Monday, 14 January 2019

What Do TheSNP/IndyRef/Yes have in Common with Lego?

In August & September 2014 I became interested in Scottish politics because the cultural conditions of the SNP/IndyRef/Yes movement was something special.

When those cultural conditions changed... so did my support.

On the 19th September 2014 (The day after the #IndyRef result) I published a post asking

As far as The SNP was concerned, I wasn't wrong!

With 11 years in government, the nasty Cybernats... as well as the Alex Salmond Vs Nicola Sturgeon non-#SNPCivilWar, this post highlights how and why all this is both understandable, and perhaps even fixable.

Is it the beginning of the end for SNP/IndyRef/Yes Movement, as the Scotsman has suggested in an article at the weekend?

Or could the various crisis situations see the SNP/IndyRef/Yes Movement become the Lego of politics?

NB: SNP/IndyRef/Yes Movement are referred to as one and the same in this post... a distinct advantage when high in the opinion polls, but muddies the water when things are not going so well.

Donald Trump Vs Alex Salmond Vs Nicola Sturgeon
Remember when Trump and Salmond were good buddies and they were falling over themselves with compliments and favours? Remember how that all changed because of the wind farms?

Or what about Salmond Vs Sturgeon... let's all laugh about the tragic situation where someone who has either

1) Done a lot for Scotland and/or
2) Has been as big an egomanic as Trump

I waver between the two myself (But recent events suggest the egomanic option)

Regardless a deteriorating relationship between a mentor and mentee and colleagues is a sad development.

On my website I have as one of my core values empathy, so if we are all so keen to judge the actions of others' let's try to put ourselves in Sturgeon's shoes re any meetings that breached the 'Ministerial Code' 

Who WOULDN'T have held a meeting with someone that they owed so much to? 

I can't imagine a scenario where not having such a meeting would only become a bad idea with the benefit of hindsight.

And let's say, for arguments sake, that the content of one these 'It was SNP party business/ScotGovFM meetings' was around

'Hey can we maybe just drop the whole thing?'

And the answer was 'No' how much more integrity does that demonstrate Vs the kind of thing that has happened with Blair's Iraq War... Cameron disappearing after his Brexit shambles + Farage, Boris & Gove?

Equally, Sturgeon putting herself forward to the inquiry, looks like doing the right thing under a terrible set of circumstances.

You can easily see how the attempts at transparency might get punished, when far worse appears to get swept under the carpet.

How many of us have not fallen out with a colleague at work?
How many neighbours are former friends but the relationship has soured?

It's a tragic set of circumstances on a personal level, for the party and for Scotland (because of the distraction with getting on with the day job) AND given the national feeling of hope that existed 4 short years ago (Well LOOONG years in our case, but you get what I mean)

And yet people celebrate it on social media, even SNP/Indyref supporters... talk about addicted to drama!

The good news for those people with Westminster and Holyrood is they are at an advantage compared to their English counterparts, they get to air their views on Theresa May's Brexit and Salmond Vs Sturgeon... Yay! Scotland gets two dysfunctional parliaments not just one... Lucky us!

The Cybernats!
There are two REALLY! REALLY! significant dates as far as I can see things (Based on my experience and interests) for The SNP/IndyRef/Yes movement.

1) The first is the night of the September #IndyRef result... The night the BNP came to town to 'Celebrate' the #NoThanks result.

2) The weekend of #GE2015 and the photo under the Forth Rail Bridge and the following days with clapping in Westminster etc... Success was affecting the culture.

The 'No Thanks' crisis was a huge #IndyRef2/SNP opportunity and the 70+ Yes Scotland accounts meant that the infrastructure was in place to chase the 'NewPower Storm'

But the Yes Scotland team wanted to 'take their time and do it right' which was entirely the WRONG thing to do!!

"You can still dunk in the dark" went viral and "Won the Superbowl"

Often left out of the story is Oreo has a 15 person social media team ready for this kind of rapid response...'storm chasing' requires infrastructure to do well" New Power

By the time they woke up, others had seen an opportunity and used it for personal gain... and in doing so poisoned the well.and gifted the SNP/IndyRef/Yes movement with a massive headache, something I had the pleasure of experiencing this weekend.

I shared the same kind of data that I spotted
  • The weekend of #GE2015 that suggested the SNP had hit the first stage of decline
  • Prior to #GE2017 when Alex Salmond's campaign crowd funder did not reach the £4-5,000 target and asked before the election if this meant he might lose his seat. #GE2017 & How the Mighty Fall
Here were the observations that I shared at the weekend
The result of making some data observations? 

