When I started blogging in 2005, one of the things I loved about the Internet was that you could share new ideas and thoughts with people far and wide. It didn’t matter if they were in Canada, England, Europe, Australia or in your own back yard. I treasure all of the amazing connections I have made over the years and many of you have become lifelong friends.
However, I soon learned that the Internet, and the people in it, harbored a darker side. Anger and frustration is harder to check online without the benefit of time and distance. Also, it is all to easy to forget that there is a human being at the other end of the Twitter handle or blog and that real people’s jobs and lives are impacted by online attacks. It is also easier for frustrated and angry people to continuously attack you over time. I have watched people and brands suffer from unfair attacks that went well beyond simple criticism and discussions on points of difference. In the fourth annual survey Civility in America: A Nationwide Survey, conducted by public relations firm Weber Shandwick and public affairs firm Powell Tate, in partnership with KRC Research, Seventy percent of Americans believe that incivility has reached a crisis level. More here.
When I have had an online crisis, and when I had someone harass me on and off for nearly three years, I always turned to my friend Andrea Weckerle for advice and support. Later, she endured an attack around her personal life that took my breath away with its viciousness and depersonalization. Through this experience, she didn’t fold but instead founded Civilination to battle online harassment and bullying of adults and businesses.
Civilination is hardly an organization that promotes being “nice” or that serves as the Internet police. But it is calling for civility when we have online disagreements. As a result I readily agreed to serve on her Board of Directors, and assisted she and Katherine Bull with Que Publishing last year to get this this book on the market as a resource, Civility in the Digital Age: How Companies and People Can Triumph over Haters, Trolls, Bullies and Other Jerks. It has been well received and people are already using it in their businesses.
Now we are trying to take this nonprofit to the next level by building the CiviliNation Academy for Online Conflict Management, a library of videos teaching core concepts and videos showcasing experts in online reputation management, privacy protection, identity management and legal solutions. Think “Khan Academy” but with a conflict management focus. Viewers will be able to learn in bite-sized chunks of information that can be watched back-to-back or whenever they have a couple of minutes available. I really believe in this cause and I am putting my money, time and talents where my mouth is but I need your help.
- In addition to the many rewards that Andrea has already offered in the campaign, over the next 48 hours, I will match any contribution up to $1,000.
- If we reach a total of $10,000 for the entire campaign, I will also do a karaoke song (you can vote for which one) in front of over 100 social media attendees at the Social Media Breakfast of Houston this Friday and broadcast it live on YouTube, where it will live in infamy forever. And who doesn’t want that?
- Also, if you give a donation of $250 or above between now and Wednesday night at 12 midnight, and send me the receipt, I will give you a one-hour consultation to help you get started on a social media strategy for your company or any project for which you want help.
I am willing to do all of this because I believe that we need to have a noncommercial resource to assist people and companies who find themselves in these kind of situations.
Please take a moment to contribute and help us reach our goal. All of your contributions are tax deductible minus the value of any gifts you receive. You don’t have to deduct anything for the karaoke song. Click on the embed campaign below or Click on this Link to give.
The indigogo campaign is over, but the fundraising is far from over. You can give by clicking on the big button below, and I hope you will consider it.