George Stroumboulopoulos & k-os

I watched the Hour episode that aired on Nov 19th. What was interesting about this particular episode was that I was even allowed to watch it. (No one else was home) But also that George discussed the way music is marketed these days after his talk with David Foster. George said that musicians were choosing to release songs and albums over the Internet. In particular he talked about k-os offering free downloads of sections of music tracks, which k-os then encourages users to remix and send back. If k-os likes what you did and decides to use it, he’ll pay you.

Is this a totally cool example of mass collaboration or what?

Wiki Wiki or Get Left Behind

Wikinomics, and the few pages required reading for SOCS300 was thought provoking. Already the margins marked with scribblings, question and exclamation marks.

Tapscott and Williams in their 2006 book, Wikinomics, show us the differences between the old model of economics and the newer models of mass collaboration. Top down management and hierarchies versus community, peering and sharing. A “Do what I say or I’ll smack you” and a “How do you think we can solve this problem?” contradiction. Tapscott and Williams point out that the market place is changing and the change is BIG. While they don’t use the Hadron Collider as an example in their book, the project does provide another picture of mass collaboration. The Hadron Collider project’s shear scope is impossible without the ideas, money and collaboration between multiple countries, scientists, and universities. Get on board, utilize the tools or eat your fear for breakfast.

What fascinates me is the human factor. The theory behind Wikinomics is based on mass collaboration. Not of the type that goes hand in hand with communism where individuality is suppressed, but the kind that wants, respects and values your particular ideas, in order to make the end concept or commodity better. It sounds Utopian. Equality based on your unique experiences and knowledge, not your gender, pigment, country of origin, or level of education.

Meeting together with people from other parts of the globe and sharing ideas will mean that ideas about politics and culture are shared too. Good ideas as well as bad ones can flow in both directions and it’s not like the west has all the good ideas. Or the bad ones.

Importantly we must be careful that we do not remain “westcentric” in our thinking. Case in point, Massively Collaborative Direct Democracy has a web site advocating the exploration of a massively collaborative direct democracy. The problem is that the site is in English only, implying a minimum level of literacy in English. It is on a web site requiring a computer and internet connection. It is “opt-in.” While it may not occur to us in the West, in most parts of the developing world education is still a premium and don’t even talk about the education of girls. I mean have at it, but remember it will not be inclusive, but exclusive.