From crowd to community
vision and inspiration
Patrick Savalle, Wim Ho and and Arnd Brugman




                          ...
from crowd to community
From Crowd
to Community
 Vision and Inspiration
       2nd (revised) edition




       Patrick Savalle
        Wim Hoflan...
Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 The Netherlands
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/nl/

You are free:


           ...
“The ant is a collectively intelligent and individually stupid animal; man is the
opposite.”
                             ...
Foreword
            Information technology (it) has now become a full-grown industry.
Not bad for something that has only...
ing for the possibility that a brilliant vision, on the other. Patrick, Arnd and Wim
have been able to inspire me about wh...
Content


          Foreword	                                       7

          1	 Start	here	                           ...
3	 Web	2.0	                                    45
        The Weblog                                   49
          Forum ...
7	 Various	types	of		
          	 social	collaboration	platforms	                105
             Mechanical versus organi...
12   from crowd to Community
1
             Start here
             Communities and social websites are all the rage at the moment. Wiki’s,
blogs, foru...
with each other and inviting them to make contributions. YouTube.com, Linked-
In.com, Facebook.com and eBay.com are all we...
come. There are still no engineers or business experts who have been schooled in
Enterprise 2.0, but they will appear. The...
being identified as “convergence”2 will mean that an entirely new generation of
“collaboration” tools will be created. Pho...
A new way of working.
And there is also a social trend christened by Microsoft as “the New Way of
Working.”The name given ...
The	limits	of	the	spider	model
             In a bureaucratic organization, a manager reorganizes and delegates by
command...
Especially in strongly hierarchical organizations, people are almost never employed
at their full potential. Often, use is...
Symptoms	of	maladjustment
            The world is changing and, to an increasing degree, our current or-
ganizational mod...
to produce physical products that moved along a production line, knowledge
can be based on entirely different models, simp...
Functional in comparison to social


To get the most out of large companies requires not just centralized management
and a...
Prior to this period, we lived in a different world. In the present, we are living in
what we might label “the century of ...
will be an eye-opener for many, as it was for us as well. It is also extremely compat-
ible with existing bureaucratic met...
social graph of your organization. The xobni tool is a fine example of a technology
that performs such analysis. xobni rec...
cooperate in an entirely different manner. What this shift in organizational focus
requires is, above all, a special platf...
Playing	or	working?
              Texts about social platforms within the organization quickly give man-
agement the impre...
social is ultimately an entirely different ball of wax from open social. The need-
ed and, in fact, already existing ingre...
Notes




Start here           29
2
            Vive la Revolution!
            On	March	14,	2004,	everything	was	finally	ready	
             ...Everyone wh...
ists were even suggesting that the stage for the upcoming event should be re-built
into a boxing ring. Caesars Palace is a...
The	new	web	
              The internet has been transformed. The new internet, called Web 2.0,
its ubiquity and the enorm...
accounts and reveal who they are using photos, profiles, blogs and a circle of friends.
They send each other messages and ...
And there is no editor or director involved. Neither Wikipedia nor Flickr, neither
YouTube nor Facebook and not even Photo...
in a very unsocial manner because they ultimately just want to make money from
the ostensibly “social” site.

nujij was th...
When cbs television discontinued the Jericho series in May 2007, fans of the series
began to send nuts to cbs in large num...
occasionally benefit from the updates of others, and the benefit for TomTom is
of course still more apparent: a more relia...
washing machines or cameras, we can now use similar concepts to borrow money
from each other, as well as cover each other’...
load” of sensors such as gps, accelerometers, compass and ambient light level meters.
In the near future, these features m...
server is itself free, it is freely available software. By installing tversity, Vuze or
Twonky on the pc or soon also on t...
imposed on an equally rigid value-chain will be detrimental. The first signs are
already evident. A convulsive entertainme...
Notes




Vive la Revolution!   43
44   from crowd to Community
3
             Web 2.0
              No matter if its emergence is a revolution or an evolution (for the time
being, let’s...
content from noise and the tools provided to convert the filtered content into
usable end products.




  The Web 2.0 land...
The conversation element of Web 2.0
  Figure (cc) Brian Solis / www.theconversationprism.com


You can experience Web 2.0 ...
Social websites and social media


Web 2.0 is very diverse; it is an ecosystem in the most literal sense of the word,
cons...
The	Weblog
             Weblogs have perhaps been the engine of the Web 2.0 revolution. They
“push” ideas, opinions and ot...
With a little more trouble, standard open source software like Wordpress and
Drupal is easy to use in order to design a pe...
The	Wiki
              A wiki is a communication medium that is exceptionally well-suited
for collaboratively documenting ...
Somewhat inexplicably, there is a rather slender selection of standard / open-source
auction software, and no comparable c...
Social	link	dump	or	social	bookmarking
             A link dump is a facility by means of which community members can
shar...
Such a practice would result in a system that includes both bi (business intelli-
gence) and ci (competitive intelligence)...
The	activity	stream
              Twittering is one of the latest social crazes. It is sometimes called mi-
cro blogging. ...
Notes




56           from crowd to Community
4
            The “Crowd”
             In the previous chapter we made a sort of detour through the accoutre-
ments of the...
The	Ron	Paul	revolution
             One of the finest examples that illustrates the power of a crowd took
place around th...
and direct taxation such as income tax. He supported gay marriage and had
qualified views about abortion, having brought m...
tremely popular, and yet very few have even heard of him. Isn’t that peculiar?
Ask the editors of your newspaper how this ...
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
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TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
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TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
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TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
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In every company, it is possible to identify processes that do not thrive well in a bureaucratic structure. The localization of people, content, and expertise, the utilization of special talents and the maintenance of usable innovation: many things run more smoothly when use is made of an organization’s social dimension. Many tasks can be performed better by organizing employees not just in teams but also in communities and crowds. An organization that makes use of social media,
social networks, crowdsourcing, stigmergic collaboration and other “2.0” concepts has an advantage over its competitors. This type of organization is what we are calling the “Intelligent Organization.”

This book gives a vision of that new organization. The accompanying book is "TeamPark, platform and method".

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TeamPark book (english) part 1, vision and inspiration

