Monday, July 07, 2008

Love, purpose and fame,

How much of participation is driven by attention-seeking rather than a genuine desire to co-create?

It's a question that framed itself during a conversation with Ivan Pope. I wondered if the desire to participate is a natural human state - and one that gets driven out of us by mass broadcast models (ie sitting back and consuming becomes normalised behaviour in a mass media world)?

I cited the example of my 3-year-old, who could not understand why she could not join in with the nativity play she went to watch last Christmas.

How much of that was driven by her desire to seek attention compared to her desire to join in?
Ivan's point (and this is my interpretation so, Ivan, please do expand in the comments if required...) is that attention = love. The more love we receive the happier we are - a powerful motivator.

So was my daughter seeking more love, or seeking to share in an experience and help form it?

Of course, we don't have to answer either/or.

The learning for those of us who wish to create better ways for humans to connect is to understand that our communities of purpose are not only coming together to get things done, they are coming together to be loved.

In user-generated-content-powered broadcast models, such as Youtube, and our own, less people acquire more of the love. How could we share that out?

Even in Total Communities (where to take part you have to create part, eg facebook, twitter, secondlife) the love concentrates where the attention focuses.

Jemima Kiss, at the Guardian, mused on twitter that she now had 2000 followers and that she would therefore try harder to say something useful or interesting.

When the attention becomes too great, when the conversation becomes little more than augmented broadcast, there is a natural tendancy for us to start making considerations like this. A little part of ourselves is hidden away in favour of the version required for the lower common denominator. (Not a dig at Jemima, I hasten to add, her tweet was just an inspirational, right now, example)

The more famous you are the less you can really be yourself?

Perhaps synchronous attention is a core part of what makes us human - the ability to create real time bonding experiences with fellow humans? The social act of being?

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?