Friday, September 12, 2008

Trends toward Traditions

Networked Individualism and the Implications for Organisations

According to Barry Wellman’s “Little Boxes, Glocalization, and Networked Individualism” the
whole notion of interrelationships, networks, and the role and place of the
individual has been steadily morphing from the traditional neighborhood-based
networks to one of “networked individualism.”

For example, in agrarian societies an individual’s network was bound by
their neighborhood and the distance they could travel on foot. As
innovations in transportation and communication took place, distance became less
and less of a consideration, and people were able to expand their relationships
and networks to include others farther and farther away. This enabled a
shift away from a locality-based focal point to one where the needs or
objectives of the individual dictated the focus.

We are no longer bound by geography but by time as if it were a geographical limitation. Time either unites or divides us in the global community. Traditional form can overcome the time barrier by working with it rather than against it. The current forms are working against the natural limitations of time. I'm going to cover this in greater detail in future postings.

I want to promote a trend back to traditional community based in a time zone neighborhood. This is the best approach for organizing very large communities that are small-club based. We can see a refreshing invigoration of traditional form and a return to known meanings of terms such as "member" and "community". Online community can then become self-propagating with millions of members organized toward a unified purpose.

The most urgent need we have now is to get back to democratic organizational form.


  1. Hello Artie, can you tell me a little more about 'democratic organizational form' - what do you mean by that? And I am not sure I understand why you say there will be a trend back to traditional forms of communities - are there not online communities working like that now?

    thanks for that, Sarah

  2. Hello Sarah,

    I am using the word "form" in the singular but also i use it in the plural. "Traditional democratic form" is the whole package of organizational forms that were handed down from Neanderthals and CroMagnons down to the Romans and Greeks and can be found all over the globe in many variations. So I am not speaking of one and only one form but many democratic forms and their variations.

    I am advocating an ongoing community effort to experiment with these proven forms, to investigate how they work and their many applications, to practice them together on a regular basis.

    I am not using a narrow interpretation and I believe that practicing these many forms will not be restricting, but will result in much greater freedom of expression. I believe that the demotion of democratic form has resulted in a very restricted environment on the Internet.


  3. Why do I think that there will be a trend back to traditional form? Because it creates new unexplored effects. there is always a movement toward "progress" in society followed by a back-to-the-roots movement.

    I want to get the wheels in motion for a back-to-basics approach.

    If there are communities now that practice traditional communication arts, I have not seen them, or when I did see them, they were very distorted in their ways.

  4. This is no time to talk about old television sitcoms, Sarah.



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The ordinal discussion arts lead us into coherent group building and groups become the building blocks of communities.

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