Mariamz

Posts Tagged ‘Online Communities

Rob Manuel gave what seems to have been an impassioned defence of “the bottom half of the internet”, saying that “troll” had become the equivalent of “chav” — a word used to demonise and silence people who don’t have power. Rob’s argument appears to echo the joke of defining a “troll” as “the least famous of two people arguing on Twitter.” Rob seems to have equated the disdain felt for the “proles” by the upper echelons of society with the disdain felt for the “commentards” by the chattering columnist classes of the media.

Rob Manuel via Martin Belam

Since way before my first big project at openDemocracy.net I’ve been interested in the line. Separating ‘author’ and reader, broadcaster and receiver, powerful and powerlesser. In the physical world innovators are moving to challenge the authority / audience divide also, to “turn museums into social, participatory organisations – with all the challenges this entails.”

In online forums, we write for positive and negative response, for the conversation, for the pursuit of deeper understanding, for the feedback we get and the resulting whole. I love this line on Gransnet which sums it up neatly:

 it isn’t my thread. Once I’ve pressed the “post message” button, it belongs to everyone on gransnet

Bags

This sentiment is endlessly difficult to sell or even explain to those whose livelihoods have depended on the commodification of information, ideas and opinion. As the recent Leveson report has shown, the advent of the industrial press has led to cultural particularities both positive and negative, but ultimately a participatory attitude is hard to adopt, by people below and above the line(PDF), when equity is not appreciated or sought.

While there is any inbalance of financial and reputational consequences for what is written, the public conversation cannot be the best, most inclusive, most honest version of itself. But we can attempt to aid it in this direction, starting with:

  • Payment for both starting and continuing the conversation
  • Pseudonymity so that one participating individual’s reputational and legal liability does not outweigh the others
  • A standard for clear and attributable apologies / corrections for inaccuracies and mistakes by those on any side of any lines

Encouraging ‘constructive’ participation is a goal for most forum owners (but remember, one woman’s troll is another woman’s truth teller). Design and nurture is a critical successful factor for developing a healthy interactive online spaces.

With this notice automatically embedded inline with new forum members posts, money saving expert (MSE) is taking account of how nerve-wracking speaking up for the first time can be, and gently suggesting to other established members to go easy. This has three great functions:

  • Makes established forum members aware of how their words may have particularly strong effects
  • Encourages other lurkers to take the leap into posting when they see it
  • Makes the newbie feel protected from the highly charged crowd

Is it context? Is it content…..? What is communications royalty this week…? Or shall we dispense with three word hyperbole and give ourselves over to wanting, and the reality of needing to manage, it all?

In this case we will need structure, and structure which takes us beyond flat content calendars… toward integrated engagement across all of our earned, owned and paid channels. This can be captured in a calendar which orders our engagement themes and channels and enables us to plan (simply, visually) for balance in what we say and do, in line with our communications strategy.

The purpose of writing on blogs, community sites like Comment is free, and much of social media is to start or further a conversation – not to share a few writerly pearls of wisdom… Too much of the conversation about comment threads is about how writers – people paid to serve an audience – feel.

James Ball

changes in media (broadcasting to mass participation, towers to platforms, scarcity to abundance) are changing the whole cultural landscape. I would argue that this new landscape affects the context within which we act, even if our actions are entirely offline. It engenders a growing expectation of, and desire for, individual creativity

 Amy Twigger Holroyd


This blog is about utilizing and optimizing the social web for business, pleasure and social change

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