You may be familiar with the broken windows theory, namely how vandalism such as broken windows and graffiti lead to disorder in communities. Fixing these types of issues restores order to communities. In society, usually it's institutions and authorities that make something happen. Naturally, people who live local can step up and get involved too. (While the correlations supporting the theory have been debated, it's tough to argue that living in a nicer environment is a bad thing.)
In social media, I'm noticing more broken windows appear daily – in a figurative sense. That is, not like broken functionality, but instead the proliferation of unsolicited commercial content, blatant self promotion, and more savvy spammers.
419 scammers on Facebook. Human generated comment spam. Automated direct messages from new Twitter followers. Emails selling social media certification. Plagiarism and IP theft.
The "authorities" are doing what they can, e.g. Twitter suspends and Facebook disables suspicious accounts. And you can report violations, block users, or send a DMCA takedown notice
. But the problem lies in how the windows are breaking – it's wholly intentional with minimal incremental cost and little chance of being caught. Most of us also participate in social media complementary to a paying job – so monitoring and chasing down violations ends up as Ahab
Personally, I engage with a large network and cope by employing an active "ignore" filter. Some people lock-down to a greater degree and only connect with very small trusted networks. There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches.
But regardless of how you participate, isn't there SOMETHING MORE we can do about all of these broken windows?