The Cybernats who claim to be supportive of the SNP/IndyRef/Yes Movement did nothing to help the cause they say they care about.

People unloaded on the "Wow! How the mighty fall" Tweet, so I elaborated on what I saw... a weekend of Cybernat notifications followed. Few people asked me to explain my position of:

1) The SNP has done nothing for us... our experiences with our SNP MP/MSP Vs our Labour MP

2) With Brexit being such a mess... how do we know that #IndyRef would be any different?

3) Infighting Salmond Vs Sturgeon looks like it's going to turn real nasty... real fast!

4) We have had 11 years of SNP rule and the 'Hope Over Fear' goodwill of 2014 is on the wane

Do I trust a party that has botched their own procedures when investigating one of their own to successfully implement IndyRef and/or do I have 'Hope Over Fear' re issues like currency after the brexit shambles? 

I can't say that I do! 

Is the Brexit issue the SNP/IndyRef/Yes Movement's fault? 

No, it's Westminster and the Tories/UKIP's... but that's the backdrop that IndyRef2 will play out against 4 years on.

NOW! There is the issue of Brexit which highlights very well that Scotland has no voice in Westminster... so in theory, it should be 'clean up time' for the SNP/IndyRef/Yes movement. But that's not where we are.

But on the flip side of this is the fact that Westminster have had the whole Brexit shambles so could EASILY apply the same kind of hard ball that the EU has with Brexit, thereby drag the Independence divorce bill out so long that people say:

'I've changed my mind... let's have the 'People's #IndyRef Vote' and #IndyRef3'

If the goodwill and momentum was where it was at in 2014 then calling IndyRef2 with the Brexit vote tomorrow would be inspired... With the infighting + the data above + cybernats. Calling IndyRef2 at the moment = not a good idea!

IndyRef 2014 never went over 40% until the last 3 weeks of the vote... what caused this? 

The 'Network Effects' of the #VoteYes online momentum fueled the 'Feedback Loops' offline and the rallies grew and grew and grew in the last 2 weeks.

The network effects and feedback loops have gone... as #GE2017 as well as the weekend's #SNPActive highlights this.

Culture! Culture! Culture!
Based on what I can see the SNP/IndyRef/Yes movement has had the same issue with two different groups... Something that a conversation with Community Management experts like Rachel Happe, Kelly Hungerford, David Spinks, Marc Smith, Howard Rheingold and others might have been able to help with.

Onboarding New Members in a way that articulated and preserved the culture

1) Their 100,000 members in 2014
2) New MPs after GE2015

How significant could missing this out be? 

Look at the reports re: How the party is splitting... the 'old guard' loyal to Alex Salmond and the new crop of 'progressives' who are on Sturgeon's side.

Could Lego's example help with this even at this late stage in the SNP/IndyRef/Yes Movement 3-4 years on after it's highest level of support?

Lego & Mads Nipper
Companies die from indigestion just as often as the die from starvation... they grow too fast. My observations are that

1) Indigestion, was definitely an issue  

2) Not understanding the 'social proof,' 'network effects,' and 'feedback loops' that led to 45% as opposed to Westminsters expected 30%+ and 

3) Not having an onboarding process that integrated the old SNP die hards with the new recruits (See the Nora Jones Town example too... IMHO it could easily read as the before and after 2014/5 SNP story)

In situations like this what to do? 
How about what Twitter Founder Biz Stone recommends?

Look for the Bright Spots!

When my kids became interested in Lego I marveled at the innovation ...and had no idea that the company came close to bankruptcy because it lost it's way. Thank goodness for dissenters like Mads Nipper!

Lego is also cited as an exemplar case study in making the transition from Old Power values to #NewPower in Henry Timms and Jeremy Heiman's book.

"Today, every person who's hired into the LEGO Group's Billund operations gets a tour of the small brick building where Ole Kirk and his family lived. There, they learn of another bedrock value of the company's founder "Only the best is good enough"

The motto grows out of the days when LEGO still produced wooden toys, Ole Kirk's son, Godtfred - who worked at the company since he was 12 and would eventually run it - boasted that he'd saved money by using two coats of varnish instead of three. The deception offended Ole, and instructed LEGO's future CEO to retrieve the toys from the train station and spend the night rectifying the error. Today a plaque with 'Only the best is good enough' graces the entrance to the cafeteria at LEGO's Headquarters" Brick by Brick

Lego employees also all have a bowl of Lego bricks on their desk... the reason? 
To remind them it's all about the brick. Why is that? 

