Thursday, 7 March 2019

Pirate Code 2.0, Misfits, Well Beings... And #DigCit

It's International Women's Day today. 

This is a day that four years ago, through being connected with Sarah Thomas (@SarahDaTeechur) and her #SXSWEdu Minority Women in Tech #DigiDiversity session, I connected with some people that I might not otherwise have met, who helped me to continue supporting the first international #DigCitSummit.

Her #SXSWEdu session saw me connect with Declara CEO Ramona Pierson and VP James Stanbridge (@Stanbridge)... and led to my first paid role as a Community Manager.

Being connected with James and Ramona meant that I was able to remain involved UK Digital Citizenship Summit in 2016.

A question that I have posed to James since then is:

"What is the value of an introduction?"

As someone who many in my network tell me I'm a great connector, seeing how some of the introductions I've made have had an impact, reflecting on my involvement with 'Connected Educator Appreciation Day #CEduAD... and having just read my Mind Time Connector profile, this remains an unanswered question. 

A lot has changed since the 'First Pirate Council Meeting' that established this event and my closing remarks.


However, if we look at the past we can see that some of the rocks that were hit were not only predictable (Perhaps even inevitable)... but can also help inform what the future of Digital Citizenship and how the Wild West of the Internet will either 

1) Get settled or 
2) Become a ghost town as people move elsewhere.

(Laugh all you like at the second point but before you do... Ever heard of Ames or Inktomi? Or take a look at Friends Reunited, MySpace, RedditRevolt, Blue Note Jazz post-Nora Jones etc).

My last post, Biz Stone's New Rules, included examples from Stewart Brand (@StewartBrand) and Larry Brilliant's (@LarryBrilliant) early online community 'The Well' and looked at Digital Citizenship along with Twitter founder Biz Stone's (@Biz) 'New Rules' from his fantastic book Things a Little Bird Told Me.

This post looks at some articles and books that I've read that confirm their findings through the projects and movements I've been involved with... as well as how digital citizenship and collaboration today appears to be following the trajectory of the Well Beings' experiences.

I've been involved with a few movements with loose informal collaboration with people I met by chance encounters and shared interests online.

I hope some of these experiences might help some of the Be More Pirate (@BeMorePirate) groups out there... Even the misfit crews!

Image result for misfit pirates

My closing comments with one of these movements was completely, totally and utterly inspired by The Well's mantra of You Own Your Words:
#DigCitSummitUK Closing Remarks.

In addition to this, the first thing that I
always do before collaborating with anyone (Whether in a formal or informal capacity) is ask: 
  • Does this organisation know what their core values are?
    (If you're ever in an interview ask the interviewer/CEO/HoD what their ideal employee looks like and assess how much they then waffle... How can you excel if your line manager doesn't know what excelling in the role they're hiring for looks like?)
Since 2014/5 anyone I've 'collaborated' with have indeed had their core values on their website... but, as part of the learning curve, these values turned out to be nothing more than cat posters.

Some of these organisations went so far as to make financial agreements and other assurances... but were broken. 

Try calling people out on this on social media and/or to explain things from your perspective and have people see you being the one in the wrong?! 

"So you said you'd pay me for my time... But didn't, and I'm the unreasonable one? Really?"

Well f**k off social media and the 'Fake Friends' you find there! Little wonder growth for these platforms has slowed!

As I highlight in my last post, it was actually heartening to see the reaction on social media with Brendan Rodgers making a career it highlighted how unreasonable & illogical social media has become. 

"You traded immortality for mediocrity. Never a Celt. Always a fraud" Was the banner at a recent game

This from fans about someone that some football commentators are suggesting 

"Will be up there with one of the greatest managers in terms of Celtic's success he brought the club"

In the last few weeks on social media there has also been misfires with: 
  • Bebe Rhexha losing control of her fans and asking for calm with people trolling her dad
  • Lady Gaga's loyal fans trolling Bradley Cooper's ex-wife
  • The Tory party and the racist facebook supporters page where MPs apparently have links to them.
  • Trump on any given day and any given topic.
However, if we return to The Well and resources like Marc Smith's (@Marc_Smith) 'Voices from The Well' and Howard Rheingold's (@HRheingold) experiences, they highlight that encountering takers/fakers online is not new.

In his #OctTribe NodeXL presentation Marc Smith highlights that there are some neighborhoods online that you may not want to visit.

My hope is that the next project I work on will be a neighborhood that the Takers/Fakers won't be wanting to visit 'Here Be Dragons' for that group is what I hope the NodeXL map will say. 

