How many rules do we need?

I have always wondered what would happen if there were no laws saying you cannot do x or y?

Or to put it another way why do people break the law when they know a law exists. Drunk driving might be a good example or committing thefts. Footballers know that they should not commit fouls but they clearly still do so.

Does any of this apply to the digital environment. Does having guidance make anyone behave any ‘better’ than they might have done? Are sensible people always sensible without needing to be told what to do. Are fools always going to be fools?

History shows that codification is a common trend. We have the Ten Commandments; Hammurabi’s law, or Justinian’s Law Code. Did these rules really bring order to chaos?

Has guidance for social media brought order or have we just started to internalise some commonly accepted standards?

I do not claim to know the answer but I will find out tomorrow as I am running an internal session on social media guidance. Will colleagues say – ‘ah you have some rules, oh that is what I am supposed to be doing’ or say ‘rules, I love ’em can we have some more please?’

I will let you know.

Divide and be ruled, by social media suppliers

Yet again today I was sent another example of some digital suppliers who have hooked a public sector organisation on their services and then started to hike the prices.

I suppose its the nature of the game that we expect something slightly different from some of the social media suppliers that we use in the public sector. Is it because we are nice and cuddly that we expect ‘niceness’ or ‘reasonableness’ from our suppliers. Bet that does not happen in the private sector.

So why are we always surprised when our nice free software that we rely starts to say ‘oh sorry but we do need to make some money and we will be charging from 1 April etc’.

Is this just us being naive or stupidly optimistic? Even that might not be bad except that we do not seem to learn and keep going down the same route of finding a nice tool that works quite well without sending out rude messages on our behalf or spamming everyone. We all jump on that digital bandwagon to later find that they get bought out by someone else, run out of money or want to start charging.

Is there anything that we can do to break this cycle? Well perhaps we need one ring to rule them all. I had hoped that a certain organisation not a million miles from High Holborm might have been able to help in this matter but there has not been much evidence of that so far.

However perhaps the solution is in our own hands and we can forge our own ‘ring of power’ by talking to each other and not making lots of one-off agreements with suppliers. We could make sure that we say, ‘I will be talking to x department so see what they think about your sevices and what they pay. Can we do a collaborative deal?’

It’s not that difficult, or is it? Here’s hoping for change in 2013.