Stop Online Harassment – Create Passionate Users

Gran Canaria - Artenara in the winter ...In the last few years there have been a good number of people, out there on the Social Web, who have come and gone and who have remained quite an inspiration for yours truly in helping shape up plenty of the ideas and thoughts I have been sharing over here, in this blog, over the course of time, around the topics of Social Computing and the Social Enterprise. One of those special thought leaders in the 2.0 social space(s) is Kathy Sierra; someone I do wish would come back to the Internet Blogosphere to continue to inspire all of us with some of her amazingly insightful and rather enlightening articles on her blog, amongst several other places. She surely is thoroughly missed by plenty of us.

Now, for those folks out there who may not have heard about Kathy just recently, or, at all, I can certainly go ahead and recommend you have a read of these two gems that she put together over at gapingvoid (Hugh MacLeod‘s blog) and which would make for some excellent food for thought around the topics of gamification and customer loyalty, respectively. Brilliant reads with lots of great insights to digest, chew on and learn plenty more about two of the most hyped conversations going on at the moment in the social media space. Must-read materials they would surely manage to change your own perception about both subjects. No doubt!

But today’s blog post though doesn’t have anything to do with either of those articles. Perhaps, at a later time, I will talk some more about them. However, for now, I do want to talk about a particular YouTube video that has been making the rounds lately, and which features Kathy herself talking about a rather poignant, controversial, but equally important topic: Stop online harassment.

While plenty of people have been talking about the controversy around the Google Plus policy about using our real identities, instead of fakes or pseudonyms, Kathy just focuses, in a bit over 5 minutes, on what I think is probably the main issue at hand at the moment within the Social Web: the potential risks and harm done by not putting a hard stop to online harassment. It’s a very touchy, thorny issue; one that perhaps does deserve a whole lot more attention by everyone than just this blog post by yours truly, more than anything else, because I suspect that all of us who have been online for a while, at some point in our lives, we have experienced some kind of harassment while making use of the Social Web and various (social networking) sites.

So I thought for today’s blog entry I would go ahead and share the video clip over here, as a way to help bring forward some more awareness of the potential issues at hand, and, most importantly, some good guidance on what each and everyone of us can do to help out. It’s the least we could all do, more than anything else to perhaps show how for those folks involved in such harmful activities that there are better ways of participating from the Social Web, including protecting your own identify and virtual presence with a good purpose. This hasn’t got anything to do with patronising or trying to diminish people’s experiences on the Web, whatever they may well be. This is a whole lot more about educating people on what we could do to finally take a stand about such activities and help prevent them in the near future. All of us. Together.

My good friend, the always sharp and insightful Euan Semple reflected on Kathy’s short video clip as well with a wonderfully inspiring short article under “Be the change” that makes that very same point across of educating and facilitating a better, and smarter, use of the social tools at our hand with this priceless quote:

Yes act in ways that cultivate positive behaviours and yes, be prepared to stand up and say when someone is “behaving badly”, but stop short of telling other people what they should or shouldn’t be doing – it just tends to wind them up!

Exactly! I guess that’s the piece of homework that both Kathy and Euan have laid out nicely for all of us: look after each other against that “bad behaviour” and instead inspire, as Kathy would probably state as well, the creation of passionate users, because, at the end of the day that’s what it’s all about, as this priceless quote from “19 Revealing CEO Leadership Quotes” puts it brilliantly:

It’s so important to be happy in your role and to have passion for the role. I have made a conscious choice to focus on how I love the people and the products, and to be happy each day

After all, it’s our (virtual) home, isn’t it? I mean, the Social Web. My home. Your home. Our home. So we may as well treat it accordingly, don’t you think?, and start looking after each other in much more meaningful ways. For our own, and everyone else’s, good. It still is the least we could all do.

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