  1. 1. From crowd to community vision and inspiration Patrick Savalle, Wim Ho and and Arnd Brugman Sogeti innovation and inspiration
  2. 2. from crowd to community
  3. 3. From Crowd to Community Vision and Inspiration 2nd (revised) edition Patrick Savalle Wim Hofland Arnd Brugman 2010 Sogeti
  4. 4. Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 The Netherlands http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/nl/ You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work to Remix – to adapt the work Under the following conditions: Attribution. You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work). Share Alike. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same, similar or a compatible license. • For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work. The best way to do this is with a link to this web page: http://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by-sa/3.0/nl/. • Any of these conditions can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder. • Nothing in this License is intended to affect or limit the author’s moral rights. 2010 Sogeti Sogeti Nederland B.V. DSE / Innovatie en Inspiratie Hoofdweg 204 3067 GJ Rotterdam production LINE UP boek en media bv, Groningen ISBN/EAN 978-90-75414-28-8 NUR 982
  5. 5. “The ant is a collectively intelligent and individually stupid animal; man is the opposite.” Karl von Frisch
  6. 6. Foreword Information technology (it) has now become a full-grown industry. Not bad for something that has only been around for about fifty years. What has become apparent in recent decades us that it is not only aiming a radically innova- tive technology at business but also at consumers. The introduction of gadgets, methods, technologies, tools and complete solutions have succeeded each other sometimes at an increasingly accelerating rate in recent years. Some introductions have been very successful and irreversibly altered the world of it. On the other hand, there are many innovative technologies that have never realized their prom- ise. It is undeniable that it fascinates us. Mostly, it offers the business world innova- tive progress and opens it to new opportunities of doing business. it is also en- thralling because younger generations have grown up using it as a tool, just as tv became an essential adjunct to the post-war generation. Generations X, Y and Einstein view it as a natural part of their lives and embrace new applications as their own without ever having to consult a user manual. It is an exciting world in which big players such as Microsoft, ibm and Oracle influence and perhaps even dominates the playing field. Young people are virtually now learning about xbox game computers, for example, when they are still in the cradle. Recent developments in business provide the potential of making the best pos- sible use of all generations. This means that, in addition to the line organization and processes, there is more and more need to cultivate the social potential that an organization possesses. We have to use all the internet functions that are avail- able to us in order to encourage and facilitate social networks and collaboration. All Web 2.0 capacities can be used to support this activity and then “let it all happen.” In this sense, support means allowing space and investing trust in peo- ple. I am convinced that the majority of employees will then experience more satisfaction, the greatest stimulation and, ultimately, obtain the best results for the organization. The TeamPark book explores these developments in complete detail. The writers then began the book, it seemed to me, with a mixture of “hope and fear” about their topic. Not knowing where they were heading, on the one hand, and allow- Foreword 7
  7. 7. ing for the possibility that a brilliant vision, on the other. Patrick, Arnd and Wim have been able to inspire me about what was going on in organizations, as well as resurrect the social side of organizations. In addition, there turns out to be a number of recognizable phases that can be negotiated in order to unlock this potential. In brief, a clear idea of a book was born. To avoid writing it too strongly in the Sogeti tradition, we have produced a two-sided readable book and worked on it for about one and a half years. I am more than proud about the final result. I have been heartily encouraged by the recognition and enthusi- asm of the first readers, rewarding our perseverance. Fortunately, the period of “fear” is long behind us and only the “hope” remains. I am absolutely certain that every reader will therefore enjoy and profit from the reading of this book. I also trust that it will also help you find a way to unlock the potential of your social organization and derive added value from it. Frank Langeveld, Director of Sogeti Rotterdam, March 9, 2010 8 from crowd to Community
  8. 8. Content Foreword 7 1 Start here 13 The future is social 14 Technological “convergence” 15 Customer communications 16 A new way of working. 17 Globalization 17 The limits of the spider model 18 The limits of the machine model 19 Symptoms of maladjustment 20 The crowd in every organization 21 Crowd control 22 New ways of working together 23 Big bang or evolution? 24 The Intelligent Organization and TeamPark 25 Playing or working? 27 2 Vive la Revolution! 31 On March 14, 2004, everything was finally ready 31 The new web 33 Hanging out and living online 33 We are the media 35 The customer is part of the company 36 Producer and consumer at the same time 38 Social technology 39 The new worker 42 Content 9
  9. 9. 3 Web 2.0 45 The Weblog 49 Forum 50 The Wiki 51 The marketplace 51 The media library 52 Social link dump or social bookmarking 53 News aggregation 54 The activity stream 55 4 The “Crowd” 57 The Ron Paul revolution 58 We are all ants 60 The collective has its own life 64 Collective Intelligence Quotient (cq) 71 Crowd-control: channeling talent 72 5 Socializing with the crowd 77 Office warrior (fragment) 77 Nvidia 80 Nike 81 Response 1.0 versus response 2.0 82 Viral communications 84 Astroturfing 86 Community resistance 88 6 The new way of working together 91 From chaos to perfection 92 Stigmergy as defined in Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 93 The human body 97 Madmen and fools write their names on doors and windows 98 Mass-action and brute force tactics 100 Bundling of forces 101 Broadcast versus direct communication 101 Synchronous versus asynchronous 102 Self-scaling and anonymous 103 Performing complex tasks without a leader 103 10 from crowd to Community
  10. 10. 7 Various types of social collaboration platforms 105 Mechanical versus organic 105 Types of social activity useful to the organization 107 Social networks: implicit social activity 108 6-degrees of Kevin Bacon 109 Productive social activity: an alternative to teamwork 112 Crowds: creative social activity 113 What does such a crowd then do all day long? 114 Switching the crowd on and off 115 8 “2.0” 117 Enterprise “1.0” and “2.0” as Yin and Yang 119 Communities alongside Teams 120 Mintzberg and co. 121 The autonomy of Fairtlough 122 Thomas Malone and democracy in your company 122 Self-organization 123 Interaction 124 9 2.0 in business 127 Old companies in a new world 128 Knowledge processing factories and intensive personnel husbandry 130 The end of Taylorism 131 A new model for knowledge work 133 The future of your organization in 7 points 136 “Der mensch als industriepalast” 136 Final word 143 Content 11
  11. 11. 12 from crowd to Community
  12. 12. 1 Start here Communities and social websites are all the rage at the moment. Wiki’s, blogs, forums, you name it—if you don’t have them at your company, you’re just not up to snuff. Web 2.0, “Enterprise 2.0”, you just can’t get away from this burgeoning trend. Everything has become “2.0”. All of society is in flux. Of course, social change has always existed, but the speed and scale of the cur- rent transformations are unprecedented. As in the case of any hype cycle, the exact degree of penetration and omnipresence at which “2.0” will settle is not entirely clear, but the change will certainly be great and irrevocable when it does finally reach this stable state. What we suggest and will try to make acceptable is that Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 are not empty slogans, not even memes1 but forces, concretely applicable concepts. Undoubtedly, the term “2.0” will be as often as not incorrectly used, but it is, at the same time, hardly possible to un- derestimate its pervasive effect at any level, be it social, cultural, political or, in any case, commercial. Despite the enormous influence that Web 2.0 is now having on the manner in which people use the internet, the concept remains rather vague and unclear to many. Nevertheless, it is perfectly clear to us at the innovation and inspiration department of Sogeti. When considering Web 2.0, most people think about in- ternet communities and social websites making it possible for visitors to interact 1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memetics Start here 13
  13. 13. with each other and inviting them to make contributions. YouTube.com, Linked- In.com, Facebook.com and eBay.com are all websites that make use of such visitor productivity and inspiration. In effect, we see the very same thing, but only in a larger, more holistic context. The way we see it, the technical, concep- tual and socio-cultural trends are not only revolutionizing the world of the in- ternet (called the blogosphere) but also your business operations. In our view, “2.0” resources not only facilitate and activate “visitors” but crowds in general. These crowds are to be found everywhere, including in particular every organi- zation. “2.0” makes it possible for companies to discover and activate an enormous pool of mostly untapped talent, one that is present in every company, without excep- tion. This talent reservoir is a sleeping giant ready to be awakened. It is filled with crowds that have enormous potential for innovation, creativity and pro- ductivity. The methods of tapping into this resource were then labeled Enter- prise 2.0, but what is it exactly? It is not only a company that works with Web 2.0 resources such as wikis, blogs and forums—the terms that you always hear in this regard. If only it were just that easy! Owning a telescope does not make you an astronomer. You remain exactly the same person, except that you have a telescope. Similarly, completely filling a company’s intranet with wikis, blogs and other social software will have little effect. Perhaps there will be increased fool- ing around and tinkering, here and there a lonely initiative, but not the more efficient organization that we hope for. More is needed for this transformation: there must be knowledge and understanding, resources and correct application and an intensive launch phase. What is necessary is a structured approach. And TeamPark provides it. The future is social Senior executives are still hesitant about setting up a social collabora- tion platform in their organization. The building of social platforms, the use and the (re)design of the organization is still just getting off the ground and will fully take flight in the near future. A logical development, after the social revolution in our private sphere, is the social revolution of the organization. We have all been able to experience the emergence of Web. 2.0, but the truly great change, the trans- formation of our business community, the advent of Enterprise 2.0 is near at hand. There are currently no training programs for “social collaboration,” but they will 14 from crowd to Community
  14. 14. come. There are still no engineers or business experts who have been schooled in Enterprise 2.0, but they will appear. There are no experienced specialists, they are in the process of gaining experience. And these people will change our world. So- cial practices based on stigmergic collaboration is here and will only disappear if there are no more ants running around in this world (we will explain this in detail later). Not just because social activity further helps companies to optimize their processes in a way not possible with traditional tools. There are already techno- logical and social trends that channel the evolution and implementation of the new collaboration. Even in your organization. The Gartner hype curve for social media Technological “convergence” Smart mobile devices are conquering the market. Think of the iPhone that oper- ates on Unix, or the G1 operating on a special version of Linux, or Tablet pcs, Netbooks, book readers, new generation multi-touch smart-phones and laptops with built-in networking. But even more is about to come out. A trend that is Start here 15
