Thursday, March 13, 2008

Communities of love

This clip by Clay Shirky discusses how social media can reveal the power of communities of love. He claims that the community that supports the programming language Pearl is analogous to the community that rebuilds a 1300 year old Shinto shrine every 100 years or so. Both are motivated by and bring people together to accomplish something through love. The scale of social media can now make this possible in larger and ever growing ways, through love. He claims that you can now predict the success of a given software platform and the like by the extent of how it is loved. This may be a rhetorical exaggeration, but it is linux ideology at its best.

Quoting the final lines: "We are good at love, we're humans. . . . With love alone, you can get together a birthday party. Add coordinating tools, and you can write an operating system. In the past, we would do little things for love, but big things, big things required money. Now we can do big things for love."

Note: I found this clip originally on Kevin Kelly's blog. He's the author of Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, & the Economic World, copies of which were set out at the recent robot exhibit we attended.

It's true, I depend on the love of a number of mac communities for my own growing facility with machines. I wouldn't know a console log from a sudo command if it weren't for love.

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