is often more helpful to see the good in something than to point out its flaws.
Clearly the culture works in this way because the whole eco-system is reputation based. The concept of “whuffie” is constantly bandied about. Because views of a person and their content will only become more transparent over time (both what we write and what people write about us), I do not expect the incentive for “good” to go away.
Perhaps some of that quality online behavior will bleed into our in-person persona even when those deeds and comments are less publicly viewable. Wouldn’t that make the world a better place?