I challenge those of you getting frustrated with Facebook and other social media political discussions to think of these conversations differently. Politics are important, even if you don’t care for them. Try this exercise:
Think of how people politely listen to re-countings of your day or coo over pics of your kids. Niceties are the foundation of our culture. Try to treat political discussions the same way you would want people to treat your discussions on things they don’t really want to talk about.
If you truly don’t want to engage, be polite about it. Don’t announce your frustration and storm away (think how you would feel if your kids’ recital video was treated the same way).
If you DO engage, don’t do so to just prove a point. These are people with valid positions, that are born from their experience. Respect that, even (or especially) when they aren’t respecting your position. #WhenTheyGoLowWeGoHigh
And it used to go without saying, but apparently now it needs to be said – BE NICE. All of you. We are still neighbors, family, friends. If you would scold your child for talking that way to someone about any other subject, don’t talk that way yourself.
Get it together, America. We can be righteous, woke and activated – I damn well intend to be. But we can do it with a hell of a lot more respect.
This past month, I had the honor of being interviewed by Patrick O’Keefe
, for his community management focused podcast, Community Matters
. You can download it on iTunes or your favorite podcasting app, or stream it here:
On the podcast, we talk about many things, but our focus was on the treatment of those staff on the front lines of community – the moderators and engagement staff that actually interact with customers. I feel very strongly that while some of the burden of choosing and keeping a potentially toxic job is on the employee, an equal, and in some cases larger, portion of that responsibility is on the employers and brands hiring those individuals.
Often times, they are highly marginalized team members – many are contractors with little or no interaction with the larger team or the client/brand team. They are usually paid very low wages, even state-side, being told that they should be “happy” with their work-from-home status.
And that’s just when the content they are handling isn’t toxic. On most moderation teams, they have to screen out all the “bad” content, so that the audience doesn’t see it. But the moderators still see it and are usually not given the support required to handle emotionally volatile content. Even in communities for children, moderators can come across triggering content and some teams do not prepare their staff for that possibility. “Becoming numb to it” is an awful skill to have to develop on the job.
I also worry about the increasing trend to offshore moderation work to low-wage countries. As an employer, I understand the urge, but it is difficult to maintain high quality with non-native speakers, not to mention the difficulty of oversight of procedures regarding the emotional well being of those moderators. Just because they are offshore, doesn’t mean negative content won’t affect them the same.
I am interested to hear your thoughts on this topic. Let me know what you think in the comments or via twitter
Great NPR Marketplace story on the conundrum of “free speech” and expression on social media during these tense times and how to moderate content for brands and different audience consumption.
On the conversations happening at Facebook in the aftermath of Philando Castile’s death:
I imagine there are conversations around content moderation. You know, how do we treat events like this? Should they be subject to the normal rules surrounding violence or is there some kind of special dispensation that should be created for videos about news events, or videos that depict injustice. I think it’s a very tough line to straddle. –Deepa Seetharaman, reporter covering Facebook and other social media at the Wall Street Journal
Lately, in an effort to engage with my new home in Salt Lake City, I have been volunteering on local projects that take those international and large-scale skill sets I have developed and try to apply them in hyper-local situations:
Working towards safe and engaging audience communities online can feel detached at times, especially when you are working in the thousands or millions of users ranges. I haven’t lost my desire to work on online projects, of course, but it’s great to be able to see those digital skill sets translate so easily into the offline space.
It’s nice to see the direct impact via work on the local level. I have met and been inspired by so many people in my new city and I am excited about the potential I see here.
A dear friend of mine asked me on Facebook if I could share with her my “top 3 safety tips” she needed to know, now that her oldest was 7 and her youngest was fast approaching internet age. While I could talk for hours on this topic, I think I came up with the 3 things that parents of young digital natives should think about as they brace themselves for the years ahead.
1. I would start with thinking what you want your family rules about internet to be.
– Are they allowed to download things to the computer/device? If so what/when?
– Are they allowed to talk to other people on sites, games, etc? If so, who and when should you know about it?
– Who is in charge of passwords – you or them?
– Do they really get what privacy means and why we keep our personal info to ourselves?
2. Think about setting up a transparent dialogue about tech and digital activities.
Casually talk about different sites, games, devices, etc so that it’s known that those things are under your watch, just like other offline toys, games & relationships.
3. Think honestly about your kids naiveté and innocence.
Are they on the younger/more doe-eyed side of that spectrum? If so, make sure they know not to trust everything they see on the internet.
Are they more street smart? Make sure you are having the early conversations about bullying and how you expect them to treat others, even when they can’t see the other person’s face.
Just like with all parenting – there is no silver bullet, but the earlier you start taking the benevolent authority role with digital, the more they will see you as a resource rather than an adversary.
My colleague, Bill Shribman over at WGBH, interviewed me for GeekDad.com recently.
Here’s a snippet:
You threw my daughter out of Animal Jam when she was making plans to meet a friend for lunch, which I thought was a pretty impressive catch. She thought she had mistyped “duck.” What other kinds of behaviors or activities have you interrupted?
Thanks – I always love it when we can turn a discipline from the game into a positive parent interaction. As far as other behaviors/activities, where do I start? Obviously, for COPPA compliance, players trying to give out personal information is a very high priority – that’s addresses, emails, and phone numbers – but even Skype and other instant messaging usernames, FaceTime handles, and any other methods where players would be communicating outside of the game and potentially sharing that personal info.
While there is no law around it (which most parents are surprised to learn) we are also very diligent regarding inappropriate behavior and conversations, including cyber dating, drugs/alcohol, violence, vulgar language, cyberbullying and anything else we have deemed inappropriate to be associated with our brand and within the younger demographic we attract.
Read more here: At Least 17 Reasons Why Your Kid May Be Playing Animal Jam
My dear friend and awe-inspiring colleague, Anne Collier from ConnectSafely.org, recently spearheaded the US Safer Internet Day event. Along with a fun campaign called One Good Thing, where people sent in their multimedia good deeds or promises to help make the Internet a better place, she helped host an event in DC to celebrate the initiative.
And they taped it (yay!). Here’s one of the videos, but check out the whole days coverage at their site.
Yep, that’s my big blonde head in the foreground of the audience… grumble…