Monday, April 28, 2008

In digital space, everyone can hear you scream

When the transaction cost of group activity falls through the floor, economic behaviour must change.

That's my paraphrasing of Clay Shirky's description of the critical disruption the power of the network is causing (in his book Here Comes Everybody).

Clay has identified essentially the same learning that Dave Weinberger brings us in Everything Is Miscellaneous, or indeed that the Cluetrain Manifesto showed (in the idea that in the digital space the gap between humans is zero).

In the digital space everyone can hear you scream.

And it all comes back to Reed's Law (Group Forming Network Theory).

Value gets created by fuzzy-edged communities of purpose. The thing that allows those communities of purpose to gather, evolve, talk, cooperate and act is the medium of zeroes and ones - the digital space.

Digital IS different from the physical realm because it has the potential for us to ALL to be permanently hotdesking, globally.

Unlike the physical world it is possible for ALL the potential of Reed's Law to be fulfilled in a global digital medium.

Where that potential isn't currently fulfilled it is because we are not able to find absolutely every node on the network with whom we could, or should, connect for any given purpose.

There must be huge value in creating the optimum fitness landscape for the individuals who form groups of purpose to find one another. The more people of shared passion and purpose can find one another in real time, the more value will get created.

Until we as individuals become our own platforms, for want of a better word (ie until we as individuals are each able to connect with networks of trust without the need for mediation of any kind) there remains a place for the mediators of this process, potentially the last generation of mediator.

For media as platforms.

The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?