Key online etiquette concept: spirit and intent

Posted by Sheila Scarborough on December 18, 2020 at 1:04 pm

At one point in my Navy career, I had a crusty but wise boss who was big on the phrase “spirit and intent.”

He and I often had thoughtful conversations examining various difficult situations that would arise at our seagoing command.  When it came time to do the right thing at the end of the decision-making process, he would often say, “Let’s think about the true spirit and intent of this instruction (or directive or thorny concept….”)

At that point, we’d take off our more linear, more lawyer-y, more follow-the-rules hats and we’d don our philosopher’s hats.  We’d think about the gut instinct, the spirit and intent, behind whatever rules had been broken or that we were considering breaking.

The correct answer to our question was usually right there, sitting next to our better angels.  The trick was learning to listen to our heads and guts, then following through on the decision.

Let’s apply “spirit and intent” of what I’d call common courtesy to behavior and cultural expectations in online communities.

When in doubt about how to behave, what to blog about, how to respond to insult, when to market oneself and when to avoid marketing, think about the spirit and intent of social networking.  In a word, it is trust.

  • We often don’t meet face-to-face, so we must trust that people are who they say they are online, and that we aren’t seeing astroturfing.  Honesty and transparency is perhaps a bigger deal online than anywhere else.  Most famously egregious example of not being upfront: Wal-Mart’s happy bloggers, who were actually an Edelman PR campaign.
  • We trust that people understand that it’s OK to occasionally market oneself (we all loft links back to our blogs over the Twitter transom) but only when that’s not all that one brings to the conversation.  As long as Guy Kawasaki and others post (or especially auto-post) a lot of stuff from their personal sites/projects, they will be resentfully perceived as just doing marketing, not conversing. Kawasaki’s answer is that he gets a ton of traffic to his site from these Twitter announcements,  but that’s not the spirit and intent of online communities.
  • We trust that our personal email address books will not be given out willy-nilly in the effort to increase someone’s social network.
  • And, duh, we trust that we won’t find ourselves part of a Facebook ad program without knowing about it or being able to get out of it.

It’s a constant process to figure all of this out.  For example, I’ve always fully credited the photographer by name when I use flickr pics with a Creative Commons license, but I’ve never included a link back to the photographer’s particular photostream page.  Just in the last day or so, I’ve decided that this was an oversight on my part, so I’m going to go back and add a link to each photo on each of my travel blogs.  It’ll take me awhile, but it’s within the spirit and intent of what I consider “fair use,” even though no one has told me to do it to fulfill the attribution requirement of a CC license.

Spirit and intent.  Not just the black & white written rules, or pronouncements from the “experts,” but spirit and intent.  Sure, it’s often fuzzy and may not come with ROI stats or bar graphs, but that’s why you have two sides to your brain.

Thanks very much for a life lesson, Captain Ted Hill, Jr. (US Navy, retired)

Technorati tags:  online etiquette, social media, spirit and intent, online culture, manners, Netiquette

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Keeping a civil tongue in our head

Posted by Sheila Scarborough on December 17, 2020 at 11:12 pm

Greetings, Every Dot Connects readers; I’m Sheila and I’m going to be working with Connie Reece, Mike Chapman and all the Reece & Company folks, doing advocacy and training with organizations and individuals who want to connect using social media/networking tools.

I’m a writer, so Connie very kindly handed me some keys to this blog and invited me to write about social media topics.

Here’s the first item at bat: keeping a civil tongue in our head, even when it’s difficult.

Do you have a civil tongue in your head? (courtesy LittleGoldWoman at flickr’s Creative Commons.)

Now, I do have two kids and I’ve been a teacher, so it’s easy for me to fall into my schoolmarm tone and wag fingers.  I try to resist, I assure you!

Today, however, I’ve been following a little bloggy/Twittery dust-up that illustrates why we really must think before we write or tweet or shoot video online, or we may undercut the power of our argument.

Quick summary:  A tech columnist for Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper, Mathew Ingram, writes about photographer Lane Hartwell, who was angry about one of her images being used in a YouTube video without credit back to her.

