I had been reading "Here Comes Everybody" and Alison's Hornery's tweet encapsulated my own personal learning journey in discovering Clay Shirkey's seminal work.
Chapter One : aka Social Capital 101 redefined - exploding everywhere
Key learnings :
- "The costs incurred by creating a new group or joining an existing one have fallen in recent years, and not just by a little bit. They have collapsed"
- "People respond to incentives. If you give them more of a reason to do something, they will do more of it, and if you make it easier to do more of something they are already inclined to do, they will also do more of it."
- "Tools that provide simple ways of creating groups lead to new groups, lots of new groups, and not just more groups, but more kinds of groups"
- "By making it easier for groups to self-assemble and for individuals to contribute to group effort without requiring formal management, these tools have radically altered the old limits on the size, sophistication, and scope of unsupervised effort."
- "And when the desire is high and costs have collapsed, the number of such groups is skyrocketing, and the kinds of efforts they are having on the world are spreading."
- "Group interaction gives society its particular character, and anything that changes the way groups get things done will affect society as a whole"
I had seen this effect when email & Web 1.0 exploded in the late 1990's - eg skillfully utilised by anti globalisation groups opposing the MAI - MultiLateral Agreement on Investment. Groups from around the globe hooked-up and supported each other in astonishing new ways at astounding velocities. Totally redefining social movements and social capital. Governments struggled to deal with this new phenomenon. Coalitions of disparate community action groups coalesced to form broad social movements. A precursor of what was to come 10 years later.
In my own region the local Wollongong Council axed its community consultative Neighbourhood Committees as they became too provocatively vocal. However as Shirky pointed out, the costs of organizing had collapsed and so these groups continue on years after being officially axed. They could not be silenced by our local council, and subsequently Wollongong Councillors were to find themselves axed for over 4 years following a corruption inquiry.
Who knows ? Had the issues raised by the Neighbourhood Committees been heeded, perhaps a region of 250,000 people might still have its own local government democratic representation, lost 150 years after gaining it back in the 19th Century. Perhaps 4 years on it will be regained in 2012 ? And how will the elected councillors and bureaucracy deal with a Web 2.0 world advocated by Gen X tweeps like @Chieftech ?