Culture Nirvana

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?

5 responses to “Culture Nirvana

  1. Deborah Pannell

    Being relatively new to Twitter, I can already sense the collective consciousness that guides the temper and mood of postings and the tone of the conversations. From what I’ve seen so far, I like the optimistic and encouraging messages that seem to be passing back and forth, at least in the group of people I’m following.

    Having logged a few miles on the bus myself, I remember the warmth of community I experienced at Grateful Dead concerts, albeit through a bit of a haze. It’s nice to have a more clearheaded experience of the same now, from the comfort of my home…
    Nice to be connecting with you, Robert.
    Event Camp Rocks!!!!

    Deborah Pannell

  2. Wow!! Someone else was commenting about this recently. Does Twitter make you a better person or are the nicer people just attracted to Twitter?

    I don’t know. But I do find all the encouragement, positive interaction and mental stimulation I get on Twitter VERY addicting! It’s been a rough year and these things have helped get me through it.

    It’s amazing how powerful kind, encouraging words are and how little we use them. Twitter seems to encourage us to use them more.

    However, for a long time, I used to wonder if all this positive interaction would just stay on Twitter and never go further. After attending Event Camp, I’m convinced that Twitter, and other social media communities can be the beginning of some truly supportive and encouraging relationships offline.

    Thanks so much for getting me thinking about this, Robert!

  3. I think that Twitter has multiple facets, as does the hashtag.

    I am grateful and amazed by the sharing and positive attitude of the #eventprofs community on Twitter, and I do agree that it has benefited me more than I would have ever expected. For example, if not for Twitter, I never would have known Jenise Fryatt, the previous commenter, who has done so much with #eventprofs and #EIR on Twitter. She is a gem.

    Yet the almighty hashtag is also used to talk trash. Just check out some of the trending topics on Twitter — there’s comments that I’d never let my kids see. Heck, I feel dirty just reading them.

    So Twitter is a mirror for whatever you want to find. If you are a nicer person, you’ll find the nice people. If you are not, you’ll find your own people, too.

  4. Deborah and Jenise, Thx so much for your comments. Jenise, I continue to marvel at your level of engagement through social media. I have no doubt that you are developing a remarkably wide and strong group of friends.

    I can remember the utter surprise at a GD concert when I commented to someone about how I liked their (fill in the blank) and they just gave it over!! “I’ve had enough fun with it, now you have it”. That set the tone for the new owner to do the same. Hence, culture.

    On Twitter we do the same everyday with knowledge. Luckily knowledge is an asset that grows every time it is shared. So, keep passing on that knowledge and those good deeds.

    All the best,
    Swan

  5. Michael thx for your comment.

    I definitely agree that Twitter is a great way to find and interact with various tribes. #eventprofs is a great example of a solid tribe that exists because of and through twitter (now branching into f2f).

    While I don’t spend time in the “nasty” places, I wonder if even they are nicer there then they normally are. Perhaps if those people are looking for nasty, Twitter will act as a magnifier in the other direction.

    Twitter and community is such an interesting pair. I am currently experimenting with building a custom-built community site around a twitter chat. You can see it at http://KMers.org Hopefully, it is the kind of place worthy of your kids. 🙂

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