To ensure that they don't lose their way like they did in 2001

"An animated, energetic executive who can be strikingly candid, Nipper was not shy about voicing his distress. 'Duplo was the second-strongest toy brand in northern and central Europe after LEGO... And we in all our wisdom decided to kill it' Nipper observed

In 2002 the infighting boiled over. Nipper and three other heads of the company's markets got a call to report to a suite known as 'the firing room.'If you were employed at LEGO and were summoned there, chances are you'd be unemployed when you left.

For months Nipper and the three executives had continued to press their case against Explore... The dissenters were delivered an ultimatum if they didn't shut up and loyally support Explore they would be asked to leave"

In 2004, when LEGO was deeply mired in financial crisis. Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen might well have been tempted to banish the bearer of such relentlessly negative news. Instead he offered Nipper a promotion: head up marketing and product development.

Nipper believed that LEGO had to become far more adept at letting customers help the company determine what the market wanted, instead of executives deciding what customers should want.

But all Nipper knew when he took the call from Kristiansen was that he was about to shoulder a weighty responsibility. As the overseer of all of the LEGO groups product lines, he would be the point man for resetting the company's direction" 

So, just like my post from 19th Sept 2014... Is the best still to come?

Will it my observations since #GE2015... That the SNP/IndyRef/Yes Movement will continue to slide down to stage 4 & 5 of decline that Jim Collins details in How the Mighty Fall.

Or will they be like Lego and there be a book called How The SNP/IndyRef/Yes Movement Reworte the Rules of Innovation in Politics and Delivered FREEEEDOM.

It would appear that both possibilities exist... perhaps one more than the other at the time of writing.

And if it was to go down to 'Stage 5?'

That would be the time and effort of thousands of people 3-4 decades of work which did not achieve their goal. 

I've worked on projects where there wasn't much to show for it at the end... it's not a great feeling. 

Are you a cybernat who vehemently disagrees with any of this and/or want to be a troll? 

No problem! He's my post written in your kind of language and debating style: 

But before starting your trolling bull shit please note that: 
  • I am a floating voted and will be wavering between Sturgeons' SNP and Corbyn's Labour
  • Westminster's stance on Scotland re: Brexit is a concern, so Yes for IndyRef2 does have it's merits... But the Brexit shambles and SNP record in government over 11 years does not instill much confidence in the negotioation/implementation... Feel free to convince me.
  • My main interest is in education and 30,000 teachers demonstrated against the SNP's administration and are considering industrial action.
  • The areas of deprivation do not appear to have improved any in the last 11 years
  • I have accurately predicted every election since 2014
  • Your antics on social media are doing no favours in winning the other 55% to your point of view

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Loving Kindness Meditation: The Anonymous £40... And Politicians

The definition of loving kindness meditation your introduced to in Robert Wrights book  "Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation & Enlightenment is:

"The mediation starts with you making a point of feeling kindly towards yourself. Then you imagine someone you love and direct some loving kindness toward him or her. Then you imagine someone you like and direct some loving kindness toward that person. Then you think about someone you don't feel strongly about one way or the other. And so on - until you get to an actual enemy. If all goes according to plan, you manage to feel loving kindness even for that enemy.

...It seems only appropriate to say a few kind words about loving kindness meditation, so here they are: It works for some people. But it doesn't work for me"

Robert's writing and his experiences about his attempts at meditation are hilarious... Including his epic fail at attempting to meditate and describing how his mind ends up wandering. Something that I could identify with in my attempts... and something that politicians returning to work most definitely did NOT help with!

A Little Bit of Background - Christmas Vs Back to Work Social Media
I read about this just after:

1) Having secured the amount needed for a rather desperate crowdfund campaign
2) Spending a period of time being unplugged from social media

I also started to draft this post during the Christmas break, following some AWESOME kindness on social media over the Christmas Period (See What if God was One of Us? What Would He be Tweeting About?).

I am glad that I didn't publish it until after the politicians came back to work with the cruelness of Trump, Anna Soubry's Nazis and all the Alex Salmond/SNP drama... and chatting with some lovely #Cybernats about my 'Illiterate Shite' as they put it, before adding nothing further to the conversation except for reaching for the 'Block' option.

