Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Must Be the Heat

It has been a reflective kind of morning here in Mississippi. You know the kind of reflection I mean don't you? When the need to think your own thoughts outweighs the need to listen to others. Or perhaps it is just that occasionally we need to season the recipe with our own spice. We all know the secret is in the seasoning...right?

I have always believed any one of us would be considered very fortunate if we have at least one other person in this world that we consider to be kindred. Now explaining kindred can be very's almost as if it's an unspoken and indefinable knowledge...something beyond our understanding or maybe our evolutionary capabilities of reasoning. I have found that this feeling of kinship or relatedness is just as prevalent in the virtual world as it is in the physical world. Here in lies the power of the Internet in my personal opinion. It is this ability to connect with other human beings and the realization that all living things are related. Mitakuye Oyasin

I have been very fortunate to have been allowed to become a member of two outstanding communities since I embarked on this web experiment in earnest back in '98. Two communities I am proud to call home. Perhaps it has been the shared morals, values, visions, as well as the mutual respect for each other that has enriched my life more than I can possibly say. Or maybe it is just the reassurance from the knowledge there are others out there who understand the human dilemma and are willing to search for the right questions, in hopes that somebody will find the right answers.

One thing I discovered early on was that we must all be students and teachers at the same time. It is this give and take that allows us to grow and use our combined knowledge. Learning and teaching are the is no more important than the other. Every entity has particular strengths along with particular weaknesses. By the time our ego convinces us we finally know all the answers, the questions have already changed. Regardless of our diverse backgrounds, when all the pieces are sewn together...we are then a quilt...a cover...a blanket...or as it's commonly known this millennium...a community!

Communities are self-educating in my opinion...or they should be if they expect to survive the building of the new structures that are bound to grow out of this shared knowledge! Yes, I am a believer, and that said...I suppose it's safe to say I still believe in imagination and the people's ability to organize and govern themselves. I'm thinking if we can't possibly imagine a better world...there is no reason to expect one will fall out of the sky! Now it seems as though I'm rambling. Sorry! It must be the heat, or maybe the humidity...or both? But I do have some wonderful communal neighbors! So thanks for being there my friends...I'm honored!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

What is Viral Spiral?

I watched a video this morning with David Bollier on Governing the Digital Commons. This video led me to Bollier's book Viral Spiral. I found much of the book very interesting and insightful, especially on some of the points concerning the social shift that has seen commoners transform from consumers into creators. Creators of not only text, videos, or music, but creators of entirely new social structures!

Below is a couple of quotes from Chapter 5, "Navigating the Great Value Shift":

I call this the Great Value Shift...a deep structural change in how valuable things are created for commerce and culture. The shift is not only a fundamental shift in business strategy and organizational behavior, but in the very definition of wealth. On the Internet, wealth is not just financial wealth, nor is it necessarily privately held. Wealth generated through open platforms is often socially created value that is shared, evolving, and nonmonetized. It hovers in the air, so to speak, accessible to everyone...

"What we are seeing now," wrote Yochai Benkler in his book, The Wealth of Networks, "is the emergence of more effective collective action practices that are decentralized but do not rely on either the price system or a managerial structure for coordination." Benkler’s preferred term is "commons-based peer production." By that, he means systems that are collaborative and nonproprietary, and based on "sharing resources and outputs among widely distributed, loosely connected individuals who cooperate with each other."

David Bollier's book, Viral Spiral is available for purchase or as a free download. Yochai Benkler's book The Wealth of Networks is freely available as well. As always, if you find either of these Ebooks worthy, please think about purchasing a hard copy in support. Thanks!
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