The virtues of small potatoes

Doug Rushkoff makes this point:

..if everyone wants to do the “meta” job of creating a brand or utility through which activism happens, then there will be no one left to do the actual organizing… No, the opportunity is not to create the next great website for modeling bottom-up community activity, but to go and actually do the stuff.

Meanwhile, Matt Moore takes a welcome swipe at the cult of the Big Idea:

We need a swarm of lots of Small Ideas small ideas. Micronotions that propogate across the memescape. Like any small, fast-breeding creatures, many are poorly adapted for their environment and doomed to die but many will reproduce and mutate and colonise.

I was on an improv workshop the other day, and as is often the case, it was great to be reminded of the basics. We were playing with one-word storytelling: people stand in a circle and invent a story. A player says the first word of a story, and the next in turn adds just a word and so on. No one is in control and weird stuff can happen. Sometimes coherent, sometimes brilliant material emerges – and sometimes it sorta screws up. When the story doesn’t work, the work is to cheerfully let it go, avoid post mortems and blame, and get on to the next attempt. For me (like many players) it’s a reminder of the temptation to take control – and its futility compared to the subtler challenge of playful collaboration.

(see also yesterday’s post on massively collaborative maths)

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