Hartwell blogs that she tried to go low-key, was ignored, and then got lawyers involved.

Ingram blogs that she’s wrongly interpreting copyright and fair use law.

OK, pretty civil so far.

Then we go to Ingram’s post and start reading the comments, including many from a person named Shelley, who strongly supports Lane Hartwell.  Lots of back and forth, but the bloggy bunker-buster was this comment exchange between TechCrunch co-editor Michael Arrington and Ingram:

Arrington:  “Shelley, Lane’s attorney is abusing the DMCA for his/her own goals. And copyright has nothing to do with ‘giving credit.’ It has to do with being forced to license work unless it falls under fair use, which this clearly does. Mathew is right, you are wrong. But since Lane is a woman, it really doesn’t matter what she did as far as you are concerned. She’s a woman, so she’s right.”

(two comments from Shelley and Ingram, and then….)

Ingram back to Arrington:  “Thanks for the support, Mike — but let’s not bring Lane being a woman into the discussion because a) I don’t think it’s relevant, and b)
Shelley hasn’t brought it up. I’d like to keep this focused on the copyright issue.”

Arrington:  “actually, Mathew, I’ll do whatever the fuck I feel like, and you can decide to censor comments or not. Shelley is and always has been a fascist around these issues. If you’re on her team (poliically) (sic) she’ll support you to the death. Not on her team and she’ll find a way to take you out at the knees. People ignore her rather than call her on it.”

Ingram:  “So if you have a beef with Shelley, why use my comments — on a completely unrelated topic — to take it up with her? I don’t see why my blog and anyone reading it has to be dragged into whatever past issues you and Shelley have. I’m not going to censor your comment, but I fail to see why you felt it necessary to bring sexism into it when Shelley never even mentioned anything about that aspect of it.”

Arrington: “oh please. sucking up to Shelley will get you nowhere.”


For the rest of the day, I watched assorted hullabaloo about this on blogs and Twitter.  Eric Rice did a Seesmic video about community response to sexism and such online behavior by Arrington, then Arrington responded with a frustrated tweet and a blog post, then Dave Winer complained about Eric Rice and it was all very interesting.

Except it was pathetic.  Time for some Grown-Up Pills.  Take two and call me when you’re over yourself.

Hey, newsflash, you don’t drop the F-bomb and call someone a fascist, then a few hours later (when the community is all good and riled up) act like everyone is out to get you and it’s so unfair.

You think before you speak or write.  You enter into civil discourse and reasonably measured disagreement, both online and off.  You do not allow the marvelous screen-lit anonymity of the computer to turn you into a passive-aggressive pop-off.  If you do lose your temper and screw up, you step up and apologize, then we all move on.

There’s no question that fair use and copyright issues are indeed difficult, with valid points on either side….so let’s hear them, please, intelligently and reasonably stated.

Update 18 Dec 07:  The LawGeek blog has a well-written, cogent discussion of copyright and fair use, with interesting questions in the comments.  (Hat tip to Dwight Silverman at TechBlog.)

Technorati tags: social media, blogging, photo copyright, Lane Hartwell, Michael Arrington, Mathew Ingram

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A Conversation About Conversational Writing

Posted by Connie Reece on November 27, 2020 at 10:20 pm

Today I had the privilege of presenting at a writing workshop for the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) in San Antonio. Most of the 40+ attendees had no experience with social media or were in the very early stages of discussing how it might fit within their corporate communications strategy.

I promised to share my slides with the attendees and offer them here, although they may not make much sense to those who weren’t in the session.

SlideShare | View | Upload your own

Thank you to the organizers for inviting me and for the attendees who participated … and those with their eyes rolled back in their heads because they were trying to absorb a lot of new information at once. I hope you got something out of it.

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Category: Social Media, Conversation

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Engaging Brand interview: Conversational Marketing

Posted by Connie Reece on November 26, 2020 at 12:00 pm

A couple of weeks ago I spent a delightful hour on the phone with Anna Farmery, a business coach, speaker and blogger from the U.K., who interviewed me for her podcast. We got so carried away, she had to split the interview into two parts, each about 25 minutes long.