  15. 15. being identified as “convergence”2 will mean that an entirely new generation of “collaboration” tools will be created. Photo cameras, camcorders, navigation equipment, medical equipment, various types of handhelds and mobile devices— all will be derived from the same basics platform: the smart phone and all will run on a generic operating system, such as Android. They will all have the same connectivity and interactivity and all be able to take part in online social proc- esses. The internet, but especially your intranet, will become a web for still smart- er and, in particular, more mobile and social devices. With the appropriate mech- anism, this can become a smart grid that collects, weighs and evaluates information. The result will enable your employees to work and collaborate in almost any manner. It would be catastrophic to waste this talent and these op- portunities, and a good social platform makes such wastefulness entirely un- necessary. Customer communications Fear of missing the boat is the primary reason that so many companies are now trying to win over the external crowd, which is to say their customers, suppliers and other people from outside the company. These companies hope that, by us- ing communities and crowdsourcing, they can increase customer loyalty, encour- age practical innovation and achieve everything that “2.0” originally promised them. Everyone now wants to have their own community. But it is unclear how such proliferate spawning of groups will ultimately be possible. Where will all the customers go when everyone will soon be running after them? They can hardly belong to dozens of communities. Nevertheless, the trend and desire to join in clearly exists at present and, at least for the time being, they are bearing fruit for companies. It is however impossible for customers to be fully included in a company’s functional processes due to the impossibility of forcing customers to provide a certain performance or degree of commitment. Your employees are motivated by the employment contract, while customers have another relation with a company. Employees can be told what to do, as well as when and how. But customers cannot be ordered around. A new type of collaboration is therefore required in order to gain the cooperation of the external crowed, and this is made possible, as you have already guessed, by the right “2.0” platform. 2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technological_convergence 16 from crowd to Community
  16. 16. A new way of working. And there is also a social trend christened by Microsoft as “the New Way of Working.”The name given to the associated technology is Unified Communica- tion and Collaboration (abbreviated ucc). The New Way of Working does not involve any prescription of the times and locations where and when work must be performed. The balance between work and private life is shifted. More and more, knowledge workers are paid in terms of performance and no longer in terms of attendance. For organizations that are fully committed to bureaucratic structures and teamwork, the New Way of Working represents a great challenge. In such cases, the New Way of Working may only appear to have limited ap- plications. It would cause the organizational machine to grind to a halt because fixed workflows and direct, synchronous communications—the basis of the ex- isting organization—will not work if half of the team are busy training in the gym or out playing with their children, while the other half are sitting at their desks in the office waiting for the latest updates to documents or answers to their e-mails. The New Way of Working, working independently of time and place, is impossible without a new form of collaboration. Globalization Ultimately, the phenomenon of (technological) globalization is just “plain and simple.” Modern communications technology is making the world increasingly smaller, and it is now possible to collaborate with people from all around the world as if they were colleagues in the next room. The world will however con- tinue to turn on its axis, and many people will still prefer to work in the daytime rather than at night. Time zones are a reality and will present an obstacle to intensive functional collaboration among team members living all around the world. To function well, these teams will have to remain geographically limited in terms of location or, in any event, involve individuals whose work days at least partially overlap. Than mechanical means of collaboration inherent to bureauc- racy and teamwork are interlinked and make collaboration “any time, any place” impossible. By redefining the entrenched practices of functional collaboration (shifting the focus from e-mail to wiki), a “2.0” platform will break down this barrier. Start here 17
  17. 17. The limits of the spider model In a bureaucratic organization, a manager reorganizes and delegates by commanding and adjusting “from top-down.” Like a spider in its web, he pulls on the various strands. Instructions are developed at the top of the command structure and then issued to and refined by those at lower levels, until they are implemented at the lowest level. This is known as centralized control. Knowledge and skills are standardized and described in terms of procedures and functions. The standard manner of thinking and acting that belongs to the structure can be characterized using the key terms “standardization,” “top-down” and “central.” Since noise and distortion inevitably occur during propagation, top-down is an inefficient manner to manage large groups. In a significant number of cases, use of centralized manage- ment techniques is even impossible. Imagine a situation when a school of sardines has to dodge a hungry barracuda and the head sardine has to wait until: (1) all the information being collected by the guard sardines has been received, (2) it can form a good idea of the current positions of all the sardines in danger, (3) it can come up with a course of action for each individual sardine in a school of thousands, (4) it can distribute a series of instructions over a network of manager sardines and team- leaders in order to have each member of the school move to the right position at the right time. The larger the group gets, the greater the proportional requirement of control and communications and, correspondingly, the greater the inertia of the system. The result is that it is less likely that the system will work The situation is not much different for organizations. Since the larger the or- ganization, the greater the distortion in both time (delay) and in content (misin- terpretation), companies are divided into departments with a certain degree of autonomy and independent management. Although larger groups—the company as a whole without considering the organizational structure—have special qual- ities that we would like to use (as we will see in this book), we will have to leave these qualities unused unless we at least define a good method of aggregating their talent without again compartmentalizing the constituent group and unwit- tingly re-instituting segregation. Central management (“management 1.0”), such as it exists in a hierarchical or- ganization, is also very limiting in the ways that it deals with inspired individuals. The same holds true for creative individuals or other types of exceptional persons. This limitation exists because an anomalous individual displays behavior or talent that is difficult to control centrally and can never be included in a job description. 18 from crowd to Community
  18. 18. Especially in strongly hierarchical organizations, people are almost never employed at their full potential. Often, use is only made of the standard, predictable portion of the behavior of every individual. Of course, this is partly a deliberate choice in order to ensure that no one is made irreplaceable. Centrally managed organizations are furthermore limited by the capabilities and capacities of management; after all, the weakest link determines the strength of the entire chain. Centrally managed organizations are vulnerable as well; if a level in the hierarchy breaks down, the underlying levels are also put out of ac- tion and will remain inoperable until measures are taken at the center(?). The limits of the machine model In a bureaucratic organization, everything is formalized as much as possible. The organization runs as a well-oiled machine and, although that may sound ideal, it represents substantial obstacle to several types of increased effi- ciency and effectiveness. In a machine, everything is synchronous, running in a predetermined rhythm. Components are directly linked with each other. As the pistons of the engine go up and down, the crankshaft turns around at a correspond- ing rate. And the rhythm of the valves has to be correspondingly adjusted. All the parts are connected to each other by rods and cables. If just one part of the machine decides to go its own way, the entire group performance is put in danger. The ma- chine is certainly predictable and its performance is repeatable. But the machine is also inflexible and vulnerable. Your organization is such a machine. What might happen if the components now begin to work independently of each other? What would occur if half of the employees would rather go train in the gym every morn- ing while the other half was hard at work? What if team members were spread around the world? What if large groups of people had to work together? And what would happen if customers had to work together with your employees? How useful would “collaboration 1.0” continue to be? The machine would then break down. Direct person-to-person communications would then become useless. This machine model is inapplicable to more circumstances than you might likely suspect, or at least it performs below par under such conditions. Start here 19
  19. 19. Symptoms of maladjustment The world is changing and, to an increasing degree, our current or- ganizational models are “out of sync” with this new world. The standard bureauc- racy-based model for organizations appears to have arrived at the end of its tenabil- ity. Symptoms of aging are clearly visible in nearly every larger organization. • The freely and unlimitedly scalable collaboration that is so matter-of-course in Web 2.0 is nearly impossible to implement in organizations. • Adjusting and even promptly reacting to external factors becomes more dif- ficult the larger and/or more “efficient “ that a company becomes. Large com- panies are certainly proverbial supertankers. • The New Way of Working turns out not to work; performing work in any location is certainly well within the control of modern technology; but doing it at any time remains impossible because the synchronicity of workflows makes workers sequentially dependent on each other. • It is impossible to optimize all the processes in a company; there are always misplaced and under-performing areas, and increased control and bpi is only counter-productive in such cases. • It has proven impossible to use all the available employee talent, simply because the company is based on a series of standardized functions and processes (i.e. based on averages). This is certainly a difficulty, and appears more like a deep failure than a repair- able deficiency. How can a model that has been so successful over the last 100- 150 years all of a sudden reach the end of its line? And still more important, do such large and, at first sight, varied problems have a fundamental solution? To answer the first question, we must go back to the source of the machine bureau- cratic model. In 1911, Frederick Taylor published his book The Principles of Scientific Management, which describes how industrial processes can be made more effective and efficient by standardization and application of scientific prin- ciples. Later, Henry Ford adopted these principles for a still more efficient mod- el of mass production or industry. His methods were universally imitated. The world has since changed enormously, but the inheritance from Taylor and Ford still has a dominant presence in our modern society. For modern knowledge work, the industrial model is far from being the ideal. Where workers previ- ously had to go to factories at agreed times in order to physically work together 20 from crowd to Community
