Elephant in the Room Revisited
Its been a busy handful of hours since the last post, which attempted to open a dialogue on something going on in the NH social media event community that many feel is negatively affecting the community’s development – that as new groups, tweetups and programming arises in NH, conflicts are arising that amount to territorial claims on what should be open and accessible to all.
There have been passionate responses flooding in, mostly positive, some rightfully seeking clarification, and one unfortunate gentleman who just went on the attack. Its because of these responses that we need to have this conversation. Last Sunday on our #SMCNHchat we discussed another hard subject, social media scammers, but tonight we opened a dialogue on something closer to home to us all. But when a subject becomes so intensified and widely debated in real life, if we don’t discuss it as a community online then what is it we are doing at all?
It must be made straight – the post was not an attack on @WoogyChuck, who has a long record of support for NH social media communities. Nor was it an attack on those who have been working for years to bring us to where we are today. Yes, an unfortunate situation had occurred when two events appeared to overlap and regretful things said, as was used as an example in the post, but who hasn’t Tweeted out of frustration before? Getting frustrated is what happens when you care. He and others have been working hard to put on RocknBowl April 28 in Manchester, and by all accounts its going to be a great event that we recommend you all attend. I’ll go if I don’t get hit with a bowling ball in the head.
The example was used to ignite discussion, however, of a well-known issue in the NH social media event community that has real consequences beyond our bowling ambitions, and notably one that besides the one example I have never known Ian to be part of: that the way our state-wide community is “managed” turns people off from wanting to or being able to participate as partners and not just attendees.
If you’ve been around long enough you’ve heard it: “I wanted to get involved with such-and-such, but it turned out the organizer is just about promoting themselves,” or “We had a great idea to start up such-and-such, but that person said it was their territory.” Even in SMCNH we struggle as we grow to maintain our strict ethics policies that are designed to avoid these pitfalls that naturally occur when you have a relatively small but rapidly growing professional community.
But heck, if we or another other group did what was recommended of us to not conflict with other people’s “territory” in NH the only time we would be allowed to hold a meeting would be on Monday nights… that occur on leap years.
The message stays the same: we must strive to do better, avoid the petty infighting that keeps our community fractious, segmented, and lesser able to fulfill the achievable goals we have set. Its not just a handful of people, and its not just in NH, but here right now we are in a transitional stage where we either adapt to maintain accessibility and openness, or revert to a social media oligarchy.
We know that times are tough economically, and right now in NH there is a relatively smaller market for social media services, but we must remember why we are doing this and that by putting on programming aimed at developing the community through education and engagement – rather than conflicting over who’s name is atop what marquee – we help create a NH where we may all find opportunity. That opportunity is better government, healthcare, education, business and technology – not just the perpetuation of selling our community fish rather than teaching them to fish.
For our part at SMCNH, we have no territory. In fact if someone wanted to start their own local chapter of SMC in a part of NH they feel is being neglected then we would not only support them but help them get started as our partners – not vassals. Each year we will switch up the leadership to reinforce that the group is about the community and not individual members. And besides, we always have leadership positions open because if you have an idea and want to contribute it, we will create one to help you do so.
The debate tonight has been passionate indeed, but as most agree, its these serious discussions that will help us grow. It would be regretful if someone used that to deride the community, as when we face tough things we become more vulnerable to warring factions, but for that to occur would be the very reason we must confront it.
Please don’t let the conversation end here – if you are interested in the discussion, and how we can leverage to fulfill the promise of the NH social media community, then by all means please contribute. If you’re just mad lately that what you think is your territory is encroached upon by folks applying the very principals you probably had a hand in teaching them, well then, can we interest you in something less controversial like a game of bowling?