- Mon, April 27 2009
- Filed under: Social Media
I’m here at the Nonprofit Technology Conference at the opening session, where Clay Shirky (author of Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing without Organizations) is speaking. Here are the highlights:
He summed up his book in five words: Group action just got easier. Because of technology.
My take: A theme was the importance of the word “group.” The power of technology is as limited and limitless as the community it supports. New social tools result in real social change when they bring together an impassioned group of people.
He spoke about the Obama campaign being radically different because he was “the first platform candidate.” Once you knew what you felt and wanted to say, you had the freedom and tools to spread the message. The campaign then pointed back to what happened organically – and provided tools to enable others to freely spread their own message.
Lateral conversations are what are so powerful – because they thrive without needing help or permission from the “mothership” organization.
As he says: The loss of control you fear is already in the past. You have to go after the value this environment makes possible! Join the conversation. And do so humbly and modestly.
He urges us not to be afraid of failure as we embrace the changing nature of how things are working. He offers 2 key pieces of advice:
1. Failure = likelihood times cost. A lot of time and energy is spent trying to prevent or mitigate failure. Technology lowers the cost of failure – failure is free - but the only way to take advantage of that attribute is to fail like crazy and do it informatively. Don’t go for one big idea – go for several – and see what works.
2. Scale – get to a large and good system by starting with a small and good system. Don’t try to turn a big bad system into a good one. You need many steps to get to scale and you grow.