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Origins of online communities - An American influence for the 21st century


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I've taken the time, at last, to put in slides my theory about social media. It's not about technology, it's about a deeper change in our world, one that makes communities, online or not, rise. In a nutshell, I think we've been evolving for the past 250 years from a society of individuals to a society of communities, a motion led by the US, and with 1620, the Mayflower and the Pilgrim Fathers as a starting point.

In this set of slides, I go through the American and French revolution, and the way they help to understand how identities are on the rise everywhere, and how they fit into communities. Internet is more an output of this trend, and a catalyzer, as it gives so many possible channels and interactions possible for any identity (gender, sexuality, race, religion, hobby, work…) to express.

You can also read the summary of my article on my blog


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Origins of online communities - An American influence for the 21st century

  1. 1. Origins  of  online  communi/es   An  American  influence  for  the  21st  century  
  2. 2. Intro   Online  communi6es.  Wait  –  what??   Rise  of  the  communi/es,  even  more  with  Internet,  even  more  with  social  media     Back  to  the  Future,  and  to  the  French  and  American  revolu/ons  
  3. 3. USA   Community  as  a  poli/cal  engine   1620:  Pilgrim  Fathers  flee  England  to  live  freely  their  religion     1700-­‐2000:  waves  of  immigrants  (German,  Poles,  Italian,  La/nos…)     =>  “E  Pluribus  Unum”:  community  +  pluralism   mayflower  
  4. 4. USA   1960s:  communi/es  strike  back   Revolu/on  of  the  iden/ty:  from  the  “mel/ng  pot”  to  the  “Salad  bowl”     Blacks,  queers,  women,  hippies,  veteran  soldiers…     Public  space  as  a  patchwork  of  specific  rights  linked  to  iden//es  
  5. 5. USA   Even  capitalism  can’t  compete   Capitalism  =  homo  economicus  =  neutral  moral  strategy  in  a  society  of  individuals     Community  =  people  with  a  meaning  and  a  choice  in  their  ac/ons  
  6. 6. France   Rousseau  and  the  Republic:  equality  rules   1789:  Revolu/on.  1792:  End  of  the   monarchy,  enters  1st  Republic  (now   5th)     Republican  moao:  “One  and   unspliaable”  (no  more  local,   religious,  country-­‐based  iden//es     Theory:  a  federa/on  is  the  siege  of   chaos.  Let’s  do  “one  na/on”  
  7. 7. France   Na/on  vs.  the  rest  of  the  world(s)   No  recogni/on  of  anything  that  can  be  an  alterna/ve  power  or  culture     Body  poli/c  as  “unanimous”,  speaking  for  the  “general  interest”     Individuals,  to  enter  public  space,  leave  behind  their  iden//es.  
  8. 8. France   Building  a  na/onal  community   Napoleon:  state  law,  state  schools  “Centrale”,  “Normale”     Religion  always  wrong  (s/ll  true  in  2000s:  riots,  veil,  gheao)     One  fear:  an  atomized  public  space  with  enclosed  communi/es  &  rules  
  9. 9. Internet   A  community  for  research   Recogni/on  of  rights  fits  into  technology  (which  allows  scaaered  iden//es  to   voice,  gather,  work  together)     First  “internet”  by  DARPA  for  Universi/es:  free,  collabora/ve,  community-­‐based     FR:  state-­‐owned,  protected  telegraph.  US:  given  to  companies,  open  for  stock   exchange  (Reuters)  
  10. 10. Internet   The  WELL,  the  first  “online  community”  (1985)   Whole  Earth  ‘Lectronic  Link:  a  bulle/ng  board  becoming  a  “online  community”     An  online  community  is  a  community  that  forms  on  the  internet.  A  community  is  a   group  of  people  interac6ng,  sharing,  and  working  toward  a  common  goal     =>  The  embodiment  of  the  poli/cal  and  cultural  matrix  of  the  US  
  11. 11. Internet   When  users  take  to  the  power   Starbucks,  Gap,  Malabar  (France)  can’t  change  their  logos   mayflower  
  12. 12. Internet   When  users  take  to  the  power   Poli/cal  par/es  can’t  live  without  (Obama,  “No”  to  European  Cons/tu/on  in   2005,  Cons/tu/on  of  Island)   mayflower  
  13. 13. Internet   When  users  take  to  the  power   And  causes  manage  to  leverage  huge  user  base  through  social  media  (Nestlé  v.   Kit-­‐Kat,  Kony  2012)  
  14. 14. The  community     So  what  is  a  community   Shared  interest  (beyond  digital)     Network  of  presence  (not  a  single  site)     A  will  for  poli/cal  or  commercial   recogni/on     Ability  to  produce  collec/vely  goods   (content,  opinion…)  
  15. 15. The  community   Who  is  part  of  the  community   Not  everyone  is  equal  (lurkers  vs.  “ac/ve  minority”  or  1-­‐9-­‐90)     Rewards  for  the  best  (moderator,  admin,  perks)     People  with  different  levels  of  par/cipa/on  (like,  star,  rate,  comment,  post,   manage…)  
  16. 16. The  community   What  is  the  community  doing?   Crowdfunding,  from  Kickstarter  top  projects  to  poli/cal  project  (JOBS  Act)  
  17. 17. The  community   What  is  the  community  doing?   Research  &  Development:  Dell  Ideastorm  (18K  projects,  700K  votes,  500   products),  Starbucks  myIdeas  
  18. 18. The  community   What  is  the  community  doing?   Human  resources  management:  We  are  Sephora  on  Facebook  (32k  fans),  BNP   Paribas  backstage  (FR:  2  800  members,  2  500  comments)…  
  19. 19. The  community   What  is  the  community  doing?   CRM/Social  CRM:  from  Numericable  (FR)  savings  to  Nestlé’s  “social  media   room”  (to  ease  shareholders?)    
  20. 20. The  community   What  is  the  community  doing?   Going  from  the  industrial  age:  hierarchy,  produc/vity,  mono-­‐tasking…     To  the  the  network  economy:  flexibility,  project-­‐based,  horizontal…  
  21. 21. Coming  next   A  world  without  states,  replaced  by  communi/es   Individual  empowerment:     •  No  more  borders,  rise  of   immigra/on  (Costa  Rica   10%,  Ireland  14%,  Botswana   4%,  Singapore  30%)   •  No  more  families  (single   household  5-­‐10%  in  Africa,   APAC,  Middle-­‐East  and  Lat.   Am,  30+%  in  Europe,  US   •  No  more  (almost)  religion:   rise  of  atheism   •  No  more  trade  unions   (-­‐20pts  in  the  US  and  France   between  1950  and  1989)  
  22. 22. Coming  next   A  world  without  states,  replaced  by  communi/es   End  of  the  big  guys     •  Travel,  musique,  commerce   all  disrupted  by  new   internet  ventures  (AirBNB,   Uber…)  with  a  community-­‐ based  approach   •  States  are  failing:  too  big,   too  debt-­‐burdened.   Alterna/ve?  Say  hi  to   Blueseed!  
  23. 23. Thanks!       Mar/n  Pasquier,  Agence  Tesla   Mar/     Follow  us  on  Twiaer  @agencetesla