On the flip side there has also been kindness with the #LoveThyNeighbourChallenge to help federal workers that Trump says are 'his hostages' (Reminiscent of the kindness of the early #IndyRef supporters with leaving bags of shopping for foodbanks at George Square)

Loving Kindness Meditation: Epic Fail
So I tried the Loving Kindness Meditation as described in Wright's book (AKA the extract above)... and it was an epic fail initially.

One thing that has not been an epic fail is sending positive vibes to the 23 people who assisted with the GoFundMe campaign (Something that I was to find should NEVER have been necessary if it wasn't for ineptitude from the DWP and/or my local council?! More on that at a later date).

I knew who everyone who contributed to the crowdfund... everyone except the last £40.

I both wanted to know who this was ...and tried to find out so that I could send them a thank you message, to no avail.

Loving Kindness Meditation: The Anonymous £40
My second attempt at trying this 'Loving Kindness Meditation' was to think of all the people who this last mystery donor could have been.

The essence of this £40 contribution took on a very different feel, based on... what if:

  • The mystery contributor was ABC person - Someone that I knew and liked
    Reaction: A huge smile thinking about that person.
  • The mystery contributor was XYZ person - Someone that had wronged me in some way and/or where there had been a falling out
    Reaction: Oh My Gosh! I hope it wasn't them!
    They could keep their poxy money!
    I wouldn't want their help even if they offered!
    It's partly their fault that we are where we find ourselves!
So, what if you had a crowd fund campaign for a project that you desperately wanted to see happen and the final amount needed was from an anonymous donor while reading a book that introduced you to the concept of loving kindness meditation?

I can tell you what my pre-Christmas unplugged and post-Back to Work social media experiences have been.

The Day Loving Kindness Meditation Worked

On the 23rd December after being used to being unplugged a month+
Looking forward to Christmas with the family.
Being thankful that we've come through a horrible, horrible year and
Having no problem with practicing loving kindness meditation re: the 22 Crowd Fund contributors.

I tried 'Loving Kindness Meditation' applying this mystery £40 to people that I do not have enthusiastic feelings about which - having not mastered any of the 'Not Self' stuff - feelings that I feel are well and truly justified, at least from my perspective.

And it worked!

For one glorious day, it worked! I was able to think lovely, warm fuzzy feelings towards even the biggest of takers & fakers and/or those who didn't honour financial agreements... people who helped put us into a tough situation, but these

'#Shoulder2Shoulder...Life long family friends' and
'Yes we'll pay you what we said we would' 5 times by 3 CEOs over a 8 month period.
'It may feel like it but you're not alone...You Matter...You have a voice or we would not be connected'

People were nowhere to be seen when we hit hard times... they took my time, efforts and ideas and they were off. But I was able to send them genuine and authentic positive vibes... and it was a great feeling too!

Disaster! Back Online...
If there is one thing that REALLY, REALLY winds me up... it's people's time and contribution not being acknowledged. It's something I'm super careful to always do! I'm also willing to take a stand re: my core values.

The most recent project that I've been involved with has seen any old random thing being made up after working on it for 3 years and putting 6 months hustle into it in 2018.

Compare these two posts (My one in Sept 2017 being written in response to the first one in an attempt to set the record straight!)
When I got back online after having some success at this meditation I spotted the following Tweet

Compare the Tweet above with this one in June 
(And not the only EdChange Global organiser to struggle with their memory! My son has issues with his memory too so I know how challenging it can be... you guys are in my prayers with whatever condition you have). 

Compare this also with the fact that I was sure to acknowledge the conversation that led to me finding out about this AWESOME Chrissy MacKay and the work she does at Be Yonder.

'Right Words,' Social Media and Politicians 
So the 'Loving Kindness Meditation' faltered a little... and the political classes who advocate for civility online didn't help matters this week either.

I've accurately predicted every election since 2014 and on Christmas Eve the SNP made a crass attempt to politicize the festive period, but it only got 2,900 Retweets.

... Stats like this reminded me of Alex Salmond's #GE2017 crowdfunder (65 backers and struggled to reach the £4,000 campaign target amount).

