Big and BIGGER has always been the goal of many. As adolescents we wanted to be taller, stronger and part of the Bigger crowd of in people. As adults we pursued BIG jobs, BIG positions and BIG money. Men and women pursue their own sense of BIG whether it be bank accounts, homes, cars or parts of their anatomy. Businesses strive to get BIGGER, media likes the influence of being BIG, Wall Street likes BIG deals and everyone thinks they have the BIG idea that will change their industry, their life and others forever.
Human nature is predictalbe and what we see emerging in the virtual world mimics human behavior in the physical world. Humans migrate in swarms following “scents” of movement by others. Some join the crowd because their friends are following the crowd. Others follow because they don’t want to miss something they anticipate as “happening” and yet they really have no idea what is actually “happening“.
Big crowds attract bigger crowds. The bigger the “collective voice” of the people the more others hear the “voice of the people“. Big begets the pursuit of Bigger in everything and anything. However, Big usually means slow and bureaucratic, power struggles and politics, wealth for the few and income for the masses.
Does BIG in the Virtual World Follow Form?
Consider the following:
- Network operators pursue bigger participation (we’re flooded by invitations to networks pursuing BIG)
- Bloggers pursue BIGGER numbers of readers and search engine rankings
- Advertisers pay more to get in front of BIGGER crowds
- People are trying to get a BIGGER number of followers on Twitter
- People produce videos hoping to get the BIGGEST rankings on YouTube
- Individuals are vying for the BIGGEST number of connections. Consider the following sampling of invitational messages
- You’ll have over 1,500,000 connections just from me alone! I don’t know how big your network is, but I am sure I have had a great impact on it!
- I don’t know how big your network is but by connecting to me it will be bigger
- I am a big networker and would like to join your network
- We’re building the Biggest network of (name the profession) professionals and invite you to be a member
- Our community is the Biggest (name the niche or topic) and your invited to join the conversations
It appears as if everyone is chasing BIG as the primary strategy for success in the virtual world as well as the physical world. Convinced that Big numbers will help us achieve BIG results the game of pursing BIG seems to be the focus of our attention on a daily basis.
Can Small Produce BIG?
When you view the world as one BIG network driven by the dynamics of “cause and effect” interactions you begin to see the human side of networks in a different light and how technology is accelerating BIG “cause and effect” shifts.
Think about how technology accelerates communications and subsequently the effects can best be categorized as swarms reacting to different types of communications. These reactions can be large and influence entire nations, our economy, ignite wars and tensions and all literally at rates of change never before experienced. The reactions can also start out as small swarms of individuals yet to be noticed but when leveraged through technological networks the swarm becomes significant and influential (BIG) creating effects across and throughout the world, a movement is born and the small become BIG and produce BIG results.
There are billions of cause and effect interactions happening daily within our global virtual community. Each of these iterations causes different levels of reactions and subsequent results. Some sustain momentum while other fizzle out leaving little effect.
The power of a networked world lies in the ability to unite like minded swarms of individuals for the purposes of creating positive “cause and effect” iteration aimed at changing the purpose, the message and the outcomes of issues that have the greatest impact on our world. Historically this influence has been largely driven by the BIG but now the shift is moving towards the power of the small networked and enabled by the emergence of new technology.
The “cause of this shift” is individuals gaining and leveraging the power of a networked world. The effects of this shift will be determined by the combined value of relationships united with a common purpose. Individuals can be BIG when your united with a network of other individuals united with a common aim, purpose. It is not neccessarily a numbers game rather it is more about uniting relations. A small group unitied can now have the same reach as the BIG have had traditionally. The more “open” the net becomes the greater the shift becomes to the small. The sooner we reach Doc Searls vision, VRM, the faster the shift to the small will happen and the BIGGER the impact will be when individuals apply collective leverage previously only afforded by the BIG.
BIG will take on a new meaning and size as well as influence will be determined by the unity and depth of relationships and the collective knowledge. How big is yours will refer to the depth, quantity and quality of united relations which is not the same as number of contacts, page views or Google rankings. The power of BIG has now shifted to the small. How big are your united relations?
What say you?