I’ve been doing a lot of interesting reading of some dead tree books lately (thank you, iPhone, for not having an eBook reader!). “Code v2.0” by Lessig. Open Sources 2.0, a collection of essays on open source, etc. Lots of stuff that makes me think, and hopefully makes me smarter. I’ve also been doing a lot of thinking about my job at Intel Software Network, and what I can add/contribute there.
I read Doc Searls’ essay “Making a New World” yesterday, and it was awesome. Mind opening, perspective changing. Doc is one smart dude, and I fully subscribe to the rule “If Doc says it, it’s true. Believe it. Live it.” You can read the whole essay here on his site, but it was this paragraph that really struck me upside the head:
Information, we observed, is derived from the verb inform, which is related to the verb form. To inform is not to “deliver information”, but rather to form the other party. If you tell me something I didn’t know before, I am changed by that. If I believe you, and value what you say, I have granted you authority. Meaning, I have given you the right to author what I know. Therefore, we are all authors of each other. This is a profoundly human condition in any case, but it is an especially important aspect of the open source value system. By forming each other, as we also form useful software, we are making the world. Not merely changing it.
Emphasis mine. Wow. That crystalizes so many things I’ve been thinking about around my network – people whose blogs I subscribe to, who I follow on Twitter, who I friend on Facebook.
I have granted the people in my network authority – authorship – to form, inform, and shape me. They have write permissions to my brain. That is so true. chmod 775 mybrain.
THAT is the value of social networks.
THAT is what Twitter and Facebook and blogs and all of the other “social networks” are all about.
It extends beyond the geeky stuff on the web, too. The newspaper you read has authorship to form you. The music you like. The TV/video you watch. I guess we really are what we “eat”.
How do you choose who is in your network? Who you listen to? To whom you grant authority, and the power to inform and form you? How do you “break into” someone’s network? Can you?
Hmm. Lots to think about here. I’m sure I’ll post more about it soon. And if I’m in your network – if you’ve granted me authority and authorship – maybe what I have to say will get you thinking, too, and form/shape you in some way. Pretty freaky, huh? 😉