The Commune Economy

by Jay Deragon on 02/02/2011

In an earlier post titled “From Communities to Communes” we said ” Finding relevancy to “thinking” is typically found in smaller groups of people who seek knowledge and wisdom that reflects their beliefs. Common beliefs are what creates relational bonds. Haven’t you noticed that your “real” network is actually becoming smaller regardless of how many “followers and friends” you think you have?”

Communities have become a common way for brands, organizations and institutions to accomplish old business models. Old business models applied to use of social technology aimed to attract people into transactional traps by appealing to and creating self interest. Lets admit it. Getting your blog, your content and profile highlighted in one of major media communities strokes the ego and fulfills the intended self interest, you are important and admired. The people and organizations that run large communities make money from our content and pay us using the oldest currency in the world, popularity and sense of importance.

Today communities are aggregating people by appealing to the ego currency. What the ego doesn’t see is that the intent of these models is not for the benefit of the user rather for the primary benefit of the community facilitator, money and power. The community is economically sustained from advertising revenue generated by the “free” contributions of the users. The users contributions generate traffic which is used to entice relevant advertisers or sponsors who will pay the most to get attention from the audience which is attracted to the community. The “power factor” of communities is relevant to reach and influence. The more readers and influence the greater perceived power. These social media models represent the same old media models just with a different twist. Their use of social technology is aimed at preserving the same old thinking.

The Commune Model

A commune is a natural migration of human dynamics where the membership is designed to have a higher degree of “connectivity” than traditional communities on and off-line. The members of an intentional commune typically hold a common social, political, religious, or spiritual vision and are often part of the alternative society. Sound familiar?

You see the “human network” naturally migrates to communes that hold a common social, political, religious, or spiritual vision. One commune to another may interact as “knowledge inventory” are shared between each commune for the benefit of the whole. “Communes” are only separated by degrees of relational affinities which are maximized by the smallness of the commune vs. large communities which become impossible to hold true relational affinities.

Communes are not sustained by advertising or sponsorship economies rather they become self sustaining due to the what the individuals and collective group creates for each other and other communes. The “common purse” represents collective knowledge, group decision-making in general and intellectual affairs that can be applied to creating innovation. These attributes become the “social currency” that is trade-able, valuable and dispersed freely for consumption by individuals and other communes. The innovation created usually is used to break old paradigms that have locked up “currency trading” by preserving problems rather than facilitating solutions.

Clay Shirky said “The problems of the past are being leveraged by organizations who have created solutions which preserve the old problems“. The objective of a commune is to create self sustaining solutions that reverses thinking which allows preservation of old problems for economic gains.

How does a commune create a self sustaining economy? Stay tuned for the answer or answer it yourself.

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