Got PonoI was at the Social Media Summit (#HISMS) Tuesday, and one of the speakers, Roxanne Darling, talked about social media being a tool for sharing our humanity, and it is up to us to decide what we want our humanity to look like. This comment was made in the context of talking about Tyler Clementi, the 18 year old Rutgers student who killed himself after his roommates used a webcam to live stream an intimate moment between Tyler and a male companion.

The fact is the internet and social media has given everyone – from the top CEO to the 7 year old down the street – an incredible amount of power. We can do everything faster. WHAT we choose to do faster and better is up to us. Do we want to be the society that uses social media to bully faster and better, demean faster and better, damage faster and better, destroy faster and better? Or do we want to be the society that shares, embraces, connects, and contributes faster and better? I know which one I want.

This is not to say the social media shouldn’t be used as a forum to bitch, share grievances, complain, even note bad service in a restaurant (who hasn’t tweeted about a slow waiter?). But come ON people! We KNOW what is right and wrong. It’s like porn – I can’t describe it but I know it when I see it. We know wrong when we see it. We know it deep inside, on a visceral level… as Hawaiians would say, we know it in our na‘au. And the situation with Tyler Clementi – and all the other cases of bullying taking place using social media – is wrong.

At his Social Media Summit presentation yesterday, Andy Beal ended with a slide that said basically when all else fails be pono. Be righteous. Do the right thing. Whether we hear this from Spike Lee (showin’ my age a bit here), from Andy Beal, or from our grandparents, it’s still true. Especially with the incredible power of the internet that each of us holds in our hands, doing the right thing is becoming more and more important.

The power of the internet is working – although too late to help Tyler Clementi. Stars as diverse as Tim Gunn and Lady Gaga are taking up the cause, encouraging teens who are being bullied that they are not alone, and that it gets better. Thank goodness people are doing the right thing. Let’s hope this power continues to work for good.

Tim Gunn’s YouTube video: It Get’s Better

It Gets Better Project