But how to deal with and internalise a couple of projects that, while they did get results (And others benefited from)... but either it was the wrong people or the core values and mission didn't quite stand up to a @BeMorePirate adventure and #NewPower storm? 

Just after I read Be More Pirate (@BeMorePirate), the book New Power was recommended to me.

During the inaugural New Power Virtual Gathering (at 7:29secs) last July, the authors highlighted that New Power is like a muscle:

Q) When you’ve thought of giving up… what have you done to hang in there?

“The failures are sometimes more important than the victories… use it to refocus. Do you go back to core values… or get de-motivated? Chase those storms… Being grounded in the community. You know, the collaboration. Think about those kids in the cave. Those kids got through that because of that solidarity and that sense of community. Those New Power models, when done right really enable and that can get you through those periods in the wilderness” Jeremy Heimans

"It feels like a very big defeat if you try something new and it doesn’t work out… We all have defeat after defeat after defeat…New Power is like a muscle you have to strengthen it again and again and again, and that’s how you become more resilient" Henry Timms 

Workplaces, Coffee Shops and Neighbors 

So defeat is to be expected and the previous two movements were simply workouts. Fine! 

Next... Compare life online with life offline and IRL. 

Sit in any coffee shop on any given day and you will hear people talk about friends, former friends, 'frenimies,' colleagues, neighbors talking about others behind their backs.

Open a newspaper on any given day and you'll read about the current US President bad mouthing someone; or the splits that exist in the UK Conservative and Labour Parties... some going so far as to leave to play TIG

Why on earth do we think that online is going to be any different?! 
If/when disagreements or different narratives crop up with people who have collaborated through loose association/affiliation the past (In education this could be with Twitter chats or organising Edcamps/unconferences) then, as Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil points out, it's no wonder there's something of an adolescent period... Especially if there was little/no digital citizenship taught in school.

"We’ve had thousands of years to hone our person-to-person interactions, but only 20 years of social media. 

“Offline, we have all these cues from facial expressions to body language to pitch… whereas online we discuss things only through text. I think we shouldn’t be surprised that we’re having so much difficulty in finding the right way to discuss and cooperate online.”

As our online behaviour develops, we may well introduce subtle signals, digital equivalents of facial cues, to help smooth online discussions. 

In the meantime, the advice for dealing with online abuse is to stay calm, it’s not your fault. Don’t retaliate but block and ignore bullies, or if you feel up to it, tell them to stop.

If social media as we know it is going to survive, the companies running these platforms are going to have to keep steering their algorithms, perhaps informed by behavioural science, to encourage cooperation rather than division, positive online experiences rather than abuse. 

As users, we too may well learn to adapt to this new communication environment so that civil and productive interaction remains the norm online as it is offline.
“I’m optimistic,” Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil says. “This is just a different game and we have to evolve.” 
Why Good People Turn Bad Online

My issue with collaborating with people online has not been one of bullying but I have felt up to questioning their words Vs their action and have encouraged the takers/fakers to stop - online and in private communications!

So it has involved a good deal of fakery, whether people saying one thing... but doing another and/or simply being 'Fake Friends.' The data suggests this is affecting collaboration everywhere online.

The data I've explored suggests my experiences are not isolated... and the impact could be significant with issues like educators and burnout.

The difference as far as I'm concerned is that I am willing to exercise some #NewPower muscle - as well as the New Power Value of 'Radical Transparency' - not to be intentionally controversial, but as I have a feeling this is will be a necessary skill  if 'The Wild West of the Internet' is going to get settled. (More on this in the next few posts). 

As far as the future of digital citizenship and online collaboration is concerned I found myself (unsurprisingly given who the author is) agreeing lots to this statement... And the entire article!

"Community forming - Twitter is not a community, but it's an ecology in which communities can emerge" Howard Rheingold via his fantastic Twitter Literacy: Knowing How to Use it is Key

I can't help how others react but I can decide how I choose to react to their actions and behaviours... and my #NewPower 'Radical Transparency' and #BeMorePirate rule breaking muscles are developed enough to not 'play nice' by quietly move on... only to hear about others who fall into the same trap (And hope that I'm able to deal with the consequences!)

At the same time I am learning all the time and have to accept the challenges that appear to come from being one of Myers-Briggs #INFJ's... which truly is an insane learning curve!! 

The books and articles I've read have helped lots recently (old and new) last night I read Adam Grant's (@AdamMGrant) 'The Creative Power of Misfits'

"Gather some people together to give their frustration a voice. Put them on offense, not defense, by asking them to attack the problems they see. And then invite them to run with their best ideas" Pixar's Brad Bird via Adam Grant.