  20. 20. to produce physical products that moved along a production line, knowledge can be based on entirely different models, simply because it is now easier to send the information to the workers than to transport workers to the information. The internet has made bureaucracy obsolete for knowledge work. The above- mentioned symptoms are the result of the industrial model applied to knowledge work in a transformed society. The machine model is out-dated; a new model is required. And it is also certainly possible! Take the example of the collaboration among ants, bees or termites, or else the example of Web 2.0. All are totally dif- ferent kinds of cooperation compared to our bureaucratic ways. The crowd in every organization Increasingly more companies recognize the above-mentioned symp- toms and have therefore the desire—if (although?) perhaps still not so clearly formulated—to view their company not just as an organizational structure and to govern it top-down, but also as a crowd, almost an organism. Crowd-based or- ganizations are now being conceived as a large group of independently thinking, self-willed and creative people. But how do you control such a crowd? When the school of sardines begins to evade the barracuda, which of the sardines is respon- sible for coordinating this action? None of them, of course! Crowds are not di- rectly controlled. Crowds behave entirely differently from hierarchies: enter “man- agement 2.0”! Millions of years of trial and error have led nature to adopt a decentralized approach for the coordination of large groups (crowds). It is easy to imagine that Mother Nature originally tried to control all her creations but, at a given moment, 10 billion biting mosquitoes and 30 million thieving thrushes began to think differently: they began to be motivated desires to “take a look,” “find out for oneself.” And with one mighty gesture, Mother Nature created “Nature 2.0”. Now, people are certainly no sardines, by which we mean to say that individual people are not sardines. But when a large group of organizations are brought to- gether, a collection of people suspiciously displays many similarities to a group of sardines. In fact, there are many points of comparison between a crowd of sardines and a crowd of people. Start here 21
  21. 21. Functional in comparison to social To get the most out of large companies requires not just centralized management and administration but also a decentralized mechanism. Every company has, in addition to its “hierarchical” structure, employees in their “organic” relationship: the crowd. What is necessary is a series of pointers to guide the crowd’s direction of movement and to ensure that this organic side of the organization supports its business objectives and complements the hierarchical structure of the or- ganization. The characteristics of the crowd, the instruments of controlling the crowd and the associated social-cultural phenomena, this is what we identify as “2.0.” Key Values: “facilitating” (passive), “organic” and “decentralized”. Crowd control Who might have previously thought that you could entice consumers to buy things they didn’t need? All sorts of new gadgets, new car models that are not fundamentally different or better than previous ones, expensive clothing and meaningless playthings. How gullible must such a consumer actually be? Before Edward Bernays began trying out “crowd psychology” (a specialism developed by such notables as his uncle Sigmund Freud) by testing it on “the masses,” people only bought the products that they needed. They only replaced things that were worn out. Buying was purely functional, a view that is hardly conceivable to us nowadays. Modern consumerism only began, however, to develop around 1910–1920. It grew out of the desire of large corporations to sell more by encouraging people to make more frequent purchases of newer and increasingly less expensive items. 22 from crowd to Community
  22. 22. Prior to this period, we lived in a different world. In the present, we are living in what we might label “the century of the self3.” Although we might think that we buy something on our own accord, nothing is further from the truth. The mechanism responsible for compelling us to buy, called public relations or marketing, has now been refined to such an omnipresent extent that many psychologists are now won- dering out loud if free choice truly exists any longer. We buy new stuff that we actually don’t need and replace old things before they are worn out. Preferably, we acquire brands that attract attention to us and give us a certain desired social stand- ing. Rationality and utility no longer have hardly any role in this process. Social / peer pressure has become the most dominant motivation behind our purchases. This change has not occurred by accident; it has been deliberately engineered based on a clearly formulated theory and represents a pure form of crowd control, as it only really works when applied to crowds. Indirectly manipulating crowds, crowd control, is extreme: extremely powerful. And people in groups turn out to be equally extreme: extremely weak. Freud, the thinker behind the theoretical formulation, died an unhappy man with a great deal of contempt for humanity. Web designers cannot yet incorporate such an extensive degree of control in their social websites. In this respect, they are per- haps still living in the age of the 1910s and 20s. The architects of the new gen- eration of super malls will, however, provide this capacity in the sales platforms that they are developing for their clients. These will also be specially designed and constructed social platforms. New ways of working together The key to getting large groups of independent individuals to cooper- ate, the trick that Mother Nature has come up with, is a special way of working together that was not available to us humans until the arrival of Web 2.0 and is almost never used in our companies. At least, it has not been consciously used. A certain supportive platform is required for this special way of working together. Actually, we don’t want to say anything more at this point, as the relevant stories in the book are much too entertaining to have the ending given away here. Still, this new way of working together is so simple and, at the same time, so powerful that the absence of its large scale application in business is, in fact, very strange. It 3 http://zaplog.nl/zaplog/article/adam_curtis_the_century_of_the_self Start here 23
  23. 23. will be an eye-opener for many, as it was for us as well. It is also extremely compat- ible with existing bureaucratic methods of working. We are, in fact, assuming that your organization makes use of the “traditional” way of managing and collaborating. For the time being, it will suffice to state that there are still many opportunities to arrange for employees to work together in a smarter, more efficient but also more pleasurable manner. Such approaches would provide them with more variety and options in their work, as well as give them more freedom of choice regarding their working hours and workplaces. This new way is what we identify as “social,” and an organization making use of the social sphere engulfing it is what we call “an intelligent organization.” “The organization formerly known as Enterprise 2.0.” The Mintzberg hierarchy made explicit using TeamPark Big bang or evolution? It is a misconception to think that “social” immediately and always represents an enormous change in an organization. Even at the present moment, there are many social elements in your organization that we only need to make evident in order to bring them to their full maturity. Fortunately, most communica- tions in your company do not occur by means of the organizational structure but through indirect and more informal channels. If you were to record who people were emailing, calling, smsing or sending im messages, and if you were to plot all this connections on a graph, you would produce a diagram that we shall label the 24 from crowd to Community
  24. 24. social graph of your organization. The xobni tool is a fine example of a technology that performs such analysis. xobni records the email sent and received in an ms- Outlook environment. It provides a ranking of a user’s favorite colleagues or peers. At present, the backbone of your organization is formed by a social structure that you have probably never diagrammed or analyzed. Let alone that you should have designed or even conceived of it. It is an organic structure that has grown by itself and continuously refreshes and improves itself. How social can it be? To put it even more strongly, if you were to seek out the people who form the “heavy” nodes in the network, then you would find “new workers.” And these are people who are already accustomed to operating in the different way of working together. Social dimensions made evident Between social networks to the wisdom of the crowd, there are many degrees of social to which we should all devote some reflection. There is a great deal of room to grow, but such growth can begin simply, starting on the basis of the existing organization. The Intelligent Organization and TeamPark The employees of your organization can provide even greater perform- ances if they are organized into communities instead of teams and if they learn to Start here 25
  25. 25. cooperate in an entirely different manner. What this shift in organizational focus requires is, above all, a special platform. In this respect, you might think in terms of software such as MySpace, Facebook or Ning. This type of social software is very effective in forming communities and making use of crowd power. It can be used in what we are calling the “intelligent organization.” Reforming an organization into an intelligent organization is not just a question of making a social platform available to it. It has to go through a necessary proc- ess in order to have the changes accepted and embraced. Sogeti has developed TeamPark in order to provide the organization with a thriving social side. Team- Park is a method for navigating the transition process to the social organiza- tion. Crucial in this regard is the use made of a social platform. Software does not just become “social” but requires certain ingredients, which must also be available in the right proportions. Every social platform has its own “social” character. It may, for example, be content dominant and stimulate the crowd to make con- tributions in the form of written articles, photos, videos and forum discussions, to name just a few. Or a social platform may be relationship dominant, stimulat- ing people to contact each other and network. A good platform is “S.O.C.I.A.L.” 26 from crowd to Community
  26. 26. Playing or working? Texts about social platforms within the organization quickly give man- agement the impression that they are primarily concerned with entertaining em- ployees, who are expensive and must therefore continue to work billable and pro- ductive hours right up to the last minute. The accounts in this book might also paint a similar picture of a band that has cut loose and now has to be left alone “because work has to be performed in a bottom-up and organic manner.” In effect, it is dif- ficult to imagine that a company’s Facebook might make anything more than an occasionally useful contribution. It is not immediately discernible how uploading clips or getting people to post stories about their holidays might contribute to more efficient business operations. Examples like Wikipedia perhaps generate somewhat more trust, but what then? At the same time, the fear that such applications are only “played” with is equal- ly ungrounded. Of course, the launching of blogging facilities will not mean that people who, normally speaking, find it difficult to write Christmas cards once a year will all of a sudden begin filling up their personal weblog with literary mas- terpieces on a daily basis. Nor is it likely that people will suddenly start to discuss their hobbies and passions with their co-workers instead of their friends. People who find it all too difficult to decide what they will eat for dinner will not, all at once, transform into masses of enlightened visionaries and, instead of performing their daily tasks, will not abruptly become individuals exclusively devoted to earth-shattering innovation. Certainly not! The social sphere of an organization does not work like that. What social factors can, in fact, do is add a dimension to your organization that enables employees to select more varied work, more flexible working hours and a greater range of locations. The result is an organization that operates much more flexibly and efficiently. The people working in an intelligent organization will, in principle, perform the same tasks and produce exactly the same products, but they will accomplish these goals in a different manner. In general, one that is smarter, more efficient and less boring. And this new way of working is some- thing that is impossible to implement in a purely bureaucratic organization with- out a loss of productivity. One is social and the other is not. “Corporate social,” the primary subject of this book, is something substantially different from “open social.” It is entirely different “out there” then it is “in here,” inside the company walls. We will certainly use open social examples as illustrations, but corporate Start here 27
  27. 27. social is ultimately an entirely different ball of wax from open social. The need- ed and, in fact, already existing ingredient is a specific way to abandon the limitations of the current organization, a way to combine the advantages of self- organizing collaboration with the existing methods of working together. We have been busy trying to optimize our organizations over and over again for decades. Process optimization, business intelligence, kpis, the whole shebang. A good social platform can be the next big step in this parade. As boring as it sounds, social, when qualifying organization, refers to nothing more or less than a new way of working together in which normal work is still accomplished, although it is performed differently. The new way is superior to usual practices in some processes, but not in all. 28 from crowd to Community
