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On Groups and Social Software

7th August, 2007

I keep a set of bookmarks in my Dock (on Mac OS X) for stuff that I come across and find interesting but am unable to process at that time. That list grows over time and then, when some threshold is crossed, I take the time to go through them and decide their further fate.

One such bookmark was an article by Clay Shirky about the nature of groups, specifically in an online context. I have long forgotten when or how I came across it, but I finally found the time to read the rather lengthy text (at least for an online post).

Called A Group Is Its Own Worst Enemy, I found the article to be an insightful view on groups and the dynamics of those in general and in particular when formed online.

Shirky has a number of interesting points and rather than trying to summarize them (and no doubt miss important pieces), I'll highly recommend reading it if a subset of the following holds true for you:

Should cover pretty much anyone :)

I hadn't previously heard of Clay Shirky but Wikipedia reveals that he is, in fact, a well known authority on social-technological interactions and has written a number of books.

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