Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The power of connecting.

For those of us not in the know ... I am a big FRIENDS fans. Just yesterday, I was watching a few of the season 10 episodes on CD, when a scene from the one where Rachel is going to Paris reminded me of the power of social connections.

The story runs thus ... Ross wants to tell Phoebe that he loves her, and he doesnt want her to go to Paris. He needs to meet her, but Ross and Phoebe land up at JFK, while Rachel is at Newark. No way they can make it in 20 minutes. Phoebe calls Rachel on her mobile, and tells her that theres something wrong with the left "filange" of the plane.

And, this is the point I am trying to look at. The guy on the seat next to Rachel overhears her saying theres nothing wrong with the left filange, and he panics. And before you can spell Bonjour Monsieur, the plane is empty, because all the folks on the flight panic that the plane is not firing on all cylinders!

Why am I telling this story? The fact of the matter is, that in a manner similar to this, online communities can make or break a campaign, or a communication. Only thing, online communities can do this on a scale far wider than a flightload of nervous passengers. A little comment on a single blog, read by 5 people, can get amplified to proportions, and at speed, which werent even imaginable even a couple of years back.

And this just shows the power of social computing. Whether it be the sunsilkgangofgirls.com, or whether it be the Open Source movement, social computing is bringing power to the hands of everyday folks in an unprecedented manner. Though, what I would like to say here is, that it is now up to us, how we use it. Having said that, though, I would also go on to say, that by and large, we are responsible people, so I wouldnt worry too much about abuse of this power.

Would like to hear from the folks out there ... Bouquets or brickbats?

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