The Toronto Etiquette Project has made its debut - in a huge way. After launching Thursday morning at about 10am EST, we have gotten major coverage online (BlogTO, Global Toronto, Treehugger), on the radio waves (Newstalk 1010, CBC Radio 1), as well as innumerable mentions on Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks. And as far as I can tell from my tracking and analytics, in the last 48 hours:
- the blog itself has gotten over 3500 hits, and
- the PDF of the cards has been downloaded (or at least viewed) over 500 times
I am especially pleased with the comments and feedback that are generating on forums, messages boards - and my email inbox. I'd like to take a moment to address some of the common concerns:
"What about a Cyclist card?"
Yes - there seems to be a concern for cyclists' road behavior. I actually drafted a Cyclist card in an earlier version, but I decided to exclude it for a couple reasons: 1) it seemed impractical because of how hard (and not to mention, dangerous) it could be to interact with a cyclist on the road, and 2) it was important that the cards all fit vertically on a letter-sized sheet to ensure the cut-and-accordian-fold format, and 6 cards just didn't fit. If you still want a Cyclist card, let me know, and I'll whip one up!
"What about cards for other cities?"
I hear you. I was going to mock up an alternate set of cards entitled "Urban Etiquette Project", but as the design took shape, the cards took on a very distinctive Toronto esthetic, which seemed like it would be incongruent in other cities. But having said that, the project itself remains flexible and could be easily adapted to take on any city's particular flavour. Want cards for you city? Let me know, and I'll see what I can do.
"What about cards that congratulate good behaviour instead of pointing out bad behaviour?"
I think this is a great idea! And I think it is even greater that this project is sparking new ideas. My hope is that this project will grow and evolve in unexpected ways that empower people to do more good, in Toronto and everywhere. The greatest changes have always started with a small idea.
"Do you actually think this will work?"
You know what - I don't know. It just launched 2 days ago, and I have yet to use one of the cards in my wallet. The reality is I am not walking around like an etiquette crusader with stacks of cards trying to hand them out. All I can say is that I hope it works, and it looks like it could do something. Please allow me to add 2 quick amendments to the unofficial project manifesto:
- The Toronto Etiquette Project is a positive (not negative), active (not passive), collective (not selfish) way of thinking about our common condition. These cards are not weapons or violation tickets. They are not intended to offend, and should never be used in an offensive manner. And they are not a substitute for real dialogue. Please think of them as a conversation starter - a way to engage with your fellow citizens. As you carry the cards in your wallet/purse, think of them as a reminder that we should not be afraid to talk to people. If we can't find healthy ways to communicate with each other, we are in deep trouble.
- [And this might seem terribly obvious, but I feel like I need to say it] please use your common sense, and do not risk your personal safety if you decide to use these cards. I do not want people to get hurt. These cards will not always be appropriate. If you have any doubt about the safety of the situation, maybe reconsider. We don't want to see these cards used as evidence in court.
Thanks for sharing. Haters gonna hate.