A new community

May 7, 2018
"You are dead already, GO LIE IN YOUR PINE BOX AND ROT."

“You are dead already, GO LIE IN YOUR PINE BOX AND ROT.”

This type of ugliness sometimes masquerades as analysis on social media. The quote is genuine. It’s a response to commentary this writer posted last March on a popular social media platform.

Charming, isn’t it?

Why care?

The response offered no insight. It contributed nothing to discussion of the subject. But it did make very clear the responder’s apparently strong feelings about it.

It also, with its meanness, eliminated any reason for anyone to care.

With social media, bad comes with good. Plenty about social media is very good.

Best about social media is how much it improves the ability of people to connect intellectually—to “network,” as they say.

Worst about social media is how much it improves the ability of jerks to act out their inexplicable compulsion to offend.

Oil & Gas Journal, ever seeking ways to improve communication of the oil and gas story, is adopting the best and suppressing the worst in a new online offering called Oil & Gas Community.

An adjunct to OGJ Online, OGJ’s web site, O&G Community eventually will offer social-media tools to support interaction among professionals in several oil and gas interest areas.

Within the community, each of several specialties will have a “channel”—an assembly of engagement options accessible to members and overseen by an OGJ editor.

Among other things, O&G Community will bring editors closer than ever not only to their audience of OGJ subscribers but also to other channel users who have qualified for membership.

And it will enhance communication between OGJ subscribers and subject-matter specialists who, for reasons only they can explain, choose to confront the perplexities of oil and gas without guidance from this editor’s favorite magazine.

How they manage without OGJ is anyone’s guess. But, yes, nonsubscribers may participate in O&G Community. Maybe they’ll profit from the experience and decide to subscribe. That’s the hope, naturally. This is not charity work.

O&G Community opened for business last month with its inaugural channel, Project Collaboration. OGJ developed and is managing Project Collaboration with help from Westney Consultants, a Houston capital-projects consultancy.

Targeting, obviously, oil and gas project planners and managers, Project Collaboration lets members exchange ideas in forum discussions, blogs, and groups. It also includes a chat feature, a project-related news feed from OGJ, and areas on which members can post photos and videos. The channel also will host webcasts and related events.

The purpose of Project Collaboration and future channels, each with a full suite of engagement tools, is to promote high-level exchange of ideas among people united by professional interest in specific, serious topics. The degree of engagement—reflected in participation in the forums, blogs, groups, and other features—will determine success.

Until recently, journalism involved largely one-way communication—from a writer to an audience. Social media already have changed that, providing new ways for writers and audiences to interact. But social-media communication can quickly dissipate into trivial chatter.

O&G Community will remain purposefully focused partly by ensuring that members have professional interests in channel subjects. It will do that by asking prospective members at sign-up for job titles and related information, including names.

And OGJ editors will monitor activity and omit anything wildly off-subject, obscene, blatantly commercial, or otherwise inappropriate. They’ll rely on serious members to help them spot problems and keep O&G Community channels freewheeling but always relevant, instructive but hopefully fun.

‘Delete’ button

Under these standards, death wishes and lesser outbursts of personal rage of course will find no outlet on O&G Community. The platform-administration system has a well-functioning “delete” button.

O&G Community, now featuring Project Collaboration, is at www.ogj.com/oilandgascommunity. New channels will join Project Collaboration soon. Check back often.