9859Re: [WWWEDU] Re: Any thoughts on how I should respond to Wired?
- Sep 4, 2007Congratulations, Andy, for such a wonderful reply.
(I envy your skill with the pen/computer)
Jenka Guevara, Ph.D.
The American School Foundation, Mexico City
----- Original Message -----
From: Andy Carvin <andycarvin@...>
Date: Tuesday, September 4, 2007 8:57 am
Subject: [WWWEDU] Re: Any thoughts on how I should respond to Wired?
> Hi everyone,
> Thanks again for all of the thoughtful suggestions you passed along
> regarding how I should handle the story from Wired. I've decided to
> take a middle-of-the-road approach, writing an open letter to the
> author on my PBS blog, but not firing back with snark of my own. The
> more I learned about the author, the more I concluded he was actually
> a decent guy who just made a joke without thinking about the
> consequences, so I approached my response from that perspective.
> Here's a shortcut to the letter on my blog:
> And for your convenience, here's the text. -andy
> To: Mathew Honan, Wired Magazine
> From: Andy Carvin
> Dear Matthew,
> You don't know me, but I was hoping I could take up a few minutes of
> your time today. I see we've got a lot in common; we're both writers,
> Mac users, photographers; we've even both backpacked around Laos and
> written travelogues about it. You seem like the kind of guy I'd
> probably want to hang out with at SXSW or something, perhaps to
> grab a
> beer and swap travel stories. And that's why I feel I can be straight
> up with you about something you wrote recently that really hurt a lot
> of educators across the country.
> You see, in my free time I volunteer as the coordinator of an online
> community called Stop Cyberbullying. I founded it earlier this
> year as
> a way to give educators and parents a place where they could share
> strategies to deal with the issue of cyberbullying. Don't get me
> wrong; it's not intended as a place for primadonna bloggers with
> jaws to complain about how they're being dissed by their peers,
> nor is
> it a community for humorless schoolmarms to demand that all un-PC
> online behavior should be banned forthwith by Congress. Instead, it's
> just a group of well-meaning, concerned people who in some cases are
> trying to save the lives of their children or students.
> I'm not trying to be melodramatic and overstate the situation
> here, so
> I won't waste your time throwing out dubious statistics as to what
> percentage of kids get bullied via the Internet, text messaging and
> the like. Depending on whom you ask, it's either a widespread problem
> or small minority of kids. No matter how you slice it, though, the
> fact of the matter is that there are hundreds of thousands of kids
> are harassed by their peers on a regular basis. For some of these
> kids, the bullying is so bad it basically paralyzes them, making them
> fearful of attending school, going online or turning on their phone.
> And for a small minority of kids, it's led to suicide attempts. Some
> of them have even been successful.
> I'm sure you had none of this in mind when you wrote a short article
> for the latest issue of Wired Magazine entitled Beware These Six
> Lamest Social Networks. As both a Star Trek fan and a cat owner, I
> to laugh when you cited social networks targeting those particular
> demographic groups; you definitely nailed those two, and rightly so.
> But you also included the Stop Cyberbullying community in your list,
> describing it as a place populated by "pussies" who will "gang up on
> you mercilessly" if you call them that.
> Now, I know you intended this as a joke. And like I said, if this
> community were a place where whining bloggers or self-righteous
> luddites came to commiserate among themselves, I think it'd be fair
> game for some snark. Instead, though, you decided to go after a group
> of concerned educators and parents who are just trying to help out
> kids who are living in their own private hell. And by calling us out,
> it led to the unintended consequence of having countless vandals and
> trolls descend upon the site, for the sole purpose of - yes -
> us. It left us with no choice but to put the community in lockdown,
> removing it from public view and preventing new members from joining
> unless they could prove they weren't there to cause harm. We now must
> treat every prospective member with suspicion, rather than greet them
> with open arms.
> I know what you wrote was intended to be funny - and in any other
> context, it would have been. But it wasn't, and it's demoralized a
> of people who are already fighting an uphill battle against a problem
> that all too often just isn't taken seriously. And I know writing
> letter will probably cause us more problems - not from you
> but from a small minority of people who will read this letter and use
> it as an excuse to harass me and my colleagues, as usually happens
> whenever I write about cyberbullying in a public space. That's the
> cost of trying to help these kids, I guess.
> Anyway, that's all I wanted to say. If you're ever in the DC area,
> drop me and note and we can find somewhere to grab a bottle or two of
> BeerLao and swap stories about tropical diseases and other
> disasters. Thanks again for taking the time to read this.
> Take care,
> Andy Carvin
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