Thank you to everyone who could join us for the first-ever TextWORKS: A Clay Shirky Webinar! Your overwhelmingly positive feedback suggests it was extremely well received. For those who want to revisit the insights Clay shared, and/or could not make, we have posted the webinar here for your viewing pleasure.
Before you dig in, I wanted to take the opportunity to share five key thoughts and takeaways from his presentation, many of which found their way on to the Twittersphere, under the #jnets hashtag, thanks to our collective efforts.
1) The capacity of people to use their social capital to achieve social transformation is innate and can, when properly engaged, be activated by various means. (Check out the Clay Shirky/Malcolm Gladwell debate on this topic in Foreign Affairs.)
2) We are in a renewed era of mass political movement, powered by knowledge, enabled by technology but inspired by human passion. The power of networks to challenge institutions is easier than using that power to create institutions.
3) When empowering individuals to leverage their cognitive surplus and respective networks to achieve mission-related goals, it is important to remember that people respond better to concrete invitations than abstract ones. The key challenge (and opportunity) is to develop tangible “invitations to act” in a serial approach that result in the achievement of the more abstract goals of mission and vision.
4) Keeping “crisis-driven” networks connected without a current crisis may be the wrong approach. It is more about building a system of mutual trust and alarm bells, recognizing that a person’s commitment in crisis may be very high, but his/her de-commitment in times without crisis is equally as high.
This approach does not require the larger community members to think of themselves as a committed network, but a flexible one that can be recruited in time of need. If you try to radicalize everybody, you end up alienating most of everybody.
Thinking about crisis-driven networks feels especially relevant as the Susan G. Komen/Planned Parenthood saga continues to unfold.
5) Embrace the power of the crowd and use your members’ cognitive surplus to help your organization/agency. Here are some powerful questions Clay challenged us to think about in this regard:
- If you could ask 10 experts (who don’t work for you) anything, what would it be and why?
- If you could ask 100 of your members one question, what would it be and why?
- If you could ask 1,000 members to spend 10 minutes doing something cumulatively beneficial, what would it be? How about 10,000 for one minute?
- If you could hand over one part of your offering to members, what would it be? How would you do it?
These are just a few of the thoughts and insights that stood out to me. What stood out to you? Please share in the comments below and in the CLSPN NetWORKS Facebook group so we can keep the conversation going!