I always thought manners were more than just protocol or etiquette, but an expression of how you cared about someone else's feelings. A demonstration of consideration. I posted just last week about the need to educate our students on how to communicate in social media so that they understand how best to express their ideas in a clear and concise manner. I believe I fell short in my call to action. We need to do more. Recent events underscore the need to teach our students (and model ourselves) how to communicate socially in social media.
Several weeks earlier an article by Sharon Noguchi, Educators Combat Crude Culture of Social Networks, popped up in many re-postings. In short, the article refers to the rampant profanity and crude behavior exhibited on social media by students, especially on Facebook and the steps that the legislature and educators are taking to combat this trend.
But now, as kids head back to school, they may find more adults are paying attention. Educators increasingly are joining in to challenge the crude culture of social networks, which they fear unleashes cyberbullying and sexting, heightens the social drama of puberty and teaches the wrong values.
Even though Facebook flaming usually originates off campus, more schools are teaching "digital citizenship," how to care for online profiles, deal with bullies and speak up for what's right—a critical skill because teens often don't take problems to adults.
Several weeks earlier there was a great article in the New York Times, Teaching Kids How to Break Up Nicely By Benoit Denizet-Lewis. Mr. Denizet-Lewis reported on efforts to teach students how to responsibly handle ending relationships, to "face it, not facebook it".
“When I’m done with a relationship, I’m not going to wait a day, an hour or even 10 minutes to update my status,” Roberto told the group. “When it’s over, it’s over. I’m done with you.”
“The key word here is ‘racing,’ ” another girl replied with all the condescension she could muster. “Is that really healthy? Breaking up shouldn’t be a competition!”
The group’s adult facilitator — who wore a blue “Face It, Don’t Facebook It” pin, in a reference to the apparently troubling trend of young people breaking up with one another via social media — nodded in agreement and suggested that Roberto consider taking a “technology timeout” the next time he felt compelled to race home and publicly declare his singlehood. Roberto reluctantly agreed to consider it.
A technology time-out? Ummm, I think we can do better. Are we really teaching our students to hide behind social media. When are we teaching them to be brave and responsible in our dealings with others? I think back to my parents' lessons and all my wonderful teachers' lessons and how they consistently modeled how to do the right thing. Whether it was "sharing is caring" or "if you can't say something nice about someone . . ." Have we educators been so overwhelmed by teaching to the test that we forgot to model some values along the way? Is it a failure by parents to actually parent? Or is the lure of destroying someone anonymously so great, that we cannot combat this trend? Good grief, there are even articles helping you choose which social media is best for you to use to break up!
How did social media get so unsocial?
When Carol Bartz, former chief executive officer, was fired from Yahoo she turned to her IPad and vented to her staff:
I am very sad to tell you that I've just been fired over the phone by Yahoo's Chairman of the Board. It has been my pleasure to work with all of you and I wish you only the best going forward.
Fantastic. short, sweet and to the point. Fired over the phone? Not a very classy job, Yahoo. Whatever happened to your manners? Whatever happened to building relationships? Of course since Ms. Bartz called Yahoo Board out for their lack of class, I expected to see her act the opposite way. Umm, not so much.
In a defiant, often profane interview with Fortune, Ms. Bartz said she intended to remain on Yahoo’s board. If so, it would make for some uncomfortable meetings because, in the same interview, she also called her fellow board members “doofuses.”
Ugh. Ms. Bartz, where have your manners gone? Where have all the manners gone? If you find them, please let me know.