  28. 28. Notes Start here 29
  29. 29. 2 Vive la Revolution! On March 14, 2004, everything was finally ready ...Everyone who was anyone in the internet world was in attendance at Caesars Palace Hotel in Las Vegas. For months, people had been months squab- bling over who should speak, the advertisements to be allowed and the broadcast- ers covering the event. The introduction of the new Internet—currently still in beta but already nicknamed Web 2.0—promised to be one of the biggest ever events in the recent history of the computer industry. No self-respecting it company could afford to pass this one up. The ceos of Microsoft, Google and Oracle wasted no opportunity in demonizing each other. Google rewrote all the Microsoft indexes in their search engine to refer to those from Sun, causing serious overload of the web servers there. Apple felt some- what lost among all this pr power, moti- vating Steve Jobs to release a special sa- tirical mash-up of the media war on iTunes and to develop a clever media campaign. With great success! The viral he created in which Steve Ballmer gave a speech against the background scenery of the film Planet of the Apes brought the house down and continues to be a hit on YouTube. It was outright war. Some column- Vive la Revolution! 31
  30. 30. ists were even suggesting that the stage for the upcoming event should be re-built into a boxing ring. Caesars Palace is after all a regular venue for the largest and most prestigious boxing matches in the world. It was there that Muhammad Ali chose to first introduce the world to the famous Ali-shuffle. It was also there that a mordacious Mike Tyson bit off a clearly discernible chunk of opponent Ivander Holyfield’s ear. And then, after receiving a warning and being booed, coolly also tried to similarly incise the other ear. The Web 2.0 launch almost had to be delayed as well. On the morning of the event, a recalcitrant Larry Ellison, capo di tutti capi of Oracle. “moored” his 110 meter long yacht in the Hotel’s outdoor swimming pool. The yacht blocked the main entrance to the hotel so that the organization had to switch to using rear entrances, which many of the speakers and guests initially refused to do. They all had hired the biggest limousines, purchased specially-tailored new suits and gathered a number of representative women around them. And then there was the press, the red carpet, everything that goes with it. Larry’s gesture had upset everyone’s plans. He and his group could easily enter through the main entrance, of course. The yacht, on which there was exuberant partying all day long, could simply lower its gangway, which reached, completely “by chance” of course, right up to the large revolving doors of the hotel’s main entrance. Even today, it is still unknown how the yacht was moved to this precise location with- out being noticed. The yacht’s trip home was a media spectacle in itself. All this publicity had its positive effect: it made sure that the new Web 2.0 received the attention it deserved. Web 2.0 has recently also developed its own conspiracy theory, as the very peo- ple involved in the development of Web 2.0 began one by one to disappear over the ensuring months, never to be seen again. The few clues that have surfaced in the case are still not understood. Notes were left at the scene of each of the mys- terious disappearances with the words: Lontar Illustrum Natrmm Ustst Xem- plaros. Only recently has this text been identified as ancient Sumerian for “In- ternet deserves a stable platform.” The other evidence left behind, a plush penguin, still puzzles investigators. 32 from crowd to Community
  31. 31. The new web The internet has been transformed. The new internet, called Web 2.0, its ubiquity and the enormity of its social impact are without doubt imposing a parallel transformation on the entire world. It is changing the way in which com- panies approach their markets. It is changing the way in which companies operate. It is changing the way in which people organize their social lives. It is changing the way in which people collaborate. Large groups of people turn out to possess enormous creativity and energy, and Web 2.0 is proving to be a perfect means for tapping this resource. The so-called 2.0 sites are still springing up from the ground like mush- rooms, and there is even a “2.0” jargon/style that is emerging. This new language is even apparent in the very naming of sites: flickr, plaxo, youtube, xanga, twit- ter, zopa, fleck, wakoopa, flock. When we recently had to think about a domain name, “fleedr” was one of the suggestions. No idea what it might mean, but the domain was still available and “sounded so 2.0.” Well it may just be that the depletion of “normal” domain names originally started this trend out of necessity, but appar- ently there is still such a thing as “the right 2.0 memes.” Not just names, but also the layouts of those sites have a 2.0 feel: purely functional, simple and colorful. They have large buttons, bulky logos, clear menus and many social features. All the trends and technologies that we lump together under the heading “Web 2.0” were obviously not all launched on March 14, 2004 as an official new release of the internet. There was never a release of Web 2.0; it is the result of years of gradual evolution. The internet is an ecosystem in itself, a fairly extensive one at that, where changes are constantly rolling off the assembly line in the form of ever more innovative web techniques and new types of websites. Through a kind of natural selection, the most successful technologies, the most powerful memes, survive and become the foundation for new developments. After 10 to 15 years of evolution, something was noticeably created, something that now, in retrospect, has come to be called Web 2.0. We are going to look in detail at this development and will also come up with a workable definition of it. Hanging out and living online Huge numbers of people use the new web, but mainly just to hang out on so-called social sites. Pure social sites like MySpace and Facebook are among the largest websites in their respective languages. This is a rather strange phenom- enon, because the only thing people do on these websites is socialize. They create Vive la Revolution! 33
  32. 32. accounts and reveal who they are using photos, profiles, blogs and a circle of friends. They send each other messages and join groups. Evidently, there is a great demand for such activity, as nearly 3,000 (three thousand!) servers for the Dutch Hyves (our own Facebook) are moaning and groaning under the weight of pages that a few million active members visit and especially show to each other. The crowd is appar- ently unaffected by the fact that it often crashes for too long periods of time and will not always do what you want. On the new web, you do everything online, not just searching information and socializing. If you want to share your thoughts with others, you can do that us- ing a weblog or blog. Answers to pressing questions are to be found on a forum. Capturing and sharing knowledge can be performed together on a wiki. Wiki- pedia is the largest encyclopedia in the world and is compiled by people from around the world. These people have never met and do not know each other. They nevertheless produce a valuable resource, as the quality of Wikipedia is no less than that of the famous Encyclopedia Britannica. You can report activities or news by “twittering” mobile short messages so that everyone subscribing to the ticker-like message flow can then see what you are doing or what is going on. You can keep track of your agenda and daily concerns on sites like Plaxo. Emailing is done entirely online, using Gmail or Hotmail. You make friends on Facebook. You directly place your holiday snaps on Flickr using your mobile phone and link them to Google Earth, so others can view what you all saw. Transgressive, sneaky or just nice clips (especially of others) are directly up- loaded to YouTube from your mobile phone. Before too long, everyone will be able to look around the 360 degree panoramic view of our collected images us- ing Microsoft Photosynth. All our holiday snapshots together form a virtual world in which we can walk around and look around, the images automatically “stitched together” into a virtual world by the Photosynth software. All to- gether, we build our own world after based on a “paraverse,” a virtual universe based on reality. An example is the virtual world of Google based on Google Earth. Microsoft’s announcement that Photosynth would be able to the same trick with real-time video caused a shock wave. Real-time video from various sources can be mixed into a new video stream with a more comprehensive and panoramic image, as well as greater detail. Even including moments when we cough and forget to cover our mouths. 34 from crowd to Community
  33. 33. And there is no editor or director involved. Neither Wikipedia nor Flickr, neither YouTube nor Facebook and not even Photosynth have editors to provide “con- tent.” Visitors to the site do it themselves, based on themselves, simply because it is fun and cool, and the facilities are available! We are the media The news media are also undergoing transformation. News is more and more “social” and “user-generated.” It is becoming social because we now are broad- casting “the best news” to each other. This news is user-generated because we are “collecting” and publishing increasingly more of it ourselves, instead of relying on a specialized editor or agency. The phenomenon of social news sites is relatively new, but the last time we looked, digg.com had a larger audience than the cnn website. On digg, everyone can post “link dumps” to articles on the web that they believe to be important or interesting. A link dump is a brief description of an article with an associated link. Others may vote on the news and, a deliberately undemocratic algorithm is then used to determine the news that appears on the front page (often not every vote has the same weight, democracy on the internet being a bad idea because it almost always ends in a dictatorship of the majority, or the death of quality). Articles given headlines, are guaranteed to receive well over ten thousand views in a few hours and often the linked sites crash because of the overwhelming attention. This effect is called slash-dotting,4 named after one very big “nerdy” it website with so many visitors that if all of them are alerted to an- other website by a link on the front page, the other site immediately crashes due to an overload. It is easy to see the type of news that, in general, makes the headlines on such sites and incites mass public participation. In the Netherlands, the largest news site nu.nl has its own social variant nujij, and the news that there appears, stands in stark contrast to the news that appears on nu. While nu, like any new com- mercial news provider, must remain in tune with the interests of advertisers, large corporations and politicians (probably in that order), nujij initially displayed much rawer, more honest and more authentic news. The difference was so great, so ad unfriendly that nujij have begun to manipulate things behind the scenes 4 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slashdot_effect Vive la Revolution! 35
  34. 34. in a very unsocial manner because they ultimately just want to make money from the ostensibly “social” site. nujij was the first social news site in the Netherlands affiliated with a major commercial news service, and it is not inconceivable that other large traditional news sites will subsequently think twice before they consider making such fa- cilities available to their readers. Be that as it may, social news will continue to change politics and society; that much is for sure. Less and less news is coming from major news agencies like ap, Reuters and anp, and more and more from the crowd itself. And since, at any given time, someone, somewhere in the world is experiencing the daily news as it happens, the crowd is everywhere. No news agency service can beat it in this respect. Video and pictures taken at the locations where news happens are, one hour later, distributed worldwide through com- munities and blogs. Aggressors, freedom fighters, victims, bystanders, and others have discovered video platforms like Liveleak and can use their cell phones to share their views with the world. This content is not always pleasant to see but nevertheless real. It will only be a few years before mainstream audiences view live streams broadcast from cell phones, and that will unleash a complete revo- lution in news gathering. There are no longer any technical problems preventing television programs from being created online by mixing together broadcasts from multiple sources.5 Similarly, it is quite conceivable that, in the very near future, Twitter streams will be used to provide live images with commentary and explanation by the crowd. The customer is part of the company. It will take time to become accustomed to all these changes. Large companies have to contend with customers that have a large impact on internal operations. The customer is a member of a community, and that community will gives otherwise anonymous consumers a hugh influence. Individual customers can now have companies such as Nike bow before them, a nice anecdote about this later. The customer is now willing and able to collaborate, especially regarding public services. Customers now possess more creativity than the best innovation departments or advertising agencies. In addition, they already most likely possess the best knowledge about the product, as well as about the demand for the product. 5 http://mogulus.com 36 from crowd to Community
