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Meh: Learning & Rambles

Okay, so I learned a lesson today.

Was in the CyberSafety panel today at SXSW. The panel posed a question regarding: how do we project cybersafety in the world- education? websites?

I stood up and found my sealegs (I quake when I stand by microphones apparently… i should only sit) and then found a soap box to speak regarding businesses acting as role models & the inherit responsibility to their customers. Well, I started throwing out different ideals about this particular safety space – one of which was alluding to cyberbullying through youtube. My point was — the horror of parents within this cyberworld directs mainly to myspace, but no one pays much attention to youtube these days, particularly the example of that 14 year old kid on youtube who rates movies and gets heckled by adults… someone has to take responsibility for this space and I think companies are one piece of the pie… and a might big piece too, aside from education. Seeing as that was a rather sticky tangent, I went back to U13 brands & sites reacting towards their audience.

Well, apparently my entire point was overshadowed by this youtube comment. Le sigh. A gentleman reporter who works in the gov/educational site of cybersafety completely misconstrued what I said based upon his own issues with the issue, and then stood up after me to address the panel. He sadly offended me twice (making allusions to the fact I don’t know anything about ads, etc, or my audience user patterns, again le sigh) and then asked his own question which had nothing to do with my point.

Apparently, as I learned after the panel, he thought I was asking a question. After some re-explaining on my part, we both realized (him more explicit and harsh than I) that perhaps my use of the youtube example was distracting and that I’m an idiot. Nice. So then, with a small mic in my face, I re-stated my point, touching a little more appropriately on cyberbullying and auditing youth, and a whole bundle of other topics regarding cyberbullying that I haven’t addressed that much lately.

He tossed a few names in my face of people I should talk to (i tried to tell him I blog on this stuff as someone who works on the front lines of this market and my comments come from hands on experience), and then he mentioned that he can’t promise that his article would be nice and that the tone would be kind. And…. heart sink.

I LOVE this industry. There so many creative alternatives for things, and I definitely think if we just push ourselves and own up to what we have, could do, and will do– we could really have some seriously future-improving awesomeness on our hands. When I raise points about worries regarding safety, etc, it’s because we’re a smart group of folks dedicated to making kick arse things, and we’re working with our world’s future population (who will be taking care of us in the future, don’t forget)… I was raised by an insurance agent father who told me to avoid the pot holes you see coming, and a teacher mother who taught me to give the best to improve things for the future. So… if you see an issue, raise it to the community, figure out how to side step it yourself, and then point it out for others. I don’t have the answers (which is what I repeated several times today), I just have to deal with the problems constantly. Mis-step and it’s a black mark.

Well, my willy-nilly comment in a panel might just turn out to be a black mark. It’s kinda ironic that this gentleman’s post/radio show, etc, could eventually turn out to be not-so-friendly comments that can be audited back to me, and ironic that we spoke mainly on the content of cyberbullying & auditing.

I have learned my lesson about tossing wide, multi-tipped points into a public setting — keep it short & to the point & realize that not all people within the room have the same intentions & understandings.

Anyone else have something like this happen to them? Love to hear comments about it…. might make me feel less like an idiot at the mo.

p.s. with the exception of this learning experience– i have to say, I have had (and continue to) a great, great time at sxsw. Met loads of great people and learned some wicked things! woot.

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  1. March 11, 2008 at 12:41 am

    Izzy, darlin’ you rock. Do NOT let those arrogant meanies deflate your spirit or erode your soul…Of COURSE this has happened to me (and to Lisa, and to Sara and to just about everyone I know, including ‘top 25 worldwide marcom bloggers, etc.) Need I remind you of my Tarzhay/incivility among flamethrowers who chose to react to a “visual/soundbite” rather than READ the original context reducing dialog into a schoolyard tug-o-war?

    C’mon, now, anyone in ‘the public eye’ (and what’s more public than the internet?) is going to deal w/reverb from those who missed the point…I’ve found quite often it’s the egomaniacal media/digerati who wield the biggest swords sans circumspect analysis.

    YOU, dear Izzie, have the acumen, the forethought, the reputation, street cred, & universally appealing conduct of an open and authentic heart that endears ALL of us who appreciate and discern between oh-so-guarded phrases of canned nothingness and your impromptu passionista force field.

    I admit I’m a bit hesitant to conduct my own workshop amidst the Ivory Tower crowd at CCFC next month for the same reasons…will they view me as Snidely Whiplash coming from within the industry loins? Or Dudley Do-Right pragmatically untying the knot between nonprofit/for-profit sectors? Only time will tell…but hey, I’m nervous as a cat on a sailboat, and I don’t even have a microphone on me yet! 😉

    Remember, as the bard said, “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” ~William Shakespeare

    Rock on…

  2. Little Old Me
    March 12, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    I’d like to focus on the part about YouTube. Sure people get flamed or “bullied” on YouTube but there’s always the choice to make it so comments have to be manually approved, comments have to be manually approved and friend’s comments are automatic or disable comments. Let’s not forget the content. If little Billy goes online saying offensive stuff or starts a flame war, he only has himself to blame.

  3. March 12, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    That’s where I differ just a bit. The internet brings about a whole new world of choices & consequences… Sure he’s stickin’ his own hand in a bee’s hive, but what I’m concerned about is moving forward. How do we ensure that kids realize that their learning bumps can actually heal from those bumps? Teens are minors, we cannot forget, and therefore deserve & need the guidance of adults. I, for one, do not want to shrug at my responsibility for ensuring that a teen has a healthy, full, safe upbringing where they are allowed to mentally & social develop without having the same forever-consequences as adults. Otherwise, what’s the difference between youth and adulthood in the eyes of society & law? Everyone makes mistakes – it’s human. It’s part of growing and learning. It’s the whole “cemented in the history of the webosphere” that freaks me out.

    That’s why I look to the civilized net users. Parents, schools, BUSINESSES, etc all being aware of the negative reflections on our future (youth’s future, yadda). Part of being within a community is a shared sense of responsibility, and unfortunately, liability. I’m not saying there is a right or wrong answer, I just think there needs to be some sort of common policy– good policy. Doesn’t everyone want the best opportunities to excel for our future leaders?

    As for the youtube comment- I’m always concerned about youth w/ video cams in their room in general. Sure, that kid (by age-rights) can try whatever he wants with the cam. But as someone who works in the moderation field and constantly deals with the reactions of an angry mob (seriously – have you ever hung out in a soap opera tv show forum? They’re ruthless. Same goes for confused, emotionally charged teens). It’s an issue that points more to the parents & their decisions. But if a parent doesn’t understand the results of a web presence for their child, and what a community of harsh people can do to a developing personality/brain, then yikes.

    These are all things that need to be talked about and shared. Issues that allow others to make their own opinions. I’d rather have someone form an opinion about something sketchy and NOT ignore it all together- especially in regards to the health of our youth.

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