This post builds on the observational exercise I posted yesterday. Perhaps it might act as some kind of corrective to the general overexcitement and rose-tinted view of many of us participating in the bloggersphere. Perhaps it could even serve to give a different angle to the IPA debate between Granty and Lowery (and others).
And help us get the “bloggersphere” and the joys of blogging into proper perspective…
Hugh drew my attention to the awful online bullying and tormenting of Kathy by a bunch of other bloggers. Violent, obscene and scary behaviour. And inexcusable, whether or not you are a good blogger or not, man or woman, well-known or otherwise.
But such behaviour (as the visordown strand showed) is by no means unheard of – you may remember Russell was upset by an abusive attack recently. And women with tech blogs seem to suffer regularly. Again, with no excuse.
While Kathy (a pioneer and inspirational blogger) is getting the support of many other bloggers that she deserves (and the community is rallying around the culprits), I hope it’s not inappropriate to ponder what this phenomenon reminds us about:
1. the internet (and all social media) are lenses through which human nature reveals itself – the good, the bad and the other, all in their primary social context of the Herd. What we’re not seeing is a specifically technology-driven form of behaviour but humans interacting with each other and behaving in the context of others (see the anti-sentimentalist on visordown).
2. where the rules of interaction are culturally derived and absorbed or whether they are taken from explicit web-etiquette agreements, not everyone applies these rules in the same way or with the same consistency over time (there’s bound to be some kind of distribution isn’t there?)
3. there are also some pretty unpleasant anti-social folk out there in the real world as well as behind the keyboards; folk who either don’t follow the same rules of interaction that others do or indeed deliberately flout them.
4. the web enables us to see behaviour that would otherwise remain invisible (these wierdo’s scaring the bejeezuz out of Kathy may well find themselves expressing these thoughts to other folk if they could; online just makes it easier for them to vent)
Web 2.0 is about people, not just technology. And that sometimes means brilliance and extraordinary beauty and kindness. But it can also mean the other side of humanity – the less “shiny happy people” bit.
So let’s not be surprised when this stuff happens. It’s dreadful and should be stopped. Let’s not forget that the technology itself has the ability to work for good or ill, depending how we use it (and en/discourage others to).