Social [h]Activism and Digital Democracy: creating code for the crowdsourced masses

There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world; and that is an idea whose time has come.”

– Victor Hugo (1802-1885)

It seems my previous post was more apropos than I imagined. Most of day 1 at SxSW (only slightly sidetracked by the swarm of the swelling crowds) was spent in a scramble to score my access pass and manage my limited schedule projections, I can business-school bullet-point some important takeaways augmented by typical <asides>.

A major motive of the sessions I’ve attended has been creating a digital democracy through code projects, whether related to Don Tapscott’s “Rethinking Civilization for the Social Age” which dealt with the macrowikinomics of crowdsourced slacktivism in our “age of networked intelligence” or MIT Media Lab’s “antidisciplinary” ecosystems of collective intellectual effort online. In treating the ideology of Web 2.0 Taxonomies and citing some networked digital projects aimed at activism through online awareness, Tapscott punctuated a really powerful talk with some punchy ideas about digital brainstorming for philanthropic programs like Habitat Jam or Taking it global and Gladwellian concepts like “the revolution will not be tweeted.” It seems the ideas across sessions are trending to “massing” digital culture power and augmenting social programs through optimizing public presence online.

For libraries, this can iterate into plans for web 2.0 optimization and digital collection development. Embracing the trend terms of content strategy and information architecture for analog records migrating to digital culls from the tech world and creates more usesable, crowdsourced, and captivating content that has potential for as much social media motive as social good. As curators of a cultured networked intelligence, we have an obligation to embrace the perspectives of our app-minded patrons, and activate the rhizomatic avenues of our collections for optimal online exploration. As always, we are the intellectual social workers with the potential as arbiters of the digital world among the hoipolloi populace of our public library venues. We have an obligation to #occupy collective intelligence as activists and advocates of intelligent interaction online.

Crowd[something]As a conclusion, I’ll close with a concept that’s been “viral” in the small session program I’ve built over the past few days. Apparently an analog for the mass culture swarm and mob-digital power of our “intellectual networked age” is defined by a natural phenomenon called “murmurations”: the swarm of starlings who are incidently the stars of southby. Starlings swarm formation culture was documented by Don Tapscott and cited by BBC’s transmedia specialist Adrian Hon as a fascinating natural formation of coordinated effort and cloud interdependence. It echoes the Wilderness Downtown HTML5 buildout of last year and also, oddly, my twitter background which each feature swirling digital drawings of black birds. It seems I’ve found my niche in the crowdsourced collective. Murmurations of data geeks will be witnessed, updates and col-laboratory musings forthcoming.

Some cool hotlinks to paw-through…

Highlighting (the social app of southby):

Social Good Collectives:

Storytelling/Collab Projects:

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