Is Social Media Making Us Nicer?

Last week I heard that BzzAgent was offering space in its offices to entrepreneurs, start-ups and those out-of-work.   The offer and the BBJ story link were widely re-tweeted. This isn’t the first story I’ve heard recently about companies/individuals “bunking together” during these tough times.  Noobpreneur had a post earlier this month about how small businesses could collaborate in order to survive.  Meanwhile, every list of Twitter Tips and Twitter Rules reads like they are written by overzealous Boy Scouts — be nice to everyone, be helpful,  add value, follow people back (except for the spammers, of course.)

It makes me wonder if Social Networking is having an impact on our collective consciousness.  Are we becoming nicer?  Or, is it a glass houses situation?  No throwing rocks because we are all starting to realize that everything we do online is immediately visible to the world?  Do we play nicely because we know someone is watching?

Forget the motivation, is the oh-so-helpful social media model changing the way we do business?  Or is “niceness” just more easily noticed today?

(And, am I a cynic for even asking the question?)