Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Amplification: Playing Well With Others

This post has one central thesis:
Social Media:  
Has become much more about Media than Social.

These thoughts come after getting called out on a facebook thread by a prominent left wing activist for using the word sheeple. It is still not clear to me if this person understood what culture jamming is since they did not respond to my suggestion that the culture jamming nature of this currently going viral video inserted the 'on the surface' misogynistic reference to get the 'sheeple' to start to talk about how today's conversations about important ideas quickly degenerate into ridicule about a person's appearance instead of the bigger picture. By not acknowledging that this video is perhaps part of a larger culture jamming effort about environmental racism this person, in fact, has behaved like a sheeple. Irony.

This is what has kept us down. Conflict should end in both people seeing an issue in new - and better - ways. That is the essence of innovation (a subject I'm an academic expert in). Although I originally started out as an expert in innovation in the technological sense, I am increasing concerned with innovation in the moral sense. Progress has been rampant in the former and seems to have stalled on the latter.

The optics of conflict diminish authority. Here at Lettuce Connect we will remain a community of people and enterprises that are working towards a better world in various ways and until someone (or some organization) personally harms me or my family I remain determined to stay non partisan on any issue.

Destroying the planet is definitely something that will harm me and my family so I am willing to make an effort to see how others are contributing to the dialogue to increase awareness on this issue. Culture jamming offers unique opportunities to challenge the messaging we are receiving. In essence, it is taking ownership of the media by bringing the social back into the equation. It is forcing Media to acknowledge the Social adjective technology has thrust upon it.

In a similar vein, fellow Knowledge Professional and newly christened Faculty Member of the Academy of the Impossible, Seb FoxAllen, wrote an excellent piece on how to better connect the dots between Social and Media on the web. In it, he sagely advises:
So troll power, not struggle; troll patriarchy, not feminism; troll hypocrisy, not disagreement; troll structure, not station: troll upwards, not downwards. But resist the rush to concede the perch of the troll; it’s all many of us have left.

If we continue to divide amongst ourselves we will be conquered. Division amongst progressives leads to rants like this one (unintentionally?) exemplifying activism fatigue (written by another fellow Knowledge Professional cityslkr).

If we want to get our messaging out i.e. Amplify it, we need to learn to play well with others online. We have to make an effort to not have a knee jerk response and take things personally. We need to learn to stop and ask questions, nicely (unless you are trolling up!). Like that book from now long ago advised us: everything we needed to learn we learned in kindergarten. In the online world, and in the context of operating and messaging for a Social Enterprise, we will move mountains together if we play well with others.  Remember this the next time you read something you don't agree with and want to jump in and criticize immediately. Step back. Breath. Make your new online mantra:  Troll Up, Not Down and the playground will get friendlier.

And now, most importantly, like that Art Attack guy used to say - go out and try it yourself!

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Manner alert: Don't speak with your mouth full.