Monday, June 11, 2007

Participate (please!) and Share (please!)

Online Crowds are the elementary components, the infrastructure of New Flatland's business processes. Without the Crowds being online the world remains pretty much round; the short tail remains dominant; marketing has to go through traditional, cumbersome, not-fast-enough channels. It is, therefore, in the deepest interest of all global business2.0 companies that we all become Digital Sobjects, always-on virtual entities that can participate in the business processes of the participation economy.

The concept of Crowds, as demonstrated in The birth of a crowds nation, refers to a collection of unrelated, unbiased, pressure-free individuals. Therefore, the very basic services offered by New Flatland's Corporations are Crowd Creation Services [cc services], which are all having YOU! – the lonely rider, the free-thinking individual – as their target. You! must get converted into the Virtual first, if New Flatland's business processes are about to suck you! into their intestines.

Each one of those Crowds Creation services trade a certain portion of your Identity for a Web2.0 service (have a look at my post The Desert of the Real (Digital Sobjects, part II) for a great map of cc Services by Fred Cavazza). You might be familiar already with the latest hot Crowds Creation service by the name Twitter, used by its subscribers to tell their friends (and the entire world) about their current whereabouts, current deeds etc. It's always fun to see how those who are fighting for their physical-world privacy are willingly and eagerly disclosing any personal fa{c|r}t whenever it comes to the virtual-world, as if the later is not real.

Having said all that, it is not difficult to see how Dave Winer's "Participate", originally a call for involvement by us, pressure-free individuals, in hope to change things around, has been confiscated by New Flatland and became the slogan drawing more and more individuals into New Flatland's ecosystem. Under this perspective, the Time's "You!" [You! Being the man/woman of the year] is nothing but a bait.

You can tell it's a bait, because almost all web2.0 Crowds Creation services are pleading that you'd make one more step, one more "residual" action besides joining their services, and that is to share your data.

Participate (please!) and Share! (please!)

Click to see full size image

There's nothing wrong with sharing your data with friends or the public. Actually, it's almost genetically impossible not to do so once the possibility exists. Nevertheless, it should be understood that Sharing is what transforms an individual into a group-member, a pressure-full component, a formidable and almost helpless recipient of sales pitches and marketing ideas that work mostly on our subconsciousness.

No land in New Flatland should remain private! MySpace? why not! but only as long as it's shared with friends. Real private estates stop the circulation of marketing viruses; they maintain an environment where pressure-free individuals can exist – and that's certainly not helpful for New Flatland's revenue stream.

All New Flatland's Global Corporates benefit, even if indirectly, from Crowds Creation services as they allow for better reputation, better personalization, better higher-level services which are dependent on us being online. In a way, the long tail of web2.0 startups is being [ab]used here for this purpose of building New Flatland's infrastructure, i.e. bringing the crowds online. Those endless web2.0 startups get the dimes of Google's advertising network and a share in the dream of eternal wealth, but for all practical purposes they are nothing but workers in the service of the Hive Queens.

In the next post I'll discuss higher-level business models, such as Crowd Brokerage and Crowd Sourcing. Stay tuned, if you wish.


Nothing in what I say should imply that what we see is deliberately constructed so by certain companies or individuals. No company nor individual can bring forth such an amazing matrix. I do feel, though, that there's something in the essence of "doing business" - be it the Capital itself, or any other substance - that creates and evolves this network and assigns certain roles to providers and consumers alike. No company is deliberately evil.

This is the 3rd post in the Crowds' series: The birth of a crowds nation, New Flatland, Participate (please!) and Share (please!), Smile! You've just been CrowdSourced


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