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People & Places

Best Antisocial Online Community Consultant 

Derek Powazek of Fertile Medium and Fray

If author/editor/tech consultant Derek Powazek had a magic button that allowed him to silence the crazies he met on the street, you bet your API he'd use it — but for the common good. On Twitter, you're allowed one strike before Powazek (@fraying) removes himself from your conversation. Make a lame joke or ask a question you could have Googled, and bam!, you're banished from talking to him. Seem a bit harsh for a first-time offender? Powazek — who consults for Etsy, HP, and others — says it's about celebrating the good and punishing the bad. "The default setup of a lot of systems is almost designed to encourage bad behavior," he says. "One screamer can ruin a conversation." And that's true #IRL. "The difference is, online, people feel protected and are more likely to act out. You can observe the same behavior from people in cars, too." So it's Powazek's goal to create better online systems to foster good contributions and diffuse the bad. When he consults, he advises companies to be "half pied piper, a quarter ship's counselor, and a quarter beat cop." His goal: to turn online into something smart, something that can't be measured by "likes" and retweets, something of legitimate social consequence.

(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)


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