Saturday, January 27, 2007

Emerging Concept # 1: COMMUNITY

What will be the buzz word (or phrase) of 2007?
This question by Steven Burda on a social network prompted me to launch the Concepts series.

My answer: Community.
2.0, YouTube, Flickr, glocalization - whatever. It's "community." I also suggest "Local" as an off-shoot concept of the above.

There are two broad applications of this concept: one in the virtual world of Internet, and one in the real world.

Communities 2.0 - the virtual world
The child of social networking sites meeting user-content driven (web 2.0) websites: communities.

Built around common interests, preferences, or themes, communities are virtual spaces that bring together like-minded folks. On social networking sites such as Orkut and user-content driven spaces like Flickr, users can quickly and easily create thematic communities that attract the interested.

Unlike the older days of the Web, these "2.0" (new Web) communities are self-regulating and flexible. Rules are minimal, and members are encouraged to familiarize themselves with them, and regulate their own behavior. Individuals moderate or own the communities; the success of their "leadership" depends directly upon their abilities and acceptance by the members. A badly regulated, dismal communities dies by attracting no members, who are free to "settle" into another space or create their own. Good leadership - determined by the leader's tolerance, inclusiveness, conflict resolution, and community marketing skills - leads to healthy, growing communities that attract both members and participation. Charisma works.

Communities are small localities and nations in their own right. This is why I suggest that the Internet is the blueprint for a truly human(e) government. (Internet - government of the people: Here and here.)

Because of their open nature and inclusiveness of opinion, communities offer real insights into social life. Thanks to technology, they are fast-paced, ever-evolving, and allow for quick spread of info. Communities also change their form quickly to suit a campaign or project.

This is why, truly savvy change leaders and marketers are taking note of the phenomenon. The Future of Communities is a blog branched out from the upcoming Community 2.0 Conference. It's all about communities and their growing power in the new world of Internet.

Community - local neighborhoods of the real life world
In RL, communities are making a big comeback.

Caring. Giving. Sharing. Giving back. Participating. Responsibility. Local - all these once discarded social concepts are back, and they are here to stay.

There is a growing concern about the rise of "ethnic clash" in the world. I see it the other way. I think that for the first time in human history, the not-so-privileged ethnicities are respecting themselves and understanding that they are as equal as any other human. They are not condemned.

On the other hand, the privileged world, having enough of all resources possible, is looking for "meaning". On the one hand, their excessive resources are going to war. On the other hand, there are people who have taken it upon themselves to give back to the world: within their own community, and then globally - depending upon each individual's circle of influence. This is leading to the growing trend for nomadic lifestyle, often mixed with philanthropy or volunteer work.

This is the larger picture. On smaller levels, the "have's" - especially the youth - are giving back to their communities. The more experienced are realizing that they have to invest in the youth and in building neighborhoods. Only in this lies the safety of people, and any hope for restoring peace and minimizing crime.

Respect for one's own culture, the realization that we have to work together in neighborhoods and that we can't demand rights without performing duties, the sense of delight in serving, freedom with responsibility and a new respect for family and society's institutions (more open, more flexible, more inclusive) - are the highlights of this emerging concept.

Photo credits:
Top: Flickr user Cobalt123, Bestgraph, 2005
Bottom: Flickr user carf (Gregory J. Smith), Friendships - 1, 2005
E-mail: nextbyramla AT

Emerging Concepts + Advocated Concepts

NEXT> will feature two series of blog posts on "Emerging Concepts" and "Advocated Concepts."

"Emerging Concepts"
"Emerging Concepts" are sustainable trends being observed around the globe which have already gained some degree of acceptance by global change agents; and are "visible" should one go looking.

"Advocated Concepts"
"Advocated Concepts" are concepts and change ideas championed by NEXT>. They may or may not be accepted or observable as yet; but once in action, they achieve the dearest ambition of good souls: Making the World Better. The simple criterion for advocating them is the "humanity" of the concept.

I hope that "Advocated Concepts" will replace some of the age-old inhuman beliefs upon which much of the current education and thinking of the modern human is based. It's time to think anew and afresh.

New Thinking
This new thinking is not just based on aspiration, but it is also a "lesson learned" from the many forms of experiments that the human race has carried out in all fields - form society & governance to technology, education, health care, and living.

Through this series, I envision what the world can be if we successfully weed out inhuman concepts from our psyche, and replace them with new thinking. And I share this vision with the readers of the blog so that you may be motivated; and come together with like-minded souls through NEXT>.

In analyzing, predicting, and curating these concepts, I am exercising the freedom to predict with responsibility. By a self-imposed ethical policy, NEXT> will only predict or report findings that can help the world be a better place - rather than increasing anxiety which most of predictions do.

NEXT> will be helpful to those who want to make things better, and need to see the opportunity to do so.

You are invited!
I invite the readers to become part of the development of the series. Send in your stories and others' examples related to the new series. I will give you a heads-up by posting a summary of the Concepts in advance.

E-mail: nextbyramla AT
Photo credit: @ Davide Guglielmo, Light Bulb, 2004. Via stock.xchng