“The commons is the only genuine alternative today that allows us to build a truly participatory economic production system. The commons can cause a global cultural revolution.” —Yochai Benkler
Starting this blog in 2004 helped me connect with a global audience and share ideas with many people who over the years have become friends and colleagues. I was more optimistic at that time because we were not dealing with constant outrage on social media, fake news, surveillance capitalism, and the extinguishing of net neutrality. Given the online land grab by the platform monopolists it is becoming even more important for individuals to have a space they control on the web. It seems fewer of us are blogging because there are many more convenient options that require less time and thought. But we need thoughtful bloggers, unconstrained by platforms and publishers, now more than ever before. An aggressively engaged citizenry is essential to democracy.
The web, for now, remains our global commons. Self-publishing on our own platforms ensures freedom of speech. This is the new freedom of the press. Journalism is trying to adapt to the network era and democracy itself also has to change. Now is the time to experiment with new models and ways of organizing: internationally, nationally, and locally.
I started writing this blog with a focus on social media, only blogs and wikis at the time, and over time I added leadership, innovation, management, and then democracy as core topics. I have become a more engaged global citizen and have learned much through my interactions with others, as well as with my client work. There have been many learning opportunities especially over the last few years.
- Advising the City of Johannesburg on become a learning organization.
- Working with the Prime Minister’s Office of Finland on the future of work.
- Providing forward looking advice to Canada’s Department of Justice.
- Helping London’s volunteer sector think in terms of knowledge networks.
- Incorporating personal knowledge mastery into the network of an international NGO: United Cities & Local Governments.
My writing has been a work in progress, or in a state of perpetual beta as I often say. What started as a focus on businesses and organizations has grown to a more global view of the influence our societal structures have on how we work and learn. Many of these structures, such as our institutions, are changing. We citizens need to be engaged in the conversations around these structural changes while we still have a global communication commons. My focus here will continue to be on better forms of governance and democracy.
This is my 3,000th blog post, one of many half-baked ideas that provide some continuity in my own sense-making journey. I would like to thank all of you who have read my blog over the years, and especially those who have shared their own thoughts. Here I will pursue what Yochai Benkler describes as “a global cultural revolution” by helping to make a better commons in my own small way by engaging with my knowledge networks, one post at a time.
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