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The paradox of groups

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —June 28, 2005
Filed in Collaboration

Heiko Rudolf put me on to Clay Shirky’s writing today and I was perusing some of his essays. I was struck by this quote from an essay called A Group Is Its Own Worst Enemy.

“It’s obvious that there are no groups without members. But what’s less obvious is that there are no members without a group. Because what would you be a member of?

So there’s this very complicated moment of a group coming together, where enough individuals, for whatever reason, sort of agree that something worthwhile is happening, and the decision they make at that moment is: This is good and must be protected. And at that moment, even if it’s subconscious, you start getting group effects. And the effects that we’ve seen come up over and over and over again in online communities.”

I know I’ve mentioned this before, so at the risk of boring people with repetition I will just say that getting ActKM going required us to manufacture conversation (we had a roster of posters) so it looked like something interesting was happening. It was only when we attracted about 100 members that the conversation was self sustaining. We then had a group people wanted to join.

About  Shawn Callahan

Shawn, author of Putting Stories to Work, is one of the world's leading business storytelling consultants. He helps executive teams find and tell the story of their strategy. When he is not working on strategy communication, Shawn is helping leaders find and tell business stories to engage, to influence and to inspire. Shawn works with Global 1000 companies including Shell, IBM, SAP, Bayer, Microsoft & Danone. Connect with Shawn on:

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  1. The paradox of groups

    Shawn Callahan writes I know I’ve mentioned this before, so at the risk of boring people with repetition I will just say that getting ActKM going required us to manufacture conversation (we had a roster of posters) so it looked like som…

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