The weight of words
Avio Aero joins the Manifesto of non-hostile communication, because a single word can make the difference in today’s digital environments which deserve a more attentive and sensitive future
February 17 marks an important anniversary. The Manifesto of Non-Hostile Communication, a charter that - like a compass - sets out ten principles of style which are helpful to improving the approach and behavior of those who surf the net, and came into being on this date four years ago. Translated into 32 languages (or rather, today 33, as the translation into Czech was provided by Avio Aero for this occasion), the Manifesto is divided into 7 areas: childhood, politics, sport, inclusion, public administration and science, and has been officially signed by over 300 Italian municipalities, more than 20 companies and a number of universities.
Behind the creation of the Manifesto and the Italian Association Parole Ostili (Hostile Words), which promotes its values, is Rosy Russo, a communicator from Trieste, a mother of 4 children between 10 and 20 years old, and an unfortunate incident at work. "It was the summer of 2016, and I was successfully working on a digital project in the tourism sector that had allowed me to build an important network of relationships. Thanks to a moment of distraction, I made a mistake in a social post and I was literally hit by a series of insults from so-called keyboard lions," Rosy Russo confessed.
"I experienced, first-hand, the hostility that newspapers at the time began to talk about with insistence, and that affected prominent and ordinary people alike. Before going on vacation, and in the wake of these reflections, I sent a message on August 14 to all my contacts – around seventy in total – with the questions that were plaguing me at that time: how important are words? How can such a situation be handled? Am I the only one struggling? Surprisingly, they all responded, sharing the same concerns but, above all, with the will to do something concrete".
That's how the community against digital violence was born. A movement that has gathered contributions from influencers and celebrities but also, most importantly, the people on the web who voted for those most worthy, from which a summary was then drafted and the current version was finalized.
How important are words? How can such a situation be handled? Am I the only one struggling? Surprisingly, they all responded, sharing the same concerns but, above all, with the will to do something concrete
"Gianni Morandi, the artist, was the first signatory and witness of the Manifesto", recalled Rosy Russo, "But he was soon joined by personalities from the world of information, institutions and politics; people who share the goal of redefining the style people use on the Internet, and who want to spread the positive attitude of choosing words with care, as well as an awareness that words really do matter".
The Association has come a long way and received major awards including the Medal of Representation of the President of the Italian Republic, thanks to the commitment that Rosy Russo who, as president of the association, works every day to implement the mission to raise awareness against the violence of words. "To be honest, more than being president, I prefer to consider myself the mother of the project" - recalled Rosy - “like a good host, I set the table and prepared the invitations, but it was the people who participated and made it a successful party.” “Different people, united by the desire to make the Internet a less violent, more respectful and civil place.” “Whoever decides to support the project does so in order to commit to fighting hate language on the Internet and be a concrete example."
The path to awareness is not only of interest to young people, indeed they are the ones who have best understood that there is continuity between the real and digital worlds , but especially adults who too often surf the internet as if it is a place where anything is allowed and where they do not fully recognize the implications, even legal, of certain hostile behaviors. "It is awareness that leads to responsibility," continued Rosy Russo, "Understanding that the Internet is another place to have relationships, and that relationships for human beings are a treasure to be preserved, helps to cultivate them with care even in the digital world.
Gaining an ally in a social movement that propels all the actors in a civil society is helping us along this path. Embracing the Manifesto for companies is a further step towards an open and honest dialogue with our people, customers and stakeholders
"For some time, we have been reflecting on the importance of words as a tool for inclusion," said Carlamaria Tiburtini I&D Leader of Avio Aero “Gaining an ally in a social movement that propels all the actors in a civil society is helping us along this path. Embracing the Manifesto for companies is a further step towards an open and honest dialogue with our people, customers and stakeholders."
The future of the Parole Ostili Association is full of educational and research projects to extend the founding principles to other areas such as sport, where the language is often harsh and vulgar, although the hope of its founder is that the Manifesto will shortly cease to exist in the light of increasingly ethical behavior. In the meantime, let's all celebrate this day together because - as Rosy says - "the internet is a good place to go".
Happy anniversary, Manifesto!