Fast forward to the first week when people are back at work and on the 8th Jan 
  • Alex Salmond starts to trend and the trolls come out in force to back Salmond and threaten Leslie Evans (@PermSecScot)
  • Anna Soubry is trending on Twitter because of Nazis
  • In the wee small hours there is the Trump Address from the Oval Office re: his wall.
NodeXL maps were made up for Alex Salmond, PermSecScot and Anna Soubry

Top Words in Tweet in Entire Graph:

I followed the 3 events on the day as I've had a number of observations and insights on these things over the years... Including blaming politicians for much of the abuse online AND because I don't feel that this negative/violent commentary will necessarily remain the case (But not through anything that the political classes will do to curb the negative, angry and violent sentiment: as Cambridge Analytics and Trump demonstrates).

The 8th of January was a great example of A Day in the Life of the Internet?... Or the Plot to a Toy Story Movie? because in spite of all the hatred we see things like:
  • People demanding that everything from the #TrumpAddress to be Fact Checked
  • The #LoveThyNeigbourChallenge to help US federal employees

But here's the kicker... Following these events on social media the findings from the 'Right Speech' article (re The angry cab driver) in my last post as well as Why Good People Turn Bad Online (Re: You can feel yourself getting snarky) they are100% spot on!

Watching this stuff on your screen for a full day really does affect your mood... and your words and ability to master 'Right Speech'

In addition to this, Marc Smith's comments from 'Voices From the Well' 26 years ago are also 100% accurate... that banning controversy like political tribes from platforms is unlikely to happen.

The outrage like the ones above from 7/8th Jan (Holyrood, Westminster and The White House) is good for business for social media AND the political classes... But for users it's perhaps about as productive as Cesar Sayoc attending a Trump rally.

But when the 'Network Effects,' 'Feedback Loops' and culture is right, it sure has been good for the SNP and Alex Salmond.

But is this a trend that's likely to continue?
Perhaps not... Karma can be a bitch sometimes.

#The45 were not looking simply to put #Team56 into Westminster for 2 years... they were looking for change.

The #ValueEducationValueTeachers and pending industrial action highlights how short of the mark this came... that's before we even get into the #SNPCivilWar or what the data from #ActiveSNP is telling us.

But don't blame me... I voted 'Yes' and tried to bring a number of Digital Citizenship and Community Management events to Scottish education and politics: #GE2017 & The SNP: How the Mighty Fall.

But I'll need to blame myself any time that I find that Twitter and the political trends that I feel compelled to click on if/when they are not good for any 'Right Speech' or Loving Kindness Meditation that I'm exploring.


Tuesday, 1 January 2019

What if God was one of us? What would He be Tweeting About?

This post wonders if the kind of kindness and collaboration from The Well is one of the potentials of social media going forward... If you look in the right places it's certainly looking promising!.

Since first hearing about the awesome impact and acts of kindness on the early online community 'The Well' in 2015, I have been fascinated with this virtual community... so much so that when planning any new projects I review some of the awesome resources about this fascinating space.

A few days ago I found out about NodeXL (@NodeXL) founder Marc Smith's (@Marc_Smith) college thesis about The Well ...
  • Before seeing kindness trending on Twitter via Penny Appeals (@PennyAppeal) homeless campaign #WhatWouldJesusDo,
  • This was followed by Sarah Millican's (@SarahMillican75) annual #JoinIn campaign for people who are alone at Christmas.
  • Then on Boxing Day I heard about Give And Take's (@GiveAndTakeInc) platform Givitas via Good Morning America.
This led me to wondering if the Mosaic Science article is correct, like RedditRevolt Vs Reddit Place, that social media growing out of it's adolescent phase? 

Or to put it another way: As it's Christmas + given the #WhatWouldJesusDo campaign + The kindness shown via #JoinIn + all the Christians who get involved with Trump & Brexit politics... I wondered, as the lyrics from Joan Osborne's song puts it:

"What if God was one of us?"
Just a slob like one of us 
Just a stranger on the bus 
Tryin' to make his way home?"

Where and when would He be getting involved on Twitter and Facebook on the bus on his way home? 

I've been fascinated with The Well and Adam Grant's (@AdamMGrant) Give and Take since I read about both. Through reading Katie Hafner's (@katiehafner) book (In 2015) I wondered if social media today would head in the same direction as The Well did.

July 2015         The Epic Saga of the Well
Jan 2016          DigCitSummitUK Closing Remarks - Own Your Words
May 2018        Why Good People Turn Bad Online
June 2018        Tech Story 2 - The Wild West of the Internet (Inspired by New Power)
June 2018        What has Natures Metropolis (And ISTE2018) Got to do with the Internet?
June 2018        A Day in the Life of the Internet... Or the Plot to a Toy Story Movie?

