New groups are being formed throughout the country, and nobody has noticed. These emergent groups are zero to three years old. And the organizers are not the usual suspects. If there is a connection to urban tribes it is the connecting of existing urban tribes.
We meet our new friends, talking to others we know through the same medium, and in introverted humility ask “oh, how do y’all know each other?” Assuming it predates our joining the group. But it doesn’t. We assume these eclectic people of diverse backgrounds knew each other selectively before the overall group formed. But they didn’t. It’s like everyone has the same social birthday. It all happened as part of the Great American Social Software Revolution. The grandparents were born in 2004.
And I am not convinced they, we, follow the RENGEN model.
It is simply like minded people. Who met through sites like Flickr and twitter, form groups. Old news, like 15 year old prodigy news, right? What is news is that about three years ago the local aspect got magnified somehow. Asynchronous communication on bulletin boards drifted not to synchronous, but on an exponential curve much closer to synchronous. And the closer the line moves to zero, the more local factors come into play.
Local is the new black. And these new local influencers, many previously also influential but with a new magnifying glass, are more powerful than ever. Or newly powerful.
And these new groups haven’t self-identified yet. And the leaders don’t even realize they are leaders. People who nominate themselves as leaders are frequently rejected. Like an atom that meets to form when it wants and then goes on to reject the laws of physics, a self-nominated enforcer is refuted.
This is startling in that there is no visible ideology to bind.
“A common sharing of ideas integrates individuals into the community, a group, a party, or a movement. Ideas, commonly held, define the things that are acceptable and the tasks to be accomplished, excluding all others. Ideologies play the same role that totems and taboos play in primitive tribes, defining what is common to the members and what is alien.”
– Contemporary Political Ideologies, pg. 9, 1986
Yet there is no dominant ideology that can be seen by this writer. Liberals and conservatives and the rational majority that are not on either end of the spectrum all participate. The “unfollow” and “block” functions of twitter are natural enforcers.
The main take-away is not a new ideology so much as the awareness of the rapid fire formation of new influencers. Influencers who in a majority appear, ironically, “off the grid” to the current power structure.
As I close this post I find I am very convinced of
- the formation of new groups is very real
- there is no readily apparent ideology that binds
- the leaders are below the radar, the influence unmapped
The next 10 years will be interesting indeed!
Note: The image? No relation to the post. Just an image of happiness on my flickr stream. That is all.