Resist the Dark Side of Social Media

    June 20, 2007

Thanks to Chinwag and everyone who showed up at their event – The Dark Side of Social Media – last night where I was on an excellently diverse panel discussing the issues that arise as people splurge their life stories onto a web which never forgets.  The Dark Side of Social Media

It’s complex stuff so we were never going to get that far in an hour but Sam Michel did a good job of keeping the audience questions coming.  For my part, I tried to offer the briefest analysis of the Kathy Sierra controversy and the insights it offered about the times we live in. 

The most astounding aspect was that three days after seeing the post that started it all I watched Jeremy Paxman interview Tessa Jowell about it on Newsnight. 

I think what happened was that the bottom-up kerfuffle caused by the strange idea of a bloggers code of conduct (lesson: don’t ask technologists to deal with social issues – they’ll just try and codify them) met with the top-down paranoia about the planet web and its evil nature.

This provided Jowell a PR opportunity that ticked almost every box including women’s rights, child abuse, technology-future-stuff and, of course, the moral high ground.  And Paxman the chance to jump on multiple bandwagons with the introduction: ‘Minister Calls For Bloggers Code of Conduct’. Undoubtedly, a taste of things to come. 

Equally interesting was that last night in a room of about 80 people only a few had heard of Sierra’s tale.  The lesson being for those of us that live in what we think of as the blogopshere – get out more.