Monday, September 7, 2015

Healing the Internet - Part 1


When you decide that the time has come for you to do something about the unacceptable, unprovoked or uncalled-for content on the Internet, you need to understand where you fit in the scheme of things in order to make a difference.


All Internet companies, websites and platforms exist because of users. Not blogs, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages, but the platforms, registrars and hosting companies themselves. They know this. Enough users can insure success. The loss of users means no advertising, no investing, no IPO, no stock value and defeat. This is the real power behind the Internet, the users. 

Most Internet users feel they have no power to correct the problems they see. They feel the companies do as they please and the users just need to live with it. There is no magic wand, but users are not powerless.  

Cyberhate, trolling and bad online culture has evolved and compounded over the past 20 years. The cyber-sages and forefathers of our current technology envisioned a system that would, through actions and voices of the people, self –correct for the cyber-yuck. There are good voices. Most people are not haters, but the technology and hate moved faster than the good. The good never quite caught up.

The Internet itself is the tools for making it change. 

First – If you see something awful online you can build a community around fighting it.  There is no need for anyone to be one voice, one email or one complaint about hate or bias online. 

Second – Once you understand the tactics of hate, the tactics for opposing it and the way to talk to the online companies, the effectiveness of good voices increases exponentially. 

Every single online company has matured over time. Not always because of the goodness in their hearts, but because of the voices of the users. Complaints do not always generate the desired result for the complainer, but enough of them, on the same subject will make companies stop and reconsider their policies. 

To win against hate we need to play the long game. 

More to follow.  

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