Politicians talk about "The Wild West of The Internet," in EXACTLY the same way visitors spoke about Chicago in the 1880s... Surely the internet and social media will get settled in the same way?

The Epic Saga of the Well highlights both the potential of social media and online collaboration... and the dangers when there are differences of opinion.

As I'm doing some planning for a new project I reviewed Howard Rheingold's (@hrheingold) book 'Virtual Communities'

My Christmas Online... Some Serious Learning!
18th Dec Virtual Communities - Ch 1 The Heart of The Well
Whether my #StartupEduChat/#EdTechBridge involvement, my interest in the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum, The UK Digital Citizenship Summit I was involved with, Being an early support of Declara or developing the #CMAD inspired 'Connected Educator Appreciation Day' since 2015... Jane Jacobs work and the things that members of The Well achieved have been inspiring to read about:

"Within hours, people started doing things in half a dozen directions on their own initiative. The raw scope and diversity of the resources available to us by pooling our individual networks was astonishing. People who had medical connections in New Delhi were brought in; airline schedules and rates for medical evacuation were researched; a fund was started and contributions started arriving. Casey used the net to find a possible telecommunications site in New Delhi where they could relay information for Frank, Elly's ex-husband, who had flown to Asia to help with what was looking like a grave situation… Within hours, we knew how to get such medical equipment in New Delhi and whose name to mention. We knew whom to call, how to ask, what it cost, and how to transfer funds to get Elly delivered to a hospital in the San Francisco region. "It gives me goosebumps," reported Onezie, as the topic unfolded on the WELL. "This is love in action."

Educators may recall that Howard featured in Michelle Cordy's (@CordyM) ISTE 2016 keynote.

The extract above reminds me of Jane Jacobs 'Life and Death of Great American Cities' which I read in 1999 as part of my OU course in Human Geography about how order is created in the chaos of the city.

"When Jimmy Rogan fell through a plate-glass window (he was separating some scuffling friends) and almost lost his arm, a stranger in an old T shirt emerged from a bar, swiftly applied an expert tourniquet, and, according to the hospital’s emergency staff, saved Jimmy’s life. Nobody remembered seeing the man before and no one has seen him since. The hospital was called in this way: a woman sitting on the steps next to the accident ran over to the bus stop, wordlessly snatched the dime from the hand of a stranger who was waiting with his fifteen-cent fare ready, and raced into the Ideal’s phone booth. The stranger raced after her to offer the nickel too. Nobody remembered seeing him before, and nobody has seen him since" The Life and Death of Great American Cities

Why on earth The Well founder Stewart Brand's (@StewartBrand) 1997 "How Buildings Learn" wasn't part of this course, I'll never know! Marc Smith's 1992 paper about The Well reminded me of Jacobs work

18th Dec Voices From the Well
I read this paper three times and simply could not believe how insightful it well as how relevant it was to social media today. I think I tweeted half the report out, but a particularly relevant comment for this post is:

“Faced with vast quantities of information, getting just the right piece can be a formidable task. The WELL acts as an organic knowledge filter; each of its thousands of users sift through large amounts of information, they often hold expertise on one subject or another, and each can be drawn upon by others in the community” Marc Smith

25th Dec Charting Connections in Your Community
After reading Voices from the Well I watched a 2016 San Francisco #Octribe video with Marc Smith talking about NodeXL.

Smith highlights how:

"Some of the people who borrow money from you are not the same ones who would lend you money or drive you to the airport" (What Adam Grant might call a 'Taker'?)

"Are there neighbourhoods [on social media]? If so what separates group one from group two?"
With so many people now on social media, do we need to now think of this space more like physical spaces?

For example, there are lots of tourists in Glasgow's City Centre and in the museums etc, but few might be visiting the most deprived areas that make up for some 59% of the 100 most deprived areas in the UK.

"Some issues that you think are controversial aren't all that controversial... it's just that 15% of the population are really noisy"
Marc advises that there are some conversations you would not join in on. It would be HIGHLY unlikely that I would visit Holyrood (Scotland's Parliament) if I was in Edinburgh and join in any debate

... So why do I do it online? What is the impact of reading all the 'Trending' tweets? For politicians to turn us all into 'gammons'?

