The participation age

If you didn’t read the whole article in the NY Times about
user-content “by the masses” I mentioned yesterday you missed the following
paragraph:

"We are now entering the participation age,"
Jonathan I. Schwartz, the president and chief operating officer of Sun
Microsystems
, said on Monday at an industry conference in San Francisco.
"The really interesting thing about the network today is that individuals
are starting to participate. The endpoints are starting to inform the
center."

That’s one of the most exciting ideas I’ve seen in a long
time and, I think, a great opportunity for us in the NPO-world. With blogging
the internet turned a corner, and, instead of internet users being
predominantly passive readers or consumers of content, they are becoming
contributors and active participants. With that I think they’re amenable to
more active involvement in the causes that interest them. The great thing about
being a nonprofit with a good cause is that we already have a built-in
constituency and community. It’s time to get very active facilitating the
organization of that community via their medium of choice: the internet.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about how ideas
like “community organization” apply online. I’m still mulling it, but I think
the time to move on it is at hand.

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