Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Click the 'incorporate this group' button

"The idea of membership has gone away.  Facebook is not very good at dealing with  named groups, they’re not very good at saying, “We’ve got this book club and I’m a member and you’re not.” But membership is one of the precursors to a lot of social action. My bet is that the group pattern — the named group that can do things like open a bank account or take some kind of coordinated action in the world — is an overlooked pattern that someone is going to reinvent."
Clay Shirky in Wired

As ever - another powerful insight from Clay. This speaks to the belief that what the internet is brilliant at is enabling groups to form around what matters to them.
That lowers the cost of action. But that lowering could be further supported by formalising membership.
Imagine an 'incorporate this group' button, which, if clicked by enough members, signs them up to be part of a co-operative group working to achieve X and sharing in the benefits of its provision. It would enshrine an agreement between those members about its functions and intent.

Life may never become quite that simple, but that's the principle we're looking at here.
Clay isn't saying our desire for membership has gone away - but that our ability to make that meaningful has been neglected by the platforms we've had so far.

To enable all the value that self-forming groups can deliver, that neglect will have to end.

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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?