"Accountability tends to exist more in relationships characterized by proximity (face2face), longevity, and density (mutual friends, etc)." A Tweet from Twisdom, by me, TomV.
I was looking through my little book Twisdom today and came across some tweets that resonate and provoke subsequent thought. This one is about personal accountability, and claims that it's enhance by three things.
1. Proximity: We feel more accountability to people when we live and work in their physical presence. That's why it's easy for so many people to interact badly online, at a distance from those they may be dismissing, or insulting.
2. Longevity: We tend to feel more accountable to people the longer we've known them and interacted with them. In a fragmented and fluid world, with people coming and going so much, it's hard for relationships to put down the roots needed for a deep sense of responsibility.
3. Density: More accountability exists between any two people when their relationship exists in a supportive matrix or network of other relationships. If I know your spouse, and your brother, and your kids, and some of your co-workers and neighbors, all those additional connections, all that added "density" of our relationship, enhances and encourages responsibility and accountability. When people know each other in a social vacuum, it's easier for them to act in inappropriate, unproductive, or improper ways.