"Once I took a cab ride with a driver who was listening to a talk radio show. The program was a litany of the host's resentments and anger toward other individuals and groups.

The cab driver apparently listened to this poison all day long, and he was quivering with rage. He responded to the litany with foul expletives, occasionally slapping his hand on the dashboard for emphasis. The cab seemed filled up with hate; I could barely breathe. It was a great relief when the cab ride was over.

This incident showed me that Right Speech is not just about the words I speak, but also the words I hear. Certainly, we cannot banish ugly words from our lives, but we can choose to not soak in them.

Practice of Right Speech has never been easy, but thanks to 21st-century technology speech takes forms unimaginable in the Buddha's time. Through the internet and mass media, the speech of one person can be flung around the world. 
As we look at this global net of communication, there are plenty of examples of speech used to inflame passion and violence and to separate people into sectarian and ideological tribes. It's not so easy to find speech that leads to peace and group harmony.

Sometimes people justify harsh speech because they are speaking on behalf of a worthy cause. Ultimately, stirring up acrimony is planting karmic seeds that will hurt the cause we think we're fighting for." Right Speech
So that's some of the learning that's gone on from a personal perspective over the last couple of weeks.

...Let's take a look at what's been happening on the world wide web.

"...even if The Well itself should disappear, its mystique will continue to exist in the minds of people searching for a reason to venture into cyberspace. Forty years from now, The Well may be remembered only dimly, or not at all. But it will have left behind a lasting imprint on our culture, as we will be left with the lush promises it whispered into our ear" The Epic Saga of the Well

"The good news is that, in spite of the horrible behaviour many of us have experienced online, the majority of interactions are nice and cooperative… As Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil points out, 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" Why Good People Turn Bad Online

Christmas Online 2018
24th Dec: #WhatWouldJesusDo 
On Christmas Eve Homeless Charity @PennyAppeal's Christmas campaign #WhatWouldJesusDo was trending, encouraging people to help out with homelessness.

Unfortunately, it did not take long for the chatter to go from discussing homelessness to others joining in with all kinds of political & religious snarkiness (...As well as some good humored and funny comments too)

25th Dec #JoinIn 
On Christmas Day I saw the #JoinIn hashtag trending with people taking time out to chat with those who were feeling lonely at Christmas... If you've not seen Sarah Millican's interview with Russell Howard, it's well worth checking out!!
26th Dec Give And Take: Givitas
On Boxing Day I spotted a Tweet about Reciprocity Rings and '5 Minute Favours,' clicked on it... and LOVED! what I saw:

I loved it so much that I put this Givitas Declara collection together with over 80 articles about Givitas

Based on this Beat Generosity Burnout article, this platform seems particularly relevant to educators

"Some of our favorite recent data points come from more than 400 second-year teachers (from pre-K through high school throughout the United States). At the start of the year we asked them a series of questions about their approach to helping; their answers allowed us to predict how well their students would do on end-of-year academic achievement tests.

Here’s a sample question:

Imagine that you’re teaching a geometry class, and you’ve volunteered to stay after school one day a week to help one of your students, Alex, improve his understanding of geometry. He asks if you’ll also help his friend Juan, who isn’t in your class. What would you do?" Beat Generosity Burnout

Both The Well and Adam Grant highlights that there are extremely generous 'Givers' out there, as well as plenty of people who will take advantage. (Keep an eye out for my 'Anonymous £40' and @BeMorePirate 'Here Be Dragons' posts in the New Year).

Both The Well and today's social media demonstrate that they have addictive properties about them.

So, I'm looking forward to seeing what this '5 min favour' purpose built platform will look like and what it will achieve.

My hope is that NodeXL and Givitas will help any networks I am part of to become 'Community Clusters' who encourage a culture of giving.

"You are the result of all the relationships you have" Marc Smith.

I've learnt a lot about the relationships that I have online in the last 12 months... I guess Henry Timms (@HenryTimms) and Jeremy Heimans (@JeremyHeimans) is right

"Those on the side of the angels, who want to spread compassion, promote pluralism, or defend science must grapple with a painful reality: That New Power can supercharge hate and misinformation"

"What if God was one of us?"
Just a slob like one of us 
Just a stranger on the bus 
Tryin' to make his way home?"

Where and when would He be getting involved on Twitter and Facebook on the bus on his way home? 

I wonder who I'll meet online and where my social media adventures will take me in 2019?