  35. 35. When cbs television discontinued the Jericho series in May 2007, fans of the series began to send nuts to cbs in large numbers, thus referring to an event in the last episode that aired: “nuts!” Within three weeks, cbs received 8 million nuts, weigh- ing a total of over 18,000 pounds. Nina Tassler, ceo of cbs, decided to create seven episodes and broadcast them in the same year.6 The crowd is powerful, and smart companies, (i.e. “2.0” companies) try to make use of the crowd. Amazon, the largest book and music store in the world, has its Mechanical Turk. Visitors to Amazon can make money by answering questions from other Amazon customers. Amazon moderates the exchange. As yet, such crowdsourcing only involves simple tasks that computers perform with extreme difficulty but that people find incredibly easy. Amazon provides a small fee for anyone who performs such a “hit” (Human Intelligence Task) as writing a re- view, or identifying and selecting objects in photos. Dell has its ideastorm.com and tries to use it to better satisfy customer require- ments. Ideastorm is a kind of electronic suggestion box. Anyone can propose a product improvement in one of Dell’s products, on which others can then vote. Some ideas have received more than 100,000 votes, such as removing pre-installed Windows Vista from laptops or providing the option to choose pre-installed Open Office instead of Microsoft Office. Dell has promised the community that it will actually adopt many good ideas as possible. “Post,” “Promote,” “Discuss” and “See”! Often a customer’s requirement is, unfortunately, in conflict with the objective of the company. A popular idea was to have all laptops work with a standard power adapter and cable. The response from Dell was very honest, stating that they would never do that because they earn a great deal of money from selling the adapters, and the whole point is that a new adapter must be bought for each model.7 TomTom spends a great deal on the creation of good road maps, but even the best maps have errors. even if only temporarily due to road maintenance or temporary diversions. Instead of entirely re-mapping the road network on a daily basis, TomTom give users the opportunity to report errors and corrections that TomTom then distributes to the rest of the TomTom community, with or without checking their accuracy. The advantage for users is that they may even 6 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0805663/trivia 7 http://www.ideastorm.com/article/show/73529/Standardize_Power_Cables_for_Laptops Vive la Revolution! 37
  36. 36. occasionally benefit from the updates of others, and the benefit for TomTom is of course still more apparent: a more reliable set of route directions from a neg- ligibly more expensive product. In two years, YouTube has grown into what is perhaps one of the largest media companies in the world, at least in terms of audience. During July 2007, YouTube had more than 410 million page views in the Netherlands alone. It registers more than 200 million unique visitors per month worldwide, each remaining on the site an average of 28 minutes. At present, the data traffic on YouTube is as large as all the traffic on the entire Internet in 2000. Although these figures are ex- tremely difficult to verify and change every month, it is nevertheless clear to everyone that YouTube is a significant player in the new media world. It is not unusual for a clip on YouTube to be viewed 500,000 times within a few days. The “Evolution of Dance” clip has now been watched more than 60 million times, and the clip’s performer has become a celebrity on “normal” tv. Broad- casters are hiring him based on his YouTube success. And all this is happening without him or YouTube having to make any marketing effort. A similar thing happened to Esmee Denters, the singer that started her carreer on Youtube with a little help from Justin Timberlake. What distinguishes this activity is that YouTube does not have to produce any of its own content. We make every video that it shows. Us, we, ourselves. Producer and consumer at the same time More and more peer-to-peer services are popping up: services that enable visitors to collaborate with each other. Typical of such phenomena are the online auction sites on which internet users make deals with each other instead of going to a “store.” eBay is well-known to all of us. In addition to selling our old 38 from crowd to Community
  37. 37. washing machines or cameras, we can now use similar concepts to borrow money from each other, as well as cover each other’s insurance risks. Peer-to-peer banks are gradually beginning to become more popular. At Zopa, the average interest rate on loans is often more than one percent lower than the cheapest rates offered by most commercial banks under much more favorable ancillary terms. A peer-to-peer bank has the additional advantage over modern commercial credit institutions of always having coverage for sav- ings, so that a bank run is impossible. Unlike banks based on the fractional reserve banking system (as in the case of all currently-existing commercial banks), they do not cause inflation. It is not inconceivable that peer-to-peer banks or large websites might, in the future, introduce their own currencies. Savings-point sys- tems such as Air Miles or the Linden dollar in Second Life are intermediate forms. After “normal” radar detectors were banned, new types of detectors began to appear. Any user driving through a speed trap signals its location with a press of a button, and the network automatically evaluates and distributes the informa- tion to all other users. Users are now warning each other about “speed traps,” and it will be very difficult to prohibit this technology. Social technology A new trend coinciding with the emergence of social computing in- volves the far-reaching convergence of so-called smart mobile devices. Everyone has now heard of the smartphone, which are nothing more or less than small laptops. The technological and functional structure is exactly the same, with only slightly less power while nevertheless having more capabilities. A smartphone is a laptop plus all the connectivity required for Internet access and networking. Plus a “shit Vive la Revolution! 39
  38. 38. load” of sensors such as gps, accelerometers, compass and ambient light level meters. In the near future, these features may even extend to pressure, temperature, field gages, sonar, laser range finders, and biometric sensors. Or even a built-in camera with infrared and ultraviolet imagery. Some smart phones run the Android operat- ing system (itself the result of crowdsourcing, as it is based on some open-source Linux software). For many people, futuristic-sounding features such as augmented reality and gps tracking have been available for years. It is now possible for any clever programmer to build software for the most advanced personal-computing platform in existence and, as a result, have instant access to what are ultimately billions of devices and users. This development has thrown the entire industry into an accelerating onrush of changes and, along with consumers, everyone is trying hard to keep up. The trend that we refer to as convergence is discernibly characterized by the fact that smartphones like the Nokia E72, the Google Nexus, the Sony-Ericsson Xperia-10 or the iPhone 3gs increasingly serve as the basis for virtually all the personal electronics that we gather around ourselves. New cameras will essen- tially become smartphones, having the same generic software and the same con- nectivity but with a more highly developed specific function in terms of its opti- cal elements. Every picture that is created is automatically uploaded to a server, or e-mailed, or sent via Bluetooth or Wifi. The photographer can install special software filters in a processing pipeline that the camera applies in real-time to any picture taken. A television will also essentially become a smartphone, again with the same generic software and the same connectivity. It will be a smartphone with a huge screen, connected to all other surrounding smart electronics. It is not difficult to imagine that any type of navigational device, car radio, camcorder, media player, pda and many other electronics will take part in such a social computing grid. The ways in which viewing television will change have already been demon- strated. Modern tvs are designed as so-called dlna / uPnP media streamers, which means they can take content from any media server in the network, no matter if that network be local or global. And if the television set does not have this functionality itself, the consumer can buy a box that can operate as a media streamer for less than the price of a cinema evening for the whole family. Connect and its ready! If appropriately configured, all reachable media servers on the local network or accessible over the internet are automatically detected. A media 40 from crowd to Community
  39. 39. server is itself free, it is freely available software. By installing tversity, Vuze or Twonky on the pc or soon also on the smartphone, the television can be used to view content from YouTube or other online media content stored on the device or network. A media server unlocks all the content to which it has access on the media streamer. And if the media server has access to the internet and large amounts of local content, watching television quickly assumes a very great new pleasure. It may be confusing, but there is no reason not to think that a camera or cam- corder may also serve as a media server and streamer, so you can easily add your own content to the “cloud.” Many of these media servers are also social. For example, Vuze, originally known as the Azureus torrent client (for peer-to-peer downloading of content from the incredible PirateBay site, among others) has evolved into a social media server. This means that you can share content with friends, “rate” it or recommend it to others. A television network will no longer determine what you watch but, increasingly, it will be your social network that helps you make up your mind. And how wonderful is that? You will have some- thing to talk about the next day when you contact each other using the chatbox oh no! This chatbox was already available while watching tv. Everything is so confusing. The same goes for almost everything for which you can use smart electronics. If you like cycling, you can now use Google-maps to share your performance and routes with your friends or strangers in real-time. You can even challenge others to complete the same route in better overall time. The phone in your backpack records your position, your speed, perhaps even your biometric data like heart rate and power output, and shares all this information instantaneously with your social network, your coach or your fans. Nokia phones are already offering something similar called the SportsTracker and are able to connect to Polar heartrate monitors. Watch where you are currently riding live on Google Earth! The implications for business are perhaps not readily discernible, but it seems obvious that centralized models will disappear. This will affect every supplier and every business. New business models will be devised, and everything will have to change with them. Companies must be designed so that they can quick- ly change along with their environments. Rigid top-down management systems Vive la Revolution! 41