Anna writes The Engaging Brand, a Top 25 Marketing Blog and #93 on the Ad Age Power 150.

Here are the links to the podcast, hosted on the Blubrry network, along with the show descriptions:

Conversational Marketing: Part 1
Connie talks about how she built a distinctive personal brand and also what is conversational marketing and how we start to think about measuring the effectiveness.

Conversational Marketing: Part 2
Connie talks us through how people are using conversational marketing to engage with consumers and employees, tells us her thoughts on the echo chamber and provides tips on how to write with a conversational style.

I’d love to hear your thoughts — please leave a comment here or on Blubrry or The Engaging Brand blog.

Connie Reece

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Category: Conversation, Marketing, Audio, podcasting, Personal Branding

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Social Media: For Extroverts Only?

Posted by Connie Reece on November 12, 2020 at 10:29 am

Shelley Ryan from Marketing Profs attended our social media workshop at Dell last week, and she writes this morning that all of the speakers, moi included, were “simply irrepressible.” (Gee, thanks, Shelley. Now I have a Robert Palmer earworm running through my head …)

“Do you need to have extrovert DNA to be a successful marketer in social media?” Shelley asked in her post, What Is It About Social Media People? “Seems so!” she answered.

Is it that most of us who are social media evangelists are extroverts? Or are we simply passionate about what we do for a living?

As Lewis Green notes in the comments to Shelley’s post, it doesn’t hurt to be an extrovert.

But what’s your take? Can an introvert succeed at social media? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Connie Reece

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Media Snacks, Part 2

Posted by Connie Reece on October 28, 2020 at 9:54 pm

Yesterday I posted an update to my post, Got the Munchies? Have a Media Snack. I tagged Drew McLellan after the fact, when I discovered his recent post about providing a steady stream of snack-sized messages.

Now I’m tagging yet another person-one who, I’m sure, will make an interesting contribution on the topic-Valeria Maltoni, the Conversation Agent.

Drew and Valeria are two marketing conversationalists on my drastically shortened list of RSS feeds. They make me think.

And this topic made me think. When it comes to media consumption, are we becoming a snack culture? If so, how do we respond? Chris Webb has previously written about the Snack Culture and its effect on his industry, publishing.

I look forward to Drew and Valeria continuing the conversation … and how about you? What’s your take on media snackers?

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Category: Social Media, Conversation, Memes, Bloggers

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Video Invitation to Social Media Workshop

Posted by Connie Reece on October 20, 2020 at 9:09 pm

Kelley Burrus aimed her new Flip video camera at me and recorded this video invitation to the upcoming Social Media Workshop at DELL. Now, if two novices can shoot a video, upload it to YouTube, then embed it on a blog … well, why aren’t you using video on your site?

That’s just one of the many things we’ll be discussing at the day-long workshop. Take advantage of the early registration pricing, and don’t forget that you can take an extra $50 off just by using CONNIE as the discount code when you register.

Starting the Conversation: A Social Media Workshop
Dell Campus ~ Austin, TX ~ November 6 ~ 8:30 to 5:30

$299 Regular price

$199 Early registration price (through Oct. 29)

$50 additional discount (CONNIE)

Register button

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Social Media Workshop in Austin Nov. 6

Posted by Connie Reece on October 16, 2020 at 11:15 am

Starting the Conversation Austin WorkshopDELL logo

Dell Campus ~ Austin, TX ~ November 6 ~ 8:30 to 5:30

Many thanks to the folks at Dell for sponsoring our upcoming Social Media Workshop on November 6. I’ll be privileged to join keynoter Shel Israel, coauthor of Naked Conversations, Social Media Club co-founder and thought leader Chris Heuer, and PR/social media measurement pro Kami Huyse as presenters for this day-long workshop, which will explore how businesses can implement a social media marketing program to initiate conversations and build relationships with customers.

A quick look at the agenda shows that the day will be filled with valuable information plus interaction. The agenda will be tailored to the attendees’ needs, so if you have a specific topic you would like to see covered, let us know when you register and we will try to include it in the program or answer your questions during the breaks.