There are a number of ways that I hope that all these experiences and articles will come together.

Adam Grant's article is full of rebellious Black Sheep, Misfit Pirate types... Which brings me onto a huge lesson I learnt from Sam Conniff Allande's (@SamConniff) book 'Be More Pirate' when I read it last May:

"In the workshops we run, the second stage is where things really get started, we break into crews and a sense of mutiny begins to fill the room. Making new rules can be complex, but that's not where we start; the first thing to do is get a crew to choose the one rule they collectively most want to break, and then begin the task of remaking it. 

In this challenge, we've seen things get pretty heated; crews fight, split, re-form and commit to actual rule breaking there and then. We find when you really reconnect with that rule you know needs breaking, and actual alternatives begin to emerge, with a crew ready to try to change them, pirates begin to get serious.

So, to give you your own taste of the challenge in the sessions, please take a few minutes to answer the following question:
  • If you could break any rule, what would it be? And how would you remake it?
    For Me It Would Be: Get educators to collaborate beyond the 4 walls of the school more.
IWD2019 Eureka Moment (via Adam Grant) ...With a dash of Be More Pirate's Make Shit Up!
This post was written and published... Then I was looking for a quote by Suffragette Lucy Stone in Adam Grant's book 'Originals' for International Women's Day, and was reminded that Lucy formed collaborations and alliances with other marginalised groups - like ethnic minorities and the temperance movement. 

Not all of these alliances worked out as the values, ideology and methods for affecting change differed greatly... Some had a negative impact on Stone's reputation as well as the momentum of the movement.

But she eventually succeeded when the movement formed alliances when the values were aligned as well as the mission.

A topical IWD2019 example from history about the importance of getting the 'Core Values,' 'Pirate Code,' as well as the mission, purpose, manifesto 100% right!! 

"Adam Grant labels this tendency of change agents to fight each other as the narcissism of small differences" via @RebelsAtWork Rebels at Work and the Narcissism of Small Differences

It is precisely the minor differences in people who are otherwise alike that form the basis of feelings of strangeness and hostility between them. Sigmund Freud

I was also dealt (Yet) another blow earlier in the week... (I REALLY don't know how many more I can take!!) but, for the third time this week, an article shared by Adam Grant helped - which highlighted the huge difference a kind word can make. 

Scrolling through the #IWD2019 tweets and it's full of people who took a stand for what they believed in and faced resistance. So just like #IWD2015... #IDWD2019 *Just Might* have made ALL the difference!

Which brings us nicely onto another question that Be More Pirate asks and, as students are set to break the rules on the issue of Climate Change on the 15th March, an example that they might like from Biz Stone.
  • When did you first stand up to Power? 

    For me it was:
    1) Telling an employer his company was in latter stages of Jim Collins '5 Stages of Decline'
    2) To tell Matt Hancock and Nick Boles that FELTAG wasn't going to achieve it's goals
Be More Pirate for Kids  
Twitter Co-Founder Biz Stone... and The No Homework Policy
All three of my kids have now stood up to authority and for any rebellious young Pirates and/or any Twitter addicts out there here's a conversation that Twitter founder Biz Stone had as detailed in "Things a Little Bird Told Me" (Chapter 13):

"Matt was loading his backpack up with books. I was dumping all my books from my backpack into my locker, not to be seen again until the next day.

As I closed my locker and it was apparent to Matt that I had no books, not to mention a backpack, Matt asked me how I was going to do my homework.

"Oh" I said "I have a no homework policy"

Matt looked incredulous. He laughed nervously. "You're joking"

"Matt," I said, having a little fun with him. "This is America. We can do whatever we want. Freedom. I have a No Homework Policy and it's great.

I shut my locker with unusual emphasis and headed to lacrosse practice, unencumbered.

I wasn't against rules per se; I just liked to look at the big picture. Staying up until 4am wasn't realistic. Something had to give.

Other questions that Be More Pirate explores includes:

  • Who out there would you most like to take down?
    For Me It's: Lost in the Ghetto 
    (Jane Jacobs and The Well shows us how)
  • What principles, values or ideals are you willing to fight for?
    For Me It's: Using Core Values to Find a Brand's Voice
  • Who is the scariest, most difficult, controversial or provocative audience for your story?
    For Me It's: The Political Classes... So many Edu initiatives and still we have this situation?!
So, as the inaugural Be More Pirate meet up took place last month, I hope my taking the time to detail some of these experiences and sharing these awesome links might prove of some use with their #BeMorePirate 'good trouble' star wars style rebellions.