  40. 40. imposed on an equally rigid value-chain will be detrimental. The first signs are already evident. A convulsive entertainment industry is trying desperately to have a ban placed on decentralized distribution models such as the one used by Pi- rateBay in order to patch up leaky copyright laws. On the one hand, they are right, but on the other their stance seems grounded in sand. In any event, it is a lost cause. The new worker Web 2.0 places the main emphasis on the customer or “visitor.” This is a person outside the company, even though the external limits of a business are becoming increasingly more difficult to draw (as noted above). Many 2.0 companies are merely organizational frameworks that, as befits Web 2.0, crowd-source all their work. In this regard, we might almost forget that customers or visitors, who are also employees somewhere, would also like to reap the benefits of Web 2.0 in their own companies and work. On Web 2.0, they may collaborate with people who they do not know, who live all around the world, and who maintain completely different work-life rhythms and lifestyles. And they can do this without making prior ap- pointments and coordinating activities and agendas all day long. How different is that from their regular work, where collaboration is limited throughout the day by formalized processes (excessively) strict work flows, direct / synchronous commu- nications and enormous overloads, primarily in email. These are clear symptoms of an ill-used and excessively intricate bureaucracy. For some reason, people must repeatedly climb into their cars every morning and drive to pre-arranged locations in order to work together. Such activity is becoming increasingly infeasible because of the huge traffic jams and the currently snarled rail schedules. New workers want to work anywhere and anytime, at times and locations of their own choosing, and, although a whole bunch of new technology is available, this new way of working, as Microsoft calls it, has not really gotten off the ground. New workers also note the illogic that prevents them from accessing the social networks made up of their friends and acquaintances outside the company when they are at work. Old companies are still building concrete and virtual walls to shield themselves from the new world. 42 from crowd to Community
  41. 41. Notes Vive la Revolution! 43
  42. 42. 44 from crowd to Community
  43. 43. 3 Web 2.0 No matter if its emergence is a revolution or an evolution (for the time being, let’s call it an evolution), Web 2.0 is having a huge social impact that will only grow in its significance. Conceptually, Web 2.0 can be described in various ways. Each concept can be characterized in terms of a triad: the name or identifica- tion of the concept, its characteristics8 and the collections of things being identified by the concept.9 It can be described by listing its properties (what biologists would call its phenotype10) or by enumerating the instantiations of the concept (what biologists would likely call its population). Later in the book, we will identify the properties of the Web 2.0 but below we will begin by just briefly surveying the landscape and describing what we see. We will thus map out the extension of the 2.0 concept. There is never only one viewpoint but usually multiple perspectives and often various filters providing additional information. An overall picture is created by combining these elements, appearances and views. Ross Dawson’s blog11 contains some beautiful “landscapes” of which we are showing two examples. Each divi- sion, each figure is as arbitrary as the next, but each one provides additional insights. For example, the figure below makes distinction in terms of the content that users supply, the filters that Web 2.0 sites use to segregate the most useful 8 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intensional_definition 9 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extension_%28semantics%29 10 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phenotype 11 http://www.rossdawsonblog.com/weblog/archives/2008/08/four_great_visu.html Web 2.0 45
  44. 44. content from noise and the tools provided to convert the filtered content into usable end products. The Web 2.0 landscape Figure (cc) Vincezo Cosenza / www.vincos.it An entirely different view is also possible, for example by concentrating on the conversation element. The result might then look as follows. 46 from crowd to Community
  45. 45. The conversation element of Web 2.0 Figure (cc) Brian Solis / www.theconversationprism.com You can experience Web 2.0 “in the flesh” by visiting various social websites. Use this figure to examine how you experience Web 2.0. Web 2.0 47
  46. 46. Social websites and social media Web 2.0 is very diverse; it is an ecosystem in the most literal sense of the word, constantly evolving. Some cristallized “concepts” have been formed in the course of this evolution—call them means of communication—each time recurring in the same basic form. The specific forms of these communication tools are strong- ly linked to certain recurrent communication needs of large communities. At this point, it would be valuable to briefly introduce a few of them. For the time being, we will limit ourselves to well-known media that are primarily concerned with content (e.g. texts, videos, photos, audio). There are of course numerous others, and some that are not just content-oriented. They include buddy lists, chat box- es, tag clouds and many others, but the foundations of any community are, in our opinion, based on the following. 48 from crowd to Community
  47. 47. The Weblog Weblogs have perhaps been the engine of the Web 2.0 revolution. They “push” ideas, opinions and other messages such as news to the public. A weblog is a website on which brief posts are made with great regularity and high frequency, generally presented in inverse chronological order (latest on top). Visitors can then respond to the reports. A weblog is a typical one-to-many communication medium. The author of a story determines the subject and the way he or she wants to com- municate any message, and the community can then respond to this input. The possibility of responding provides the basis for conversations and has a communi- ty-building effect. Wikipedia describes a weblog as follows: A blog (a contraction of the term “web log”)[1] is a type of website, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descrip- tions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. “Blog” can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog. Many blogs pro- vide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, Web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability of readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs. Most blogs are primarily textual, although some focus on art (Art blog), photographs (photoblog), videos (Video blogging), music (mp3 blog), and audio (podcasting). Microblogging is another type of blogging, featuring very short posts. As of December 2007, blog search engine Tech- norati was tracking more than 112,000,000 blogs. Large blogs are powerful opinion makers. Many “virals” originate their epi- demic on such a blog. Starting a blog is very easy. There are many possibilities, one of which involves using Blogger. Anyone can use Blogger, the weblog service from Google, to promptly start his or her own weblog in a few minutes. Web 2.0 49
  48. 48. With a little more trouble, standard open source software like Wordpress and Drupal is easy to use in order to design a personal weblog that can, if necessary, grow into a full-featured social site. Forum Besides weblogs, forums are proven means of communication that we run across in more or less the same form at many places on the Web. A discussion forum is precisely what its name suggests, a place where anyone can initiate a new discus- sion, to which everyone else can then respond. Forums have a recognizable format and a simple layout. There is usually a main page displaying the topic lists for each category. It also exhibits the current dis- cussion topics, with the most recent responses shown first. Clicking a given discussion topic opens the relevant “forum thread” where all comments can be seen and responses added. Many companies that value the opinions of their own customers now have a forum on which complaints, suggestions and questions can be posted. The advantage of such a freely accessible forum is that it provides a place where visitors, along with company employees, can respond to questions and complaints. The activity on a forum can therefore also be used to keep a finger on customer demands. 50 from crowd to Community
  49. 49. The Wiki A wiki is a communication medium that is exceptionally well-suited for collaboratively documenting events, processes, functionality and anything else that can be described, without someone coordinating the activity. The technology is such that many people can edit the “wikified”document while, at the same time, collaboratining on the writing of it. Wikis are, rightly or wrongly, seen as the panacea of the intelligent organization. Often the two are mentioned in the same sentence as if they were Siamese twins. Just as in the case of a forum, anyone can start an article. Unlike a forum, others are not expected to comment on the topic in separate responses, but to incorporate comments and responses in the article by revising and hopefully improving the original text. A wiki can be regarded as a kind of encyclopedia that everyone creates and maintains. But it is also a means for many people to work on a document at the same time, without the usual circulation of the latest versions by email. The best known wiki is Wikipedia, which is intended as a vehicle on which “store all the knowledge in the world.” The software that Wikipedia runs on, Media- Wiki, is available to everyone and is free and open source. In a corporate environment, a Wiki is ideal for collectively producing documents and for storing knowledge, and increasingly more companies are also using wikis to have anonymous visitors work on the documentation for their own products. After installation of the MediaWiki software, each company begins its own en- cyclopedia of knowledge, geared to its specific field of interest. The marketplace A marketplace is an auction or mediating facility in which the supply and demand of services or goods can be brought together. Many marketplaces have the form of an auction, but the actual format may depend on the type of goods and services involved. Anyone can offer goods or services, and everyone is allowed to bid or respond. In principle, the offers appear in inverse chronological order on the front page. Often the front page of an auction site is, like a forum, divided into categories. Offers that have found takers disappear from the marketplace. The most famous auction site in the world is eBay, which is also one of the largest websites in the world. In the Netherlands, the best known auction sites are marktplaats.nl and speurders.nl. Web 2.0 51
  50. 50. Somewhat inexplicably, there is a rather slender selection of standard / open-source auction software, and no comparable communication media can be found in the corporate collaboration suites produced by ibm or Microsoft, for example. The media library Everyone knows YouTube. YouTube has now become a complete social platform, although it was initially started as a rather pure media center. It origi- nally offered users a means to store their video in a manner that made it very easy to reuse on other websites, and nothing more was intended. There was a communal front page and the opportunity to vote on items, but that was it. A straightforward library, lacking any social capabilities, in which video, photos and audio can be easily stored is just as much a communication medium as a blog, a forum or a wiki. Just like these media, it is a building block for more comprehensive websites. Video footage to be used in other parts of the site, such as blogs and wikis, can be stored in the library and then subsequently made available to other, external websites from there. Most commonly, this is done by ‘embedding’ such media on a website as if it is an integral part of that site, while the content is actually stored and run from the media-library. YouTube video is the best known internet video library and Flickr.com. the best known library for photography. The first integrated media libraries for audio, video, photos, documents and slide shows are starting to enter the mainstream (e.g. divshare.com). Any items that a user stores in such libraries (e.g. YouTube video) can be “embedded” into other websites, These types of mass storage web- sites can be simply and indiscernibly incorporated in individual websites so that the user’s of the individual websites can access the material without knowing it and without requiring website owners to develop their own systems for provid- ing the material. 52 from crowd to Community
  51. 51. Social link dump or social bookmarking A link dump is a facility by means of which community members can share their bookmarks, possibly including a brief description of the content in ques- tion. Actually, this element was initially the original weblog, but blogs have now evolved into sites that place great emphasis on self-written articles, leaving space for the reintroduction of whatis now known as a link dump. Link dumps have become very popular, especially in combination with what has been labeled social voting, such as it occurs on the aforementioned digg.com and nujij.nl. In such cases, users evaluate the articles and construct a hierarchy of items. A purer form of a link dump is the immense del.icio.us The corporate use of link dumps holds great promise. The various divisions of a company, such as the innovation department, a group of product developers or a marketing team, can continuously share the most interesting bookmarks and keep each other abreast of new developments and trends. Any social voting mechanism then ensures that the most interesting items are given proper consid- eration for the site’s front page focusing what is called the wisdom of the crowd on this subject matter. Web 2.0 53