We’ve also announced special pricing for the Austin event: the regular price of $299 will be discounted to $199 if you register by Friday, October 26. If you’re a member of Social Media Club at the professional, business or corporate level, the price is just $149.

UPDATE: Early registration discount extended through Monday, October 29. Don’t delay!
But wait, there’s more! :)

Use the discount code CONNIE for an additional $50 off when you register online. (Hey, it pays to know the woman in the hot pink boa!)

This event, which will be held at Dell’s HQ campus in Round Rock (just north of Austin), will be a one-of-a-kind opportunity for Austin this year. In addition to the presenters mentioned above, Lionel Menchaca and the Dell Digital Media team will be on hand to share their experiences in implementing social media strategies.

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The W-List, Yes!

Posted by Mike Chapman on August 12, 2020 at 9:13 am

Following my recent post about the online mistreatment of women bloggers, my colleagues at Every Dot Connects pointed out the W-List: Gathering a List of Outstanding Women Bloggers. What a great idea! Our own Connie Reece is on the list, which is so appropriate. If you knew how hard Connie works, you wouldn’t be surprised.

Essential in the new economy - where we often work from home, a virtual office, or a third space - is the need to create communities where we gather to work and play. Every Dot Connects is one of those. We learn from each other and collaborate constantly on a variety of projects and topics.

The W-List is a great venue for highlighting just some of the many talented bloggers, who just happen to be women, and to create a community across the world. Invariably, someone out there will take offense to women being so assertive. Yes, unfortunately, some of those guys still exist, and they, too, have found their way into the blogosphere.

Just like the strong women who have made every other major advance in civilization possible, these women of the W-List can help pioneer the way for others into this exciting, possibly lucrative, and certainly challenging arena.

So, how does this tie in to the abusive behavior of some toward women in the blogosphere? There is strength in numbers. One lonely guy, who doesn’t have appropriate social behavior on line, might be able to sway one female blogger, but probably not a larger group. Although most women I’m around can handle themselves very well, thank you, it is understandable when someone is affected by abuse from an anonymous source.

The real value of the list is the promotion of skilled, talented, hard-working writers, who happen to be women. The strength in numbers that comes from creation of community is an added benefit. I say yes to both! Congratulations to Liz Strauss for her good work on this.

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Category: Connections, Conversation, Bloggers

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We Need Coworking in Austin

Posted by Mike Chapman on August 7, 2020 at 6:45 am

I’m a new evangelist for coworking in Austin. After spending time talking with my friends whurley, Kelley Burrus and Erica O’Grady about it, I’m convinced that Austin shouldn’t just be a coworking location, we should be a model for others. If you’re not familiar with the term “coworking”, check out the Coworking Community Blog. Simply defined, coworking is a movement to create cafe-like community/collaboration spaces for developers, writers and independents.

I agree totally with C.C. Chapman of Crayon that working from home and the office can both get creatively stifling at times. I’ve sought out just about every coffee bar in town looking for that perfect third space where I feel just right. Every time I venture out, however, I never know exactly where I’ll be able to set up the laptop and get right to work. All too often, I end up just drinking coffee and thinking about how I might be getting more work done back in the office. If only there was a another place to go.

What some of us are talking about for Austin is a place where tecchies, writers and creatives of all stripes, could buy a membership, much like a gym where you go to exercise. Necessary technology would be built in and provided in a comfortable setting. Of course there would be a coffee bar and maybe even food. Workspaces and lockers would be available. Venture capital and government sponsorship could foster the creative genius that would gather. Relationships would develop organically and natural collaboration would be inevitable.

If you think this is a good idea for Austin, I’d love to hear from you. Many of us involved in the Social Media Club of Austin want to help see it happen right here in the creative capital of the U.S. We’d love for you to help. I’ll keep you posted on how the movement is progressing.

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Two new workshops from Every Dot Connects:
Dec. 11 LinkedIn and Twitter
Dec. 18 Blogging Basics

Each session limited to six attendees.