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Posts Tagged ‘online communities

I love this image.

Spied on WIRED by Josh McHugh. By the Swiss graphic designer Martin Woodtli. The image accompanies a story on Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson’s forth-coming book, The Superorganism. Given the color and intensity of the image, my first thought was that this WIRED story was specifically about art, a new technology, or music (something visually or tangibly creative). So I was a bit intrigued to read that it was about evolution and the idea of ‘superorganisms’, which, until five minutes ago, I’d never heard of. In a previous book also by Wilson and also Bert Hölldobler, The Ants, it is explored whether “large groups of animals [could] function together as a single entity with distributed intelligence? Did evolution work through such groups, selecting at the group level rather than the individual?”

Aside from sparking controversy and conversation in the biological world, it got web geeks and thinkers talking.

“Cybervisionaries saw in the superorganism an ideal way of describing the networked global brain that they were just beginning to imagine…Wired‘s Kevin Kelly drew on Wilson’s theories for the conceptual framework of the Hive Mind, humanity’s emerging cognitive interconnectedness. Even today, Kelly is writing about the One Machine and the Technium, a neologism he defines as “a superorganism of technology.”

This brings to mind the communication ‘processes’ and power of social networking communities when working as an entity across and outside of the web. Thoughts? I need to read up more on this idea…

Oh yeah. And now maybe I see relevancy of this colorful image. It sort-of symbolizes many (different) strands merging (converging?) into a single mass.

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Though it’s been out for a while, I only just saw Blood Diamond the other night. I was watching with a friend and I mentioned Camp Okutta, which I wrote about in a previous post. For some reason I didn’t expect Blood Diamond to be so graphic, but what was I expecting, given the film’s plot. I’m actually easily affected by visual experiences – movies, (some) commercials, art, theater, etc. so not surprisingly, something inside me stirred when I saw the child soldiers in action. Whenever I see movies with social messages, especially when they’re based on specific world issues and force one to question what’s happening to humanity, I ask myself, ‘but what can I do? what could I do besides give money?’ and then I usually forget about the movie and my questions soon after thinking about those issues.

n18706979456_6198.jpgA month or so ago I joined Planning For Good, and more recently Planning For Good – Minneapolis as a volunteer planner. Planning For Good is made up of strategic thinkers (account planners, strategists, etc.) who want to help solve real problems for non-profit causes. In the past few weeks numerous individual groups specific to various cities have sprung up on Facebook. The goal is for each city to meet collectively and share thoughts and ideas for briefs and then eventually everyone puts their ideas into the ‘idea vat’. I’m curious to see what future briefs/organizations we’ll be helping. Unfortunately, I missed the UNICEF briefing/meeting, but I’ll be sure to attend the next one.

I’m discovering Facebook is a growing platform for not only connecting with friends, but for finding like-minded people who want to do more than just chat and say hello. Though I joined a while ago, I’ve only lately become more active on FB. There are a lot of silly groups on FB (I’m probably in a few) but there are obviously some worth joining. To any planner (especially junior, or student), I encourage exploring such groups and joining Planning For Good. Interestingly, in the past two days, I’ve had two senior planners suggest I join, though I’d already done so a while back. So I’m just passing the message on. Cheers!

One mysterious Ann (no email, no profile) has set up the beginnings of a story in the hopes of publishing it and donating the profits to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Write a Sentence to Help Save Lives was thought up by Ann, who starts the story off with one sentence and invites anyone to add their own sentence in the comment page. I immediately jumped to the most recent comment and thought about adding something from there, but decided to read from the beginning. For the most part, contributors seem very intelligent and creative. Also very passionate. (a few don’t take the task too seriously).

I was surprised to find myself so engaged in the story, as we learned the characters’ names, location, backstory of their dreamed up connection, and so on. The creator of the blog/story leaves no information on herself, so we don’t know where she is. Many contributors are in the Middle East. I’m in MN and found the link to Ann’s blog off of Facebook. Hussein Dajani, brand planner at J.Walter Thompson, posted it in the IPA Strategy Group group, of which I belong. How did he hear of this community-created story?

To date, there are about 100 posts, some of them containing contributor information (name, city, etc). Some seem to be repeat contributors. I wonder what percentage got involved because they believe in the cause, and what percentage wanted to join to simply be a part of this global storytelling project? I admire Ann’s idea and the cause, but I was drawn to contributing because I wanted to help create the story. I’ll have to come back closer to December to see how it’s evolved.


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