Collective Mind of a Web Community


If you like science fiction, then you have probably read Frank Herbert’s Hellstrom’s Hive. The main idea in this book is human experimentation with a hive like social structure. The potential of a hive like society is specialization, increased productivity, optimization of research investments, etc. The down side is the loss of individuality and freedom of choice.

The generation C is a community driven generation. Web communities show some hive like qualities, which given communities almost a life of their own. The leap from web 1.0 to 2.0 was a phenomena of the networked generation. The leap from web 2.0 to 3.0 will be a phenomena of the community driven generation. Communities are becoming more "intelligent" through awareness. Situational awareness is a form of communal intelligence that has tremendous application in content filtering. Through our actions as members we help to shape the "persona" of the community, not just to the world around us, but also for ourselves. Dynamic adaptive communities have a higher degree of inherent participation and stickiness. They are also more relevant.

I would state that MySpace, Youtube and Facebook are web 2.0 phenomena. Without awareness they are "dumb" relying on traditional filtering mechanisms making them less relevant. Even if we look at some of the more established Facebook groups, I would have a hard time saying what the community stands for and if it has an opinion. Over time the members will adopt new views and adapt, but the groups original purpose and vision often stays. A next generation community however is built on a dynamic intelligent platform and it will adapt in real time based on the changing habits and views of its members.

Does an intelligent dynamic community have hive like properties? Is there a resemblance of a collective mind and does the formation of such collective minds pose a problem to marketers and politicians? Could an intelligent dynamic web community model itself based on the open source model? Grow virally and be totally self funded without commercial influences, while being maintained by benevolent guardians.

What effect will such communities have on the spread of consumer advocacy and even democracy? What would be the impact of society and social behavior in general?

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