Social Bargains: Ubiquitous!

The closing section to the final chapter in Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody is a perfect summation to both his book and this course.  In All Groups Have Social Dilemma, Shirky looks at many of the social internet trends and case studies he mentioned throughout his book (and many others mentioned previously in prior blog posts and class readings).  Some examples of successful social platforms on the Internet worth noting and summarizing: Continue reading

Collaborative promises, tools and bargains

In the final chapter of Here Comes Everybody, Shirky writes that there are three things that must exist before collaboration can happen: promise, tools, and bargain.

  1. Promise: reason people get involved in collaborations
  2. Tool: facilitators of such collaborative work
  3. Bargain: the rules and expectations of the collaborative group

It is when all three of the requirements are properly met and executed that a group succeeds in collaboration. In my section, I will be focusing on the bargain aspect and also touch on the complexities of collaboration.

A bargain defines the expectations of a group so that everyone can agree and follow accordingly. A successful bargain is one that is “a good fit for both he promise and the tool used” (261). Sometimes the bargain is simple, as in the case of Ivanna’s phone Shirky discusses in Chapter 1. Social networks come with more intricacy. In Flickr groups, there are intricate rules about posting that users must observe. For instance, you are not allowed to post pictures if you do not comment on the two previous images, and you must wait before making multiple postings. This is to combat Tragedy of the Commons, the temptation for user to post their work for potential viewers, but not bothering to pay attention to anyone else’s photos. Alan Page Friske refers to this phenomenon as “equality matching,” where the most talented members of the group don’t get much more attention than the least talented” (276).

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No reciepe for success

Facebook Network selection requirement

This week’s reading was Clay Shirky’s last chapter in Here Comes Everybody, chapter 11: Promise, Tool, Bargain. Shirky explains that en though “there is no recipe for the successful use of social tools…every working system is a mix of social and technological factors.” (260) Despite the inability to find an exact formula for success he claims that every successful example in his book has used the following three elements:

1.) Promise – This is the “why” someone should join or contribute to a specific group. It is vitally important because it is the the promise that converts the potential user into an actual user. Shirky explains that the key to a good promise is balancing between being too broad or too extreme. The key is that “the implicit promise of any given group matters more than any explicit one” (262). This idea of creating meaning and convincing  the potential user is unique because it is not simple “selling” the idea of social media, but convincing users to actually participate and take action.

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New Socialism and the Hive Mind

In their essays “The New Socialism: Global Collectivist Society is Coming Online” and “The Hazards of New Online Collectivism” Kevin Kelly and Jaron Lanier present two drastically views of online collectivism. While Kelly embraces online collectivism as the beginning of a new age in global cooperation, Lanier cautions against trusting the wisdom of an anonymous online collective. Continue reading

Collective Culture

Today’s readings include “The New Socialism: Global Collectivist Society Is Coming Online” by Kevin Kelly and “Digital Maoism: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism” by Jaron Lanier. While in general, Kelly seems fascinated by the positive improvements that collectivism can offer our digital and social environments, Lanier criticizes the collectivism he calls “hive mind” for what elements he feels are lost in the transaction- our personality, our voice and even our ability to discern. Before explaining the tension between their ideas, I will first start with Kelly’s perspective.

In his article, Kelly describes the communal function of digital culture, its collectivism, as a new form of socialism. This is because the digital exchanges are centered around social interaction, not ideology as the term “socialism” evokes at first glance. Kelly terms it “a sort of socialism uniquely tuned for a networked world” (Kelly 1). It is characterized by an interaction that- as we have learned in discussing networks previously- relies heavily on a widespread connectivity of individuals; the eventual ability to “connect everyone to everyone” (Kelly 1). It is the force dubbed “dot-communism” by John Barlow in the 1990s, derived of “free agents” and a lack of owned property (Kelly 1). Since the Internet functions as a global platform, this new socialism produces a world-wide egalitarian environment. The implementation of the Creative Commons alternative copy right liscence and the proliferation of file sharing have aided this growing communal digital landscape.

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The Rise of Collectivism and Open Source Software

Both Kevin Kelly and Jaron Lanier take on the continuous debate about the effects of open source websites in the articles “The New Socialism: Global Collectivist Society is Coming Online” and “Digital Maoism”.  Kelly see’s the rise of open sources in an optimistic light whereas Lanier does not.  Websites where individuals are free to contribute to the overall product has become so powerful that it is beginning to re-shape the way our society operates.  A few examples of open source websites are Wikipedia, Digg, and You-Tube. Continue reading

The Ongoing PROCESS Of The Social Web

Both Clay Shirky and Michel Bauwens emphasize the importance of the “coordinating resource” of the concept of the social web. While in chapter 5 of Shirky’s Here Comes Everyone he focuses on the impact of Wikipedia and its reasons for success, Bauwens piece on “the social web and its social contracts” aim to convey the same message – we exist in a world where participants of the internet appreciate the process of sharing and implement it as a very important social tool. Through Shirky’s chapter one can use the example of Wikipedia to understand the complex argument presented by Bauwens regarding the concepts of the sharing economy, benefit sharing, social platform owners, and the overall notion of the social web. Wikipedia itself is a social commons founded upon the basis of “collaborative production” – there would simply be no Wikipedia if those participants in the community did not make the edits to continuously improve the plethora of information available on the site.

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