Lovink and organised networks

I picked up Lovink’s book Networks without a cause quite by chance in the library the other day and discovered him talking about ‘organised networks’.

Most participatory platforms emphasize a model of weak links (think ‘friends of friends’) that attract a community just to ‘hang out’, conveniently for the corporations that exploit our social relationships. Organized networks should be seen in opposition to these social sites and are based on people joining together for a common purpose, building strong-ties among dispersed people, and bringing goal-driven organizing to the internet.

This is stuff I’ve been thinking about, though I’m wary if people just see it as a techno-fix for failing institutions. Orgnets.org adds an important corollary:

+ communication within networks is about relational processes not representational procedures.

Here is Lovink talking about the book. He’s a bit er, um. The book is better:

2 Comments

  1. Tim

    I have a deep suspicion of any process that starts out by stating its goal.

    It seems to me that “now” is when you normally know the least and at each point in time after “now” you will probably know more.

    The implication of this is that on average the worst goal you will ever come up with is the one you come up with now; and the best goal you ever come up with is the one you have at the end of the process.

    How can you take advantage of this? Can you build groups that are resistant to changing goals and new information?

    Reply
    1. preorg

      It’s a good point, though I think there’s a balance to be struck, depending on whether you are involved in a short term project – where you need a fairly defined goal – or a long term campaign or something – where sticking to your original goals might be dangerous. I think a lot of the work you could do online would be project work and I don’t think it’s too dangerous to commit to e.g. a program that does this, a piece of writing that does that.

      The longer term stuff is quite interesting in politics. You could argue that you don’t want goals at all, that you could simply commit to certain ways of being and doing. Then shorter term projects (with goals) will sometimes emerge out of that. So, this year it may seem strategically necessary to take over the state. But it would be dangerous to have that as a goal of your movement.

      Reply

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