Iâ€™ve just discovered in an interview that Seth Kahan made with John Seely Brown a very intriguing and fertile perspective on the role blogs may play in the emergence of a conscious social mind. See below. I added the emphasis for highlighting the potential that I sense for social innovation experiments using blogs for Emergence.
â€Notice, also, that blogs can suddenly reach a critical mass that then forces something out into the open, into public consciousness. You might think of it as an analogy to the subconscious vs. the conscious. The formal or conscious part is what todayâ€™s journalism is about, New York Times and so on. But the informal layer, comprising things like blogs, is like our unconscious mind. Itâ€™s not publicly visible. But all kinds of things are happening there.â€
â€œThings get linked together and suddenly there can be enough links (creating a dense mesh of intertextual links) that the underlying â€˜ideaâ€™ breaks through to public consciousness. The recent Trent Lott situation is an excellent example. Initially, the mainstream press didnâ€™t pick up on what he said. It wasnâ€™t in the public consciousness. It was the blogs that identified the issue and got the debate going. It was connected at the subconscious level â€” speaking metaphorically in terms of the social mind. Enough energy was generated, and then it burst forth into the conscious mind and into the formal media.â€
â€œThatâ€™s how you get a phase transition from the unconscious to the conscious. Thatâ€™s how you get a phase transition from within the informal social networks to the public recognition and mainstream media. And we know a lot about the mathematics of this. Networks help us understand what leads to phase transitions.â€