From networked individualism to “we” blogs

The blogging paradigm is barely 10 years old and its narcistic “beauty contest” tendency can be explained with what Shelley Powers in Tying Communication Threads Togethe compared to “our teen years with our fixation on popularity. S/he with the most links, wins.” Using the faster-learning in “internet time,” we can move into adulthood–tn regard to that phenomenon–without having to wait another 8 oir 10years. Let’s see how.

In Bridges and Bubbles, Gary Lawrence Murphy suggests: “a more efficient strategy may be a second-order goal to cultivate relationships with connected (bridging) individuals to discover what bubbles they know but also to suss out our personal metrics of the qualities of their knowledge; as with sex, quality beats quantity ….”
Collective intelligence that blogs could help emerging is NOT the sum of the group’s individual blog entries, not even with all their comments and trackbacks. CI is conceived in the love that manifests in the quality of our attention, and the generosity of our listening, to each other. It is nurtured by the discovery of a common voice in teams and communities, that doesn’t subsume our individual voices but speaks from the space of the shared mind. Businesses with a public blog interface still can run individual blogs but besides them they may also develop and maintain a “we” blog to engage in conversations with the marketplace with a “we” voice. Not with the inauthentic “we” of business-as-usual corporate PR, but with the “we” of collective self-expression of self-organizing free agents connected by a shared value-creation intent.
“When you listen to somebody else,
whether you like it or not,
what they say becomes part of you …
the common pool is created,
where people begin suspending their own opinions
and listening to other people’s …
At some point people begin recognising that
this common pool is more important than their separate pools”
— David Bohm, physicist
When people do recognize that and begin acting in ways that show it, then and only then, the attraction of a CI culture will start overcoming the weight of milennia spent by individuals, tribes and nations on fighting for scarce resources. There are two kinds of resource scarcity which keep feeding our individualism. One is based on the artificial, man-made scarcity of goods, that exists because “we have enough to meet everyone’s need but not everyone’s greed” (Gandhi).
The other scarcity, a more natural one is the attention scarcity. There’s just not enought attention to invest in everything that we need to if we are to stay on top of state-of-the-art thinking and practice in any field. But even so, “we” bloggers can develop successful practices which will address that challenge. One of them is described in the concepts of “shared-attention” and “attention ecology”. The other one has to do with the collaborative development of “we”-speaking blogs. It can be more than just jointly editing a blog-based company newsletter for the public. It can become a device for discovering the company’s soul, its collective consciousness, what it is and what itwants to be for the world.

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