(Some) User group members are bullies

Earlier this year, I was at a conference where a keynote speaker decided to use text messages to solicit input from the audience.

To my surprise, many of the the anonymous messages that appeared on the screen were juvenile, inane or downright aggressive. I raised this with the leadership of the user group, but found that what I consider cyber-bullying was not seen as an issue at all.

Are IT professionals ruder than other people, or do people just generally get¬†obnoxious when anonymous? And must we accept that? Maybe Facebook’s Randy Zuckerberg is right when she says that anonymity online “has to go away.”

2 thoughts on “(Some) User group members are bullies

  1. Gosh, anonymous users can be offensive can’t they? I don’t think IT professionals are any worse as I have seen this kind of behaviour when Tweets were used to gather questions at a couple of conferences I have attended. It is a problem, generally. Of course, at conferences usually one of the first questions I get from the floor, when speaking about social media, is “how do we moderate it?”

    Ironically, Facebook insists on real names.

    Perhaps only text messages that include full names that can be quickly scanned against attendance lists is the way to go, or at least put up a slide saying text messages are fine, but behave like professionals.

  2. I agree that the behavior at the conference keynote was very rude, and I was ashamed of my fellow members. I’m surprised that you got a poor response from the group leadership. On the other hand, I don’t know what can be done about it, other than to lecture the membership like they were high schoolers (which is how they behaved) – but lectures don’t work with teenagers, much less with adults with juvenile minds.

    Anonymity protects bullies and criminals, but it also protects people who protest against repressive governments that would like to treat them as criminals.

    Tough problem here, but worth discussing – thanks, Sten.

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