Digital Leviathan

Are you afraid of the Digital Leviathan?

I bought a copy of Spielberg’s first feature Duel recently and was reading on Wikipedia that both this movie and Jaws were “about these leviathans targeting every man“. If you have seen either movie, you will remember the protagonist’s angst of being consumed by something greater. I started wondering (as Wonderwebby is wont to do) if the fear of “the Digital Leviathan” holds people back from contributing to Web2.0.

As Euan Semple recently pointed out, nobody wants to be found out. I’ve been thinking this for a little while, how confidence has so much to do with the ability to dive into the information vortex.

I do wonder if creative brainstorming techniques should be better adopted to foster collaboration and communities of learning using social media. The good ole “how do you eat an Elephant? One bite at a time” certainly rings true. The Digital Leviathan can be so big and foreboding, it’s no wonder people are happy to stick with email.

When I first saw Andy Piper’s multiple digital identities I felt a little overwhelmed with the apparent amount of information and “digital me” management required for generating a digital community. Step by step (bite by bite) I have carved my own path into 2.0 and now realise the task was nowhere near as monolithic as I anticipated.

I think it works quite seamlessly for me now and I find I get back what I put in. What do I get back? The more I embed of my own identity, likes and interests the more people I discover. Yes, the people. I have been discovering more exceptionally talented people who share a similar vision or interest. Then I discover more about them, who they are, what they like. We start to develop a community. I’m learning. I’m improving my knowledge. I’m developing new skills and drawing upon my existing skill-set. I’m sharing my knowledge with others. We are looking at innovative solutions and pioneering new ideas as we apply the knowledge. Personally, I think it is a very exciting and revolutionary time. Simple practices revealing extraordinary potential through extraordinary people. Focussing on the output more than the input. For me, the ultimate output helps other people.

SO I’m hoping to apply some “one bite at a time” brainstorming techniques to gather a bit of digital community momentum amongst some peers. My mother (who drew my profile pic) always says, if you have artist’s block, start scribbling with pencil on paper. The same goes for creative writing techniques, just begin to write random words.

If starting up your own blog looks too daunting, begin by commenting on others. Start to tag others. Learn to have confidence in your own voice. Use your own words. Write your own thoughts. Contribute something new. Begin with small ideas first, if you like. Then ramp it up to something bigger. Ask a friend for help if you don’t understand how something works. It’s particularly good to have one or two mentors to encourage you and give you feedback through this process. Share your unique self.

People don’t bite nearly as much as you might think! The hype and the jargon can make things seem complex when the concept of collaboration really is simple. And the Digital Leviathon is what you make of it.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MtAMc4i8OA]

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  • http://actuate.wordpress.com/ Douglas

    My experience has been that the ears are particularly tough. They require lots of chewing.

    I’ve begun twelve different blogs. This number doesn’t count revisions or placeholder pointers from popular services back to my main site or ones I’ve assisted creating for friends. I’ve had a regularish podcast with my brother and even helped establish a popular Denver area podcast meetup.

    My trouble seems to be that I don’t have a life that generates content–either naturally or through some effort.

    I suspect that were I to better maintain any of those nibbles I would eventually be afraid of being found out. But for now I struggle with being found at all and then to be found dull.

  • wonderwebby

    @douglas sometimes the ears to require a bit of chewing yes. I’m particularly happy that I was able to ramble a little on our intranet, before posting here. The thing I like about blogging at the moment – it becomes a whiteboard of my thoughts, a lifelog of my experience, a collection of my “a-ha” moments. If that in turn switches other “a-ha” moments on for others, or challenges my own thinking, all the better – and that is the beauty of it.