I'm not really sure why some are so surprised to find that we elearning pros frequently work with and for people who don't "get it" as well as we do. Of course they don't. Our practice is to help our stakeholders do a better job using (1) technologies in their learning practices and (2) learning technologies in their business practices. That's what we do. It's why our customers give us money.
Of course it's easy to get aggravated at the mis-steps, the voluminous RFPs, the jerk project manager, the spread-sheet-brained executive devil. Creepy association people. Of course it feels good to vent. Social media users have found that Facebook status bars, Twitter posts, and blogs are easy ways to share just precisely how one feels about everything, to everyone, in an instant.
I just want to go on record saying that I think a well crafted, snarky dart is a thing of beauty. Sometimes one must loudly and proudly proclaim a principled position and bitch-slap the opposition. And sometimes people say stupid things and deserve to be called on the stupid things they say.
I really haven't been able to come up with a good reason for people to completely lose their good manners just because it is possible, even encouraged, to say whatever one wants to say on the Internet. A rude remark is no less rude just because it is digital.
Lest anyone think I am sprouting a halo and wings, rest assured, I am not. My quest is rooted in enlightened self interest. It's all about trust.
Chris Brogan talks about the emergence and importance of Trust Agents. His and Julien Smith's book on the subject is based on the premise that while it is easier than ever to reach your customers, it's also less likely that they will listen unless they trust you. Trust is the most valuable online currency today. Trust comes from reputation. Reputation is built a variety of variables - competence, commitment to excellence, discretion. The ability to conduct civil discourse.
Civility. What a concept.
These days I am paying attention to what it takes to build and maintain trust. And a lot of what I am seeing seems suspiciously like common sense. Behaving toward others with the same courtesy that I would like them to behave toward me. Thinking before writing down the snide remark, and thinking twice before hitting send. Being mindful of the impact of snark, and to remember that what I think is hilarious and witty can sound hurtful and mean to someone on the receiving end. Remembering that tweets and facebook posting do tend to have a life of their own, and to never forget the value of discretion. To never really believe one's own press releases, and maintain a sense of humility (even when you know you are right). And doing one's best to rise above the petty and the personal.
It will make a difference. Trust me.