Smart Mobs, Networks and Collectives

In the presentation below, Rheingold describes the coming world of collaboration as a participatory media and collective action. He also discusses how Wikipedia, an outgrowth of our natural human instinct, works as a group.

The spirit of collaboration, a key issue for the open content movement, reinforces  new concepts such as “smart mobs” , “networks” and “collectives”.

Smart mobs which means self-structuring social organization through technology-mediated, intelligent emergent behavior. Howard Rheingold introduces this concept   in his book Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution.

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Networks refers to individuals,  members of online communities, some of which are enhanced by face-to-face gatherings, but increasingly supported only through various forms of online interaction. “Increasingly older face-to-face networks are moving many of their activities online to increase access to members and to take advantage of the recording and archiving afforded by digital networks. Networks usually operate over extended periods of time and are not constrained to time lines arbitrarily set by educational institutions.” (Anderson, 2007)

Collectives “ are the newest and most unfamiliar of the aggregations of the Many. Collectives are a kind of cyber-organism, formed from people linked algorithmically using networked software. Through use of the Net, we create trails, and archived data, engage in discussion and transactions and make both tacit and conscious decisions that, when aggregated with those of many others, create a new learning resource and context – which we refer to as collectives” (Anderson, 2007)
More information: Anderson, T. (2007). Reducing the Loneliness of the Distance Learner Using Social Software.

View more presentations from terrya.

Open Content – Amateur Innovation

Charles Leadbeater presents several cases about “amateur innovation”  –  people who have the tools to collaborate and innovate make their expertise known through great ideas from outside the traditional walls.

Charles Leadbeater’s theories on innovation have compelled some of the world’s largest organizations to rethink their strategies. 

His book, We-Think explores how this emerging culture of mass creativity and participation could reshape companies and governments.


We Think was published by Profile in March 2008. It includes a  sharing  draft of the first eleven chapters online. This was downloaded thousands of times. The author received  hundreds of comments from people that changed the way the book was written.

The first three chapters of the book can be downloaded from the We Think section of his website

He is currently researching for Atlas of Ideas, a program that is mapping changes in the global geography of science and innovation


Intellectual property rights x Free Culture

Professor Lessig rethinks intellectual property rights by judging a balance of forces between commerce and community. His main argument focuses on reviving our creative culture.


His presentation in TED and his book present a very interesting combative manifesto enhancing How creativity is being strangled by the law

Larry Lessig is is one of the foremost authorities on copyright issues, with a vision for reconciling creative freedom with marketplace competition.

He is the founder of the Center for Internet and Society and professor of law at Stanford Law School.

Download his book for free Remix
Making art and commerce thrive
in the hybrid economy


The Wealth of Networks


Another interesting book is The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom, available under a Creative Common license

Yochai Benkler describes how social production is reshaping markets and offering new opportunities to enhance diversity, interaction, collective thinking and justice.

The networked information environment has been expanding and making information and knowledge available. However it  can either limit or enlarge the ways people can create and express themselves.

Developing learning content for reuse

Learning resources and facilities needed are insufficient to attend the needs of higher education which is expanding rapidly even in development countries. The estimated number of academic students around the world in 2025 is 160 million (See John Daniel, Mega Universities and Knowledge Media – Kogan Page 1996). Reusing online reources is one of the essential strategies for a sustainable approach to e-learning . For Koper (2001) many educational institutions are adopting new approaches to increase effectiveness due to several factors such as the need for:
– a more individualized and personalized approach to learning
– collaboration, discussion and product creation
– teaching complex skills
– lifelong learning
Koper, EJR (2001) Modeling Units of Study from a Pedagogical Perspective: The pedagoical metamodel behind EML, Open Universiteit Nederland