Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I try to define Internet Collective Action

I got the notion of Internet collective action from my study of Project Chanology. This was a group of the network known as Anonymous who decided to protest the Church of Scientology.  I spent about 6 months writing a paper on them.  Clay Shirky's book "Here Comes Everybody" was especially helpful to me.  In that book he lists levels of working together.  The easiest is sharing, which is like putting up a photo on  Next is cooperation, which is like me selling something on ebay; you win the bid, I send you the item.  Finally, collective action requires distribution of responsibility, coordination, planning.
So here is an attempt to somewhat codify what my blog is about.  Internet Collective Action is a loose-knit network of people communicating principally via the Internet who choose to accomplish a simple goal together.  This network has the following features:

* It is non-hierarchical.  There is no center. 
* Membership is open.
* The degree and length of participation is up to the individual.
* Decision making is done by open argument and consensus.
* The action lives close to chaos.
* When the goal is accomplished, the network dissolves.
* Their formation is difficult to predict.

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