When we invent a new technology or new way of doing things we also create the possibility of being different.
There is a moment when we get the chance to change behaviour and look at things afresh.
I think Twitter was such a moment.
A couple of days ago a Twitter neighbour @Nigeltemple asked if it was important to be polite when using Twitter. He was overwhelmed by the response. People don’t want negativity or swearing, instead they want to share their information help each other and then thank them.
I know a lot of this has been helped along by Chris Brogan’s Trust Agents idea, but I am sure he was building on the zeitgeist that already existed rather than single-handedly creating it.
This is particularly relevant for me as I have just read Lynne Truss’s Talk to the Hand, an essay deploring modern manners and the culture of ‘don’t blame me it’s not my fault.’ She is right about the way kids now feel they have rights without responsibilities. My own daughter threatened to call Childline the other day when I asked her to tidy her room!
But Talk to the Hand also deplores the internet culture and the way we are all so ‘plugged in.’ I think she is missing a trick. Far from being isolating and atomising Twitter has created new ways of helping people.
The other day I approached a guy I had been following about the possibility of working with him in the future. I felt awkward doing it, but it was clear that because I had taken the trouble to follow him and had been doing so for some time that it was not the cold call I feared. Trust still needs to be built but those first approaches are much easier.
Can it be possible that business manners are being re-worked and that Gordon Gekko is finally being put to bed ? I’m too much of a cynic to make such a huge claim. I think business does what business needs to do, but if that is kindness and politeness for the time being, then that’s all to the good.