Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Alchemy; from stone soup to making reality

A realistic promise, effective tools, and a bargain.
The minimum of ingredients for organizing without an organisation.
That's Clay Shirky's summation in Here comes ever-body.

Seth Godin extends on this in a blog about making things happen. In part this is a concern for the realistic promise; if you start with too much, all at once, you'll fail. He talks of lining up the dominoes.
...pick out tiny dominos ... And topple them. And they do it again. They do it so often they create noise, momentum and most important, a sense of inevitability. That's how you win.

Such writing is also congruent with what Bruno Latour and John Law write of regarding material semiotics and socio-technical assemblages.

What makes for durability is all in the network.
What makes for failure is also.

Paradoxically success cant occur without failure possibilities being built in.

I dont use the art supplies i got for christmas because i dont want to waste them, i need more freedom to move than one canvas affords me.

Shirky talks of making failure cheap if not free.
For change to be possibile, for creativity to occur, there needs to be a possibility for failure, it helps if the cost of failure is cheap, an advantage he identifies both in the development and use of social networking.

For a community organisation, the means of survival depend on the flexibility afforded by the costs of failure being (financially and time resource) cheap. The durability develops from the promise being feasible, doable with the tools at their disposal, and a bargain where the cost of effort appreciates.

Even where the assemblage or network required may seems precarious such as Youthline which is dependent on philanthropy, volunteerism and secondary to fickle ambient conditions from goodwill to sunshine, there is a durability inherent in being flexible.

Fits well with Beth Kanter's blog for supporting nonprofit organisations with social media. Here's a plug for a low cost, cheap to fail, promise of a better place; Help the world suck less :)

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