Sunday, December 14, 2008

Effective in Aggregate

As I continue my slow read through Here Comes Everybody (I am reading many other things at the same time which is my downfall), I think I have found the crux of social media. I am sure everyone already realizes this, but I figure I will mention it anyway. Shirky comments that most people don't get active about a cause because it takes a lot of effort and the actions of one are tough to see in the face of a much more powerful force. The old way was to try to convince the folks who cared a little bit to care more. But now with social media, the barriers to join in are so low that people can be effective in aggregate.
Having a handful of highly motivated people and a mass of barely motivated ones used to be a recipe for frustration... Now the highly motivated people can create a context more easily in which the barely motivated people can be effective without having to become active themselves.

The key here is that there still needs to be highly motivated people. If you are an association starting a social network, you still need champions to get it started and keep it going. The inactive masses may get active, but need a model to follow.