jueves, 15 de marzo de 2007

Chapter Eight: Mass collaboration is "framing" Corporate responsibility.

Where we’re heading

These three forces –the revolution of the social sector, sustainable development and the participatory media– converge in the dawning of the 21st century to generate a radical change in the way we communicate, do business, and cooperate with the rest of mankind. Each of these currents in turn drives the growth of the others.

The “tipping point”, that moment in which something that is unique will become commonplace, is very near. The signs are out there for all of us to see.

Ordinary people’s participation in the media cannot be turned back. While YouTube, Current TV, and AOL are supplying them with simple publication and edition tools (for blogs, photos, and videos), mainstream sites like those of BBC and CNN are demanding contents created by this rising and powerful army of citizen journalists.

From participatory journalism to interactive advertising

People who increasingly participate in the communications media question and reject unidirectional advertising. And the phenomenon is on the rise. The new individual become global citizen participates and browses the Net as part of his daily activities. He connects when and how he likes. He demands a new relationship with companies and the manner in which the latter promote the sales of their products. Accustomed to conversation (permalink), this individual asks to engage in dialog with companies and expects to be heard by them.

Companies that progressively adopt sustainability practices will be the ones able to engage into and sustain an authentic dialog with their clients. Those that have grasped the fact that, in order to stay successful, they must change their way of extracting raw materials and producing – and reduce their impact on both the environment and humans.

There are myriad consumers looking for corporate information on the Web, talking among themselves about the products they consume and the history behind such products, and reading company blogs. The post on Kryptonite the padlock manufacturer is one of many proofs of the existence of a watchdog community operating via the Internet. They observe, share information, denounce and reward the companies they identify with.

Conscious consumers are creating communities where they review the impact of corporate behaviour (check dotherightthing.com)

The power of networks

The new participatory media is making an unprecedented impact on the social sector as well. Online communities are the natural ecosystem in which change-makers multiply. The tools for this are out there and within everyone’s reach. Thanks to the use of available technologies, every day there arise more people who –like Rodrigo Baggio and Iqbal Quadir– create their own networks for social transformation.

As Bill Drayton said in words quoted above, “if we multiply the number of change-makers from 1% to 20% in the next fifteen years, that will be the most radical change ever witnessed since the agricultural revolution.” The participatory media will have achieved that – and more.

25% of Internet users participate in online communities. Glocalization ensures that, after conversing for hours with people from all over the world who share his interests, the new individual goes out to the street and starts building a commitment towards his neighbors, school, club, and community.

The new Internet, the Web 2.0 (blogs, vlogs, permalink, free software), is creating a space for conversation and universal community. Wikipedia and Ohmy, for their part, have shown that when the community claims ownership of the media, there grows a bond of trust that gives rise to a universal intelligence – where joint striving for the common good and collective building eradicate bad practices.

Our future lies in the weaving of virtual networks, held together by common values and issues. Social participation and sustainability are clearly two dimensions deeply related to awareness, responsibility, and growing commitment. And, faster than we can even begin to envision, the world is heading in that direction.

The media is here and the truth is out there. This conversation has only just begun.

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