The rest of this post... For no reason in particular ;) Includes Sam Conniff Allande's suggestions for his Pirate Code 2.0 from Be More Pirate. Give and Take's Manifesto is worth a read too.

Article 1 – Make Shit Up
Article 2 – Business Plans Are Dead
Article 3 – Make the Citizen Shift
Article 4 – Take Happiness Seriously
Article 5 – Adopt the New Work Manifesto 
Article 6 – Embrace Diversity to Raise Your Game

Article 1 – Make Shit Up
All captains and crews profoundly expect, respect, celebrate and appreciate the art of strategically, structurally, intuitively and instantly making shit up. Not irresponsible imaginings, reckless reimaginings and certainly not false or fake news. We champion creative solution finding and positive problems solving based on available facts, the moment of opportunity and the power of practiced intuition. When indecision is not an option, when change is constant and nothing is normal, we’re proudly comfortable to rationally and rapidly develop, test and implement solutions on the spot. We learn from our mistakes, even if we don’t celebrate them, and use them to make making it up better.

Article 2 – Business Plans Are Dead
We challenge a century old static format as the best structure for the fluid future of our organizations, projects, dreams and schemes. We believe in motivating manifesto that makes clear our vision and we follow a concise but responsive roadmap with agile measures of accountability. We believe in collaborative ‘working’ and adaptive formats that are regularly used and reviewed in collaboration with not just the whole crew but even our customers, beneficiaries and stakeholders, to openly evaluate success, failure and future scenario planning. No captain will produce a ‘plan’ for only a narrow audience, or a moment in time, only for it to gather dust in an inbox ignored or unused by the crew.

More predictable -> Less Predictable
Profit -> Purpose
Hierarchies -> Networks
Controlling -> Empowering
Planning -> Experimentation
Privacy -> Transparency

Article 3 – Make the Citizen Shift

It’s time to evolve the human race beyond the mindset of solely a ‘consumer’ and the dangerous, destructive and limited relationships it has created. We will perform a forced reset on the language of consumerism that in turn will help us to develop more interesting, involved, interactive, mutually respectful and naturally more beneficial, respectful and rewarding relationships between our organizations, our audiences and finite resources of our world. All pirates undertake to advance the evolution of the idea of ‘the citizen’ as the dominant defining thought of our audiences and communities, and of our future.

Article 4 – Take Happiness Seriously

We take happiness seriously, and give deep happiness the place and importance it deserves. We see happiness as a strategic driver for success, productivity and creative output, but also as a strategic objective in and of itself. We do not believe happiness is a nice-to-have, we believe it is a need-to-have. We make happiness a starting point, not just an end point; we use our intention to achieve happiness to inform the decisions we make, the environments we create and the projects we undertake. We endeavour to measure, manage and share the proof we accumulate that happiness is symbiotic with great work, great impact, great relationships and greater effectiveness. We do not conform to a one-size-fits all happiness, nor expect to be happy every day, but accept and respect the right to make happiness the goal.

Article 5 – Adopt the New Work Manifesto
We demand to love work, we demand to lean as we work, we demand to be proud of what we do and demand to have the tools and support to give us every chance to do it well. We demand that our work make us and the people in our community better, not worse, we expect to be rewarded for our creativity, to establish friendships, fulfillment and knowledge and the financial compensation we are worth and expect this to cover our needs. We want life/work balance, not the other way round. We intend to live up to the promise of technology, efficiency and flexibility. We commit to understanding our own inner engineering for effectiveness and refuse to submit to conditions, clocks or cultures that don’t get the best out of us. We expect the people and organizations we work with to involve us in created the core values and that we then align them to a “Noble cause.” We will break the tyranny of emails, meetings, to do lists and any other anachronistic trappings of an old way of working, if they don’t work for us, and we won’t stop until we’re judged on our output, not input.

Article 6 – Embrace Diversity to Raise Your Game
We believe diversity of thought, background, experience and understanding is a driver of competitive advantage, creativity and productive cultures. We who desire to create projects, products, content and campaigns for the future, know the importance of reflecting the future we want to see, one of interconnected, collaborative, communicative, creatively colliding cultures. We commit to recruitment that opens doors to more than the usual suspects, we will go the extra mile to find the talent that might not have found us. We commit to accepting we all have prejudices, and then commit to challenging them, along with expanding our own filter bubbles and stretching our unconscious biases to breaking point.

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