Networks
“Wrap” by Kevin Dwyer/www.wooburntaichi.co.uk

“In groups we can do together what we cannot achieve alone. With networks and new computer-based tools now ordinary people can become a group even without the benefit of a corporation or organization. They can make decisions, own and sell assets, accomplish tasks by exploiting the technology available. They no longer need to rely on a politician to make decisions. They can exercise meaningful power themselves about national, state and local—indeed global—issues. Senior citizens and teenagers use networked handheld computers to police the conditions of urban land use. The Google search engine offers a “Google Groups” service to make it easier for people to create and maintain groups and to do everything from “treating carpal tunnel syndrome [to] disputing a cell phone bill.” The mobile phone “smart mob” allows groups to self-organize a political protest or campaign, such as the one that elected the president of South Korea. Young people are meeting in video games and using the virtual world to organize real world charitable relief for victims of natural disasters. When the Chihuahua owners of San Diego, California, get together via Meetup.com, they discover not only a shared animal affinity, but also their ability to change the conditions of local parks, affect local leash laws, and police the park for themselves. Meetups have no offices, secretaries, water coolers, or other appurtenances of formal organizations yet they have as much effect. Parents come together to decide on policy in their children’s school or a group of scientists collaborate to overthrow an age-old publishing model and distribute th