  52. 52. Such a practice would result in a system that includes both bi (business intelli- gence) and ci (competitive intelligence) and that can be used for knowledge sharing in addition to the company’s wikis, for example. There is a small quantity of good open source software for social bookmarking like drigg,12 the digg clone for the Drupal cms. News aggregation Websites can automatically “broadcast” new articles or recent changes to other sites, or to special news readers (a kind of email-like program that collects news from websites) who have subscribed to the website’s news service or ‘feed’ as it is actually called. The mechanism behind it is called Really Simple Syndication (rss). Strangely enough, rss has never truly broken through13 but has nevertheless now become a piece of solid mainstream technology. Every modern website broad- casts rss information through its “news feeds.” A news aggregator is a website or application that displays the news from many other websites in reverse chronological order, possibly allowing opportunities for commentary. Users subscribe the aggregator to various news feeds from other websites, and every time there is a new article posted on these sites, an intro to it automatically appears on the aggregator. It is, in effect, an automated link dump. It is a communications tool that provides content without requiring editorial intervention. Again, a social voting mechanism can be used to select only the most interesting news for archiving. Like the link dump, it is a very useful com- munications medium in a corporate environment. Oddly enough, there are very few ready-to-use “server-side” news aggregators available and support for this functionality is rather meager in most cmss. Still, there are many client-side systems, such as Google Reader and Feedly. And they are, of course, socially oriented. Interesting news can be shared on social networks. 12 http://www.drigg-code.org/ 13 http://www.marketingfacts.nl/berichten/20061005_rss_een_sleeping_beauty/ 54 from crowd to Community
  53. 53. The activity stream Twittering is one of the latest social crazes. It is sometimes called mi- cro blogging. At the moment, nobody knows exactly what Twitter is actually very useful for, and various uses are being made of the service. News services use it to help spread the news by means of yet another channel, afraid as they are of missing the boat at the launch of a new technology (the same thing that motivated them to adopt rss feeds, a far better technology for that purpose). Celebrities twitter to let everyone know what they are doing, how cool they are and just to collect as many friends as possible. Online reputation is now mainly a matter of having a very large social network, not necessarily a very useful one. Most people use it for a combina- tion of everything, sometimes to enable their network to share in their own lives, sometimes to alert the network to something nice. Ultimately, it should become clear that Twitter may be used to leave a stream of signals on which to float a new kind of collaboration, a topic to which we will devote an entire chapter of this book. There are many other types of social software capable of maintaining an activ- ity stream, and able to perform this function much more effectively. Twitter is currently an unstoppable fad, but if we look at the much larger Facebook, we see the same potential, though much more integrated and far more targeted. At the moment, Yammer has become relatively popular in our company. An activity stream is a list of activities, ranging from the banal to the surprising, that gives the people in your social network the feeling that they are in contact with you and you with them, without the need for direct communications. You are keeping in touch: that is what the communication medium seems to imply. And it works! Later in this book, we will describe how this seemingly superficial media has garnered interest in the corporate environment, as it unexpectedly has more added value in business than it does in the private sphere. The activity streams in personal private networks, are mainly filled by people with narcissist and exhibitionist bents the “see-me people.” Web 2.0 55
  54. 54. Notes 56 from crowd to Community
  55. 55. 4 The “Crowd” In the previous chapter we made a sort of detour through the accoutre- ments of the new web, surveyed several different sites and discussed some of the more firmly established communications tools. Under closer scrutiny, all the men- tioned sites and communication tools appear to have one thing in common… ...this collective feature is perhaps the most important part of the whole Web 2.0 phenomenon and the cornerstone of the social organization that we are going to “build” in this book. In each case, it is up to the users of these sites to furnish the added value. This way of having a crowd help you in your work is called crowdsourcing: outsourc- ing to an anonymous crowd. Perhaps the best example of crowdsourcing concerns the involvement of the crowd, in the development of open source software. The open source community has repeatedly demonstrated how large groups of peo- ple who do not know each other can still collaborate on software that ulti- mately has better quality than the best commercial products. No matter how the advantages of Web 2.0 are categorized or which features are mentioned as most useful, it is always the crowd element that all Web 2.0 shares in common. Apparently a crowd has become so very useful that everybody wants to have one of their own. The “Crowd” 57
  56. 56. The Ron Paul revolution One of the finest examples that illustrates the power of a crowd took place around the most recent presidential election in the United States. In January 2008, the campaigns of the various U.S. presidential candidates were running at full strength. The candidates of both the Democratic and the Republican Parties were doing their best to convince the American people that they would make the best President. Most candidates on both the Democratic and Republican sides had al- ready fallen away, so the battle was to be decided by two Democrats (Hillary Clin- ton and Barak Obama) and three Republicans ( John McCain, Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul). The crowd-control of Edward Bernays is not understood by anyone as well as industrial lobbyists and their media companies. In broadcasts around the presi- dential election, all media-expressions were full of subliminal signals. Every ques- tion asked by an interviewer or anchor was full of suggestion; no setting was randomly selected, no background was just a backdrop. Powerful symbolism in support of one candidate and distractive loser-symbolism aimed at “undesired” opponents were incorporated everywhere. Media experts saw it on almost all the channels, not just fox, but cnn and other stations around the world that received their material from one of the major news agencies. The average view- er had little chance under such an enormous onslaught of propaganda that was aimed at them without them being aware of it. Yet, a force appeared on the scene during this election whose power could compete with these highly-polished pr machines. It was a crowd, a disorganized group of people who did not know each other. There was a presidential candidate with the best intentions and one that had always acted according to them throughout the terms that he was gov- ernor. He was against aggressive foreign policy and against military interventions or operations abroad. He understood that the dollar was collapsing because the financial system was malfunctioning and that money not backed by gold com- bined with mega-inflation would be ruinous. He was for a “single” gold standard for money and against the Federal Reserve. He was also against big government 58 from crowd to Community
  57. 57. and direct taxation such as income tax. He supported gay marriage and had qualified views about abortion, having brought more than 4,000 babies into the world as a doctor. This man was for personal freedom as long as it was not at- tained at the expense of others and spoke capably on this subject. His name was Ron Paul, and although the corporate-owned mainstream media did its level best never to mention his name, this neglect began at some point to become increasingly more difficult. A portion of the American people paid at- tention to Ron Paul’s views and became his enthusiastic supporters. His support remained absolutely massive and, at one point, enabled him to raise nearly as much money as the top candidates. While Obama, Clinton and McCain obtained their millions in large contributions mediated by well-paid lobbyists, Ron Paul’s funding was simply in the form of small donations from citizens, soldiers and veterans. Not industry but people gave tens of millions to Ron Paul! Ron Paul won almost all the sms and online polls. Ron Paul was also regarded as the win- ner of all the debates—although such evaluations are admittedly somewhat sub- jective. He won because he stuck firmly to the constitution, and America has an extremely good and thoughtful constitution. To argue with Ron Paul is to find oneself arguing with the constitution and the founding fathers. You can do it, but of course you don’t want to. It was perhaps for this reason that he was not invited to the large national tel- evision debates preceding the primaries. However, there are tens of thousands of Ron Paul fan clips on YouTube, many more than the other candidates; his name invariably appeared among terms like “iPhone” and “Britney Spears” in the tag- clouds of large social websites. Ron Paul had his own gigantic advertising blimp, helicopters flew his banners around the country and people placed signs bearing his name throughout America. At one point, in November 2007, Ron Paul spontaneously suddenly attracted so much money (4.5 million, then a record), that anonymous online supporters organized a second “money bomb” on December 16, 2007. Prior to the event, his supporters were already calling it the Ron Paul Tea Party in analogy to the Boston Tea Party of December 16, 1773, which is seen as the beginning of the American Revolution. Proceeds from the day were more than 6 million dollars, a new record that could not escape mention on cnn. This man was and is ex- The “Crowd” 59
  58. 58. tremely popular, and yet very few have even heard of him. Isn’t that peculiar? Ask the editors of your newspaper how this could be possible. Much more unusual and particularly relevant in the context of this book is the fact that neither Ron Paul nor his campaign team organized any of these activi- ties. He did not make or pay for any of the thousands of spontaneous Ron Paul fan clips that he used in his campaign. Nor did he organize or fund any of the many spontaneous demonstrations, meetings and fund-raising events all around the world, from Asia to Europe, from Canada to Argentina! Even the huge blimp flying over the country was not something that he arranged or paid for himself. The only thing that Ron Paul did himself was to deliver an honest and clear message with mass appeal. Internet users are therefore purely and solely the ones that organized spontaneously and en masse; they were the driving force behind Ron Paul’s campaign! Isn’t that peculiar? A spontaneous initiative that was not managed by anyone, organized itself and developed the potential of becoming something acting as a counterweight to the greatest pr forces in the Amercian political arena, if only for the time being. It revealed the true power of the crowd. If the primaries and elections were held on the internet, Ron Paul would undoubtedly have become President. The only thing that Ron Paul yet has to do, is provide an explicit platform on which the “Ron Paul community” could emerge. For the first time in American history, this community would be a genuinely democratic political party. Bottom- up and organically grown, and consequently with its ideals penetrating deep into the roots of the organization. We are all ants With all the technology and all the websites and means of communi- cation such as wikis, forums and blogs, all of which we just reviewed, it is always the added value of the crowd that is at stake. Social software and all other Web 2.0 communication tools are primarily means of facilitating crowdsourcing. Set up the right facilities, ensure a pleasant climate, establish the right ecosystem and let the crowd loose there. Almost immediately, people show an ability to work together and turn out very fine, cool and useful things. And this occurs almost without direc- 60 from crowd to Community

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